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            Port Macquarie Steiner School News

December 2019
Merry Christmas
Dear Parents and our loving school community..

School ended on Friday with a Christmas Festival. It was such a lovely day, and many people gathered in the hall to watch the Kindergarten Nativity Play and to hear Class One/Two's Christmas songs. This was followed by our annual school picnic afterwards at Flynns Beach, which was the perfect way to say goodbye to the year...which has been a big one for our little school!
2019 has been a year for a lot of change and growth and we have so many people to thank for your support and commitment. Firstly to all the staff, (Nyree, Sally, Kylie, Arona, Jeff, Gillian, Emma and Annelie) for their huge efforts. We wish Jeff well as he steps into a new position elsewhere, and may just see him occasionally next year on a Friday. Thanks for your help in Sally’s class, especially with organising the reading program. Thank you to Gillian, who will be moving and will be teaching violin and music at another Waldorf school. She took over our playgroup in the middle of the year and we are so grateful for all the beauty that she brought. Thank you to Sally for her flagship year in Class One/Two. We are so blessed to have found someone so steadfast and true to guide our first class into their primary years, the HEART years.. and Sally is ALL heart! To  Kylie who assisted and taught in the Kindy and facilitated the Playgroup earlier on, for all her creativity and care for details, so loyal and giving.. To Arona, for all her guidance and support in the Kindergarten and Class One/ Two, bringing a lot of energy to the garden, and creating some wonderful opportunities for the children to create all sorts of wonderful natural products throughout the seasons.. the winter chest rubs, the citrus spring cleaning sprays, beeswax wraps and more. For Emma, for the relief teaching she provided, and her weekly help in Sally’s handcraft lessons. To Annelie, we are extremely grateful for her input with our programs for registration.
To all the wonderful external teachers, who graced us with their amazing presence, bringing wisdom and a genuine interest in our emerging school. 
Susan Perrow for her Therapeutic Storytelling workshop;
Warm thanks to Lynn Clifton, for her Healing modalities and absolute care and warmth that she brought in the heart of winter; 
and to Melanie Deefholts, both from Developing the Self, Developing the World, for her powerful presentation on Child Development and the Waldorf Steiner curriculum; Lisa Devine for the work she brought on the Three Fold Social Order, and for Ruth and Mark for facilitating a book study on this, that will continue next year. And to the Anthroposophical Society, who visited Port Macquarie and offered a community meeting.Most recently, thanks to Lou Harvey Zahra, for her workshops on Creative Discipline and Classroom Management. 
Thank you to Cheryl and Kevan, who extended an invitation to the school community to attend a winter solstice festival. To all the parents who helped organise the Midwinter Lantern Walk, and to Alanna for her warming story for the children.
The school has enjoyed such a busy and full year. We have celebrated the seasons; and the opening of our new Building, ‘Burray Ganya’ (The Children’s Hut), with loving thanks to Uncle Bill O’Brien and Chris O’Brien. Thanks to Justin from Edge Construction and all the helpers who built our new kindergarten. We love it!
The wheel has been turning and there have been many helping hands, hearts and heads in the background. The Port Macquarie School Board: Melody, Bianca, Ruth, Cheryl, and Fred. With special thanks to Amanda and John Oxley.
Much thanks to Jenhi and Amy for their support with playgroup, and their various donations. To Henry for his donations of classroom materials, resources and books; Annelie for her donation of books; Deirdre for her contributions of music; and of course a big thank you to Galina, who helped establish our Parent Library.
Thank you to our class parents, Elma and Linda, who supported the teachers as Class Parents, helping with various events, including the Spring Markets. Noni (Naturally Noni) took beautiful school photos, finished by Scotty's artistic designs. A special thanks to Amaya, who helped with the reading program, and to Robyn, for organising all the Parent Craft sessions.
We had Nadia rescue Bluey (our resident Blue Tongue from ticks), and return him to his home behind the shed. A special thanks to Jess Allen, who gave a truly amazing effort helping with the spring fundraising event at Little Fish Café, our way of celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Steiner Waldorf Education in the world. That was such a fun afternoon! Thank you to Rose Wilson for her music and songs, with even a preview of the parent choir! It was soulful. Special thanks to all the businesses that donated to our raffle!
In the Harvest time we had a lovely trip to Weil House Bellingen Biodynamic Farm, way back in April, for families to enjoy an outing and lunch in the countryside.
Thank you to our Future Site Committee (Fred, Justin, Alanna, Vernon and Steve) and to Alanna for her grant applications. Thank you to our Building Fund committee (Cheryl, John and myself).
Additionally, Sally visited Casuarina Steiner School, and Kristy and Kylie went to Bellingen to a regional Early Childhood meeting, with guest speaker, Ebba Bodame. Kristy and Sally stayed in Byron Bay mid-year to attend the Australian Steiner Schools’ Teacher Conference for the celebration of the first Steiner school opening in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. We had guidance from James Goodlet, (Aurora Steiner School), Virginia Moller (Steiner Education Australia) and John Foreman (formally of Kamaroi Steiner School). Melodie and myself attended the G.L.A.M conference at Lorien Novalis Steiner School, where we deepened our work on Governance. A special thanks to the Mid North Coast Community College also, for their support with Professional Development in this area.
Kristy also had invitations from TAFE Taree, TAFE Wauchope and the University of Newcastle, PMQ campus, to talk on Steiner Education, a truly remedial, therapeutic  and creative education for our times. Thank you for your invitation to share with others.
So thank you to everyone who has helped us through the year, supporting our festivals, our Craft groups, bushwalks, handcrafts, attending parent evenings, fundraising efforts, and of course, your children. 
We are all a little tired and in need of some time to rest and rejuvenate, and truly look forward to 2020. We are excited to welcome Jedda Davis in the Kindergarten as our Kindy Teacher next year, where we welcome 14 new students, and Emma Prince as our Class One teacher. We look forward to introducing our new staff in a newsletter next year. It truly takes a village to raise a school, and this newsletter is a true reflection of that! 

School will resume on Wednesday 29th January for classes One, Two and Three, and will commence with our Rainbow Bridge graduation ceremony in the kindy garden; and on Thursday 30th January for our new Kindergarten children.
Seasons blessings on all, for a safe, fun and relaxing Christmas break and New Year.
With kindness and gratitude,
The gift of light we thankfully take
But not shall it be alone for our sake
The more we give light
The one to the other
It shines and it spreads and it glows still further
Until every spark by friends set aflame
Until every heart with joy to proclaim
In the depths of our souls, a shining sun glows.
Board Briefs

Board communications

After our second meeting this year with the community (9 Dec.) many questions were addressed which we hope will help parents better understand how the board is structured and operates within the overall organisation. Please refer to the comprehensive notes from that meeting which have been circulated (or request a copy if you did not receive one).

The board will continue to share with the school community, through the newsletter, community meetings, and other notices and letters throughout the year, information about the matters relating to the school's direction and future, as well as other board activities and decisions, as appropriate. While some things necessarily need to remain confidential, and not all details can be shared until known or confirmed, it is our intention to keep our school community well informed and up-to-date.

End-of-year financial position

We are very pleased to say 2019 will end with a good surplus of funds which we are expecting to put to use in 2020 with an anticipated move to new, temporary premises (see below). The board is especially grateful for assistance from our financial consultant, John Oxley.

The school's building fund became established and active this year with our first major fundraiser in September, raising nearly $3000. Other fundraisers and donations will continue to help grow this important fund to support construction of future school buildings.

Table Street renovations

Important renovations will be going ahead early in the new year to be ready for the start of school. These include expansion and improvements to the toilet block with two new toilets and hand basins to cater for the larger number of children and staff. Upgrades to the existing toilets include some fresh paint and skirting tiles added. A dividing wall will be installed in the hall, creating two separate classrooms for classes 1 and 2-3. New playground equipment and improvements are also planned.

Our next move

As reported in the previous newsletters (and also at the recent community meeting), the school has been offered a site for the long-term in Thrumster. This site will not be ready for some years (estimated 5-7), but the board is working actively with the owners and will be meeting with them this month to continue the process towards this aim. We have engaged architect, Bronwyn Bellemore to prepare a site plan which can then be submitted to Council for their initial go-ahead. Bronwyn has a background in anthroposophical architecture and was involved in the design and development, over many years, of the Casuarina Steiner School in Coffs Harbour. The Thrumster property must then be rezoned before we can apply for a block grant, and for a DA. The board is working on a time-frame incorporating the many steps needing to occur as we proceed.

As the school will reach maximum student numbers allowable at Table Street in 2020, the board's Future Site Committee: Fred Buys, Alanna Alfaro, Justin Robinson, Vernon Falzon, and Steve Quirk – has also been actively searching for new, larger temporary premises all year, which we can expand into in the short-term. Several potential sites have been investigated this year. Currently we are looking at a property in Port Macquarie large enough to accommodate the whole school, with already two houses on it that could serve, with some remodelling, for classrooms and offices. Negotiations are underway with the owner. The school community will be informed of any developments as soon as they can be confirmed.

We are very grateful to all the committee members for their efforts throughout the year!

New teaching staff for 2020

We are delighted with the appointment of two excellent new teachers for our school next year – Jedda Davis (kindergarten) and Emma Prince (class 1). Kristy has already introduced them in her message, and to the families of their respective groups. Welcome Jedda and Emma! It seems a very long time ago already – though it was only a year ago – when we were welcoming Sally to our school!

Kristy takes on principal role next year

While in 2019 Kristy was straddling between teaching kindergarten part-time, and being school principal part-time, next year her focus will be as school principal exclusively. It has been difficult keeping one foot in two entirely different camps, but Kristy has performed extraordinarily well holding both roles with her characteristic dedication and sound leadership.

Wishing you all a restful and joyous Christmas, and summer of fun! Looking forward to seeing you all in the New Year!

Help us grow!

Port Macquarie Steiner School Building Fund
BSB 650 000
Account No. 533 407 700
Please ring the school if you are planning to make a donation so that we can issue you with a receipt for tax exemption. All donations to our Building Fund (over $2) are tax deductible, and will help us acquire new classrooms!
We are very grateful for your interest and generosity!
  • Wednesday 29th January - School Resumes - First day back for Class 1,2,3.
  • Thursday 30th January - First Day for Kindergarten
Copyright © 2019 Port Macquarie Steiner School, All rights reserved.

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