Prospectus – Senior High School Program
Place based – Participatory – Principled – Confident – Connected – Active
Scholarships available for 2024–25
Place based – Participatory – Principled – Confident – Connected – Active
Scholarships available for 2024–25
As our world undergoes fundamental social and ecological change, it is imperative that the way we educate and prepare our young people transforms accordingly. Students will be prepared for tertiary education, the workplace, and a future where they contribute to the wellbeing of people and the planet, without the pressure of high-stakes testing and in a context that makes learning relevant and meaningful to their lives.
Kindlehill Senior School is NESA-registered and meets the educational outcomes and requirements for six board-developed/board-endorsed courses: Advanced English, Geography, Society & Culture, Standard Maths, Visual Design, and Work Studies.
Our Senior School program provides a well-rounded education and a solid foundation for any future studies. Students will be supported individually to achieve the capacities and skills needed in their personal areas of interest.
Students do not sit the HSC but receive a Kindlehill Senior Studies Certificate (see page 13). With ever-increasing pathway options for students wanting to undertake university studies, students from Steiner Schools in NSW and throughout Australia who take non-HSC Senior Studies programs, have successfully enrolled in many courses and universities.
“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity, or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of the world.”
Paulo Freire, Educator and Philosopher
Our everyday lives are interwoven within many complex and harmful systems that are integral to the ecological and social crises of our times. Schools, despite wonderful efforts to educate children to be greener and fairer in their individual lives, do not generally address the complex and systemic mindsets and structures that underlie these ecological and social crises.
A key goal of Buran Nalgarra is to guide and equip young people with the thinking, moral courage, and skills to unpack systemic thinking and harms, and to enable them to contribute to a more environmentally and socially just and resilient society. Many young people are conscious of the new, globally emerging story of how we can live well on this planet and in our local place. We cultivate a culture grounded in respect for all life and the inter-relatedness of all: globally mindful and locally enacted.
Innovative and life-enhancing contributions to the pragmatic restoration of local-planetary systems are necessary. Young people need the inspiration and tools to be part of the transformation needed. They need living texts and active research tasks that are meaningful and impactful. Education at a senior school level is a time when young people can learn beyond the classroom and in the local community, benefitting from the enormous wisdom, experience and positive change that is in process locally. It is not only what students learn but how they learn that needs transforming.
Baya Budbili – the yarning blanket, is an eco-dyed, hand-stitched community collaboration. It centres the flannel flower, picture of regeneration after the 2019-20 fires that ravaged the Blue Mountains. The project was designed and coordinated by artist – educator, Pippita Bennett.
“Ultimately, only life educates, and the deeper that life, the real world, burrows into school, the more dynamic and the more robust will be the educational process.”
Lev Vygotsky, a leading psychologist specialising in Socio-Cultural Theory
Central to the Buran Nalgarra program is the learning that students undertake as action-researchers in their local community. Built around our core commitment to social and ecological responsibility, our Community Engagement program seeks to address real ‘problems that matter’, in a local-global futures context.
Students work with local organisations, social enterprises, and businesses to learn, collaborate, and contribute to creative and innovative ways of restoring environmental and social wellbeing. They work in a transdisciplinary and experiential way, developing skills in investigation, collaboration, creative and critical thinking, communication, and effecting change.
In this approach, students draw on their Funds of Knowledge – the social and cultural capital in their own lives and in their communities – accessing diverse perspectives and ways of knowing and being in addressing concerns.
“We then explicate a curriculum approach wherein students collaborate in action-research – not just with other students but also diverse community actors, their teachers and academics on problems that matter for local-global futures.” (Brennan, Hayes and Zipin 2021)
Most projects will arise out of active classroom collaborations; possibilities include projects addressing climate change and the social concerns of young people in our community.
Our 2023 ‘Problems that Matter’ pilot-project set out to address the tonnes of waste generated in our LGA through the consumption of milk in 2-litre single-use plastic containers. Our work led to a collaboration with Katoomba St café owners and Six Simple Machines, a Sydney-based business that designs and manufactures a bulk milk system that reduces plastic consumption by 80%. More information about this project can be found here: https://kindlehill.nsw.edu.au/senior-school-news/milk-project/
“Waa naadyimi?” (what do you see?)
Naady’u mittagar (I see a friend)!
In 2024, students will participate in a feature project, learning Dharug language. Dharug Dalang is a language of place, from place. It speaks in relatedness, a kinship to Country and all beings who live with her. Learning Dharug Dalang is a form of active allyship. Ngara, we tune our hearing to receive the threads of language; bayala, we lift our voices, bringing to life rhythms and sounds spoken here, on this country since time immemorial. The language becomes teacher. The teachings are beautiful, the teachings are hard. There has been invasion, a wounding, a language fragmented, made to be still. We learn knowing this. There has been a holding, language hidden in strange places. There has been a renewal, turning toward, a following of the threads. We learn knowing this. Dharug Dalang turns us toward country and Dharug people, toward ways of knowing that are required for living well, in place, together.
This is an ongoing and evolving project.
Tribe is a gathering place. A fertile ground where young people plant the seeds of community that they need. A gathering for learning, for playing and for sharing music, poetry, and stories. Students will design and deliver school and community events, creating a place for young people from the broader community to gather, connect and belong.
Creativity is a powerful way to nourish a meaningful life, to communicate for impact, and to foster and feel the solidarity needed for the new story of interbeing. The creative arts are woven throughout the Buran Nalgarra program.
Spoken word poetry, drama, filmmaking, and community arts projects are some of the ways which students will explore, express, and communicate their learnings and speak their truth to the school and broader community, cultivating their sense of belonging and responsibility.
To understand how the arts are woven through the curriculum, we suggest you watch A Murmuration. Produced in 2023, this documentary by Michael Joy tells the moving story of our site-specific community-based arts project Healing Place, Healing Home that explored issues of identity and community in a collaborative and creative setting.
Our small classes enable flexibility in learning, a culture of support and the unfolding of each student’s potential. Students will be well supported to achieve their personal learning and social goals.
Students are encouraged to bring their personal interests and experiences to the learning program, and there is flexibility within the framework to explore these. Diversity is valued and we welcome students with diverse backgrounds and support needs.
A sense of belonging and of being seen in a celebratory and creative community are fundamental to health and wellbeing. Our students are part of a thriving community that respects and centres young people’s voices and passions.
Our teachers are mentors, active in their pursuit of ecological and social justice, connected to their wider community, and living with a worldview that respects the emerging story of the connection of the individual’s wellbeing to the wellbeing of all.
We want our young people to go into the world with insight and heart for the change and compassion they see is needed.
Kindlehill Senior School is in the new High School buildings of our Wentworth Falls campus, nested in the bush overlooking Wentworth Falls Lake. A purpose-built science lab, art studio, music room and performance space supplement our general learning spaces, including small tutorial rooms and breakout spaces.
The High School environment has been designed to invite curiosity, creativity and collaboration. Large windows look out to the village and beyond to our special Blue Mountains World Heritage Environment, embedding us at every level in community and place.
When possible, we take our classes outside to the bush circle or we make the short walk to the lake, learning in place. School extends to the wider community and place through the community engagement projects.
Rudolf Steiner’s work has profoundly influenced education, medicine, agriculture, science, the arts, and civics. Buran Nalgarra brings a contemporary context, drawing on a multi-faceted approach to what Steiner broadly contextualised as social renewal. Today the concerns are both local and planetary. Steiner’s educational purpose and methods align strongly with Buran Nalgarra’s ecological education, which places relationship at its core in seeking to address the environmental and social crises of our times.
The student’s own development into their human-beingness, deep and engaging learning, making sense of the world, a cultivation of the arts, and a relationship to nature are signatures of Steiner secondary education, and they are central to the Buran Nalgarra program.
Students from Steiner Schools typically go into the world with confidence, a love of learning, and a passion to live a more socially just and environmentally conscious lives, whatever their vocation or place.
In a Steiner School, the curriculum is well-rounded, offering a sound foundation for all future studies and work. Buran Nalgarra offers students a broad and balanced curriculum in their senior years, with an emphasis on depth of understanding, critical and creative thinking, real-world problem solving, and leadership by collaboration and solidarity.
“We try to adapt them to the demands of social and technological life… in a way that enables them later in life to work, to participate in events, to interact with others… so that their work can be meaningful and valuable for society, so they may find their place in life, their connection to the social life of other people.” Rudolf Steiner
Dig Deeper, Relate Wider, Education for our Times by Lynn Daniel.
“In the soul alone, we are unable to transcend our own subjectivity; we are limited to our own personal, self-referencing perspective on the world. Through our spirit the lawfulness of things and beings can speak to us, and therein lies the potential for becoming a ‘free human being’” Rudolf Steiner
Transdisciplinary learning has been identified as a key educational requirement for 21st Century problem solving. Typically in schools, senior courses are taught as separate disciplines, but at Buran Nalgarra, disciplines are integrated and provide complementary knowledge and perspectives.
Topics and themes extend over a term, integrating natural science, the arts, the humanities, and technological design. This approach aligns with an ecological system where interconnection, diversity and reciprocity are dynamic integrals. Our classroom is not defined by its walls; teachers and learning opportunities are all around us.
“Deep learning is valuable learning that sticks…it situates the learner as someone who acts upon the world (usually with others) thereby transforming her or himself, and the world.” Michael Fullan, Educator
Buran Nalgarra transdisciplinary themes for Advanced English, Geography, and Society & Culture are:
How we think about the world can be quite invisible, embedded in our values, lifestyle and societal structures. How do we transform our thinking to make real change in bringing about a fairer and kinder world? What are the obstacles to making change? Students will conduct a science-arts investigation into an ecosystem and evaluate how it provides wisdom for an ecological worldview embracing diversity, reciprocity, and inter-relatedness.
It has been suggested that a locally embedded relationship of care and kinship is a way to address the overwhelming scale of global issues. What is our local story of place, its landscapes and people? How does place ask us to live in respectful relationship with it? This study includes an investigation of how our local community is building resilience in the face of climate change.
How do Indigenous cultural traditions and narratives shape how people live in relationship to one another and to the natural world? How can indigenous perspectives and practices contribute to addressing environmental and social concerns? This study includes engagement with a local Aboriginal community project.
Literature and storytelling change hearts and minds, enabling us both personally and as a community, to live more inclusive, celebratory and enriched lives. We explore the stories that inspire and restore us as we live our lives in a changing world.
Through the ‘Problems that Matter’ frame, students investigate a social issue in our community and create a narrative response, sharing their experience and action with a wider audience.
How can we ‘unchain’ democracy from structurally destructive and manipulative elements? What beliefs/ideologies enable or obstruct democratic freedoms that work for everyone and protect our common future? Through ‘Problems that Matter’, a local impactful Civics & Citizenship project is undertaken.
As a human settlement in the Blue Mountains, how can we learn from nature regarding energy, waste, cooling, sequestering of carbon, transport, diversity and resilience? With Janine Benyus of the Biomimicry Institute, we ask, “If there were a sustainability farmer for each village, what would they do to improve and maintain a regenerative eco-economy?”
What futures can we imagine and enact that empower us to live well individually and socially, amidst the crises of climate change, exploitation, structural discrimination, and socio-economic disadvantage? Can we extend peacebuilding to the more-than-human world? Students identify the transformations they see are needed to actualise these futures.
“Yanama budyari gumada – to walk with good spirit through patience, humility, respect; we are stronger when we work together with these attributes.”
Uncle Lex Dadd, Dharug elder
In a review of the Buran Nalgarra pathway, students use this Dharug ethic to frame their reflections and connect their learning to future pathways. They also explore the concept of walabami, which loosely translates to, “Where you from? Who is your mob?” Students create their own multi-species ancestral “family tree of life” or walabami, that speaks to who they are in relation to the multi-dimensions of place, and as a touchstone for stepping forward into adulthood.
All students will complete the board-developed Standard Maths course. This is a course covering finance, statistics and algebra in a practical context. It provides a sound foun-dation for future studies, work, and everyday living.
Student interests can be incorporated, and maths will be used to support ‘Problems that Matter’ projects.
Entrepreneurial opportunities delivering individual, social and planetary wellbeing are flourishing. What are the jobs for the present and future? Students investigate opportunities and develop skills needed for creating ‘alivelihoods’, a concept coined by Manish Jain. Many new innovative careers are needed to deal with the complex challenges facing humanity.
An internship with a social enterprise or community organisation is part of this program, as is the contribution to local regenerative food production and Indigenous initiatives.
Additionally, students explore what role technologies play in sustainable futures and what changes can be made now to humanise technology.
In 2024, students will participate in a year-long Permaculture Design Certificate program. Permaculture attunes us to our environment so that we can live more responsibly. Through ethics of care, we learn to create systems around us that are abundant and respectful. We learn to look for the fertile edges, to value diversity, to move toward systems of self-sufficiency. The ecological imagination is inspired to observe and find the wisdom and patterns that can lay foundation for ecological ways of living that are resilient and loving.
A Permaculture Design Certificate is the groundwork for working with this lens and participating in local permaculture projects shows how this can be applied in both a social and ecological context. Local projects like Farm it Forward provide living examples of social and ecological permaculture as they redistribute the surplus of unused land for growing food, care for the earth with organic farming methods and care for people by creating a social environment for people to take part in. We learn that the simple act of growing food can be a radical act of community and earth care!
How can the earth’s eco-systems inspire design for innovation and change?
Resourcefulness and creativity are essential to what it is to be human in these times. Students will design and make functional objects, and contribute to community projects within the frame of sustainability in our local place. Where possible, they work using resources from things that are around us.
Students also develop publication and event management skills through creating and participating in celebratory and community-sustaining events.
Necessary Traditions refer to the knowledge and skills necessary for the Earth’s wellbeing. They include the knowledge and skills of a resourceful and considered life in the face of an urgent world. They are slower skills, the skills of making, of craft, of the handmade. The initial design focus is to make an accessory and, through conversation with young inspiring makers, we find direction. The process is vital, each step asking, how can we align our making with the values of necessary traditions, where wellbeing is considered and creativity thrives? What does it mean to make? How does the human spirit imbue objects with meaning? What story does material hold? We learn that design is about functionality, beauty, and the deep wellspring of human creativity.
An enlivened sense of wonder and adventure sits at the heart of a hopeful and resilient life. An appreciation for and affinity with nature and place underpins the nature-based adventures and experiences we offer our students. This is not a NESA-registered course but is one that we deem as essential as any of the six board-developed/board-endorsed courses we offer.
To the north of the mountains lies the Grandmother River where she has shaped things through her long life with the land. She has carved canyons and escarpment, nourished forests, permeated the bedrock, carried clean water to thirsty mouths through springs, creeks, and rivers. Grandmother, she is older than the hills and holds a wealth of stories. Following her pathway, we see the intersection of culture and ecology with industry and the effects of climate change on a changing environment. From the source, now cracked by Canyon Collery, still spilling toxic waste into a pristine land, we journey toward Yellomundi Aboriginal Place. We look for stories of culture, stories of struggle, stories from the more-than-human world, stories of resilience, stories of a changing climate and the systems that regulate the earth. We hope to listen. We hope to fall in love. For to love Country, is to walk with her.
The Kindlehill Senior Studies Certificate demonstrates the completion of six required board-developed/board-endorsed courses for Years 11–12 at a NESA-registered school. The subjects offered at Kindlehill Senior School are delivered predominantly through a transdisciplinary thematic approach. They are:
Buran Nalgarra is designed to be different to the HSC. The Kindlehill Senior Studies Certificate replaces the ATAR and Higher School Certificate. To be recognised by UAC, students must also sit the STAT test or select one of the many alternative pathways to university.
The Portfolio is a ready-to-go resume developed by each student to provide a substantial demonstration of their achievements, skills and experience.
Students include an audio-visual presentation of the key elements of their portfolio that are relevant to the intended university course/pathway they are pursuing.
The portfolio also includes the following documentation provided by the school:
The five capabilities are:
Where possible, learning is credentialled in the flow of education and work. Micro-credentials form part of the student portfolio and demonstrate knowledge, skills, experience, character strengths and aptitude for higher education and/or work.
Micro-credentials may be formal or informal and focus on:
While the path to university is not as centralised as it is for HSC students, there are many ways for Buran Nalgarra students to access university. In the broader context, around 60% of students access university through a non-ATAR pathway.
These are some of the pathways available to students to access universities at the completion of their Senior School Studies at Kindlehill or alongside of. Students from other Steiner Schools in NSW have successfully accessed universities through these pathways.
Open University offers online first-year courses that can be accessed while still at school. Taking single subjects from a first-year course can be a good option for those seeking experience studying at a high academic level in an area of special interest, for example, a student interested in Engineering, Biology or Health. This option also opens access to some universities upon completion of Senior Studies without an ATAR.
Taking a single subject or course in an undergraduate program with Open University can be transferable as a credit and a demonstration of capacity when applying to other universities upon completion of Senior Studies. This is a pathway used by some Steiner Schools in NSW.
Open University Student Advisor
Ph: 136 736
How to get into uni without an ATAR | Open Universities Australia
STAT is a very accessible alternative pathway to university. STAT is a non-curriculum driven test that evaluates verbal and quantitative reasoning and your aptitude for university studies.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) does not impose any restrictions on who can sit STAT and there are no age restrictions.
However, university/course authorities may impose restrictions on who they will accept STAT results from. Candidates should check with the institution to which they are applying to determine if their STAT results will be accepted.
Upon completion of Year 11, students could decide to take the TPC, through TAFE NSW, which will provide entry to most undergraduate courses at many universities.
These courses provide foundational skills for successful university careers. They are often offered over one semester and are administered in smaller, highly supported groups that help you to acclimatise to the university environment and develop skills in academic studying and writing. Successful completion will often guarantee entry to your course of choice, including credit for one unit.
Western Sydney University and Charles Sturt University both offer enabling courses as do many universities.
Students who do not have an ATAR can enrol in the Foundation Studies course, which provides a direct pathway to Diploma or Bachelor programs.
The extended diplomas are open access, and with an additional 4-months and successful completion, students can enter the second year of a chosen undergraduate program.
Small class sizes and individualised attention from academics provide a supportive environment for students to succeed in their tertiary studies.
Charles Sturt University is commencing two new enabling courses to prepare students for undergraduate admission in 2024.
Free to domestic students, the Access Charles Sturt Entry course focuses on academic writing, foundational maths, critical thinking and leads to their second pathway course, Undergraduate Certificate in University Preparation.
In the Undergraduate Certificate in University Preparation course, students further develop their academic skills and choose subjects across the disciplines of science, history, writing and maths to match their future study goals. Completing this course gives students a head start in a wide range of Charles Sturt’s bachelor’s degrees and undergraduate certificates, with credit towards your course.
Non-standard Year 12 programs of study include those completed through:
Students must have a certificate of completion of Senior Studies and must also sit for the (SAT) which is the American Scholastic Aptitude Test. These results are then shared with UAC for the non-standard entry pathway.
UAC will also assess results from the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). See STAT info in this prospectus.
Ph: 02 9752 0200
The Work Studies strand of Buran Nalgarra provides rich explorations and opportunities to investigate a pathway into work direct from School.
A focus on eco-livelihood puts planet and community health at the centre of work. The nature of work is changing, and the jobs of the future are somewhat unpredictable. We take a broad scope asking, what are the entrepreneurial opportunities in ‘making change’? What are the jobs for the present and future where we can collectively flourish?
Internships with mentors and businesses in fields of interest provide valuable experience of work. A portfolio documenting studies, capacities, experience and micro-credentials will be an invaluable resource in seeking employment.
A range of EVET course are available to study while completing Senior School. These may help you gain entry to your chosen field of study. For example, you may choose a VET course in Certificate III Health Services. After years 11–12, that could be followed by a Certificate IV in Preparation for Nursing, then a Diploma of Nursing. That could then create a pathway to university and there may be an opportunity to apply credits to a nursing course.
A small proportion of the payment for these courses must be met by the parent/guardian. Other components are funded by the government and by the School.
“…all the people at Kindlehill support each other and they’re always there for you.”
Kindlehill alumni are engaged in study and work that is innovative and personally meaningful. Many alumni stay connected to Kindlehill and we love to catch up and see how they are going in their personal and work lives.
Kindlehill alumni are currently study and working in health, economics, law, social work, design, the creative and performing arts, and education. Some have created flourishing business that connect to passions and interests that were initiated and supported at Kindlehill.
Listen here to Kindlehill alumnus speaking of the significance for her of a creative and ecological education at Kindlehill.
Can I pursue my studies/interest in science other than ecology?
While we do not provide a registered NESA-registered science subject, the whole curriculum is ecological in focus and sciences are integrated across all subjects. The science teacher and resources are available. The approach is multi-disciplinary, integrating real world experience with theory. Within the units, there are opportunities to investigate specific scientific interests. Additionally, students can select an Open University course (e.g. Physics for Engineering) to supplement their learning and be university-ready.
Where’s the fun?
The fun is in learning in a way that is meaningful, relevant and social. This means lively discussion, collaborative learning, time away from the classroom in community and nature settings, and many opportunities to be creative and social in the wider community context.
What does my day look like?
The academic learning is earlier in the day and practical subjects such as Visual Design and Work Studies are programmed for afternoons. Four days a week, begin at School in a small group learning setting, exploring the thematic study that goes through the term. One day a week is set aside for learning in the wider community context.
What if I have learning difficulties?
Students are well supported, provided with opportunity for individual assistance as needed. Building confidence, stamina and capacity for learning is important for every student. Learning difficulties can often be reframed as learning differently. Flexibility in how you demonstrate learning can be integrated into each course.
How do you have a social life in such a small school?
Social learning sits at the heart of Buran Nalgarra and many connections into the community are created. Often it is the small, connected friendship group that gets us through the tricky times. Students build friendships beyond those who are like them, gaining a deeper appreciation for the openness to other perspectives and the strength in diversity.
What if I don’t care about the planetary crises?
This program will give you the opportunity to explore what is meaningful and relevant to your life. It is our hope you will discover a love and respect for the earth that will impact how you choose to live your life into the future.
How much say do we have in choosing the projects?
Some projects are set within the program. However, within each thematic study, choices for projects will be individually or collaboratively agreed. Most subjects provide a framework from which students can decide a specific focus in alignment with their interests.
Will there be exams?
Students at Buran Nalgarra will not sit the HSC exams. Assessment will be School-based and include a range of tasks from project learning to small knowledge or skill-based tests.
How do I manage the social pressure to go to university and ‘succeed’?
At 18 years, you may not know what you want to do regarding study or work. Buran Nalgarra will prepare you to know yourself, your society and the community where you live. We want you to be prepared for a small next step or a big decision. You will also learn essential life skills that will be important whichever path you choose. Some school graduates find a balance of working and studying helps them find deeper meaning and relevance in what they are learning.
Starting a university course straight from school with a looming HECS debt is scary. What are the risks?
Many young students change their course before they complete it, extending the undergraduate degree beyond 3 years. The cost of a wrong choice for university courses is becoming a heavy burden for young students. The HECS debt is an increasingly significant social issue/burden for many young people.
Please direct enquiries and expressions of interest to the Principal, Lynn Daniel. firstname.lastname@example.org