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Like most parents, I imagine that you want the best for your child. You want them to have an educational experience that motivates them to do their personal best and leads to future fulfilment and joy. But making a decision for your child’s schooling school decision could be a difficult proposition when your child is still on the journey of working out who they are and how they learn. At Preshil, we strive to help students discover their passion and purpose.

Our parents, students and staff have come to know Preshil as a school that nurtures, challenges, and celebrates the individual. A Preshil foundation inspires respect, curiosity, and courage to recognise and pursue your interests. We are a community of families and educators united by unwavering optimism for the capacity of children to imagine and build a better world.

Established in 1931 by Margaret J R Lyttle, Preshil is not only Australia’s oldest progressive school but was also influential in the development of progressive pedagogy at local, national, and international levels. Preshil celebrates its 90th birthday in 2023, and today remains true to its two founding principles: engaging with each child as an individual and building personal responsibility, self-esteem, resilience, initiative, creativity, and courage.

But what is progressive education? I believe that progressive education encourages children, through their questioning, to imagine what is possible and engage in the search for answers. We challenge the idea of children as vessels of knowledge and instead turn this on its head. Preshil students take an active role in their own learning.

Our students are openly supported to challenge ideas, question conventional wisdom, form their own opinions and set their own goals. Preshil education helps students gain confidence through a curriculum that is designed to encourage self-efficacy. Academic achievement does not come at the expense of health and wellbeing, which along with a confident sense of self-worth are integral to successful personal and academic development.

The unique curriculum at our Arlington Campus (Kindergarten and Primary School) is based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme and underpinned by a child-centred inquiry and project-based pedagogical approach. Our staff collaboratively nurture student agency and foster risk-taking in a safe environment.

Similarly, our Blackhall Kalimna Campus (Secondary School) comprises a contemporary and meaningful Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP) befitting Preshil’s long-standing reputation for offering a meaningful curriculum that makes learning relevant to the real world.

Preshil is an aspirational community. We aren’t afraid to question the status quo and we have the courage to imagine a better world. As global citizens, we encourage an awareness of world issues and encourage efforts to make a positive difference. We believe that education should prepare students to be thoughtful, peace-loving, and active citizens of the world. Preshil remains a school that prioritises kindness, compassion, and social relationships in all that it does.

At Preshil, we intertwine long-standing traditions with our innovative programs. We reflect on our collective past with the hope of informing our present and our future. Ceremony and rituals can help to guide us in this reflective process when framed by creative and imaginative endeavours. The stuff of learning. But perhaps most importantly, these rituals are owned, interpreted and re-imagined year after year by the children. They work together to not only confirm their place within the tradition but to leave their mark on it.

My experience at Preshil is enriched by the space created for students and families to share meaningful aspects of their identities and family traditions. From student to teacher to parent, we honour each person as an individual and acknowledge that each of us can contribute a variety of strengths, interests, and experiences that enhance our school community and environment.

I invite you to start a conversation with us to learn more about all the Preshil has to offer.

Josh Brody