A Window with A View
We have now completed our penultimate week of the school year as we farewell Week 8 of Term 4, 2017. Years 3 and 4 celebrated the year with a beautiful concert of song, poetry and music; Year 2 had their first class sleepover and took a local tour of the Christmas lights by night; High School Parent/Teacher interviews were again a great success; and we held our IT meeting with parents from Year 6 and beyond to discuss safe use of computers and devices.
This coming week we will hold our end of year assembly and celebrate our Year 10 students’ completion of junior high school. Parents and friends are invited to attend and celebrate their child’s awarding of a Year 10 Korowal Certificate at 12.00pm. This will be followed by a B-B-Q for families of the graduating class.
Year 6 will have their Graduation Celebration on Tuesday evening, and Year 5 will attend their sleepover on Wednesday. Our last day for students is Wednesday 6th December.
It is with enormous thanks that we say farewell to Liz Barclay after three years, as our High School Coordinator and later as Deputy Principal. During this time, Liz has been absolutely committed to our School community and has been instrumental in initiating many positive changes to the high school. We will miss her passion, energy, and care as she moves towards a change of pace in her life.
Over the past few weeks we have had a few causes to celebrate our educational success. Two of our HSC Year 11 students were shortlisted for Art Express, meaning that their artworks were considered to be exemplary. We congratulate Kerrod Gosling and Olivia Gilmore McKimm. We also congratulate their teachers, Anne and Andrew, for their fine facilitation and guidance. This week we been informed that Kerrod’s work has been selected for display, and will be exhibited at The Armory, Sydney Olympic Park, and Cowra Regional Art Gallery. The entire cohort our Visual Arts students’ works were diverse in the mediums chosen, and the standard was impressive across the whole class.
Our Year 9/10 debating team progressed through to the finals and were the runners up in the Blue Mountains Debating Competition. Congratulations to Ruby, Finn, Mackenzie, Sinead for their fine skills, and also to Lisa Harding for her commitment and guidance.
Sadly, we have also been stricken by the news this week that a delightful Korowal ex-student, David Gliddon, died in the accident on the National Pass Track this week. David was with us celebrating our 40th Reunion on Saturday, and many of us had the opportunity to catch up with him and his family that afternoon. We send our sincere condolences to Eina and Colin, his parents, and Rebecca, David’s sister, his wife and beautiful twin children.
Following our 40th Reunion, we have been publishing speeches and recollections from people in attendance. We invited reflections from past Coordinators and Directors, and have also received some from past teachers, students and parents who were present or unable to attend. It is our intention to collate and publish these. This week I share with you a reflection from David Wansborough, which includes the speech he delivered on Saturday, as well as updates on the event itself. It is illuminating!
Albert Einstein said that if we want children to be intelligent we should read them stories. But if we want them to be extra intelligent then we should tell them fairy tales.
Current educational requirements are formed by political economists who predict the future job market, and then work backwards to form a curriculum aimed at producing specifically defined skills.
Perhaps what we really need in the changing modern world is flexibility and adaptabilty. We must always be prepared to learn.
The word University is associated with Uomo Universale, the universal person described by Alberti.
Korowal evolved from the Waldorf Schools, hoping to give additional emphasis to human relationships. Korowal retained the Waldorf assertion that consciousness evolves and that the growing child recapitulates humanity's evolution.
What characterises an educated person?
☆The ability to answer a question with, "I don't know," while having the skills to find out.
☆The educated person can focus.
Look at those children at the table painting. Can adults apply themselves with such focus? (That is why Korowal in common with the Pestalozzi Schools uses main lesson books to incorporate allied subjects over a period of time).
☆An educated person does not react to disagreeable ideas until they have understood the thoughts, and can argue without hating an opponent, and can quote substantiating evidence.
☆Universal People always learn - and change their minds.
The ability to listen to each other is perhaps the most important characteristic of this school.
As is the protection of children and a sharing of responsibility for them. (Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian educational reformer, suggested that cleaning the classroom should never be a punishment. The best pupil earns the privilege of enthusiastically cleaning up after others). The Korowal philosophy was Beyond Ideology.
The school started in an old convent in Britain Street. Gary invited Betty, Ian, Wilma, Andrea and me to teach there. Some of us had taught at Glenaeon. A Foundation helped financially but we were all aware that parents paid school fees at a time when they were often struggling with house mortgages.
We moved to a rented purpose built building designed by Gary.
But in a time of crisis, the well-established school had the choice of espousing an imposed philosophy (certainly not beyond ideology) in order to retain benefaction, or to remain true to its founding philosophy of trusting in an evolution of consciousness. Korowal decided to go it alone and kept to what was seen by those involved as a human centered ideal. Korowal legally was able to retain its name and it discovered another home.
I have looked at the schoolbooks and art today and spoken with the wise Bob Tucker. The work has evolved to have greater depth! I must acknowledge that the art in every classroom is better than in my day. Perhaps the students who have returned as teachers have surpassed their teachers.
The parents and the board and the teachers, unknown to the awareness of the children, took on the tremendous debt of buying these beautiful premises. This responsibility has become part of the hidden curriculum. This has been a lesson in willpower, trust and enthusiasm.
Do you know the Darwinesque story of the connection between a cat and increased milk production?
If a British farmer wants more milk from his cows he should get a cat. Why?
Cats catch field mice. Field mice eat the larvae of bumblebees. The bumblebees survive. Bumblebees are essential to pollinate purple clover. When cows eat purple clover oestrus is stimulated. The bulls are suddenly attracted and the cows get pregnant. The cows give birth to calves. The cows produce milk. So, by getting a farmyard cat, there is eventually more milk!
Everything is connected. If Korowal had accepted a supervised ideology, would it have become a paradigm for this active ever-changing pedagogical urge towards excellence? Would it have ever stood independently? Would it have the depth? Would it have evolved?
I have known this school for 40 years. I believe that the enthusiasm of its beginnings and the notions of evolving consciousness have surpassed the founder's expectations.
I cannot find words to describe my joy at seeing Lesley, Catherine, Bob, Pam, Nancy, and Graham here today.
This is a happy place where people have enough self-discontent to strive. The children are appreciated and protected. Here is evidence of a continual effort to meld content and form. And at every level there is the intent to work together.
There is a glow of healthy 'rightness' about Korowal.
Thanks to YOU all.
Global Eco Brand Person of the Year 2012
Man of Peace, the Russian Federation's Kommissariat's medal.
In signing off, may you enjoy time with your community this week as we say farewell and thank you for enriching our lives. We will have our final ‘Cuppa Under the Tree’ on Monday morning.
Finn, Mackenzie, Lisa (Teacher) and Sinead. Absent: Ruby