- Winter Festival
- Principal's Address
- Across The Board
- Handwork — An Integral Part of the Waldorf Curriculum by Judy Forster
- Music with Michael
- Silver Birch Kindergarten
- Karri Kindergarten
- Bush Kindy
- Class One Two
- Class Three Bio Dynamic Farming
- Class Four
- Class Five Six News
- Biodynamic Gardening with Neal
- Denmark Festival of Voice
- Earth Station
- Kwoorabup Community Market - Sunday 10am - 2pm
- Anglicare WA
- School Entry Health Assessment
21 Jun 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Welcome to our Golden Quill and our new e-Newsletter where we have been even more adventurous this fortnight! The office staff are loving the ease with which they are able to create the newsletter and add photo galleries and video clips for your enjoyment. Just tap or click on a thumbnail to open the gallery and scroll through larger images, formatted to suit the device on which you are viewing them.
Did you know that our school app allows you to notify us of absences by completing the details in the online form and clicking submit? This counts as the written notification we are obliged to collect under the Education Act. Instructions on how to download the app for Apple or Android devices can be found by clicking on the plus button in the menu above labelled SchoolZine App or search for SZapp in your App Store on your mobile device. Once downloaded, you can search for our school within the app! Simple. Feel free to pop into the office if you would like assistance with this from the office staff.
Our students will be performing again in the Schools Concert on the opening afternoon of the Denmark Festival of Voice. We look forward to seeing parents, friends and siblings there to support our staff and students.
The week after DFoV, a number of students will be performing in the Albany Eisteddfod. We wish all of our students the very best of luck.
A reminder that school begins at 8.40am. Arriving to school late can make children feel awkward coming in to class and it does disrupt the morning. If you do arrive to school late, please collect a late note at the office before making your way to the class to ensure our attendance register is correct.
At our recent Board AGM we bid farewell to two of our board members, Gillian Malata and Geoff Bowley. Gillian joined the board in 2017 and stepped straight into the role of Treasurer. Her contributions to all things finance at the school have been greatly appreciated and her positive input will be greatly missed. Geoff has been on our board for a longer term and we have appreciated his sound grounding in Governance. He was also an instrumental team member in securing us funding to proceed with our administration upgrade which will see the school equipped with a more functional front office and administration space, a sick bay for ill children, improved staff ablutions, better teacher preparation space and improved archive storage facilities. Geoff has also contributed to our finance committee and we thank him for his considerable input.
We accepted 3 new board nominations. Simon Lyas and Anna Boaden, both past parents at GHSS, will be joining our board, along with Margaret Brampton. We shall include a profile of our new members in a future newsletter edition. In the meantime, we welcome them on board (pun intended!)
Waldorf Education has many unique aspects that add to the richness of the overall curriculum. One of these aspects is the handwork curriculum, but what exactly is handwork, and why is it such an important part of the larger Waldorf curriculum? In most Waldorf schools, handwork includes, but is not limited to, knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, wet felting, paper crafts and machine sewing. It is taught as a specific subject, but it often permeates other aspects of the curriculum.
Many handwork skills are integral to various cultures around the world. In our modern society, many of us often see handwork, but we don’t always realize what it is or how it happens. When you buy a crocheted purse at Target, you many not realize that somewhere in the world someone is busily crocheting those purses. Any item of clothing you buy was probably sewn by someone on a sewing machine. In the past, a sewing machine was a staple of many homes, like a stove or an iron. Nowadays, not every child can identify a sewing machine or realize its purpose.
Many of the examples of handwork around us are mass produced, and that mass production is often guided by need and provides a livelihood for many around the world. However, handwork can be a very individual task as well. What many of us often forget is that these practical tasks are often connected to the intellectual and creative aspects of a human being, and it is this impulse that was strongly felt by the founder of Waldorf schools, Rudolf Steiner. Handwork has been a part of general education of the human being for a long time. It arose out of necessity, such as the need for clothes or useful items, but often evolved with a more complex purpose. You might imagine the complicated patterns found on rugs in the Middle East or the American southwest — needed household items infused with symbolism and meaning. Even in our own country up until the 1980’s, aspects of handwork were still taught in many public schools under the name of home economics. When we move away from handwork as a part of education, something is lost. Steiner recognized this and formally integrated handwork into his curriculum for the Waldorf schools.
Knitting, which is taught in first grade, was an aspect of handwork that especially appealed to Steiner. He often referred to “thinking as cosmic knitting”. When you take ideas and put them together to form more complicated thoughts, it is similar to the process of knitting where one thread is pulled up again and again to create a fabric. But handwork for the Waldorf student starts much earlier than first grade knitting. Handwork begins in the Waldorf kindergarten. It may appear as the chopping of vegetables for soup, the kneading of bread dough, making a belt from a finger chain or a crown from flowers, folding your napkin, or even as basic as tying your shoes. These simple activities are the foundation for a sense of self reliance and also create an unconscious pool of knowledge which can be drawn from when later subjects such as physics, geometry, or other areas of math and science.
The handwork curriculum weaves through the grades. Very simple knitting, which often has a balanced sense of using both hands, is taught in first grade. Crochet, which focuses more on a child’s dominant hand — the one used for writing, may begin in second grade and is often one of the mainstays of third grade. Sometimes in third or fourth grade there is a return to knitting. Purling is often taught around this age or later. The backward gesture of purling, as opposed to the forward gesture of knitting, is taught at a time when children have left the dreamy world of first and second grade and can be more aware of the world around them— especially the “backward space” behind them. In third or fourth grade, students are often introduced to simple embroidery and the use of a sharp needle. This activity ties in with the awakening that accompanies the 9-10 change. In fourth grade the emphasis is also on cross stitch as the students begin the journey of crossing from childhood into adolescence.
There are other hidden gifts found within the handwork curriculum. Current research shows a connection between fine motor skills and brain development. Activities such as knitting or crocheting also involve using both sides of the brain. Other skills reinforced by handwork are as basic as eye tracking and numeracy. The eye tracking which can be as simple as following a stitch from one knitting needle to the other or creating a mirror image pattern on a cross stitch bookmark is a big help for developing and strengthening reading skills. Number skills are essential to all types of handwork — knitting, crocheting, sewing, cross stitch. How many stitches did you cast on? Did you lose any? How far apart are your running stitches? How much do you add to this pattern for your seam allowance?
In addition to the sense of self reliance and the intellectual aspects addressed in handwork, there are creative and heartfelt aspects as well. There are artistic and expressive opportunities for students within the work. Students often give the items they make as gifts to loved ones. Sometimes a class may make an entire project for another group. For example, a community service group made up of seventh and eighth graders might sew pillow cases for a daycare or knit hats for newborns. On a more widespread note of care, handwork can instill a sense of value and concern for the environment. If you can sew a hole in your jeans or replace a button on an article of clothing, those items can continue to have use. So often our society tends towards the disposable gesture. Instead of throwing something out, we can repair it and continue to use it. In addition, Waldorf schools often use natural materials. These materials, such as wool, cotton, linen, silk, or rayon, come from renewable resources unlike petroleum based fibers. Like all of the aspects of Waldorf education, the handwork curriculum integrates the intellect, a sense of care, and practical skills to create strong human beings ready to meet the world.
Be aware of wonder.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten - Robert Fulghum
One of the important things about a Steiner Early Childhood education is the opportunity for the children to be children. Children are allowed time to be themselves rather than taking on the cares and expectations of society to get ahead or to be doing prescribed activities. In our kindergarten, days are spent learning about ourselves and how to get along with others though playing, singing, painting, cooking and gardening. A wealth of social and emotional experiences, language and cognitive development and problem solving skills abound. Thankfully the Australian Steiner Curriculum recognises this and we are able to offer this environment to the children.
This term we have been following the life of the farmer in our morning circle, as we milk the cows, feed the chickens and ride the pony through verse and movement. ‘Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley’ are the crops the farmer grows as we sow, water and harvest the seeds. In our own garden the parsley and silver beet have been harvested to add to our seasonal vegetable soup. We all have our cutting boards and knives to join in preparing the vegetables for the pot!
We have also enjoyed the traditional tale of ‘Stone Soup’ and this story has given our own soup making days a touch of magic. In our story some hungry travellers arrive at a village where the villagers do not want to share. The travellers set a pot of water to boil on a cooking fire in the middle of the village. The villagers are intrigued to find stones boiling away. The travellers are happy to share their ‘stone soup’ with everyone, especially if they can contribute a little something from their pantry… to bring out the flavour of the stones!
My heart gives thanks
That my eye may see
That my ear may hear
That, waking, I may feel
In Mother and Father,
In all dear people,
In stars and clouds,
The light of God
The love of God
The being of God
Which, when I sleep
This beautiful bed time prayer was shared with me by another parent at Golden Hill when my own children were in kindergarten and we were going through a challenging time. I spoke it to them every night before bed and it had a healing effect. Of course the word “God” may not sit with your own belief systems and could be replaced with what
resonates most deeply. It seemed right to share it as some of the
children have been experiencing sleep difficulties, along with other changes frequently observed in children around their sixth year.
As we spiral towards the shortest day (the Midwinter Solstice ) just a few weeks away, and the days become darker and colder, it can be a challenging time of the year for everyone. So we often notice even greater challenges for those already experiencing a time of transition, such as our 5.5-6.5 year old children.
http://www.creativelivingwithchildren.com/the-profiles/children-up-to-seven/five-and-a-half-to-six-year-old-profile/ is an excellent resource for helping parents and teachers to understand expected behaviours for each age group. I would like to share the following extract from the Older fives and Younger Sixes that might help explain some of the stories that come home from school!
“Children in this stage have a growing sense of what is “good” and what is “bad”, (in this case “good” and “bad” usually being defined by the child’s adult authorities) mostly with a far greater idea of what is “bad” than “good”; it is typical of children around Six to come home and want to tell of all the “bad” things another child did at school. It is this growing moral sense which is nourished by the fairy tales and stories which plainly outline that bad is punished and good is rewarded, that provides a feeling of safety in the world for the child, even though as adults we know life is not so simple. They need to know the world is a beautiful place first, to build inner strength in a place of safety. The time will come to know the harsher realities of the world later. Nevertheless there is definitely a developmental readiness at around Six to start to work with the idea of transforming and taming the behaviours (their little ‘dragons’) which are inappropriate, hurtful or unhelpful and which come from our lower nature, and working to draw out their desire to be good and true (their best ‘shining selves’). It is hard sometimes to believe that the child of this age wants to be good behind all that confused defiance and self-centeredness. Perhaps it helps to remind ourselves that research shows we are essentially social beings and want to do what is also best for others. We do want beauty, goodness and truth.
Then we can again try to draw the goodness out of our children by our belief in them.”
With warm wishes at this darkest time of year!
After some early rainfall around the time of the autumn equinox, and the welcome return of our beloved Little Creek, the season of Djeran has been particularly dry this year. Our marvelous fungi friends began to pop up their little crowns through the soil and forest litter, but with the lack of rain they have retreated beneath the earth, and their presence in the forest has been very sparse compared with last year. So it was with great celebration that we welcomed the rainy days last week, and our songs and stories of recent weeks have reflected these changing events. The children have been watching out with eagle eyes on our bush rambles for any fungi friends as they return.
Djeran was traditionally the time when Noongar people would fortify their shelters in anticipation of wetter weather to come; accordingly, we visited the bamboo forest during the first weeks of term and gathered materials to build a roof structure to keep us dry during the downpours. The children enjoyed helping to saw the bamboo lengths and playing with the offcuts. Our deep gratitude to Kristi yet again for the contribution of her many skills to the final construction phase. We were able to enjoy the rains of last week in relative comfort and style, with just enough drips to keep things exciting. We look forward now to the transition to Makuru, the Noongar season of winter time.
Central to our Bush Kindy experience at this time of year is the return to having campfires every session. Our first week back we celebrated with a special ritual to light our first fire, singing songs to djanak karl, the fire spirit, and walking through the peppy-leaf and bush resin smoke to cleanse our own spirits. Since then, the children have enjoyed that special sense of homeliness that the warmth of a campfire brings, drinking rooibos tea and cooking damper-on-a-stick and potatoes for our morning teas.
At the end of this term I will be flying to Byron Bay to present workshops at the National Steiner Teachers conference on our Bush Kindy program. I will be sending a notice home to Bush Kindy parents shortly, but would like to mention here that I will be offering a session for interested parents and teachers before the end of term on the topic of “Bush Kindy through the Noongar Seasons”. It will be a practice run for me, and an opportunity to share, with an accompanying narrative, some of the wonderful photos of the Bush Kindy programme that have accumulated since we began last year.
Big changes have occurred since my last Quill article. Our class has grown considerably with the amalgamation of Class One and Class Two at the start of this term. The children are settling well to the new situation and I am really pleased at the way they are working and playing together. They have become quite a cohesive group in a very short time and are adapting well to the changes to routines.
We have been reading “The King of Ireland's Son” as part of our Celtic Tales main lesson. It is a rollicking tale and the children have been writing about the exploits of this gallant young man as he encounters ever more difficult challenges against a bewildering array of foes. As always they are illustrating their work with great care and working hard to improve their handwriting skills.
We continue with the Sounds-Write program with the help of Katerina. The class is split for these sessions and the Class 2's are showing amazing improvements in their reading and writing skills. Maths practice is a part of our daily routine and we continue to fit in our origami sessions, much to the relief of the Class 2's! The classes are split for Indonesian and we are using these times for Main Lesson work and for painting.
A highlight of the week is our Tuesday afternoon Environmental Studies class with Kristi. She has created a space where the children can completely relax and get down into the earth. I apologise for the state of their clothes (!) but if you saw them in their play you would be as delighted as I am that they are able to engage with the natural world in such a creative way.
Ashley continues to take the children on Friday's and is always bringing his musical touch to the class.
I must thank Jewels for volunteering to help in our class every Monday. She spends the whole day with us and is such a valuable and greatly appreciated addition to the classroom. We also have several parents volunteering to come in for knitting sessions and for reading with the Class 2's. Their help is very gratefully received.
Thank you to all the lovely parents who have offered their support in this transitioning time. I am incredibly lucky to work with such a group.
We completed our first farming main lesson with an excursion to Mr Hick’s Dairy Farm. We were enthralled by the ‘Robotic Dairy’ and then set off on our mission to collect cow poo to begin the process of making the Bio Dynamic Fertilizer, ‘500’.
We took a short bus ride to Mr Hick’s farm and once we had a good look around and learnt how the milk is collected, stored and then sent off to various local cheese places and Denmark’s own Gelato shop, we collected our cow poo!!
Once back at school we had to place the poo, (which must be from a lactating cow), packing it tightly into the cow horns which can be distinguished from bull horns by their annular calving rings and solid tips. We use cow horns as opposed to bull horns as they are thought of to be more fertile as about 70% of the cow’s blood supply runs through the cow horns as opposed to 10% of the bulls. We dug a small ditch in the centre of the garden patch and placed the packed horns all pointing to the north. We tightly packed in the soil, which for optimal benefit must be treated with Bio-dynamic preparations, be fertile, and well drained, ours was perfect!!
We will now leave our cow horns over the winter and will dig them up in spring to begin the second stage of the method of making ‘500’. It involves lots of stirring!!
But more on that later…………….
It was quite a magical day and the children had a real sense that they were part of something quite special.
To finish our day and the end of our farming main lesson (Part 1) we made a circle and said a verse.
“The Bio Dynamic farmer is called to become both student of nature and guide of nature spirits, as he learns from the works with nature, gradually achieving within his soul a transformation of knowledge into contemplative devotions”
Hartmut von Jeete
Many thanks to Malcolm Hick and his herd of cows, Neal our gardening teacher and Miranda and Jane our parent helpers.
Class 4 have had a wonderful start to term 2, beginning with our human and animal main lesson. The children have been excited for this lesson as long as they’ve known it was coming so it was terrific to see the children delve into the topic so passionately. We have been practicing gathering information and writing an information report along side of painting, sculpting and reading poetry.
We begin our day with 15 minutes of quiet form drawing, moving out the forms, building the forms with shells and gems and practicing on chalkboards before producing a final copy onto paper which are then displayed around the room.
We have just started our fractions main lesson and the children’s attitude to what can be a tricky subject, is very commendable. Thankyou Class 4 for getting as excited to learn as I do!
Class 5/6 have been busily learning and reciting a selection of bush poetry to be performed on the Saturday morning of the Festival of Voice weekend, outside the Green Pantry. We've also been rehearsing our songs for our Friday night performance along with Class 4 students. Come along and enjoy the performances if you can!
We have also just finished a Main Lesson focusing on reviewing Grammar,, through the use of the book 'Grammarland'. In Steiner primary schools, teachers endeavour to bring potentially dry content through story, song, or something else that will engage the children's 'feeling life'. Thus, who would have thought that Grammar could be so lively, what with chubby Mr Noun taking more than his share of words, poor ragged little Article, who was only given three words of his own, and Dr. Verb and flamboyant Mr. Adjective always arguing over who is stealing who's words.
We have now moved onto a main lesson on Ancient Egypt, and the children have been hearing some of the deeply profound stories that arose from the civilisation that settled along the Nile River. In handwork lessons, the children have been trying their hand at macrame, making beautiful gemstone pocket necklaces as Mother's Day gifts. We will soon graduate onto macrame key rings and wall hangings. In today's fast-paced, intellectually orientated world, it can be hard to understand the importance that is placed on craft and handwork in the Steiner school. For a wonderful explanation of this, see the article on Handwork in this edition of the Golden Quill.
Group 2's Friday lunch orders have been a huge success, but it hasn't been without its share of teething problems and hiccups. The children have done a wonderful job of learning to work as a team in the kitchen, with each individual having their own skills and strengths to offer the group. Cooking for a large number of people has offered valuable lessons in careful and accurate record keeping, staying calm when things don't go according to plan, and time management. Chopping onions has proven to be the least favourite of all our kitchen jobs, and we all had a giggle the other week when Oakley turned up at the kitchen, armed with his very own onion goggles!
Golden Hill Steiner School students will be wearing a white shirt for the GHSS Festival of Voice Performances.
Please assist your child to have a crisp clean 'White' top to wear for next weekends festivities.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Oh and Pssssst! Not mentioned in the FOV program.
Thursday 5.30 - 7pm in our wonderful School Hall
Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse
Gina and Guy will offer an afternoon “Masterclass,” where they will teach singers a song from each of the four principles which underpin their work. These principles are Koort (Heart), Moort (Family/Community), Boodja (Land) and Koorlangka (Children/Legacy).
Further information from Denmark Arts.
TOWARDS ZERO WASTE AREA
It's our third year of reducing Golden Hill Steiner School's rubbish by
This year the intention is to take it more deeply into the children's awareness.
Classes have all helped with collection of the bins and there has been some upcycling of recycling with class Four.
Class One Two are with me for a weekly class called
We are investigating the elements through experiential learning.
Moving water around with syphoning and open ditches, learning about fire, weaving and creating things with recycling.
It's wonderful watching the children working together as their ideas fire and wire with inspired efforts.
Kwoorabup Community Market offers the community fresh local seasonal produce from backyard gardeners and local growers, delicious food for lunch, snacks or takeaway, garden inputs, handcrafted knits from alpaca wool, artisan sourdough breads, fermented fare, decadent brownies and tarts, locally harvested honey, local busking talent, Denmark Grass Fed Lamb and more..... something different every week...….
This week we will have a bounty of new season parsnips and being served from the kitchen will be sausage rolls, large lumpias filled with vegetables and noodles, generous portions of apple crumble and cream, organic filter coffee and a selection of teas.
There is something for everyone at the markets on Sunday, one customer was recently quoted saying "we are spoilt for choice!"
Please BYO shopping bags for your purchases.
Market Dates as follows:
Sunday 26th May Market Open
Sunday 02nd June Market Open
Sunday 09th June Market Open
Sunday 16th June Market Open
Sunday 23rd June Market Open
Sunday 30th June CLOSED WINTER BREAK
Sunday 7, 14, 21, 28 July CLOSED WINTER BREAK
Markets will resume on SUNDAY the 4th of August
Did you know that you can also order young hens for purchase and pick up from the markets, call Ilan on 0421 784 187.
For current market information, to book a stall, or for market dates please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
See you Sunday :)
All children in Western Australia are offered a health assessment during their first year of primary school. This usually occurs in kindergarten and is provided by the local School Health Nurse. This is an excellent opportunity to look at the health and development of each child at the beginning of school life.
At Golden Hill Steiner School, the Kindy assessments start in term .
The assessments are simple, standard tests which are non-invasive, quick and easy. The tests screen for problems which are best addressed, if picked up and treated early. The checks include:
- Vision and hearing – we play a looking and listening game. The kids love putting on the tiger glasses and we use wooden blocks to play the hearing game
- ‘Lift the lip’ to check for dental issues – Tiger smiles J
- Growth – height and weight.
- Developmental according to parent responses on the form
- Teacher and nurse observations
- Any other health, development and wellbeing concerns raised by parents.
Your child’s results will be sent home after their health check has been completed. Results are always treated confidentially.
Please note, the screening tests indicate if there may be a concern – they do not diagnose a condition. If the test results for your child suggest there may be a problem, the School Health Nurse will contact you to talk about further assessment, possible referral and parental goals.
School Entry Health Assessment forms are currently being distributed for parents to complete. Please complete and sign the back page of the form before you return it. Please return the form to the class teacher as soon as possible.
I look forward to working with you and your family. Please phone if you wish to discuss anything to do with the School Entry Health Assessment. Parents are welcome to attend the health checks with their children. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to do this. I can arrange for the assessment to be done outside of school hours if this suits you.
Paula Stretton | Clinical Nurse – School Health
WA Country Health Service – Great Southern Population Health
T: (08) 98480123| M: 0427922663 | F: (08) 98422643
Healthier country communities through partnership and innovation
“I respectfully acknowledge the past and present traditional owners of this land, Noongar country, that we are working on.”