I write this letter to address rumours circulating around the possible closure of Kongwak Primary School.
Our daughter is attending this lovely school for her first year as a Prep student; after looking at all schools in the area and finally, tentatively, deciding on something close to home (Glen Alvie) and a little more intimate, we, and she, couldn’t be happier.
In 10 short months, with a small class size (two teachers to around 20 children in two classrooms!), and excellent resources (excursions, specialist programs all shared with Inverloch Primary School), she has developed a sense of belonging, learning from older students, increasing her self-esteem and sense of resilience.
Her first year of school has helped her to establish a connection to the community and to the natural world (with access to a worm farm, chooks and a kitchen garden), she is thriving in a social structure that correlates with that of a family; in which the entire school can be found playing a game of tiggy or hide and seek at lunchtime, where quarrels are dealt with quickly and readily, mistakes are made and forgiven, where the older children guide and indulge the youngest, and develop their leadership skills in doing so. Academically, she is nurtured and thriving. As parents, we share informal, friendly relationships with her teachers and have felt welcomed and encouraged to be involved in her learning.
Kongwak Primary School isn’t closing, but it does need more enrolments, and the problem around this is that of community perception.
It’s not a Steiner school, although it’s principles of nurturing early childhood development are similar, and it’s not just for farm kids, although some families have attended this school for generations, creating a sense of history and continuity that can’t be recreated elsewhere.
Kongwak Primary School nurtures the students that might be falling behind, and lifts up and encourages those that are flourishing.
It is nestled amongst gum trees in Kongwak’s ‘Valley of Peace’, and while you might have to stop for cattle crossing on the way, there are no traffic jams here!
It is a true country school, and it would be sad to see its future put at risk, just because the wider community has forgotten it’s there.
So, if you’re looking for a small school with the same curriculum as a large one, a unique learning experience in which the teachers have the benefits of extra time and attention to get to know your child and their academic and social needs, please consider Kongwak Primary School. We don’t regret our decision!
Sharon Churchill, Glen Alvie.