It is a pleasure to be reporting on a school that is in good heart and focused on what is in the best interest of the children. A year ago the picture was not as rosy with a declining roll and a looming financial problem. 2016 so far appears to be a year of growth and recovery, with our Lower School planning centering on meeting our increasing student numbers.
This time last year we were considering the awful possibility of cutting staff and services to reduce costs. This move would have disrupted students and accelerated the falling roll. Instead, our trustees asked the community to step up their fundraising to fill the financial hole. This challenge fell to a reduced parent body, together with our loyal supporters, who stepped up to the task with extra donations plus running our best ever Spring Fair. We raised money with an on-line Give-a- Little campaign and several local events. Income from international student fees was above forecast and we deferred expenditure on the kindergarten and farm and transferring this money to the lower school. Altogether we managed to maintain our quality educational service and balance the budget for the year.
The Give-a- Little campaign raised $7500 and this generosity from Steiner parents and schools around New Zealand was a major boost to our morale. When in need our nationwide family came to help.
Term one of 2016 saw the Lower School roll increase to 52, a comfortable number for student dynamics and good student ratios for three class teachers. The new families have brought fresh energy, enthusiasm and ideas and hail from our local region as well as from Wanaka to Waiheke. We have also experienced an increase in volunteer help both in the classroom and around the school from overseas visitors and parents. This offers our students unique learning opportunities and support as well as some neglected maintenance being accomplished. Visiting professionals with Waldorf backgrounds continue to come and offer parent and teacher education and extra curriculum support. Term one was also notable for the fantastic weather, warm and sunny almost every day, enabling weekly visits to the farm for outdoor land-based activities.
Our main public event for term one is the Autumn Fair and this year was one of the best. As always the focus is on fun for the children and this attracts many families. We had a large crowd, which included our regulars and new families checking out the school, great weather and a boost to the school finances.
Students and teachers are currently enjoying the mid-winter school holidays.