Literate, Numerate, Curious

Welcome to Living School – Northern Rivers NSW a committed co-learning school community thriving after the biggest floods in our local history.

We're HIRING for 2024

Living School is growing and we are always on the horizon looking for exceptional teachers.  As our school has grown to be a full K-12 (HSC) school, we have positions now available for 2024.


The emphasis is on progressive education, an ethic of excellence, small and caring, adaptable and committed.

Even if a position is not advertised, we are always looking for exceptional teachers. Reach out to check-in –

Our Vision

Living School cares to teach, challenge and nurture good people for a sustainable future.

We believe that all children have a limitless potential and that the role of every educator and parent/carer is, before all else, to activate and mobilize the potential within a child, rather than see them from a point of view based on limitations and flaws.

The Living School is about the power of inspiring places…

  • Where children learn
  • Teaching is untethered
  • Parents connect
  • And a community thrives.

Our Term Times are intentionally different!

Our term times are purposefully designed to facilitate improved learning and teaching experiences. Having shorter, sharper blocks of time creates more focus and better retention. They do not match up with other school holidays apart from mid-year and end-of-year.



January 30 – March 17 (then one week holiday)

TERM TWO – NATURE – 6 weeks
March 27 – 5 May (then one week holiday)

15 May – 30 June (then two weeks holiday)


January 29 – March 15 (then one week holiday)

TERM TWO – NATURE – 6 weeks
March 25 – 3 May (then one week holiday)

13 May – 28 June (then two weeks holiday)



17 July – 1 September (then one week holiday)

11 September – 20 October (then one week holiday)

TERM SIX – SERVICE – 7 weeks
30 October – 15 December (then six weeks holiday)


15 July – 30 August (then one week holiday)

9 September – 18 October (then one week holiday)

TERM SIX – SERVICE – 7 weeks
28 October – 13 December (then six weeks holiday)


We do have spaces available in our Middle School (Yrs 5-8) and our Academy (Yrs 9-12)


Our first HSC class graduated in 2023.

Apply for immediate spaces in 2023 – or register for 2024 by using the button below.

Living Learning

Living Learning is a unique focus on creating a curriculum that grows with the needs of a community. We focus on adaptation and agility. We want learning to be with the community in the community.

Every year there is to be a Festival of Thought: where interested supporters of progressive education come together to learn, adapt and grow the Living School curriculum. And our commitment is to ensure all our curriculum documentation is freely available online as open-source schooling.

Living Spaces

Aesthetics and green space benefit our health and well-being. Living School is designed to embrace the environment. Living architecture is based on structures that grow and are sustainable, allowing the students to design and build their own learning spaces! Classrooms do not have to be brick and mortar – they can be learning pods, cubbies, open spaces. The focus is to offer our community a chance to experience good design – building and design should be inspirational.

Living Food

Our focus is to feed the whole body – not just fill the mind. Living food is focused on nutrition and well-being by using ingredients that are home-grown and natural. Living School adopts these principles in developing ‘free-range’ kids: offering space, nature-based learning, and the opportunity to garden, play and explore the natural environment. Our focus is not to indoctrinate but to instil conscious understanding to evoke responsibility in the individual’s choices.

Living Well

Learning how to live well is vital. Wellness (also described as mindfulness) is a positive state of being. It is about living in the moment, conscious of our sub-conscious. With awareness we are able to manage our emotions, behaviour and reactions. Living School emphasises wellness by incorporating programs such as meditation, yoga, nutrition and positive psychology. As defined in the Somatic theory: intelligence is not happening in the brain alone.

Holistic teaching

Our children need much more than facts and content – they need to develop positive attitudes and responsible social networks! Our children need to find a purpose in this information age. We are committed to drawing out of each student a compelling desire, where interests become passion. And this is the historical origin of education – to evoke and draw out. We connect with our past to improve our future.

We aim to make schooling inspirational – a time in a person’s life when, years in the future, our children will discuss over a dinner table or social network their time at Living School with pride and humble humour at all they experienced, all they learned.

Living School’s aim is to nurture progressively and purposefully key elements of success (values, attitudes, skills) to foster competence without pressure or expectation alienating and destroying each pupil’s love of learning. And to do so as a kind, mindful, engaging and supportive caring community.

Living School celebrates our connection to nature and each other’s personal uniqueness: the fundamental principles for leading a fulfilled life. Celebrating our diversity allows us to respect our individuality.

The Six KeyStones for integrated learning

Our unique curriculum design integrates throughout all the schooling years six KeyStones – identity, nature, life & living, civilisation, phenomena and service. Service is the culmination of each year.

The KeyStone Themes are explored via an Inquiry question – developed with the students to be age-appropriate.  

Every year, the KeyStone Question explores the theme more deeply as the students’ awareness and understanding mature. This repetition each year intentionally links to memory, reiterating the learning from the previous year.

Understanding these themes provides our students with a broader awareness,  or a greater consciousness of awakefulness.

Train of thought

Living School emphasises the belief our environment is the ‘third teacher’.  

We converted our 1928 ‘red rattler’ into a science, design, technology centre.

All our spaces have a sense of wonder – we promote learning engagement!


If you would like to listen to John talking about the vision of Living School, please access the Happy Pear podcast.

Listent to our Conductor discuss Living School as a podcast

New Model of Learning and Teaching

Living School is different – we view the future through a progressive lens. We adopt a new vision on how to teach with impact to empower and engage. We focus on the learning process:

  1. to form connections rationally and intuitively so each student can engage – independently and collectively – with the bigger picture (THINK);
  2. to apply effort to master concepts to understand  (KNOW); and
  3. to learn in context so students experience the importance and relevance of what is being taught (ACT).


Real teaching focuses on what really matters, the threads that weave together the bigger picture beyond the specks of subject content knowledge.

How do we soulfully, with great care, wholly influence a person’s development positively?

As educators, how do we prepare the seeds for a positive relationship? How do we teach to the personal needs of each learner under our care?

Personal learning means we ‘know’ our students so we can guide them to know more about themselves. There is a difference between personalised learning and personal learning: personalised is what we do to them as individuals; personal is what they need to do for themselves.

Living School has purpose – and plans around intentional design to balance interest-based learning with guided challenges. 

Our intent and guiding question resonates: Is this learning life-worthy?

Living School 3 Phase Learning

The basis of learning is to take a concept, make it resonate so the understanding is amplified. This involves elaboration: exemplifying the importance in real-life contexts. Within this understanding must be balanced awareness of a learner’s maturity. Living School adheres to biophilia principles for our younger students, meaning it is vital we teach children to love nature before we start informing (and frightening) them on climate change, pollution, extinctions and other environmental fears for the future, which are coined as ecophobia.

We are organised around the 3 Threads Frame. The first thread focuses on engaging learners by integrating subjects to address our five KeyStone themes (Connections) in a large block of time. 

Our Concepts thread is where the specific subject concepts in English, mathematics, science and technology are targeted to develop mastery. 

The third phase is the Context thread – where we develop purposefully hands-on activities (on and off site) to contextualise learning. Our aim is to give all students the ‘aha’ moment – where learning ‘makes sense’ in the real world.  We incorporate our Onland Learning program – a day where the students explore outdoor education in our School of the Open Sky.

If you would like to explore more, navigate through our Pedagogy section on the main menu or by clicking on the Explore More button below…