Maria Montessori's vision of the adolescent holds that "Education should therefore include the two forms of work, manual and intellectual, for the same person, and thus make it understood by practical experience that these two kinds complete each other and are equally essential to a civilized existence." (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 65)
"If puberty is on the physical side a transition from an infantile to an adult state, there is also, on the psychological side, a transition from the child who has to live in a family, to the man who has to live in society . These two needs of the adolescent: for protection during the time of the difficult physical transition, and for an understanding of the society which he is about to enter to play his part as a man. (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 60)
We have 34 students in our High School from Years 7-10 and term 1 has been an incredibly full term with ample opportunity for our students to find their place in the world.
In most recent weeks, we have played host to 28 students and their teachers for Harmony Day. The students came to us from a university outside of Tokyo and the High Schoolers catered their lunch as well as took part in coordinating Harmony Day activities across the school for the afternoon. Despite the challenges this entailed, the students stepped up to prepare, provide service and the all-important clean-up of the event. Because of their exposure to these opportunities in recent years, students have become quite adept at offering this very specific type of hospitality.
There is an element of selflessness which this requires, seen most obviously in Elizabeth Goor's retirement event last week. Again, a small team of students prepared and set-up, cooked, served as well as cleaned up after the event. Many also performed musical items as a tribute to our founding Head of School....and all immediately after attending a 3-day camp.
Camp was spent from Monday to Wednesday at Killalea Reserve, Shellharbour. Again, organised by students, all transport was by foot or public transport, with Monday afternoon finding students on the Minnamurra River kayaking. Tuesday was spent hiking from Gerringong to Kiama along the coastal track with free time on Wednesday around the campsite and river before returning home. Many thanks to Lukas, Carlos and Madi who gave up their time over the three days to accompany students and who have passed on the positive comments from the public they encountered regarding the our students.
Congratulations to all our winners of the Easter raffle, organised by a pair of Stage 4 (Yr 7 and 8) Maths students, Kayla and Asher. The Stage 4 Maths program of study, whilst involving more traditional individual work, also incorporates various aspects of project and mentoring. The students were delighted to raise over $250 as part of the latter with thanks to the Guthrie family for their donation to Wollongong Children's Ward.
Alongside and amidst all of this the intellectual work continues. An ex-student, Tomer Svirsky, now in his final year of a Mechatronics degree, offered to present to the High School group on Waves. Students were captivated and entertained for over an hour. Year 9 and 10 students investigate a number of Elective studies including Woodwork, Photography and Digital Media, Commerce and Philosophy. We also have 2 students studying a language externally. Philosophy has seen us share thoughts on the stories of Philosophy including works by Wittgenstein, Plato, Nagel and the dilemma of the Trolley Problem. Most recently, we are exploring the Nature of Self before embarking on an understanding of the complexities of Ethics next term and the practical implications for our notions of service to the world.
But amongst all of this is much laughter and enjoyment. It is not unusual to hear students singing and laughing during breaks, quite unselfconsciously (most of them) and we as teachers are often taken aback by their offers to help out or somehow assist. We are not deluded to consider that these children are by any means perfect, but they are excellent company, kind to each other and have a well preserved love of learning, qualities which are sure to serve them well in the future as they make and take their place in the world.
High School Coordinator