The School of Total Education, Warwick, Queensland, Australia


photo: Shane Power

Welcome to the Winter 2013 Email Newsletter from The School of Total Education.

Education has been in the news a lot lately in Australia, with the Federal government embracing and promoting many of the recommendations of the Gonski Report, which promises more equitable funding of education in Australia and will benefit small independent schools like ours.

There are three new articles on our website this month.

The first is based on an address I gave recently to a meeting of school parents, examining how we try to put into practice the school motto “In Pursuit of Knowledge, Excellence and Service”.

Our second article is from the school’s Foundation Principal, Richard Waters, on the important and challenging topic of “Teaching Values to Children and Young People”.

And in our “From the Archives” article in this issue, artist and Zen Buddhist, André Sollier, reflects personally on the topic of “Family Life and Spiritual Growth”.

The life of a school is constantly busy and this year has been no exception. In Term 1, the senior students presented a vibrant production of “Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass”. Then in Term 2, our students and school families participated in the 2013 Warwick Peace Festival. You can read more in our News section below.

We also have some new blog posts from the Total Education Blog, a list of podcasts you can listen to, and some information about the recently published book “The Focused Child”, written by psychologists and former school parents, Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs.

If you are looking for a school and are interested in exploring more about what The School of Total Education has to offer, you are most welcome to visit and find out more first hand. Just contact us by phone or email and we will be happy to arrange a convenient time.

Shane Power


In Pursuit of Knowledge, Excellence and Service

What’s in a motto? School Principal, Shane Power, unpacks the practical meaning in the School of Total Education motto “In Pursuit of Knowledge Excellence and Service”: “The School motto … is intended for the whole school community, not just the children. It is a living motto which embraces the entire school culture, including joyful children, loving teachers and engaged parents.” Read more…

Teaching Values to Children and Young People

Foundation Principal, Richard Waters, shares his practical experience of teaching values to children in an address to teachers: “Values are not just rules and regulations. Values are actually a means to fulfil our potential for personal growth. Every culture has values which they believe are important as guidelines for a fulfilling life.” Read more…

From the Archives: Family Life and Spiritual Growth

Artist and Zen Buddhist, Andre Sollier, spoke at a seminar arranged in conjunction with The School of Total Education in its early years in Melbourne. In this article from 1977, he reflects personally on the topic of “Family Life and Spiritual Growth”: “Marriage, the ultimate social experience, has taught me — and is still teaching me because I am newly embarked on this long road — patience, detachment, adaptation and unmotivated giving. I have learnt to receive the example of others: humility and love, for love can be learned.” Read more…


Warwick Peace Festival 2013

Kendo Visit: The primary and secondary students were treated to a display of the traditional martial art of Kendo by two Kendo masters from Kumiyama, Japan. The visitors presented the school with a traditional wooden sword and handed out bandannas to the children. Kumiyama has been participating in the Peace Festival since 2007.

Photo of visiting Kendo masters

The Kendo masters from Kumiyama, Japan, meeting with school teachers and staff

Fundraising Stall: School parents organised and conducted a food stall at the Peace Festival’s “One World Day”.

Seminars for Parents, Teachers and Secondary Students: A special guest at the Peace Festival was Di Tamer from Mind Matters. She spoke to parents on the topic “Connecting with Children to Build Resilience”and to teachers on the topic “Building Relationships with Students to Improve Student Wellbeing”. She also participated with Deeann Natividad and Charlie Fetoai from Mission Australia in their inspiring presentations to the SOTE hosted student forum at the Warwick Town Hall on the topic “Handling Challenges in Life”. The forum was attended by 350 year 11 and 12 students from Warwick Secondary Schools.

Photo of Warwick secondary students at Student Forum

Students from Warwick secondary schools participating in the Peace Festival Student Forum at the Warwick Town Hall

Author Michael Carr-Gregg Addresses Parents

Well known psychologist, author on youth issues, and media personality, Dr Michael Carr-Greg, presented a public lecture at the school on 27th May. He spoke on “The five greatest challenges of parenting of teenagers — sleep, cyber safety, alcohol, mental health and happiness.” The event was organised by Medicare Local, Darling Downs-South West Queensland and attracted an almost capacity audience in the Vijayadev Yogendra Auditorium. Earlier in the day he addressed the districts’ teachers on the topic of teenage mental health.

Photo of Michael Carr-Gregg signing a book

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg visited the school on 27th May and spoke about “The five greatest challenges of parenting of teenagers”

Drama: Alices Adventures in Wonderland

The Senior Drama students presented a vibrant performance of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass” on March 23rd and 24th.

Guitarist Lorin Nicholson Teaches How To “See Sharp”

Australian guitarist Lorin Nicholson visited the school on 1st March with his award-winning “See Sharp” presentation that incorporates amazing guitar work and extraordinary life experiences to address issues such as: Choice & Attitude, Overcoming Negativity & Peer Pressure, Teasing/Bullying, Respect & Inclusion, Resilience & Perseverance, Confidence & Self Esteem, Setting & Achieving Goals, Building Future Leaders and Striving for Excellence. Lorin inspired both teachers and students in separate sessions and conducted a music workshop for budding student musicians.


The Total Education Blog presents short articles about the School and contemporary issues in education. Readers can add their comments.

Radio Advertisements Raise the Profile of Total Education

When a School is Working Well

The Impact of Non-Competition

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg Comes to Total Education

Finnish Education — Myths and Realities


The Soul of Education

Richard Waters interviews Laura Weaver and Batya Greenwald from the Passageworks Institute in Boulder, Colorado, USA. The Passageworks Institute was founded by educator Rachael Kessler, author of the book “The Soul of Education”. Topics covered include:

  • What does “The Soul of Education” mean?
  • The concept of “deep connection” and the importance of the teacher-student relationship.
  • What can schools do to foster a positive sense of community?
  • Ways to help adolescents feel safe to talk about themselves.
  • Student well-being.
  • Transition to adulthood — risk taking and “initiation”.

Other interviews available:

Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs — The Focused Child

Michael Funder — Reflections of a SOTE Teacher

Satish Kumar — Small Schools and Nurturing the Spirit in Education

Click here to read more and listen to or download the interviews.

The Focused Child book cover

NEW BOOK: The Focused Child

by Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs

This unique book opens up a fresh perspective on how to develop concentration in children. Drawing on the authors’ practice of Yoga and modern psychology, The Focused Child offers a myriad of practical strategies and techniques for parents and teachers to help children relax, focus their minds and fulfil their potential. It’s a blue-print for success which deals with the obstacles that get in the way of concentration and empowers parents with the knowledge of how to become good role models for their children. The authors are both former parents at The School of Total Education and in this book they touch on many of the ways in which they and their families benefitted from their involvement at the school.

Full details about the book together with online ordering are available from their website at