Kindlehill Senior School – Buran Nalgarra – Strength and Learning through Togetherness

How can we benefit the community by educating differently in senior school?

“Yanama Budyari Gumada – to walk with good spirit through patience, humility, respect; we are stronger when we work together with these attributes.” Uncle Lex

“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility — these three forces are the very nerve of education.” Rudolf Steiner

“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

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.” David Orr

Place-based – Participatory – Principled

Confident – Connected – Active

In each pathway, we draw from the fields of natural science, the arts, the humanities and technological design. The purpose is to seek ways in our changing world to make our lives more environmentally sustainable, socially just, and resilient. This approach aligns with an ecological system where interconnection, diversity and reciprocity are dynamic integrals. It also seeks to include indigenous perspectives across all areas of inquiry. It is envisaged that the classroom is not defined by its walls and that teachers are all around us.

The pathways are not separate, more like strands that intertwine and are stronger together. Buran Nalgarra – Strength and Learning Through Togetherness.

Pathway 1

Changing Hearts and Minds – responding to the global in the local. “Where are you living? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation?”

  • Unpacking the mindsets, values, structures, and practices that maintain the capitalist, extractionist, and consumerist society of the dominant culture and its impacts, including the impacts of climate change.
  • Exploring and actioning new ways of thriving that contribute to the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and planet, and looking to “the margins” to amplify voices of change makers.
  • Problems that Matter: How we learn is as significant as what we learn. Learning in the community alongside those who are addressing problems that matter; collaborating with experts and those with diverse perspectives.
  • Students learn to discern the true and to act out of an orientation to healing and wholeness

Enquiry questions

  • What are the challenges in our globalised world?
  • How can we connect to them within our local community and place?
  • What is the local vision for the future? Is it ambitious enough?
  • What local actions are already taking place to address problems that matter? What are the obstacles to making change?
  • What can we learn from those who are marginalised, in our making change?
  • What direct steps/mitigation strategies can we action here and now?

Pathway 2

Making Change – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”

  • Students design and make functional objects within the frame of sustainability in our local place, where possible using resources from things that are around us.
  • Using the inspiration of biomimicry, students design and/or make innovations for sustainability.
  • Students engage with community projects including regenerative food production and indigenous initiatives.
  • Students explore entrepreneurial opportunities that contribute to the wellbeing of people and planet.
  • Students take on an internship with a business or community organisation that is contributing to the wellbeing of people and planet.
  • Students explore what role technologies play in sustainable futures and what changes can be made here and now to humanise technology.

Enquiry questions

  • What can we learn from the earth’s eco-systems?
  • How can these provide inspiration for designing and making innovation and change?
  • How can Necessary Traditions and other cultural and social traditions inspire our making within a sustainability framework?
  • What are entrepreneurial opportunities in “making change”?

Pathway 3

The Wonder Hub – “Stand still, the forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.”

  • Create and action celebration, curiosity, and ceremony in our lives
  • Adventure and wonder journeys in our local environment, connecting deeper self with nature, meeting challenges, and developing teamwork
  • Mindfulness practices for individual wellbeing
  • Creative Arts – participate in empowering arts-based collaborations that amplify individual and social wellbeing
  • Link the renewal of ecological and community life to individual and planetary wellbeing
  • Engagement in local festivals that foster community wellbeing and agency such as the Festival of Joy, Winter Magic, Music and Art festivals

Enquiry questions

  • How can I better connect with the natural world of our place?
  • In what ways can this help me grow and be grounded in place?
  • How can we link with others who connect to place differently?
  • How are local personal and social issues connected to global challenges?

How we learn is as significant as what we learn.

Buran Nalgarra, the name of our Senior School program is derived from Dharug Dalang. Buran is the Stringybark tree from which strands of bark are rubbed by hand, then twisted together into a strong and hardy twine. Essentially Buran Nalgarra means, Strength and Learning Through Togetherness. Permission to use Buran Nalgarra was generously granted by Uncle Lex who is a Dharug elder.

Ultimately, only life educates, and the deeper that life – the real world – burrows into the school, the more dynamic and the more robust will be the educational process. (Vygotsky, 1997)

Each learning pathway incorporates the following:

Thematic – transdisciplinary

Capabilities – qualities and skills demonstrated in learning

Experiential – relevant, initiative, collaborative, impactful

Artistic – celebration and communication

Problems that matter

A key element of the learning process is based on the pedagogy of Community Funds of Knowledge – identifying local problems that matter and working collaboratively with community members who hold diverse perspectives and with those who are addressing these problems in ways that have impact in making change.

The core values cohere around:

Love – care and compassion in the framework of inter-relatedness and an orientation to healing

Life – cultivating life enhancing practices such as bringing concepts to life through imagination, the creative arts and a strength-based approach to learning

Wisdom – acknowledging complexity and seeking to learn from diverse cultural, social and ecological perspectives

Voice – confident and principled