The world is but a canvas to our imaginations.   Henry David Thoreau

Today we enjoyed the fifth annual conference held at Nan Tien Temple for our professional development on the last day of the school year. The focus this year, although still optimism and resilience, is more about nurturing creativity and the keynote/workshops reflected this theme. Our conversations were reflective and some great thinking about creativity emerged.

Of course, the day commenced early with the timeless practise of tai chi to stimulate us, mind and body, before moving to more sedentary pursuits (and cups of coffee).

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

Jennine Primmerthe Chief Creative Officer for Big Fat Smile, keynoted our conference. Jennine is the organiser of many creativity conferences and a perfect choice for us today as we (re)focus our energies on nurturing our collective creative at school. Her keynote, Creativity in Context, addressed one of the myths about creativity that is so oppressive. The idea that only a chosen few are creative and the rest of us are just not. It was a good talk and our school is interested in forging an ongoing partnership with Jennine and her organisation.

There were some excellent workshops today including a good session from a local author, David Cairns, the father of one of our graduating students:

    • Dr Tamryn Bennett – Getting Creative Stuff Done
    • Catherine Ramos – Mindfulness
    • Kayte Peters – Drumming
    • Doerinda Gardener & Rebecca Mayhew – Drawing
    • David Cairns – My heart on the page (writing)

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

I wandered from workshop to workshop with my camera and really would have liked to photograph the very ‘mindful’ delegates with Catherine Ramos, who is always so generous with her time, but signs in the ‘meditation hall’ were not to be ignored.  Kayte Peters led a fantastic drumming session at the conclusion of the workshop she facilitated for all delegates. The participants had done amazingly well in a brief period of time to put together a performance. David Cairns was leading his group through some interesting activities for writing and I loved Tamryn’s slide: live in the sunshine, swim in the sea and drink the wild air. 

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore

Annual Staff Awards & Farewells

An important part of our end of year celebration is to thank and farewell colleagues. Staff nominate and vote on awards in four categories. This year the staff we particularly celebrated with this honour were: Teaching & Learning Sandra Gore; Innovation Tracey Anderson; Student Welfare Michelle Quine and School/Community Service Anne-Marie Hughes. Thanks for your wonderful work this year!

Mary Fermino, Linda Croft and Deb Pritchard are retiring after long service at our school. Mary’s speech brought a lump to my throat, especially her words about loving teaching and the value of the work of teachers at the school. Wonderful sentiments! A number of casual staff were farewelled and we all realised that Grant Billet should be invited to the Melbourne Comedy Festival in 2014. His lengthy and creative routine about the lot of a casual teacher was particularly humorous…and most of it true 😉

It has been a challenging year but I felt a good spirit on this, the last day of the year. The same supportive collegiality that keeps us moving in positive directions for our students. For me, the highlight was listening to colleagues speak about their ideas regarding creativity. Everyone had a different perspective and wisdom on the matter. I particularly liked Rebecca Mayhew’s thoughts about the creativity that emerges from collaboration on a project.  Her description of musicians collaborating rang very true, especially as I am reading about John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s partnership at the moment. They gave each other honest feedback, were competitive but a shared a passion for what they were doing led to some of the greatest music of the 20th century.

Have a great Christmas and a safe, relaxing, creative New Year!

Here are some more photos from our conferences at the temple.

Created with flickr slideshow.

Featured Image: cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Darcy Moore:



    • Andrew FitzSimons

    • 10 years ago

    A marvellous summary of an energising end to 2013. The diversity, educative passion and generosity of Dapto High School staff is a key factor in our ability to continue to meet the challenges of our formidable responsibilities.

    2014 will require every ounce of our collective creative spirit. Stay strong team!

  1. Thanks again for the opportunity to be part of your end of year conference. I was inspired, and challenged to think a little differently about creativity. I was particularly interested in the question, ‘Can creativity be taught?’ and the exposing of the ‘myth’ that there are only a handful of creative people in the world; so called special people. Lastly, I liked the suggestion that curiousity leads to creativity. As my daughter would say “true dat”

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