By Rowan Forster
A radical primary school with a “creative” curriculum that allows students to practice self-discipline has been given the go-ahead by Cardinia Shire – but it won’t be around for long.
The School of Creative Education this week was issued a planning permit to operate at 6 Rainy Hill Road, despite safety fears about the adjoining four-way cross section dirt road.
However, councillors expressed their disappointment at the school’s desire to use the Cockatoo site as a “temporary premises” until they find something more suitable.
“It’s a shame because they’re not even looking in our shire for their permanent residency,” Cr Leticia Wilmot said.
“It’s only planning to be there for three years.
“Their intention is to have a much bigger property than this with farming land, so children can learn about sustainable living.”
It is believed the school wants to relocate to a block as large as 50 acres.
The Rain Hill Road site was formerly occupied by the Montessori School, which opened in 1983 and eventually closed in 2014.
It has been unoccupied since.
The School of Creative Education currently operates the Farm School for pre-school aged children and The Tribe for home-schoolers.
It is expected the primary school will open in 2019.
Founder Jane Macdonald was inspired to spearhead the unorthodox learning approach after her own experiences growing up.
“My teachers said I was rebellious, distracted, disorganised, and unmotivated – and they were right.
“I was one of those kids who needed her hands on things.
“We’re offering these creative programs because too many childrens’ lights go out during their education – and there’s no need for that.
“Too many grow up to have little idea about who they are, what they are capable of, and how they add value to the world around them.”
Under conditions imposed by council, the school is only permitted to have 50 students on site.
Cr Jeff Springfield added an additional condition to the approval – that the council reviews current maintenance and safety requirements on the four-way cross section, and undertakes a traffic count in several months.
“The community has been overwhelmingly supportive, but the only concerns have been with the safety and the road structure about it,” he said.
“What these guys are trying to achieve with their unique structure is a wonderful thing.
“We’re trying to make it work on all fronts for all parties involved.”