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Christmas is here, the holidays are ahead of us and a year of highs, challenges and rewards is now behind us.  As always, it has been so rewarding to work with the children and see them enjoy school, thrive and achieve.  We also follow our graduates and ex-students, who had an outstanding year at Motueka High School, including winning three of the five top scholarships.


 
The year started with great celebration when we completed purchase of a beautiful 13.6 hectare farm.  Our dream of being a farm-based school was no longer just a dream.  Everyone participated in the consensus design process which produced a draft master plan for the land.  The site of our new school campus is to be on a low ridge with views of the mountains.  The school buildings will be surrounded by gardens, orchard, play fields, nature area, a pond and a stream.  Steiner education now has a permanent home in the Tasman area and this was celebrated at the land blessing ceremony held in May.


 
The doll-makers group, “The Midnight Elves”, had a stellar year.  They produced and sold more beautiful handcraft than ever before.  They had successful outings to the Kolisko Conference , the Anthroposophical Conference, and for the first time, they took part in the big Christmas Market at Founders Park in Nelson.  They surely have been working the midnight hours again and again, with great success.


 
The Kindergarten had good year with a near capacity roll at times.  Both the opening hours and the weeks per year were increased and this was well received.  The Lower School however has struggled with a low roll which brings social and financial challenges.  Rather than disrupt students by cutting services and staff, the Trustees asked parents to raise the extra funds to get us through the year.  The fundraising effort has been amazing with both the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair being our best ever.  Despite this and other fundraising events, the shortfall was still large, so for the first time the school put out an appeal to all Steiner schools and their parents in New Zealand, who generously donated $7,700 toward our 2016 running costs. 


 
Adding to the financial challenges has been our dispute with Inland Revenue about donation tax credits and GST on donations.  This black cloud has hung over us for the last one and a half years and uses up so much time and energy from our administration staff and trustees.  We are receiving excellent legal advice but the cost of this is a considerable burden.  The dispute is heading to the Taxation Review Authority sometime in 2016.


 
Planning for the new farm campus has been a source of inspiration and delight.  We are working with architects, engineers and other consultants to prepare the resource consent application.  The cost of preparing the application has been covered by donations.  The new campus project is funded entirely by donations and we are so very grateful to the supporters who helped us this far.  They are helping create a very special and unique farm-based Waldorf school that will support children and their families for many generations to come.

 
Merry Christmas from us all.
 

 

Nurturing Children,  Enriching Community,  Honouring the Land

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