This year Lorien Novalis School for Rudolf Steiner Education is celebrating 50 years of providing quality education to students in the Hills District.
The school was established on September 13 1971 in a house in Pymble. In 1973 the School moved to Old Northern Road near Round Corner. Over the years neighbouring properties have been acquired, extending the School’s beautiful grounds to 16 acres.
Lorien Novalis was founded by Steiner teachers who were seeking to forge a new way in education, a method that adopted a deep understanding of human development and the environment.
This place conscious, innovative approach to learning is now recognised as a methodology that includes place as a silent teacher. It is this sensitivity to the environment that parents experience when enrolling at Lorien Novalis. Often in response to their first impressions, some refer to the atmosphere to the school grounds as ‘a positive energy’, ‘a buzz’, ‘beautiful vibe’ and much more.
While creating an aesthetic environment, the teachers were also aware of the need to nourish the children’s inner landscape, stimulating their imagination through the agency of the arts. It has become part of Lorien’s teaching practice to draw images for stories and lesson content from the local environment. Hundreds of original stories, songs and plays have been and are continuing to be written and performed, engaging children directly to their learning, with a deep connection to place.
When asking a past student who is now a Commander with Air Services Australia what made this contented productivity, he answered:
From the beginning, the school grounds were cultivated as imaginative havens where we could experience a variety of environments: the creek, bushland, open fields, permaculture garden. We were allowed to climb trees, and be adventurous. The lessons were related to the local environment and as we grew older, we would go on extended trips and camps and explore the places we were studying. These trips are some of the best memories I have of going to school.
Direct experience of place: running through the bush, and climbing trees in clear air,– develop body coordination skills that allow children to feel strong and comfortable in their bodies. Fine motor skills (sewing, drawing, painting, modelling, knitting, hammering, sawing, forging and weaving) enhances the bodily experience. This in turn leads to subtlety in thinking and resilience and innovation in action.
A former Lorien pupil remarked:
I loved being at school. The holidays were boring. I couldn’t wait to get back to the creek and the trees. I also loved the craft. I remember when we wove baskets, crocheted rainbow blankets and made our Winter Festival candles.
This nexus of experiential learning and art education has developed self-assured students comfortable with their identity. Often comments shared about Steiner graduates are they are confident in a self-assured way and are socially at ease.
From the outset, Lorien Novalis as a Steiner School has provided a balanced ‘Head, Heart, Hands’ approach to learning ensuring an ‘Education for Well-being’. If you want to find out more and seek an education that is focused on the individual, please contact the school and enquire about what Steiner education can offer your child.
Our 50th celebration scheduled for 11th September has been postponed due to extended Covid restrictions. We will notify the community with a revised date once regulations are lifted.