Our School

 

During 1987, a number of meetings were held in Ballarat and Bendigo and several smaller towns in between, bringing together people interested in Steiner education. Two important decisions ultimately arose from these meetings; to establish a Steiner school in the Castlemaine area and to begin with a kindergarten – truly a ‘children’s garden’ which would be the gateway to the school. With hard work and a strong commitment, this shared vision was brought to fruition.

The Castlemaine Steiner Kindergarten began life in 1988 as ‘White Gums’ in White Gum Road, Barkers Creek, in a studio on the property of one of the children and this then led to the development of the school. The school and kindergarten then moved to The Penny School (a National Trust classified, old school building in Maldon) and in 1996 the school moved to the specially designed present-day school and kindergarten in Muckleford, on the outskirts of Castlemaine.

Eighteen acres of land was purchased in 1995, just seven kilometres from the historic town of Castlemaine from which our school takes its name. The land is flat, and at the time of purchase was a sheep paddock and very undernourished. Apart from a few mature trees, the land was without anything more than a bit of grass and while there was one dam on the property, it was unfortunately salt affected.

Adopting a permaculture design from David Holmgren (one of our past parents), sound bio-dynamic methods and with generous input from parents and friends, the transformation of the land has been close to miraculous. Well in excess of 2000 trees have been planted and tree-planting continues to be an integral part of the development of our grounds.

We were able to commence the first of our buildings in 1995 with the assistance of a Commonwealth Government grant. The school is architect-designed by Des Cullen, an ex-parent of the school, and the classrooms and the Multi-Purpose room are constructed of rammed earth.

Our parent community took on the building of the Kindergarten, which opened in 1996. This distinctive building was designed by Bow Thompson, a parent at the school, who also oversaw its construction. (Government grants are not available to build kindergartens). It was a wonderful community effort with fundraising and mud-brick making as well as actual construction. The kindergarten has its own beautiful children’s garden and play area including sandpit, mudpit, hill, flow-form, and chooks.

In 2005 the school extended to Class 8. Students make a very successful transition to any of the local secondary schools, as they are well motivated and strong students across all curriculum disciplines. In 2006, Castlemaine Secondary College commenced a Years 9 and 10 Steiner Stream. Most of our students will move confidently into this senior setting.

The Castlemaine Steiner School currently has an enrolment of 185 students, with a further 22 children in the Kindergarten and up to 50 new families in Ring-a-Rosie and Playgroup. We continue to experience strong future enrolments. Applications for a place should be lodged as soon as possible.