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Welcome to Bilya Bardip (River Stories), Helena River Steiner School's parent, caregiver and community newsletter. We warmly invite you to read on and keep up to date with news, important information and upcoming events at our school.

Kaya Parents and Caregivers,

Earlier this week we received some very good news that as of Term 2 parents and community are able to attend assemblies, parent teacher meetings, school events, study groups, craft groups etc on school grounds. We so look forward to partnering with you face-to-face in your child’s schooling experience again. At this stage the current mask requirements will still apply.

The high school has immensely enjoyed its time at Swan Valley Adventure Centre (SVAC) this term -more on that below. However we are busily preparing Hazelmere and we hope it will be ready for the start of Term 2. We shall keep you informed.

Blessings on our school,
Tanami Magnus


Easter in Djeran Festival - Thu 7 April: CANCELLED AT THIS STAGE
Students last day of Term 1 - Thu 7 April

(Full 2022 Year Planner on our website)
Click here to see the Term 1 calendar


We have had a truly fantastic Term 1 located at the Swan Valley Adventure Centre in Middle Swan, while waiting for our Hazelmere renovations to be finished.

The Term One Middle School program was designed to scaffold the students' readiness to undertake their threshold-experience camp, which we unfortunately had to postpone and will now happen in Term 3.

Regardless, we continued with our integrated curriculum and camp preparation. The Main Lessons were designed around supporting the students' experience of paddling up the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River) to arrive at the junction of the Helena River (known to Noongar people as Yellalonga Country), observing the riverbanks from the perspective of both the original inhabitants who would no doubt have been observing the newcomers, and the colonial settlers experiencing the wonder of the Derbal Yerrigan and its adjoining lands. Excursions to the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the Shipwreck and Maritime museums brought a sense of touch and 'relationship' to the Main Lessons' content. 

Class 7 Main Lessons included a two-week identity orientation relevant to the 13-year-old stage of development and then a three-week study of The Rabbits, by Shaun Tan. After 'This Ancient Land' Geography Main Lesson, integrating Indigenous Societies and Civilisations and Voyages of Discovery. Class 8 started the term with the Money and Society Main Lesson, followed by the Art of Communication English Main Lesson. They will finish the term studying "The Earth", to round out the progression of Main Lessons relating to and reflecting not only the first interactions between Aboriginal peoples and colonial settlers and the cultural conflicts, but also the bartering and trade routes long established before settlement.

Class 9's first Main Lesson was Geology, The Forces that Shaped the Earth and they only had to saunter down to the banks of the nearby Derbal Yerrigan to observe first hand the realities of their studies. After a Statistics and Probability maths Main Lesson (ML), they finished the term looking at Ecosystems and Human Culture, a Geography ML particularly relevant to the Class 9 'rebuild' as their powers of thought and judgement awaken and their youthful powers strengthen as they discuss real social and world concerns.

The School's implementation of the Office 365 IT platform and acquisition of tablet devices enhanced the Class 8 and 9 IT program, which was well balanced by the experience, skill and expertise of our new music teacher, Yeşim Atila. Yeşim is building a strong music program foundation producing excellent musicality with all classes. 

Aunty Cindy runs the Noongar language and culture program on Wednesdays and, being at the Campus all day on Wednesday, is developing strong relationships with the students - an essential component for a Noongar language course. Hollie and Carol have been working diligently with the students on individual handcraft pieces relating to the Derbal Yerrigan environment and the beautiful work being produced will ultimately be combined as a wall hanging to display at Hazelmere. And Mr Matt has delighted in laying the first foundations of the School's High School Art Program.

The outstanding features of the Term have been the Outdoor Education excursions - led by our new Physical Education teacher Scott - which we were lucky enough to do in and around the Swan Valley Adventure Centre and the beautiful stretch of river, a stone's throw away. As we finish our Term at SVAC (as we fondly refer to it) we have watched these young people, who started only nine weeks ago, face their fears in the swimming pool with Resuscitation and Rescue sessions with the Royal Life Saving Society; seeming to fly through the air on the High Ropes course that frightened some of them, and all of the attending teachers; and the two kayaking sessions where fears and phobias met the sheer will of the students to break through those fears, to show the incredible bond of support offered to each other as some upended and spent inordinate amounts of time in the water rather than on it, and the happy exhaustion at the end as they worked together to pull the kayaks out of the water and get packed onto the trailer! 

We are looking forward to our Easter in Djeran festival next week and the news that we may well be moving to Hazelmere for Term 2; fingers crossed!



Why do Steiner schools discourage television for younger children?

The value of television viewing and computer use for young children is being questioned by many people who are aware of the needs of young children.  Apart from the questionable content and the reliance of the sense of sight in isolation from the other senses, primary school-aged children need movement and play for healthy growth.  Every minute spent before a screen is a minute lost in creative activity.
Steiner Schools foster the children’s imaginative capabilities. For this reason, the bulk of our teaching is through stories of one kind or another and the children have to call on their imagination to fill out the stories. Television and computer images are ready-made and work against what we strive to achieve at school.

Why don’t Steiner Primary Schools have computers?

Steiner primary schools generally do not support the use of computers in educating young children.  Computers are part of the high school curriculum.  Material learned through computers arrives purely as information. Knowledge gained through direct personal experience and integrated into a broader understanding of life and the world, is considered more vital than technology based on educational needs.
Failure to Connect: How Computers Affect Our Children’s Minds for Better and Worse by Jane Healy examines the subject in greater detail.

Why do Steiner schools discourage video games?

Steiner school are very conscious of the consciousness development of children. Steiner teachers are very deliberate in being someone who models healthy relationships with other people, be they adults or children. We are very deliberately fostering the healthy development of human relationships between children and also children with adults. 
With the rise in the use of computer games and video games in the home, we are concurrently seeing an increase in unhealthy behavior between children at school. Particularly during the free play times when the activity is not structured by the teacher. 
The video game industry is a multi-billion $ industry. As the industry rapidly expands with new gaming systems and updated technology, there has been stiff competition to create the most realistic and interactive games. From war games to car thefts, many of these games include graphic acts of violence. And many of these games are being played by children.

Some of the most popular games include violent images of people or animals being killed. Sexual exploitation, drug use, and criminal behavior are also depicted frequently. While some parents claim video games have no effect on their child, many experts warn about the harmful effects violent games can have on kids.

What the Research Says

Studies have shown that violent video games can impact a child’s well-being and behavior: 

In a 2016 statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) acknowledged that it is nearly impossible to prevent children from witnessing any type of media violence. And they report that it's imperative for parents to be proactive about how media violence impacts children.

Their statement in part states, "research shows that without guidance or controls it has the power to make children more aggressive, violent and fearful." We are certainly seeing a correlation between the playing of games such as Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto and the adverse effect on children’s behaviour, which strongly suggest that these games are not appropriate for the healthy development of children.

Many parents are not aware that these games are violent and can have highly inappropriate content as they are often marketed as something different to what they are. 

As parents, our children and teenagers need us to put limits on such things as video games and screen time. And this can be difficult to wind back once you have allowed them to use devices. But as adults, we are responsible for their healthy development and it is our responsibility to scaffold the limits until they are adults and are able to do this for themselves. 
If you are struggling with setting limits or would just like some support as a parent, with setting limits or just with everyday Rhythm, there are many resources available to support you.
Here are two resources I highly recommend:

Lou Harvey-Zahra is a mother to two wonderful grown-children, she is a teacher (Primary, Rudolf Steiner, Special Needs) with 25 years experience, a popular parenting author with seven books,  (including the Steiner bestseller ‘Happy Child, Happy Home’ and ‘Creative Discipline, Connected Family’). Lou also facilitates parenting talks worldwide each year (UK, USA and Australia). She presents talks and workshops in schools, libraries and for organisations, as well as teacher development. She also presents parenting online courses and workshops. She also happens to be coming to Perth next term and we will be hosting a parent night where you will be able to meet her and ask all your questions.

In the mean time have a look at her website for more information 
About Lou – Happy Child, Happy Home (
Melanie Deefholts from Developing the Self - Developing the World has been supporting parents and teachers in various schools through adult education for the past 12 years. She specializes in understanding child development through observations of daily life and how to work with this in a living way within the home and the classroom.  Melanie works with parents as well as teachers in private and group education and also works directly with young people as a facilitator of Healing the Impact of Technology as well as Healthy Relationships with the Self and Others.
 Healing the impact of Technology — Developing the Self - Developing the World

If anyone wishes to discuss any of this, my door is always open and you are welcome to come and meet with me. These can be difficult topics to navigate but together we can all support each other in creating healthy learning and growing environments for our children.
I look forward to seeing you all at the school gate. 

Deborah Neale
Primary Education Coordinator

We hope you enjoy learning about what our students have been up to, as much as we enjoy sharing it with you!
In Term 1, kindness is a big focus in Kindy. One of our favourite morning verses is :-
Strong hands have I,
For work and for play.
Kind hands have I,
For my friends all day.
We speak kindly to each other, we use gentle and kind hands when we play, and we show kindness by helping and including others. We see acts of kindness in Kindy every day. Developing kindness helps our children become thoughtful, caring, and tolerant humans. On March 21st, we observed that Harmony Day is a reminder to all people around the world to be kind to one another. The children made small people from bees wax, arranging them in a circle in an image of holding hands around the world. We noted that the wax people were all a little different from each other, and that was perfectly fine.
In the garden, the trees have been popular this term. There is a lot of negotiation of who is going up, and who is coming down, and how many the tree can support at one time. The orange tree is full of fat green oranges. They look a lot like a toy that would be fun to throw and roll. The trick will be keeping them on the branches long enough to see them ripen! The olive tree is another favourite to climb. It has been a rocket and a nest and a pirate ship from which you can jump off into the sea (sandpit). The olives have grown large, and some are starting to turn a deep purple. We are beginning to collect the ones that fall, ready to cure. We need to be quick, as the ants are devouring any that are left behind.
We hope everyone is enjoying the tail end of Bunuru as much as we are.
Sarah and Annie

apeltree is a new business venture which is being launched by a local Steiner mum. Bec Apel was over the highly processed samey-same lunchbox sized, children's food being offered by established supermarket chains. Bec saw the need for a school food provider, who was able to offer a nutritional, tasty food experience for our kids. Introducing... apeltree!

Launching Tuesday 26 April
- Online Ordering
- Seasonal Menu
- Food Delivered by 10.45am (Recess)
  • Artistic Activities by Nicole - School Holiday 
  • Parenting Programs
  • Introduction to Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)
  • Rudolf Steiner College Perth
We received a very touching message from the Association of Development of Steiner's Pedagogy in Warsaw, Poland. They shared with us the situation in Poland at the moment and how they have been affected in their quest to support Ukrainian families who are fleeing Russia.

They are reaching out to our community to ask for support, to enable them to further assist Ukrainian families. 

You can read the full message here, which includes details on how to donate.



The Secondary Assistance Scheme is available to parents/guardians with children enrolled in secondary schooling who hold an eligible concession card.  

The Secondary Assistance Scheme comprises of an Education Program Allowance, which is paid to the school, and a Clothing Allowance that is paid to the parent.  

Applications are due by the end of this Term. For more information click here, and contact HRSS Reception if you wish to make an application.



Edstart is an organisation which provides families with flexible payment plans to help them manage their education costs. They have payment plans designed to fit around family budgets.

The Edstart brochure and payments plans can be found on our website. 

Helena River Steiner School
39 Spring Park Road, Midland WA 6056
T: 08 9374 0230

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