On this round trip of some of NSW’s most iconic places, we tuned our individual heartbeats to the larger rhythms of life and landscapes. In each place we visited, the stories of that place unfolded. We went respectfully, acknowledging country, and opening our senses through quiet contemplative drawing and writing, seeking connectedness to each unique place.
This was Geography on the Road. On the south coast we explored coastal lagoons, rivers that begin in the escarpment and outlet into the sea, sacred mountains and initiation sites, and land use such as the dairy, forestry and whaling activity of past and present. In the South East forest, we visited a remnant Gondwana rainforest and beautiful inland creeks set amongst forest preserved from logging in the nick of time. We travelled to Kosciuszko, crossing the Great Dividing Range and noting the changes in the water cycle and vegetation. We stopped by at Kiandra, an historic gold rush town, and learned about the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme and the proposed plan for Snowy 2 (including discussing the political jostling around renewable energy targets). We then toured a cave in Yarangobilly, swam in a thermal pool and followed the Tumut River to a caravan park for our first opportunity during the camp to shower and use facilities. In Hay we swam in the mighty Murrumbidgee River, and camped beside it under the stars. En-route to Lake Mungo we observed the productive industrial scale farming of the Riverina dependent on irrigation from the Murrumbidgee. And later, on the way home, we saw the top soils from some of these exposed fields lifting up and whirling east – the source of the dust storms experienced in Sydney and surrounds. This was an opportune time to discuss and think critically about the conventional farming practices we take so much for granted. Then we went on to Lake Mungo, a unique landscape of cultural significance to the world, it was a place where we all experienced the spiritual presence of land and ancestors.
We swam, snorkelled, surfed, clamboured alongside creeks and waterfalls, and walked respectfully on ancient lands. We met Aboriginal teachers along the way who shared culture and wisdom related to place. We took some of these teachings into our reflective circle times; exploring ways to apply three things to live by: spiritual connection to place (where place makes you part of its story), social connectedness (a sense of belonging as well as of roles and responsibilities), and generosity (asking what we can do for others rather than what we can gain for ourselves). The descriptive writing from our explorations was vibrant, alive with the voice of authentic experience. We also talked about initiation of young people, what it might look like in our time and place. John and I share a sense that camps such as these with a teaching and experiential focus, carry many elements of what underlies initiation for young people. – the path toward independence, freedoms balanced with responsibilities, courage, resilience, ethical choices, learning from country, caring for community and for each other, and tuning your heart in to the larger rhythm of regenerative life.
You can seed and talk about all of this in a classroom (and we have)…but you can actually experience it and bring it into a lived experience in a two week on the road geography trip! Landscapes and the people connected to them were our primary teachers. Each student identified their special teaching place, the one they felt most connected to and articulating the elements of this experience. They also identified what they would take away as a thought, feeling and intention for their future lives.
Click the links below to view some videos of the journey:
Kindlehill hosted it’s first ever Summer Soiree. It was a great success and a wonderful way for the community to celebrate the primary school children’s achievements from throughout the year. The Summer Soiree was a joyous event that showcased the high standard of skills the children have developed in many fields over the past year. It was a wonderful way for the community to come together and acknowledge the hard work of the students and teachers.
Click the link below to view some videos from the Soiree:
Kindlehill hosted it’s first ever Summer Soiree last Thursday. It was a great success and a wonderful way for the community to celebrate the primary school children’s achievements from throughout the year. Guests started the night by viewing colourful and detailed artwork, as well as exceptional examples of the children’s projects. Families also enjoyed looking back at photos and artwork from previous years at Kindlehill.
We then ventured into the performance space to be dazzled by the class 1-2 wild songs and fluent reading. Flowing on to the class 3-4 verses and the song “Grandmas’ feather bed”. Class 5-6 performed a haunting eurythmy piece and speeches based on women who have influenced the world.
We were then amazed by the hard work and talent from students performing musical solos, culminating with the musical ensemble. The music program at Kindlehill is vibrant and ever expanding, including more instruments and opportunities each year.
The finale included the choral piece “Flooding Rains” sung by the whole primary school. It was a joyous event that showcased the high standard of skills the children have developed in many fields over the past year. It was a wonderful way for the community to come together and acknowledge the hard work the students and teachers.
Click the links below to view some videos from the Soiree:
“Reggae Band Concert!!!!: Big PA sound, mics, lights, smoke machine, and all ORIGINAL MUSIC!
CASTING SPELLS AT THE POWERHOUSE
The 100 year old warehouse was an exciting venue for a sensational high school production of A Mid Summer Night’s Dream. An enthralled audience gave Puck and his merry band of actors, their hand and hearts……Thank you to Georgia and Rowley for this inspirational and somewhat whacky experience. Spells were cast. Amends made. Perfect for high school students!
We drove out to Capertee and into ….. THE RAIN!
But it wasn’t a really big problem for us luckily because we had a great team of adults who just got stuck into setting up camp. Raincoats gave up on them, they were drenched and soaked… but they pushed on to make dry and happy tents and a camp kitchen for us all! Such a great little example to the children!
The children were either running about in the rain undeterred, having a pretty wonderful time as far as I could tell. Or were having an equally lovely time on the bus busying themselves with delicious stuff that kids do when they’re stuck in the rain, companionable little games and creative little imaginings. They were full of descriptions about misty clouds eating the mountains and how ghost like the escarpment was, fuel for their poetic souls.
At 5pm it eased and we wandered up to the creek and of course… having tried all day to keep some clothes a little bit dry… there was a bit of falling into the creek! We went back and set up our beds and changed into dry gear and ate our dinner of NACHOS ( such a favourite) under tarps and by the fire. The fire as toasty and the weather held off for a bit. Delicious dessert, some songs around the fire, walk with torches and we all retired to bed.
The next day, the dawn chorus was so special! A thousand birds sang us awake! The sun was shining! It was glorious!
We had THE BEST PORRIDGE EVER… sprinkled with blueberries and golden dust! Some children argued that the porridge was the best thing about camp. After the golden dust porridge we set off on a walk following the creek in the opposite direction. After a gargantuan morning tea we set off in the bus to find the haunted houses the children had spotted on our way in. We climbed to get a great view of the ruins of the oils shale factory set against, seriously the most spectacular backdrop of the Capertee valley. The children had a million ideas about what had happened to the ruins. It was all curiousity, finding, exploring and speculating. Such happiness to hear their musings and reflections about what they were observing.
Mailyn shared her culture of asking the tree for a branch to help the tree sing. She cut the wood and sliced the bark off and the children sanded them into THE MOST SPECIAL CLAPSTICKS ever. Jimmie showed the children how to whittle and smooth off the clapsticks. Super exciting for the children.
The afternoon was spent at the swimming hole. Frolicking and lazing in the sunshine like lizards. Building dams and floating away on pink donuts.
Night time walk but with the naked eye this time. Songs by the fire and bed… very tired children.
Last morning! More delicious porridge! Pack up clothes and sleeping bags. A walk along the Capertee River trail and munching on more delicious food.
Then it was time to leave. We shared in expressing our gratitude to mother earth and each other for the time we spent. It was fabulous.
On Thursday, Kindlehill hosted the Interschool Music Festival. Primary school students from Kindlehill, along with the Blue Mountains Grammar School, St Thomas Aquinas from Springwood, St Canices from Katoomba and Our Lady of the Nativity from Lawson, came together to create a memorable musical festival. Over 100 students and parents came to experience each school’s musical ensemble and the coming together of all schools to perform uplifting, combined choral and orchestra pieces. The festival was a great opportunity for the students to experience being a part of a large orchestra, seeing what children from other schools are learning, and meeting children from other schools. The festival was a resounding success and will the first of an annual event. Please click the link below to view a video of the rehearsal:
To see the article in the Blue Mountains Gazette click here: https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/5712012/primary-schools-unite-for-music-festival/?cs=1432
The play is based on Bruce Pascoe’s book of the same name. It is both poignant and funny and there were some big acting challenges for students.
Click the links to view two short videos of the play.
Information Technology is used throughout high school and students learn skill as well as to be discerning users. A special focus is given to using ICT technology creatively such as in music – composing, arranging and performing, and in the Creative Arts such as short film making. Focus is also given to developing critical thinking in regard to understanding the purpose and influence of information and the use of social media.