Green Mountain Community School Brings Future of Australia Education | South Coast Register

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The movements to create a progressive, independent primary school in the northern Shoalhaven are increasing. Green Mountain Community School will be a secular school and will teach holistic nature-based learning that offers experiential and outdoor learning that is child-driven and grounded in nature and community. The goal is to open the new school in North Shoalhaven, with the goal of giving children an education that encompasses their entire ecology – place, community, culture, family, head, heart and hands. Read more: The school hosts the first of its community-based events, an evening of conversation with prominent Finnish educator Professor Pasi Sahlberg, to explore future educational opportunities in Australia, the importance of play in nature and the educational philosophy behind Green Mountain Community School. Professor Sahlberg will be the keynote speaker at the community event at Silos Estate, Berry on Friday, December 3rd. The evening will also serve as a fundraiser for the school. Finland is widely recognized as one of the most progressive and effective education systems in the world, having reversed many of the old learning paradigms, embraced the outdoors, practical discovery learning environments and used highly qualified educators to deliver creative and responsive lessons. Professor Sahlberg is the former Secretary General of Education in Finland, is the author of two books on the history of Finnish educational success and is now Professor of Education at the Gonski Institute at the University of NSW. He will participate in the conversation on how we can empower our young people to be optimistic, creative and empathetic in a rapidly changing world. His latest book, Let the Children Play, is a strong research-based argument for more play in Australian schools and its role in supporting students’ academic and social development. Accompanying him in the conversation is Professor Tonia Gray from Western Sydney University, who has devoted most of her academic career to studying the relationship between humans and nature. She claims that in the last few decades, society has been alienated from the natural world, primarily because of our busy city life and our love affair with technological devices. “Contrary to the belief we Australians are a nature-loving outdoor nation, research suggests we spend less and less time outdoors,” Professor Gray said. “This worrying trend is also becoming more and more apparent in our schools and other educational environments.” Still, the proof is that outdoor play in nature can increase creativity, strengthen mood, lower stress, promote social skills, improve mental acuity, well-being and productivity (see Tonia Gray’s piece Being in nature is good for learning, here’s how to have children off screens and outside in the Conversation). The event will consider what schools, communities and parents can do to provide children with an education that is a hybrid of individualized teaching of basic skills, such as literacy and numeracy skills, exploring the real world through play and nature-based learning environments that promotes students’ holistic growth and well-being. The public event is for parents, community members, potential stakeholders and educators and will consider how we can all do more to address the many educational benefits of spending time in nature. To sign up, go to The Green Mountain School is in the process of submitting a Site Specific Development Application (SSDA) estimated to cost between $ 30,000 and $ 50,000, to apply to the NSW Education Standards Board. Similar independent schools are found in Canberra, Port Macquarie, Bega and Wollongong, and more than 100 parents have registered their interest in joining the local school. The primary school hopes to open in 2023 with about 35 children across kindergarten and grades 1 and 2 and aims to expand from there. Do you have something to say about a problem? Send a letter to the editor. Click here for the South Coast Register, and here for the Ulladulla Times.


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