The school year ended on a wonderfully high note with a beautiful and touching Morning Circle, an inspiring all-school Concert and a very moving Year 7 (Red Cedars) graduation party. Plus special events at the ECC and in the classrooms.

Among many memorable achievements this year is the new book published by the Gumnuts (Year 2) class: The Kindness of Gumnuts.

Beautifully illustrated, it tells the story of their commitment to service  during the year, including numerous Random Acts of Kindness at school, at home, and in the wider community, through these weekly service tasks:

1. Their cooking service task had two aspects: making nori (sushi) rolls to sell for tuckshop lunches, and making a healthy and fresh garden salad and delicious vegetarian lasagne for the fortnightly Maleny Neighbourhood Centre community lunch.

2. Their crocheting service task involved learning the art of crocheting and making crocheted squares and trims which went to create a beautiful blanket in the colours of yellow, black and red for the elders of the Kapululangu indigenous community in remote Western Australia to raffle to raise money for their community welfare projects.

3. Their woodwork service task was to make planter boxes and take them up to the main street of Maleny where they each gave their individual boxes (filled with flowering plants) to a passerby as a pure gift from the heart.


4. Their gardening service task involved planting, maintaining and harvesting the school’s vegetable gardens to supply fresh produce for the tuckshop cooking elements, and planting and nurturing the flowering plants for the planter boxes.

5. Their gift boxes service task involved wrapping and decorating a shoebox and creating a back-to-school kit for children from struggling families. These were donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society for distribution as, at the start of each school year, they are regularly asked for support in this area.

This year’s River School Spring Festival
was another magical (albeit hot!) day.
It was the perfect example of how wonderful
and inspiring the River School community is.
Children, parents and visitors alike enjoyed
the fun, food and festive atmosphere!

Watch the video here

The River School gives new meaning to the Web!

We are cooking food (thanks to our tuckshop team) and bringing five students each time to serve it at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre’s fortnightly community lunch. The Sugar Gliders (Prep) have also been going to entertain the crowds with their singing!

Year 6 and 7 meditating

Last Friday was National Tree Day, and to celebrate the occasion our Lillipillies teacher Amanda organised a school tree-planting to extend the forest for our feathered and furry friends!



Didi visited the classrooms today for Quiet Times. Here’s her singing Baba Nam Kevalam and meditating with the Lillipillies…

At Morning Circle on Monday we celebrated Baba’s Birthday, the anniversary of the birth of the guru of Ananda Marga, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, or Baba as we affectionately call him. This day falls on the full moon of May each year. After the Morning Circle the kids were treated to the customary scones and (sugarless) jam.

Ajit Alister, who was among the River School’s first batch of graduates, was our guest candle-lighter.

The Vegetarian Cookbook has been selling like vegetarian hot cakes! On a recent Saturday in Maple Street the kids sold out all their copies and had to retrieve more from the shops they had given them to sell. Vegetarianism is the new black!

On Monday 27 May the Red Cedars and two representatives from each of the other classes, along with our Indigenous Studies teacher Aunty Pam, participated in the National Healing Day celebration at the Neighbourhood Centre. Here are some photos from that beautiful day:




At the ANZAC Day ceremony this year, our school representatives Aislinn Murray and Billy Schiotz read a beautiful poem that the Red Cedars class put together. The poem was one of the highlights of the ceremony, accentuated by a fighter jet that flew overhead as it was read:

Reflections of War

Sun creeping up at the break of dawn
Hear the sound of a trumpet’s horn
They walked into battle, heads held high
Not knowing what would happen…
not knowing if they would die.

The cliffs of Gallipoli sheer and high
Tears of fear… the flow of blood
Kiwi and Aussie soldiers who did not make it…
Gunshots ringing in their ears

Day and night they fought to survive
Marching proudly, standing tall
Taking cover behind a wall
Horses race with galloping feet
Hear the sound of the soldier’s defeat

Heavy curtains closed
Brown paper bags diffusing lights
In the night sky the planes fly by
Soldier on the move…
Camels by their side.

Sun sinking slowly in the dimming sky
The sounds of the last call…
please stop all war.

Lest we forget

If we were to say that the River School Bring on Spring Festival on Sunday 19th August was amazing, it would be an understatement!

It truly was a beautiful, vibrant and magical day. Everyone put their all into making it happen and it all fell smoothly into place. A wave of joy and bliss swept over us all from the sheer positive energy of what was going on. The vibe was truly magical.



Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of the festival, and to all of you who attended to make this such a beautiful event. The proof of the pudding was there in all its glory for everyone to see, experience and enjoy on the day.

We finished the 2012 school year on a high note with the a fabulous Concert for Africa fundraiser for our sister school, the Ananda Marga Academy in the Huruma slum of Nairobi, Kenya. We couldn’t have hoped for a better way to inaugurate our new gym/performance space. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved and your generous donations, we raised a total of $1121! All in all, it was a fantastic evening of delicious food and great entertainment.

A truly magical atmosphere was experienced by parents and children at the recent Winter Solstice Café Night at the River School on 21st June.

The Olympics were held on 14th June with great fun and fanfare. Apparently there’s another one in August?

See photos here

And the video on our YouTube page.

Part of Sunshine Coast Council’s green art strategy, TreeLine is a region-wide program that encourages an emotional response to environmental issues through the arts. TreeLine 2012 has focused on children, helping them draw a connection between themselves as the earth’s inhabitants and their impact on our planet.

The TreeLine artists in schools residency program is part of this initiative. Last term two local artists came to the school to work with the Red Cedars on an art project which is now being exhibited at the Caloundra Regional Gallery.

Our art teacher Tracy, Red Cedars teacher Josh, and Dada attended the opening of the exhibition at the gallery on Saturday 2 June. You can see photos of the opening here.

One of the artists put together a beautiful book called Treeline at The River School which you can view online here.

The River School entered an art exhibition in the Maleny Show on  1-2 June:


On Friday 25 May the Red Cedars and two representatives from each of the other classes participated in the National Healing Day celebration at the Neighbourhood Centre. It was beautiful to see how the kids conducted themselves and spoke in front of those assembled.

Aunty Pam, Lisa and Clare organised a beautiful ceremony on Monday 28 May to celebrate National Reconciliation Week. Aunty Pam was joined by Uncle Wiruungga and Aunty Terri-Anne to conduct the ceremony on the oval with all the classes, each receiving their own clan name.

Reconciliation Week was celebrated today with the most amazing ceremony. At the very beginning the wind whipped up dry leaves from the nearby trees and sprinkled them down on the oval. An ancestral blessing? Each class was given their own ‘clan’ name and led through the smoking ceremony, performed by Aunty Pam. Uncle Warrunga led the boys/men and Nan TerriAnne led the girls/women. I am personally still feeling the deep connection from this ceremony – the healing from it was tangible. This was a vision of Aunty Pam, Lisa and Clare – their sincere commitment and many hours in preparation for today, to the process and honouring birthed an event that will be repeated every year. A Rainbow Serpent mural was also created with each class painting hand prints to create an amazing rainbow pattern – this will hang in the atrium in the office building. There were headbands and wristbands plaited and shared and of course damper and syrup for all.

You can see a video of the event on our YouTube channel.

On Tuesday 8th May in Morning Circle we celebrated Baba’s Birthday, the anniversary of the birth of the guru of Ananda Marga, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, or Baba as we affectionately call him. This day falls on the full moon of May each year, the same day as Buddha’s birthday.

Didi Ananda Tapomaya gave a beautiful presentation of Baba’s life. We also had a recycling presentation from the Gumnuts as well as a marimba number from the kids, followed by scones at the Rainbow Cafe (tuck shop).

“Train yourself in the ideal of the lily, which blossoms in the mud and has to keep itself engaged in struggle for existence day in and day out, parrying, bracing, and fighting the shocks of muddy water and storms and squalls and sundry other vicissitudes of fortune, and yet it does not forget the moon above. It keeps its love for the moon constantly alive.”

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti

On 30th April, State Senator Claire Moore officially opened the River School’s new library and other buildings that have been funded by a grant of over $2 million from the government. The ceremony was attended by representatives from Maleny Library, Rosetta Books, PS Books and Budburra Books, all of whom donated books and/or gave generous discounts.

The ceremony included “Welcome to Country” with Auntie Pam, our Aboriginal Studies teacher, music performance by the children, and a special morning circle, with songs, kiirtan and meditation, attended by all of our guests.

The library now has a brilliant collection of books, displayed in elegant shelving,  which have been donated from a variety of sources and cared for by a special library committee of parents. The library also has Mac computers available for students, quiet space for study, and wide verandas.

The other new buildings also include the new offices and staff rooms, the “Rainbow Cafe” tuck shop (with our yummy sentient vegetarian food), and the new performance hall and gym.

One of the bookstore owners commented that in her work she had visited all the schools in the region, but she felt that the AM River School created the most conducive environment for education of all that she had seen.

The Ananda Marga River School was in the local newspaper for our colourful participation in the local ANZAC day parade on 25 April. An enthusiastic group of students and staff turned up to march down Maleny’s main street.

We subsequently received an appreciation letter for our participation in the ANZAC parade. Helen Gilmour-Walsh, president of the Maleny RSL, wrote:

“Thank you for the efforts of your students on ANZAC Day and in particular in the march. I would be grateful if you could pass on the congratulations of the RSL Maleny for a job well done.”