Frequently Asked Questions
1. What sort of school is Kindlehill?
We are a small school, with a big heart. Kindlehill celebrates connections to our natural environment, and works with natural stages of learning, as explained by Rudolf Steiner. We work together—students, teachers, and parents—and grow as a community. Kindlehill fosters the qualities of kindness, generosity, responsibility, resilience, optimism, respect and concern for others.
The School works out of the understanding of the development of the child/human-being as given by Rudolf Steiner, to teach the curriculum approved by the NSW Board of Studies. This understanding provides a deep and rich well of practical wisdom, and Kindlehill’s teachers are committed to continually developing this understanding. They share their insights with parents at parent/teacher evenings, as well as through newsletters and talks. Through all of this, the pivotal point is the understanding of the developing children in our care.
The well-being of the children at Kindlehill is the central focus of our teachers. Our teachers devote much time to reflect upon what is happening in each class, and upon every individual child. The teachers meet weekly to discuss programmes, class happenings and the strengths and challenges of the individual students. The well being of the children is in this way a collegial and collaborative mandate.
2. What is the role of Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy on education at Kindlehill?
Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophies provide the underlying principles of Kindlehill’s teaching and learning. This involves an understanding of the natural stages of a child’s development—physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. Kindlehill teachers apply these understandings to supporting the unfolding of the students in their classes, collectively and individually, in our local and contemporary context.
There are many books as well as online information, that offer a useful introduction to Steiner education. Books are available through the Rudolf Steiner Book Centre, Sydney.
3. How is Kindlehill different from other independent schools the region?
At Kindlehill, the teachers work out of the deep wisdom of Steiner in a contemporary and localised context. We want the children to grow up to be resourceful, empowered individuals, able to contribute to creating a more peaceful and just world. We demonstrate respect and concern for others and the environment. We enable the child to develop skills that will have practical applications for the rest of their lives.
At Kindlehill, the teachers bring imagination and creativity to every aspect of the students’ learning environment. The teachers themselves are a well spring of creativity, for example the class teacher in primary school is expected to be an artist, writer, story-teller, musician and craftsperson, and to apply these skills across the entire curriculum. The effect is that the whole of the child is enlivened and sensitised to the unending well of potential which lies within each human being.
4. How are the classes structured at Kindlehill?
Class sizes are moderate, to enable a close teacher-student relationship. The classes are composite (two years in one class), and this contributes to flexible learning, and a sense of camaraderie between older and younger peers. Mostly, the two years work together on their lessons and the teacher provides extension and support according to individual student needs.
At the end of the last year of Kindy, each child is welcomed by their Class 1 teacher, who will guide and nurture them on their journey to the end of Class 6/7.
Generally, the day is threefold. The more intellectual and academic activities are taught in the morning lesson time, the more ‘feeling life’ activities (music, drama, painting) in the middle lesson, and activities that focus on the ‘will’ (craftwork, outdoor activities, and games) occur in the afternoon.
5. Can my child move from a state school or other private school to Kindlehill, at any age?
A child’s educational background is no barrier to finding happiness at Kindlehill. Children have transferred to Kindlehill from a variety of backgrounds. Some have a background in the state school system, some have moved from a Steiner school in another region, some from Montessori-based schools, and some were previously home-schooled.
6. Can my child move from Kindlehill to a state school or other private school, at any age?
Transitions to other schools in the younger primary years may require some adaptation on the part of the student and their family. Kindlehill delivers elements of the curriculum in a different rhythm and via different methods to other schools, and there may be a period of adjustment. Parents are welcome to discuss this with the School.
Kindlehill currently teaches from Little Kindy to Year 10. Students who have left Kindlehill for local high schools have generally adapted to their new environment quickly and many perform outstandingly across the curriculum. Students have gone from Kindlehill to Selective schools, Grammar, Independent, Christian schools and local public schools.
Kindlehill’s education enables the students to adapt and grow with confidence, as they move into adolescence and adulthood. Transitions and changes are faced with a firm footing. Parents and students are supported through that transition by Kindlehill and the destination school.
The school receives a lot of positive feedback from students (and their parents) that have gone on to various high schools. Many of these students continue to visit Kindlehill at school events, feeling themselves still part of its community.
7. How do the fees at Kindlehill compare to other independent schools?
Kindlehill fees are moderate when compared to other fee paying schools in the area. Our fees are inclusive of all stationary, art materials, camps and excursions. Parents are asked to pay for a musical instrument in class 1 (approx. $70 for a recorder) and a violin in class 3 (approx. $150). We offer considerable discounts for families with multiple children. Please download our fee schedule in the resources section of the web site.
8. Are small schools like Kindlehill, sustainable in the long term?
Kindlehill was established in 2000, and has continued to grow and flourish since its inception. The School has grown out of a strong parent and teacher base, whose dedication and absolute determination, has made the School a success. The School is overseen by an experienced Board of Directors, with a long term strategic plan. Ongoing financial affairs are managed by an experienced business manager, and the College of Teachers, directs the vision, goals and their implementation within the school, with the support of administration and parents.
In 2010 the School purchased the property that it had previously leased, and began major building works. The completion of these works has enabled Kindlehill to grow further, with increased classroom space, a performance area, a high school space, music room, and workshop. The building was constructed through Government BER funding, and a highly supportive volunteer community enabled the school to maximise value in terms of the work done.
Ongoing building and expansions works continue throughout the school’s life.
The School produces an annual report which is available to download via the resources section of the web site.
9. Do I need to be “alternative” to send my child to Kindlehill?
Kindlehill consists of a wide cross-section of people, from all walks of life, and from a variety of cultural backgrounds. We have parents who are academics, actors, architects, artists, builders, carpenters, IT specialists, local government workers, lawyers, masseuses, mature-age students, nurses, singers, social workers, teachers, writers, and more!
10. Is Kindlehill religious?
Whilst Kindlehill is not religious, an underlying spirituality is integrated into all that we do. The moral development of children, a fundamental respect of nature, inclusiveness, concern for others and the celebration of diversity, are key to developing the “spiritual” aspect of the human being. We also celebrate the cycle of the seasons, through whole-school performance-based events, which in Steiner pedagogy is in itself a path of spiritual development.
11. How does Kindlehill perform academically?
Our curriculum is approved by the NSW Board of Studies. Every student is encouraged to be gifted and talented. Many students excel academically. Our goal is to provide a well rounded education for all children and this includes the opportunity to develop potential in intellectual capacities. Learning support is provided to students with special needs.
12. How well-rounded is Kindlehill’s curriculum?
Music program: Music is integral to every class at Kindlehill. In kindy it centres around singing, rhythms and simple percussion stories. In class 1 all students learn the sweet flute (recorder) and from class 3, alto and treble recorders are introduced. In class 3, students learn the violin. After two years of violin, some students opt to continue and specialise with this instrument. Others may become engaged with specialist tutors in instruments such as trumpet and clarinet. The marimbas are a favourite throughout the school and we have specialist teaching from time to time, to maximise the potential of this wonderfully accessible and collaborative instrument. Singing, percussion and collaborative musical compositions feature throughout the primary school. In high school, the students continue to compose and collaborate musically. They also study musical theory. Currently, all high school students are learning the guitar and participate in a weekly drumming circle.
Drama program: Children are nurtured in plays from Kindy though to Class 8. These are often written by the teacher for their class, and work therapeutically on the children who discover hidden talents for expression as well as self confidence. The class play provides a wonderful opportunity for the whole class to work together and show case the rich experiences of music, story and movement to parents, peers and friends. In the high school, students work with a drama specialist to explore dramatic techniques as well as dramatic works.
Craft program: Craft is often the first activity of the day in the younger classes. Busy fingers together with quiet focus, bring mental alertness and groundedness to the start of the day’s work. Through the primary years, children develop skills in knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, weaving, dyeing and designing. In hard craft, the children progress from sanding and simple wood working tasks to mobiles, leatherwork, clay and ceramics, jewellery making, candle making, movable part toys, jig saws, forging and wood carving. Hand craft is an important strand in Steiner education providing an array of practical skills, sensitivity in the hands and fingers, agility in the mind, the capacity to make useful and beautiful products, the satisfaction of an individualised hand made with love product, in contrast to the mass produced consumer goods of our modern society.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) program: In the Steiner approach, the“unplugged” experience provides the foundation of a dynamic and life imbued education for children and young people. In primary school, technologies that support dexterous fingers, skilful manipulations that stimulate the neural pathways in our brain, as well as forming a valuable sense of self efficacy (I am resourceful, I can build, shape and create, I can contribute) are essential.
In the later primary years, students engage with information communication technology to research and in the presentation of projects such as a class poetry magazine.
As students progress to high school, they are guided to find an empathic and deep interest in the world, and to becoming more consciously engaged in ever widening spheres of life, many of which information communication technology is integral to. It is at this time, in the high school, that students will have opportunities to apply their creativity and enthusiasm in developing competencies with ICT tools—computers and related technologies. Across the curriculum, information communication technology is utilised in creative and appropriate contexts.
13. Do I need to do a lot of volunteer work as a parent?
Most parents find that they can contribute in some way to the life of the school. This is a beautiful facet of our School community, because it allows parents to develop a sense of involvement and creativity in their child’s educational community. It also allows the children to benefit from the broad pool of talents of those around them. Help from parents keeps our School fees moderate, and take a variety of forms, including: reading to children, musical support during plays, cleaning classrooms, helping during seasonal events, end-of-term working-bees, marketing, craft making and selling, gardening, and more.
Volunteering your time to the School is not compulsory, and many parents volunteer what they can. There is a wonderful sense of community in providing this volunteer work, and the parents not only display this sense of community involvement to their children, they also develop lasting friendships with other parents at the School.