Midland: Helena River Steiner School plans to develop into full primary school gets a push

Tanami Magnus-Miheasen with Henry Summerscales, Charlotte O'Brien, Zakhmoss Magnus-
Miheasen and Ayaan Ahmed. Picture: Bruce Hunt d472888
School founder Tanami Magnus-Miheasen with students. Picture: Bruce Hunt d472888
Tanami Magnus-Miheasen with Henry Summerscales, Charlotte O'Brien, Zakhmoss Magnus- Miheasen and Ayaan Ahmed. Picture: Bruce Hunt d472888 School founder Tanami Magnus-Miheasen with students. Picture: Bruce Hunt d472888

A PUSH by parents for a Midland education centre to offer primary education has fast-tracked plans for it to develop into a full primary school with a high school to potentially follow.

Helena River Steiner School principal Tanami Magnus-Miheasen said they began by running playgroups from St Matthews Parish Hall in Guildford in 2013 before opening its kindergarten.

“This piqued the interest of many people with young children and then last year we were ready to take on the development of the kindergarten,” Ms Magnus-Miheasen said.

“We had a premises and we had a community of families who really wanted a Steiner education for their children, plus people who were just seeking something different and gentler than the mainstream system for early childhood, which is often a one-size-fits-all approach.

“When parents find out we focus on the ‘whole child’ it is a big relief to them.”

Ms Magnus-Miheasen said they had thought it would be a few more years before they would begin to offer primary education, but several people had came to them this year requesting it now.

“We intend to develop into a full primary school over the next few years and we intend also to offer a Steiner/International Baccalaureate high school in time also,” Ms Magnus-Miheasen said.

“We are truly building from the ground up – so far, without any funding, we have built playgrounds, buildings and gardens, and gathered a team of experienced, deeply committed teachers.

“We hope to be a registered school next year and once we receive funding, we will have far more ability to expand.”

The Spring Park Road school is associated with a network of Steiner schools throughout WA and Australia with a Steiner education aiming to bring children what they need, at the right time, with a balance of arts, academics, physical and social learning.

The school provides the accredited Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework, which is a different educational model to the WA or national curriculum.

It currently offers a mixed-age kindergarten (ages three to six), a single mixed-age primary class (ages seven to 10) and operate several playgroups a week (ages up to three years).

Ms Magnus-Miheasen said they had 40 families with them.

“We have students who have been in other educational settings but just haven’t been able to reach their full potential in that environment,” she said.

“Often parents are aware that their child is becoming anxious, depressed or cynical or are feeling their child’s creativity or individuality is being stymied.

“New enrolments often come through word-of-mouth and as Steiner schools are steeped in the creative arts and are known for their seasonal festivals, we often have art/ craft workshops and seasonal activities open to the public, which a great way for people to have a taste of the Steiner approach.”

She said the three other Steiner schools in Perth all had waitlists to enrol so people were glad their children could have a Steiner education elsewhere.

“Midland, for all its considerable population and expected growth, does not have a primary school. The surrounding government schools are all bursting at the seams,” Ms Magnus-Miheasen said.

“A primary school is certainly needed in Midland and also many families want a smaller, more personal school community to be a part of.

“We have so much support from parents, taking on gardening, book-keeping, painting, finding, fixing, fundraising, you name it; and highly qualified dedicated teachers who work from pure love and little pay because they believe passionately about what we are all working towards.”

For more, visit riverblossom.com.au.