Northern NSW/Queensland Meeting Report 19th March 2016

For the large Region that stretches from Coffs Harbour, (Mid north coast NSW) to Armidale (North western NSW) to Cairns (North Queensland), hosted by the Cape Byron Steiner School, Byron Bay NSW.

There were 34 enthusiastic participants, and the day was a wonderful opportunity for meeting to discuss pertinent issues, enjoy an engaging and active workshop presented by Sandra Frain, and to renew our relationships with our colleagues. There were many familiar faces, and some very welcome new faces, representing kindergartens, preschools, playgroups, family day care, parents and students.

We began the day with a meeting for members of the association to hear, discuss, and give feedback to, the proposed changes to the constitution of the Association for Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education (AARSECE). These changes have been carefully developed and worked on by the committee (the representatives for each region of the association in Australia) over the last two years.

At the Special General Meeting of the Association, prior to the Annual General meeting held at the Vital Years Conference in Tasmania in July, these changes were voted on and accepted by the members of the Association.

-Marilou Araullo Julie McVeigh

Regional Meeting report by Simon McLean- member of North Coast Region

Dynamism: 1. Great energy, force or power; vigour. 2. Any of various theories or philosophical systems that seek to explain phenomena of nature by the action of force. (Retrieved from

Everyone gathered for the main presentation and workshop which was ‘outdoor work and play’ by Sandra Frain. Before the hands-on work we were treated to an inspiring talk by Sandra on the benefits of creating and utilising bio-dynamic composting with children in our outdoor environments. Sandra’s dynamism will have you running back to your gardens and outdoor playgrounds at great speed to eagerly dive head-first into the mud and muck!

The roles played by the four elemental realms of earth, air, water and fire when entering into this partnership with mother nature to create compost were vividly brought to life by Sandra, and this word (and feeling of) dynamism became the central theme of the day. The changing of the season into autumn and the mood of decay experienced through natural cycles seemed the perfect time to be considering the importance of enabling young children to connect with the forces of nature. For children who have not had a lot of opportunity to get their hands into the earth, experience the potent smells of decomposing matter, or witness first-hand, natural processes occurring in the garden, composting is a wonderful way of engaging children with the outdoors.

The all-important nurturing of the senses is so beneficial for young children. There is nothing intellectual about getting dirt under fingernail’s, it is a soul experience that can be nourishing, satisfying and even healing for children (and adults) on a deep level. With these thoughts in mind we enthusiastically made our way to the kindergarten playground where we participated in making two preparations – “physics in a bucket” as described by Sandra.

In one copper pot we stirred horn silica into water (501) for the air, and in the other, horn manure (500) for the earth. After this we began “organising” a large compost pile, alternating wet and dry materials beginning with sticks and branches, then layering decomposing plant and vegetable matter (kindly contributed by the kindergarten families), leaves, a variety of animal manures, lime and plenty of water. The pile was completed by covering the “body” of it with hay, making several deep holes in places which represented various organs and depositing golf-ball sized measures into them of yarrow (502), chamomile (503), nettle (504), oakbark (505), and dandelion (506).

The following week the kindergarten children stirred a valerian (507) preparation in a bucket and added it to the pile. As a parent of a child currently attending the school, to witness approximately 30 colleagues performing this task with such a gesture of love and care was moving in a powerful way that is hard to describe.

The outdoor workshop concluded by everyone taking a cup and choosing either the 500 or 501 liquid preparation to spread about the school’s air, gardens and grounds.

After lunch we gathered again for the final session of the day providing an opportunity to share examples of working outside with children that had made a significant impact. The afternoon surprisingly turned into an impromptu day-spa whereby foot baths and hand massages with essential oils were offered and received willingly by all attending.

I am sure that most would agree that catching up with friends and former colleagues, and the opportunity to meet new like-minded allies at these regional meetings is just as enjoyable and beneficial to our work as the workshops themselves. The regional meetings are vital in the way that they connect us all, sometimes from out-of-the-way-places in our

states, to remind each other that we are not alone in the ways we work with young children. There is much knowledge, experience and wisdom to share, and we always have a wonderful time when we do get together. So, thank you to Sandra and the kindergarten staff from Cape Byron for hosting such an enjoyable, nourishing and inspiring day.

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Regional Meeting of the Australian Steiner Early Childhood Association

The Regional Meeting for the Australian Association for Rudolf Steiner Early Childhood Education was held on Saturday 19h March 2016,  at Cape Byron Steiner School. Presenter Sandra Frain brought the room of around 30 participants a creative, informative and humorous workshop on preparing a biodynamic compost and liquid preparations. Through story, song and poetry, Sandra wove in the impulses of the animal world, the plant kingdom and the forces of the cosmos and the role they play in the creation of the beautiful, rich, living compost.

As parents of children attending CBRSS, and early childhood educators working at Periwinkle Preschool, it was great to be actively participating in making a practical contribution to the School. The children will benefit from the fruits of our enthusiastic work as they can add preps to the soil and participate in the unveiling of the compost and spreading it around the vegetable gardens. We all felt a connection with the land around the school and each other as we worked together to spread the biodynamic liquid preparations  (500 and 501) around the Kindergarten. It was refreshing to be encouraged to really get dirty, and feel the mud and earth below us.

Sandra’s enthusiasm during the workshop was totally infectious. We laughed as we worked together, we sang and we shared stories and experiences as a group. Not only did we learn ways to nurture and honour the earth around us, we finished the day nurturing and honouring each other with lemon foot baths and hand/foot massages with Anthroposophically prepared sphagni moss lotions.

All the staff from our Preschool felt informed and nourished by Sandra’s work and play. Many thanks to Sandra Frain and the Kindergarten staff at Cape Byron for a great regional meeting.

Kellie Dean, Bess Pegram Jones, Simon McLean, and Cynthia Harris.