A NEW K-8 school will open in Lismore next year promising to “take learning out of the box”.

Work on the new school in Conway Street has already commenced after a DA was approved in August.

The new school, Living School Northern Rivers, situated in Lismore’s CBD is expected to open in January 2020 and was founded by international educator John Stewart.

“My focus is to offer another schooling option based on my years of experience.”
John Stewart

Mr Stewart said he was pleased to see the K-8 school, which will “take learning out of the box”, was already gaining huge interest in the region.

“It is very rewarding to be able to bring this vision to the Northern Rivers – back to my home region,” he said.

“My focus is to offer another schooling option based on my years of experience.”

The school was granted DA approval in August and is one of only a few new schools to be granted accreditation this year by the government.

Mr Stewart is also planning for a childcare centre Living Kinder to come into operation in 2020, with other sites for the school planned for future development.

He said he has developed the new paradigm for education over his 25 years of broad experience leading and teaching in schools both here and overseas, and the Living School’s philosophy centres on “Living Learning, Living Well and Living Spaces”.

There is a focus on challenging students to find out what interests them, what promotes a life lived well, including a love of nature,” he said.

Mr Stewart said the Living School will focus on connections with the community to provide an “education which takes in the bigger picture for our children, beyond the subject content knowledge and standardised testing”.

“Real teaching influences a person’s development positively,” he said.

“The learning is not so much personalised but personal. It allows students to learn what they need to do for themselves – to be conscious, aware and responsible for their actions.

“We won’t dictate, we will orchestrate.”

Mr Stewart will be holding a second community engagement meeting to explain Living School’s cutting edge curriculum today at the Lismore Regional Gallery from 5-7pm.

The first meeting, last month, attracted nearly 200 interested families, while in November, he is holding a weekend for educators.

“I want to draw together the many ideas exceptional teachers have based on my curriculum offering,” he said.

“We want to offer our community a schooling experience that is exceptional.”

Mr Stewart returned to the Northern Rivers, with a view to giving back to the region in which he grew up, in 2015.

As a former student of Lismore Public School and Lismore High School, he said he has fond memories of his school days.

He went on to complete a Bachelor of Education at Southern Cross University, before travelling overseas and landing his first teaching position at Hill House International School in London.

He was then appointed Head of English and Director of Studies at St John’s College School, Cambridge – as well as completing his Master of Education at University of Cambridge.

In 2013, he became the Head of The Green School in Bali for two years, which prepares “the green leaders of tomorrow”.

“I believe it is time for another opportunity to diversify what we offer in terms of contextual learning in a caring community environment,” he said.

For more information got to livingschool.com.au