The benefit of the Steiner approach at Ghilgai

Outdoor music making at Ghilgai.

Three months ago I stood in the dark, rugged up against the cold.

Around me was a circle of people – parents and children – holding aloft fantastically crafted lanterns. Voices were raised in song and the music drifted above us into the dark sky.

I felt that I was part of something slightly larger than just this group of people. There was a sense of community, shared experience and a stillness that is rare in these days of frantic pace and movement.

This event was a Winter Solstice celebration held at Ghilgai Steiner School. I have attended every solstice celebration for the past nine years, from when my eldest daughter was in kindergarten to now attending with my youngest who is in Grade 4.

This event, however, also brings back earlier memories from when I was a child attending Ghilgai, and it reinforces for me why I made the same educational choice for my children.

Steiner education at Ghilgai fosters patience, care and attention to detail. It encourages community compassion and individual responsibility.

I know I benefited from an education that encouraged depth of understanding over superficial breadth and afforded me the time to gain interest in topics and develop my intrinsic curiosity.

I see this love of learning in my daughters and a curiosity about the world around them that has continued into mainstream high school.

As a mainstream high school teacher myself, I can rail in the staffroom about the apathy of ‘kids these days’, but perhaps this is a natural reaction to an education system that is too fast paced with an agenda of ‘getting done’ or ‘getting through’ content rather than taking the time to meander, explore and become interested. A tendency for students to drag their feet is probably a natural response to this and to our fast-paced culture.

I decided to educate my children at Ghilgai because I witnessed firsthand the benefit of the Steiner approach of educating the whole person – head, heart and hands – and of taking the time to do this in a way that is child-centred and community-focused.

Each day I see the benefits of this choice for my children in both their compassion for others and their curiosity about the world. I am grateful that I, and my children, had the opportunity to attend Ghilgai Steiner School as I think it has better prepared us for our current world.

– Krisha Clarke, Ghilgai parent and secondary school teacher