Ed­u­ca­tion blos­soms

GROWTH EX­PECTED AT MID­LAND CEN­TRE

Kalamunda Reporter - - News - Lau­ren Pe­den

A PUSH by par­ents for a Mid­land ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre to of­fer pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion has fast­tracked plans for it to de­velop into a full pri­mary school with a high school to po­ten­tially fol­low.

He­lena River Steiner School prin­ci­pal Tanami Mag­nus-Mi­heasen said they be­gan by run­ning play­groups from St Matthews Par­ish Hall in Guild­ford in 2013 be­fore open­ing its kinder­garten.

“This piqued the in­ter­est of many peo­ple with young chil­dren and then last year we were ready to take on the de­vel­op­ment of the kinder­garten,” Ms Mag­nus-Mi­heasen said.

“We had a premises and we had a com­mu­nity of fam­i­lies who re­ally wanted a Steiner ed­u­ca­tion for their chil­dren, plus peo­ple who were just seek­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent and gen­tler than the main­stream sys­tem for early child­hood, which is of­ten a one-size-fits-all ap­proach.

“When par­ents find out we fo­cus on the ‘whole child’ it is a big re­lief to them.”

Ms Mag­nus-Mi­heasen said they had thought it would be a few more years be­fore they would be­gin to of­fer pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion, but sev­eral peo­ple had came to them this year re­quest­ing it now.

“We in­tend to de­velop into a full pri­mary school over the next few years and we in­tend also to of­fer a Steiner/In­ter­na­tional Bac­calau­re­ate high school in time also,” Ms Mag­nus-Mi­heasen said.

“We are truly build­ing from the ground up - so far, with­out any fund­ing, we have built play­grounds, build­ings and gar­dens, and gath­ered a team of ex­pe­ri­enced, deeply com­mit­ted teach­ers.

“We hope to be a reg­is­tered school next year and once we re­ceive fund­ing, we will have far more abil­ity to ex­pand.”

The Spring Park Road school is as­so­ci­ated with a net­work of Steiner schools through­out WA and Aus­tralia with a Steiner ed­u­ca­tion aim­ing to bring chil­dren what they need, at the right time, with a bal­ance of arts, aca­demics, phys­i­cal and so­cial learn­ing.

The school pro­vides the ac­cred­ited Aus­tralian Steiner Cur­ricu­lum Frame­work, which is a dif­fer­ent ed­u­ca­tional model to the WA or na­tional cur­ricu­lum.

It cur­rently of­fers a mixedage kinder­garten (ages three to six), a sin­gle mixed-age pri­mary class (ages seven to 10) and op­er­ate sev­eral play­groups a week (ages up to three years).

Ms Mag­nus-Mi­heasen said they had 40 fam­i­lies with them.

“We have stu­dents who have been in other ed­u­ca­tional set­tings but just haven’t been able to reach their full po­ten­tial in that en­vi­ron­ment,” she said. “Of­ten par­ents are aware that their child is be­com­ing anx­ious, de­pressed or cynical or are feel­ing their child’s cre­ativ­ity or in­di­vid­u­al­ity is be­ing stymied.

“New en­rol­ments of­ten come through word-of­mouth and as Steiner schools are steeped in the cre­ative arts and are known for their sea­sonal fes­ti­vals, we of­ten have art/ craft work­shops and sea­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties open to the public, which a great way for peo­ple to have a taste of the Steiner ap­proach.”

She said the three other Steiner schools in Perth all had wait­lists to en­rol so peo­ple were glad their chil­dren could have a Steiner ed­u­ca­tion else­where.

“Mid­land, for all its con­sid­er­able pop­u­la­tion and ex­pected growth, does not have a pri­mary school. The sur­round­ing govern­ment schools are all burst­ing at the seams,” Ms Mag­nus-Mi­heasen said.

“A pri­mary school is cer­tainly needed in Mid­land and also many fam­i­lies want a smaller, more per­sonal school com­mu­nity to be a part of.

D472888

Tanami Mag­nus-Mi­heasen with Henry Sum­mer­scales, Char­lotte O'Brien, Zakhmoss Mag­nusMi­heasen and Ayaan Ahmed.

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