Headwaters Academy will be offering free tuition at their Grey Highlands/Town of Blue Mountains campus in late January/early February.
“We will be opening our doors for Grades 1-3 to experience the Headwaters difference,” explained Founder Mark Brown. “A Headwaters education is not simply ‘fun in the woods’, nor is it anything like a traditional school. Our students are, on average, two grade levels ahead of their peers but also receive twice the amount of exercise and outdoor time as their peers in the same school day. We want to show everyone how we can achieve these two seemingly different things in one school.”
Headwaters, established in 2017, started at the Elephant Thoughts Kimbercote location before moving to a larger site near Markdale. They are moving yet again (and for the last time said Brown) to a new site backing on to the Kolapore Wilderness area. This will provide the school with access to an almost limitless outdoor opportunity while allowing for even more hands-on education. One of the things that both staff and students are excited about is an on-site shop as well as the kitchen area within the school.
“We teach through the lens of practise and experience,” said Brown. “We refuse to have a student go through elementary school without being able to diagnose a small engine failure, cook a meal, set a budget, and plant a garden.”
The free program for Grades 1-3 is in its final planning stages and will be 2-4 weeks in length, with a note provided from Headwaters to the child’s ‘regular’ school so that they know the children are, indeed, at school and learning. A few local donors have approached the school and Brown hopes that with a donor or two more at least one of the short term students will be then be offered a chance to stay through the rest of the school year.
Additionally, the school is operating a one-day-a-week program on Thursdays throughout the year, at a cost of $75/day, for local students.
“We recognize that not every child can afford a Headwaters education, sadly, as we are not government funded our small class sizes and experiential program has significant costs. However, we have always tried to be a private school with a public purpose – we will be offering our experience to students who want to to try us out for one day a week, with a significant outdoor lean to that day, as a ‘value added’ piece of their regular education.”
Full details will be posted to the school’s Facebook page in the near future.