What is Milkwood’s policy on vaccination?

Immunisation is not compulsory for children attending Milkwood.

All schools are required to maintain records of student immunisation.

Milkwood abides by government directions regarding immunisation and communicates changes to staff and families as directed by government departments.

For current advice on COVID19 vaccination requirements, please visit https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au



Why no digital technology in the Primary Years?


An important underpinning principle of Steiner education is that young children need to communicate and learn deeply without the mediation of complex technology. This ‘unplugged’ experience is seen as crucial for children to develop an uncluttered self-image and self-efficacy.

On the basis of their rich communication skills and ability to produce original creative work, students are well placed to master digital technologies in high school. Many of the skills children learn holistically are transferable to digital technology:

  • How digital technologies work – sequential steps, algorithms, and data recording and analysis.
  • Creative use of digital technologies – activities to meet challenges, communicating ideas, and technological safety.
  • Research and analysis – creating complex patterns and representing that using pictures, charts and diagrams, and understanding how numbers and symbols can represent data.

The 21st century skills children learn in the Steiner primary curriculum are transferable to a digital world – critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and collaboration, for example. What this education avoids is the adverse impact that technology can have on early memory development – research demonstrates that calculators, spell-check and Google search have been implicit in developing skills at the expense of memory.

When students then enter high school education they embrace digital technologies effectively, creatively and ethically.



Does Milkwood do NAPLAN?

It is a requirement for all Australian schools to offer NAPLAN. However, the broad national testing is out of step with the timing of delivery of the Steiner curriculum.

Nevertheless, students at Steiner schools, as compared to students at all Australian schools, typically perform at the same level or better in all NAPLAN areas with the exception of Year 3. NAPLAN measures numeracy and literacy skills which are ahead of our teachings in Year 3, but by Year 5, NAPLAN data shows that Steiner students perform “better” than our mainstream counterparts.

Key highlights of Steiner students NAPLAN results include:

  • In reading, in all years, Steiner students perform significantly better than their mainstream counterparts.
  • In writing, by Year 9 Steiner students are performing as well as their mainstream counterparts.
  • In spelling, at all years, Steiner students perform comparably to their mainstream counterparts and by Year 9 are performing in the top three NAPLAN bands.
  • In grammar and punctuation, at all years, Steiner students perform as well as or better than their mainstream counterparts, with many Steiner students by year 9 performing in the highest three NAPLAN bands.
  • In numeracy, by Years 7 and 9 Steiner students perform as well as or better than their mainstream counterparts, catching up with them from the primary years and then exceeding their performance.

Milkwood must administer NAPLAN in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 like all other schools. However, this data does not give a true indication of your child’s literacy/numeracy ability as it tests them in areas they have not been taught, and does not test them in areas they have been taught. Detailed information about NAPLAN and the process for parents withdrawing children from this testing is distributed to relevant classes’ families, annually. Milkwood is obliged to facilitate this test to any child whose parents have not withdrawn them from the test.

Milkwood assesses and reports authentically on student academic learning against the Achievement Standards of the Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework. This is not measured by NAPLAN, which assesses academic learning against the Australian National Curriculum. For more information about the assessment tools used for your child’s year level at Milkwood, please speak to your child’s teacher or the Principal.



Will my child cope transferring between a Steiner and Mainstream School?

The Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework was developed alongside the National Curriculum, and approved by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Children meeting the outcomes of either curriculum will cover the same basic skills by the time they graduate from high school; the main differences are the staging and sequence of these skills and the teaching methodology.

Feedback received by Milkwood from Middle and High schools who have received our graduates, is that these students arrive with a profound respect for learning. They arrive with high expectations for respectful relationships with their teachers and peers, are self-motivated, creative and capable. The culture of respect for learning and relationships, set in the Primary Years, lays a foundation for a smooth transition to mainstream schools when this is needed. That said, many families choose to continue their schooling journey in Steiner Schools beyond the Primary Years.

Children transferring to Milkwood from Mainstream schools tend to adapt to a different setting quickly and easily, when there is alignment between the values of the school and the home.

Transitions from Steiner Schools to Mainstream schools in the lower grades, particularly between the first and third grades, can potentially be more challenging because of the differences in the timing and approach to the curriculum. These issues can be discussed with the class teacher on an individual basis.



How does Milkwood support children who have disabilities or diverse learning needs?

Milkwood Steiner School delivers a model of classroom teaching that allows each child to reach their full potential, through the richness of the Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework. When additional support is needed, the College of Teachers draws on a deep understanding of Steiner Pedagogy and child development, to collaborate with a Learning Enrichment Specialist to designing Educational Adjustment Plans and interventions, documenting recommendations and referrals, to meet a child’s needs. In practice, this includes programs for 1:1 or small group work to address individualised academic, social, emotional or behavioural goals. For some children these interventions may be temporary, and for others, the support will be ongoing.

Our Learning Enrichment Teacher (LET) has qualifications in inclusive education, disability and trauma-informed practice, and gifted education in the Primary School setting. They work closely with the College of Teachers and families on accessing useful assessment processes, the creation of Educational Adjustment Plans. The goals of the LET are to support creating an environment where each child can be valued for who they are and reach their potential.



Is Milkwood a Religious School?

Steiner schools are grounded in understanding that the human being is comprised of body, soul and spirit, and that spiritual development is critical alongside physical, intellectual and social/emotional development.

Whilst recognising the spiritual dimension of the child, Steiner Education does not include religious instruction. It draws instead on the diverse literary traditions associated with faiths and traditions from around the world to inform the festival celebrations and the rich narrative elements of the broad based, culturally rich curriculum.

Rudolf Steiner’s own spirituality (Anthroposophy) and curriculum (Steiner Education) was formed over 100 years ago in Europe. Our continual task as a Steiner School on Larrakia Country, is to draw on the wisdom of Rudolf Steiner’s work, and adapt this to Larrakia Land in the 21st Century. This is done with consideration to the spiritual needs of children in this time and place, the spiritual impulses of the land, peoples and cultures of our region. At Milkwood, this is achieved through a deep commitment to learning on Larrakia country, by collaborating with Larrakia and other Indigenous Elders, Teachers and Leaders, by celebrating the spiritual and cultural traditions that exist in the families of our community and through a deep connection to nature and the seasons of Australia’s Top End.

Recommended Reading

  • Baldwin, Rahima: You Are Your Child’s First Teacher. Celestial Arts, Berkeley, 1989.
  • Barnes, Henry: An Introduction to Waldorf Education. Mercury Press, Chestnut Ridge, NY, 1985.
  • Childs, Gilbert: Steiner Education in Theory and Practice. Floris Books, Edinburgh, 1991.
  • Davy, Gudrun: Lifeways: Working with Family Questions. Hawthorne Press, Gloucestershire, 1983.
  • Finser, Torin: School as a Journey. Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1994.
  • Gorman, Margaret: Confessions of a Waldorf Parent. Rudolf Steiner College Publications, Fair Oaks, CA, 1990.
  • Harwood, A. C.: Life of a Child. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1979.
  • Querido, René: Creativity in Education: The Waldorf Approach. Dakin, San Francisco, 1982.
  • Spock, Marjorie: Teaching as a Lively Art. Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1978.
  • Steiner, Rudolf: Kingdom of Childhood. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1982.
  • Steiner Education Australiahttp://steinereducation.edu.au/