Kristy Barry is the inaugural kindergarten teacher at Port Macquarie Steiner School

New Port Macquarie Steiner School kindergarten school teacher Kristy Barry (left) takes a break with volunteers planting trees in the new school’s playground as future pupil Olive Ayriss concentrates on her apple.
New Port Macquarie Steiner School kindergarten school teacher Kristy Barry (left) takes a break with volunteers planting trees in the new school’s playground as future pupil Olive Ayriss concentrates on her apple.

Many years’ experience and a love of the work are among the many resources Port Macquarie Steiner School’s new teacher Kristy Barry brings to the role.

Miss Barry, a local resident who recently returned from a year teaching at a Steiner school in England, will be the inaugural kindergarten teacher at the new Port Macquarie school.

The Port Macquarie Steiner School will open in 2018 in a centrally located hall in Table Street.

Miss Barry said she became involved in Steiner education as a new mum when seeking out the best possible early education for her son Cedar.

It mattered a lot who she would be handing her son over to and, after researching her options, she decided it had to be a Steiner school because “the Steiner community is so supportive and creative and warm”.

Miss Barry, when her son was six months old, started studying to become a Steiner teacher, beginning with a Diploma of Education at the University of Newcastle.

I love working in Steiner Schools. I love the community, love the parents, the children are just a blessing. I get to observe these children grow and play and it really is very special.

Kristy Barry

After qualifying, Miss Barry obtained a position as a kindergarten teacher at the Manning River Steiner School in Taree where Cedar attended preschool while she worked nearby.

Miss Barry later studied Steiner education in Sydney and taught kindergarten at the highly regarded Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School.

Steiner or Waldorf education is based on the insights of Austrian-born philosopher, scientist, artist and educator Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925).

It aims to develop the physical, emotional and intellectual capabilities of the developing child through an age-appropriate curriculum in a healthy and balanced manner.

Miss Barry believes there are many reasons why parents send their children to Steiner schools.

 “It is a very whole-child centred approach to education, where the individual in the group is really seen,” she said.

Port Macquarie Steiner School new kindergarten teacher Kristy Barry

Port Macquarie Steiner School new kindergarten teacher Kristy Barry

“It is a very creative way of reaching the same outcomes that other schools will reach but it uses very creative ways to have that whole-body integrated learning.

“So we do a lot through the creative arts, through movement and through games.”

In the Steiner education system the kindergarten year is really “a transition between home and a schooling institution, so it’s a very nurturing and protective environment so the children live into very safe and predictable rhythms through the week”.

When children move on from kindergarten to regular classes in Steiner schools they are taught by a “class teacher who works with them consistently for their whole class journey, usually from class one to class six and the children then foster a very deep relationship with that teacher, who comes to know their strengths and areas where support is most needed – and that can be anything from academic, social, emotional, physical, whatever and the teacher is then really able to know that child and their family really well and support each child uniquely.”

When asked whether that decision 10 years ago to become involved in Steiner education was the right one, Miss Barry said: “Yes, it’s changed my life completely.

“I love working in Steiner Schools.

“I love the community, love the parents, the children are just a blessing. I get to observe these children grow and play and it really is very special.”

Miss Barry will address an information night, which begins at 7.30pm on December 13, at the hall at 8 Table Street.

For more information on the new school contact admin@portmacquariesteiner.org.au