Welcome to our newsletter, a fortnightly posting of news and events from Shearwater, the Mullumbimby Steiner School, on Left Bank Rd (Playgroup, Primary and High School), and Little Shearwater, on Main Arm Road (Preschool and Kindergarten). 

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 INFORMATION  for Parents

Main School Office Hours: 8am to 4pm. For any queries outside these hours, please leave a message on (02) 6684 3223.
Before-school supervision: Please do not drop your children at School before 8.30am as staff will be unavailable for supervision. If Primary students must arrive at school before this time, please ask them to wait in the canteen area until 8.30am.
Visiting the school: Between 9am and 3pm only students should be beyond the bridge in the classroom areas. 
Thank you for your attention to these guidelines which help support the education of our students.

 EVENTS  and Important Dates

  • Bush Dance - Fri Apr 1.
  • Class 7Su Parent Meeting - Tue Apr 5, 6.00-6.30pm.
  • 'The Hour of Decision' film screening - Wed April 6, 6.30pm, Shearwater Hall.
  • Last day of Term 1 - Fri Apr 8.
  • ANZAC Day public holiday - Mon Apr 25
  • Class 6H Walking Camp - Wed Apr 27 - Fri May 6
  • Year 11 Vanuatu Camp - Sat Apr 30 - Sat May 7.
  • High School Information Evening - Wed June 1, 6pm.
  • Don't forget to check out the School Calendar online.

Save the Bees

SHEARWATER PRESENTS 'The Hour of Decision', a new documentary co-produced by biodynamic beekeper Gunther Hauk, co-founder of American honeybee sanctuary, Spikenard Farm. The film explores the global plight of the honey bee and the future of sustainable beekeeping.
Wednesday April 6
6.30pm in the Shearwater Hall

Entry by gold coin donation. Come and support the good work of the bees at Shearwater. Cake, tea and coffee will be available.

Building Update

WORK IS WELL UNDERWAY on Shearwater's new Early Learning Centre, with construction up out of the ground and the hive-like forms of the Preschool and Kindergarten buildings beginning to take shape.
The site has been established, footings and retaining walls constructed and floor structures for the Kindergarten (bearers and joists) are in place, with a construction floor to go down this week. The timber floor will be laid at a later date. Some steel portal frames have been installed that will support the roof structure, giving a gesture to the final shape of the buildings. Playground designs are progressing well with some imaginative ideas springing up.
Our builders, Lismore company Bennett Constructions, have indicated they are on schedule despite some days lost to wet weather. It is expected that, by the start of the new term, walls will be constructed on the buildings and the roof will be in progress.

EMR Safety

WIRELESS RADIATION EXPERT and health researcher Priyanka Bandara, Advisor to the Environmental Health Trust USA and Doctors for Safer Schools, visited Shearwater last week for a series of presentations, to High School students, staff and the wider community, on the documented health effects associated with prolonged exposure to wireless radiation, emitted by devices such as mobile phones, Wi-Fi enabled computers and wireless routers.
This issue is of crucial importance to this generation of children, who will be exposed to unprecedented levels of EMR across their lifetime. Shearwater's decision last year to switch off Wi-Fi across the School campus, replacing access with wired technologies, followed an extensive analysis of this research.
Dr Bandara introduced our students (see image below) to wireless radiation, or radiofrequency/microwave electromagnetic radiation, and looked at how exposure levels and regulations have changed over the last few decades, in particular the last 10 years.
Students asked questions and participated in hands-on activities measuring the EMR emissions of common everyday transmitting devices, including their mobile phones.
The public presentation 'Education, Health & Wellbeing in the Wireless Age' (pictured above) drew more than 100 concerned residents from around the Shire. Dr Bandara was joined on stage by Victor Leach, who has worked as a radiation health physicist and atmospheric scientist for the past 40 years in both the private sector and public sector, including for the Australian Radiation Laboratory, now ARPANSA. 
Victor opened the talk with a fascinating overview of how non-ionising radiation levels (used by wireless communication devices) are regulated in Australia by the Australian Communications and Media Authority — the same body who also licenses the technology — and how Australia’s legal limit for exposure to Radio Frequency Electro-Magnetic Radiation (RF EMR) is significantly greater than countries like Russia, China, or Switzerland. 
Dr Bandara then introduced the audience to the documented health effects of RF-EMR (radio frequency electro-magnetic radiation) drawing on a wide range of credible peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate a link between radiation exposure and many common health complaints such as low fertility, cancer promotion, ADHD and neurological symptoms ranging from headaches to memory loss. Special emphasis was placed on why children are the most vulnerable group due to their increased absorption of radiation. 
Dr Bandara also discussed the results of the OECD 2015 PISA study 'Students, Computers and Learning' that, contrary to expectations, showed that the countries with the highest level of internet use in schools, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden, also had the most "significant declines" in reading performance, and that those students who used computers "very frequently" did worst in most learning outcomes, after the data were adjusted for differences in demographics.
The night ended with a fascinating Q&A that dealt with a wide range of questions and concerns around wireless technology and how one can take proactive steps to limit exposure.
We wish to thank Dr Bandara and Victor Leach and their families for coming to Shearwater and providing our community with much food for thought.
Eliot Baring, ICT Coordinator
Praba Manning, Science Teacher

NEWS from the High School

Site Day

SHEARWATER'S SITE DAY is an annual art event in which students create site-specific installations around the School's campus. It has been the first major assessment task for Year 11 Visual Art students since 2001. Now in it’s 15th year, Site Day includes Visual Art and Visual Design students right across the High School, from Years 7 to 12. In the future, we hope to see Primary School classes and the wider community getting involved as well.
Site-specific installation is a unique form of art, where sculptural works are created in a specific location. When combined with the ideas of Land Art and the use of predominantly natural materials, students are challenged to question their previous concepts of art and to explore new methods of artmaking. Inspired by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, these installations are often ephemeral and so the photographic documentation becomes the artwork and is often the only way audiences get to experience the work.
If you were lucky enough to walk through the School grounds today and see one, or some, or all, of the many installations then I am sure you would agree that this coming together to celebrate the beauty of nature and create contemporary art is a wonderful experience for all involved.
When reflecting on the experience some students said...
“Site-Day was quite eventful. A lot of people didn’t have enough of their material so some of our time went to looking for more sticks, leaves, flowers etc. The conditions weren’t the best, with the hot weather but overall tracing around people was fun and the final artwork looked really good.” - Luca, Mya and Grace, Year 8
“Site-Day was an amazing experience. Despite the rain, we all finished our installations. Working with the land and creating art for, and in, nature was beautiful and refreshing.”  - Asaya, Year 11 Visual Art and Visual Design
“I found Site-Day uniquely beautiful. Everyone’s different installations were inspiring and we all managed to pull through even though the weather wasn’t on our side for the last half of the day.” - Shaneal, Year 11 Visual Design
“Site-Day was so interesting and colourful. All the installations were wonderful and unique and they all looked great, despite the sudden surprise rainstorm. I definitely would do Site Day again as it is a fun thing to do.” - Tallula, Year 11 Visual Design
A big thank you to Reiley in Year 8 for his drone footage today.

Anna Delzoppo
High School Visual Art Teacher

Year 11 Biology

AS A COMPULSORY PART of the Year 11 Biology course, students conduct a field study of a local ecosystem. Our students spent two days amongst the remnant rainforest, alongside the creek that borders our School property, completing this task.
This activity gives students an opportunity to research/visit a local ecosystem, with the aim of conducting a first-hand study.  With the assistance of Ken Ohlsson, our Garden and Bush Regenerator, students identified the plant and animal species, as well as the abotic (non-living) and biotic (living) features of the ecosystems.
While these kinds of study can be theoretically presented in a classroom setting or by using simulations, the study of ecology in the field is essential. This field experience of a local terrestrial ecosystem, enabled students to observe and measure some of the parameters to which the main plant and animal species are adapted, and to study some of the interactions between organisms in that ecosystem.
This was a great opportunity for the students to spend a day in the life of an ecologist. Students gained an insight into the requirements of assessing ecosystems in the field, and enjoyed their days in the fresh air and amongst the beautiful forest, which we are so lucky to have in our own backyard.
Praba Manning
Year 11 Biology Teacher

NEWS from the Primary School

A Visit from Lady Autumn

STUDENTS IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOL celebrated their Autumn Festival on last week's equinox, with the Class 4s gifting some of the wheat grown and harvested by them last year, to the Class 3s, who will continue the cycle this year when they plant the grain in the spring.
Some classes were also involved in the preparation of biodynamic cow-horn compost (see below), in which cow horns are stuffed with manure and buried in the autumn to decompose, before being dug up in the spring and used to make 500, a liquid preparation which is sprayed on fields and garden beds to increase their vitality. Autumn celebrations will continue on Friday with the annual Shearwater community Bush Dance, featuring performances and dancing from around the globe and a shared feast, for all the family.

Class 5J

The great thing is to enable the human being to find their place in the world with due confidence in their own power of judgement.  -  Rudolf Steiner
STEINER SCHOOLS AIM TO PREPARE STUDENTS for life in many ways across many modalities. The curriculum in a Steiner school aims to meet the emerging developmental capacities of the child, forming and strengthening the individual's relationship to the self and the world. By balancing academic, artistic and practical activities, rather than requiring early specialisation, Shearwater strives for a truly holistic education.
The child in Class 5 has experienced in some way the ‘Rubicon Crossing’, awakening from the dreamy state of early childhood, and is now able to look back into time and space. Out of the growing memory powers of the 11-year-old, a sense of time has developed. Memory allows for looking back and planning the future and, combined with deepening feeling, for the emergence of conscience, individuality and responsibility. Via the myths and legends of past civilisations, told through imagery and story, students come to know the world in its diversity and complexity, always in relation to the human being. This allows them to find their place in the world and feel a connection to people and ideas rather than an alienation from these things.
Class 5J began the year using the development of the alphabet as a context to recall the broad sweep of ancient cultures explored over their past primary years at Shearwater, extracting ideas from their memories of Ancient India, Persia, Babylon, and Norse Myths.  The first Main Lesson ended with practicing cursive writing and looking at the development of our modern day printing font from the alphabet of Carolingian times. The children entered into the Ancient Egyptian culture, adding hieroglyphs to our alphabet theme, while hearing the myths and legends from this stream of time that meets the 'crossing' student.
We will move into the Ancient Greek civilisation next semester, where we will stay immersed until this emerging sense of self is met by the Ancient Roman times of Class 6. We have begun with reciting the Greek Alphabet and will present a traditional Greek Dance at this week's Bush Dance.  
The cultural heights of Ancient Greece are in essence the ultimate curriculum meeting ground for the Class 5 student, in their emergent thinking, sense of beauty and their balanced physical movements.
We are embarking on an overnight bike camp to Brunswick Heads to end our term and planning is underway for an inter-school Greek Olympics event. This will allow the children to deeply experience the Greek Olympic physical education ideals of beauty as well as skill, and of the greater good of the whole over the individual. A stint with Spaghetti Circus will also allow all children to further explore their physical capabilities and sense of place in the world.
One of the highlights of this term has been our involvement in a buddy program with Penny's Class 1 (see pictures below). Having experienced the gift of mentoring from Cherie’s Class 5 students when we were in Class 1, we are now able to give this gift to Class 1P, which again meets the emergence of the children’s self-conscience, individuality and responsibility, whilst meeting the Personal Development aspect of PDHPE. This program is achieving beyond my initial expectations and learning objectives - all the children can’t wait for buddy time and love the opportunity to give back what they received in Class 1.
During this age, moving forward with the confidence to meet the world out of their individuality, the children can begin to connect to the other through empathy. A depth of feeling can be noticed and a sense of personal responsibility is present, perhaps the beginnings of an inner moral compass and greater capacities for discernment, increasingly necessary in this future world of information overload. (Referencing Steiner Education Australia and Perth Waldorf School).
Julie Anne Ralph
Class 5 Teacher

NEWS  from Little Shearwater


LAST WEEK IN PRESCHOOL we enjoyed the beauty of music with the cello, and each child played their chosen instrument as we joined together to play and sing old time favorites such as; Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Baa, Baa Black Sheep and Old McDonald. When we finished, each child had a turn to play the cello before heading outside to play in the stormy seas.
During our outside play the children enjoyed the benefits of Mother Nature's playground. With all the rain we had, our sandpit turned into a stormy, rocky sea. The children created their own waves, whooshing and swooshing the water with a broomstick which rocked the big blue boat. The brooms also created perfect oars and fitted perfectly into the holes on top. "Look out!" called Sima, "Here comes another wave!" "Yay!" they all cheered, "Here comes the thunder!". "Let's sail to Africa," called Willem... and off they went, sailing over the rocky sea to Africa. Thank you Sister Rain for giving us the perfect setting for such wonderful adventures!

Susan Denny
Preschool Group Leader

FURTHER  Reading

An article in Canberra Business News on how Steiner schools educate for an unknown future.
A blog post on teaching reading in Steiner Schools.
An article from the Telegraph in the UK on the harms of computers in schools.

COMMUNITY  Announcements

Please note: Shearwater provides space for the following notices but does not necessarily endorse or guarantee these goods or services. Shearwater reserves the right to reject or edit any material without notice.

Community Announcements cost $5 per entry (or $25 for the term), and payment should be made when submitting the ad. Please email your ad to newsletter@shearwater.nsw.edu.au

STEINER SCHOOL TEACHERS, parents and alumni are specially invited to participate in the Moral Technologies conference which features Nicanor Perlas, 11 - 14 April in Melbourne. How does your Steiner schooling meet the world that is being created? Would be GREAT to have as many schools as possible represented, so we can hear how technology affects your school, and you can take back to your school what is birthed through the conference.

Keen to study more? The Harry and Rose Goldman Trust can support students with an interest-free loan - up to $2500 to attend tertiary courses in Australia or overseas based on the work of Rudolf Steiner. Apply NOW  - 10 June 2016. To find out more about conditions, an application form or to read about past recipients go to our blog: www.hrgtrustnews.tumblr.com. For any other enquiry please email us:

Play marimbas! I'm running a marimba group at my house in Mullumbimby on Thursday mornings this term. Marimbas are fun and easy to play - all levels of musical experience welcome. Give me a call on 0419 493386 or 6684 4497 or email me   janeaba@bigpond.com
Starts Feb 11 Jane Abercrombie p.s. it's free.
Storytelling Events in Byron Shire
New Shearwater parent, Jenni Cargill-Strong is professional storyteller and is particularly passionate about using stories to connect people to place. She is co-founder of the Byron Circle of tellers and teaches storytelling at SCU in a unit written originally by storyteller and author, Susan Perrow.​ Here are some of the events she is currently co-ordinating.
Saturday, April 2
‘Environmental Storytelling Workshop: for Environmental Educators, Educators, Change-Makers and Parents’. www.storytree.com.au/workshops
Sunday, April 24
Next 'Golden Tales' local stories community concert. Year 6 teacher, Harry Brown told a wonderful story at the January Golden Tales. www.storytree.com.au/goldentales.

Authentic Dosa and Curry Night. At Mullumbimby Showgrounds. Every third Friday of the month from 6-9pm. Contact John 0449252476.
Buttons Needed for a Year 8 student for her Personal Interest Project (PIP). If you can help, please contact Grace on 6684 6551.
New Folk Music Club in Mullumbimby. Calling all folk music enthusiasts! We are excited to let you know that a new Folk Music Club will start in Mullumbimby. Laura Targett, acclaimed musician, singer, songwriter and violinist has been invited to provide tuition at the Folk Club. Laura has a personal music style that crosses multiple genres, coloured by her background in celtic, gypsy and other folk traditions and early classical training. The club will also enjoy other local artists tuition as the year goes on. The Folk Club is to be held at the Heartspace 51-53 Burringbar St Mullumbimby, above Santos organics, every second Saturday starting on the 19th March, from 3.30pm-5pm. We would love you to come and join in this much awaited for venture. All instruments are welcome. Please contact Kylie for more details on Kylesdun@hotmail.com
Host Family Needed for Exchange. Jules - French student aged 15 (nearly 16) living in Bordeaux France, is looking for a host family with child(ren) his age to exchange with in Mullumbimby/Byron area. Jules will be arriving in July for one month. His family in France could then welcome the Australian student whenever it suits them. Duration negotiable. Please call Corinne 0427 645 492.
Starseed Children's Garden Playgroup. Come and join our all-outdoor playgroup for a relaxed morning of nature play focusing on sand pit, cubby house, all natural toys, swings, planting vegies and herbs and exploring under the rainforest canopy. Kathy Taylor, an experienced Steiner playgroup leader, will guide you through the seasons with gentle rhythms and loving insight into the early childhood years.
When: Monday and Tuesday mornings, 9.30 to 11.30 during school term time.
Where:  The Children's Garden, 103 Yagers Lane, Skinners Shoot. 2481
Participation exchange:  $18 per family per session.
There will also be an annual insurance cost of $39.00.  The playgroup is registered with NSW Playgroups Association. All enquiries welcome 0458 943 041 katherine_gosset@hotmail.com

Forgiving Sourdough: More than a Sourdough Bread Baking Workshop! Saturday April 16th, 2016 10:00am-12:00pm at Shearwater Kitchen (next to The Canteen) Shearwater, The Mullumbimby Steiner School 349 Left Bank Road, Mullumbimby
*We will learn the principles of sourdough bread-making and then practice making no-knead and kneaded bread.
*We will explore a variety of grains, use a grain grinder and make a ‘sourdough starter’.
*We will make Butter and Cream Cheese!
RSVP to Sandra 0413 271 308 or sandrafrain58@gmail.com $35 per adult $20 per student (Children free), includes Morning Tea and Take Aways.
(Take homes include starter, your own sourdough bun, recipe and fact sheets.) For 12 years Sandra has offered her popular bread workshops to all ages of people in NSW and Queensland. Sandra brings wisdom to the art and science of food and nutrition, that will inspire you too.
Sandra Frain BCS MSC (ED) LivingLovingLearning&Laughing too: Educational Programs for all Ages. sandrafrain58@gmail.com www.sandrafrain.com

Pre-loved Sunshadow slipper request. Class 2A are looking for donations of 2nd-hand SunShadow Slippers going into Terms 2 and 3.  If you have a pair that you no longer need in the following sizes & themes, please contact “V” on (0420) 460297.  Please also know that if you have slippers in relatively good condition and would prefer a payment for them that I will be happy to present it to our parents in need. 21cm - boys (2 pairs required); 20cm – boy (1 pair); 19cm - boy (1 pair); 17cm – girl (1 pair); 15cm – girl (1 pair).
Experienced babysitter available over term 1 holidays. Located in South Golden area with fully licensed car. Jordan from the canteen. jordanlynskey@hotmail.com
Accommodation Available

Home available for holidays. Private home to let while residents are overseas. 2-3 bedrooms on the waterfront of the beautiful Urunga Lagoon. Available from 17th March through to 12th April. Two minutes walk to the Urunga Boardwalk and minutes to beaches. Expressions of Interest welcome for all or part of the period between those dates. For information phone Sue on 0413833448 or 65647224.
Light-filled, fully furnished, 3 bedroom home available for 3 months rental from mid June to mid September. Tranquil rural setting, close to Shearwater, 3 mins drive to Mullumbimby. 
$550 per week, includes power and gas. 
Call Carolyn 0412 913 172
House-sitter wanted from 9th - 17th April (first week of the school holidays). Quiet, elevated rural property approx. 7kms from Mullumbimby. We need someone to feed and walk our two dogs and to feed the chickens. Please call 6684 5193.
Long-term share accommodation. Main bedroom with ensuite and walk-in robe plus study for rent in Tallowood Estate. Suit one person, a couple or a single parent with one child. Spacious new house, close to town and Shearwater. Sharing with a parent and two children aged 10 and 8 years. $220 per week plus bills and bond. Must be willing to go on a 12 month lease. Please phone 0497 313 643.
Accommodation Wanted
Shearwater has a new farm intern starting end of this month, Lara Ruegg who is an American college student completing an international study program in sustainability in Australia. Lara is doing an independent study project/internship at Shearwater Farm for four weeks and is seeking a place to stay, ideally close to the school as she doesn't have a vehicle. She is open to a billeting arrangement but can also pay a fee for lodging. Her direct contact details are 0467 035 291 or ruegglj@whitman.edu.

After School
The Mullumbimby junior chess club restarts Tuesday 9th February after school until 4.45pm in room F7 Mullumbimby High School. All ages and standards welcome. Professional coaching and fun games. More details ph Mike 66846281

Circus & Theatre classes with Nicolina & Leif. Theatre sports, improvisation, clowning, mime, juggling, unicycle, hat manipulation, games, productions & more… Group orientated fun for all! Mullumbimby Drill Hall every Wed from 3.30 during school terms. Phone Nicolina 0412090877
Easy French for Kids. Join our engaging and entertaining French language education program for 3 to 15 years old children taught by a French native through songs, games, story-telling and role play. Enrol now to classes in Mullumbimby or Suffolk Park. Cost: $15 per class. See our facebook page for more information & video class excerpt. For enquiries and bookings contact Hélène: 0402 072 598 or helenecunat@gmail.com
Byron Bay FC Soccer Club - Places available for girls 12-16 for the 2016 season, new and experienced players welcome! A great team sport for fun, fitness and building confidence. Enquiries contact Kerry at juniors@byronbayfc.com.au 0499655928 for information. Training Wednesdays 4.30 at Byron Rec grounds - all interested players welcome to join in the sessions.
Eureka FC 2016 Soccer Sign On
It’s not too late to register for the upcoming season. Games will be starting soon so get your friends to play and… REGISTER NOW! Go to myfootballclub.com.au and register as a player for:
Need more info or help with registering?
Call Fiona on 0417 750 069 or go to eurekafc.com


Nanny/Babysitter. Steiner-educated 22-year-old available for babysitting or nanny work. Drivers' license and own car with child restraint fitted. Focus on cooking, art, craft and music-based activities. Seven years experience with ages 0 - teenager. $20-25 p/h depending on time of day and number of children. References available. Maeve Mcwilliam 0421507323 maevecara@gmail.com
Compassionate Communication for Healthy Relationships and Parenting with Compassion workshops & private sessions. Paulette Bray-Narai - CNVC Certified NVC Trainer; BA Psych; Grad Dip Ed; TAE40110. Call 66847262. Email: paulettenvc@gmail.com;    www.expresspeace.com
Multi Sensory Learning is an approach to learning reading, writing and spelling that is multi-sensory and specifically designed for teaching people with dyslexia. As it uses direct, explicit instruction it will also benefit anyone wanting to improve their English skills.  For lessons call Ashni on 0439843657 or e-mail  ashni66@gmail.com.
Copyright © 2016 Shearwater, the Mullumbimby Steiner School, All rights reserved.

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