Speech given by Teacher principal, Kristy Barry at recent event, celebrating the centenary of Steiner Education with the school community.
"Today we come together to celebrate 100 years of Steiner Education in the world, in the hope of further developing a Steiner school in Port Macquarie.
In high school I learned a lot of Shakespeare, and one quote that always stuck, was a line from the play, King Lear - 'The wheel hath come full circle'.
We are in a time in the world when there outwardly seems a lot of chaos, change and uncertainty. People are becoming the advocates for our environment, for Mother Earth, and for the flora and fauna - our animal and plant friends - who otherwise have no voice. We have no crystal ball for what the world will look like in twenty years, 100 years. Yet a century ago, when Dr. Rudolf Steiner was asked to help form a school and teach teachers his ideas, he helped with two very important things. Rudolf Steiner had a very clear insight into the developing human being. And he had an insight into the future - the ‘now’ for us - and what children of today will need.
We educate children of today for a world that is unpredictable, rapid, competitive and on the brink of a lot of change.
When I think of that Shakespeare quote, ‘The wheel hath come full circle’, I am reminded of what we need to go back to. To the wisdom of the people, who for 6000 decades lived in balance and in harmony with this country, with a deep knowledge of the land, leaving no footprints. They knew which plants were food, or medicine. And the people had a deep connection to the seasons. They expressed this through dance, music, storytelling and the arts.
Steiner Education, at its heart, has embedded these same deep connections of story; a recapitulation of the world’s unfolding through the epochs of time. We learn these world stories, these stories of humanity, so that we can develop and understand our own selves. We develop capacities in the young child to be resourceful; to make what they need, to grow what they eat, to look after each other and the things around them with a caring gesture; to understand others - our similarities, our differences.
Steiner Education and its renewal a century on, calls for commitment. Commitment to stand steadfast in the rapid tide that might otherwise sweep us away. To protect our young children by observing that children have a right to play, a right to unfold, a right to a childhood.
In our school garden this week, the artichoke globe appeared out of a large mass of foliage that had been very leafy for a long time. When our class 1-2 teacher, Sally saw this, she said, "This has just made my day". It quietly grew, unfolding with its own inherent wisdom. Not prized open, but lovingly nourished and cared for, watered regularly by the children. And what lay dormant one day just woke up.
The true benefit of a Steiner Education is for the child to be understood. And for a child to know its own capacity as a human being; a strong human being who will grow out of the full potential to know her or himself, and as Dr. Rudolf Steiner said, to be in freedom, to serve others, to serve the world.
Port Macquarie is so fortunate that three courageous young mothers, Alanna Alfaro, Melodie Ayriss and Bianca Bateman asked the question, Shall we start a Steiner School? Now there is a community of children who will be fortunate to receive an education where they can learn to be centred, caring, empathic, creative, resourceful, ecologically aware, confident, musical, social, and happy. Where their stages of development are understood and met through a rich and varied curriculum, that at its core is human-centred. And in turn, the children of tomorrow, with all its uncertainty, will at least know themselves!
The wheel hath come full circle. We must look backwards to move forwards. We must plant seeds to see fruition in the future.
We thank you for your interest in supporting our school, as we try to establish ourselves here in Port Macquarie."
~ Kristy Barry