Alice Miller School began its life in 2016, on 70 scenic acres in Macedon, Victoria.
It is associated with the highly successful Candlebark School, also in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria. Candlebark now concentrates on the primary years, and Alice Miller offers Years 7 through 12.
Alice Miller has several streams, one of which allows students to pursue a "regular" curriculum, with subjects like Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Literature, French, Philosophy, Classical Studies, History and of course English. But the school also offers special opportunities for young people wishing to pursue a career in the creative arts, especially Drama, Art and Music. It is one of the very few schools in Victoria to strongly emphasise these subjects.
Another stream which can be followed, sometimes literally with paddle in hand, is one that can lead to a career in outdoor education. Outdoor Education and Environmental Science are featured in our curriculum, and students have many opportunities to go canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, skiing and camping.
Among the features which make Alice Miller distinctive are:
· We are by choice a small school, valuing the sense of community which this engenders.
· We could be considered "alternative", although the word is used so loosely in education that it has become almost meaningless. Nevertheless, we look and sound like an "alternative" school: students don't wear uniform, teachers and students are on first-name basis, and a variety of clothing styles, and hair styles and colours, can be observed around the campus!
· We offer a remarkable range of subjects and electives, especially from year 9 onwards. We encourage Year 7 through 10 students to tackle VCE subjects, if they and we feel they are ready.
· We treat the world as our oyster, or, for people who don't like oysters or are allergic to shellfish, we treat the world as a vast smorgasbord with a rich variety of offerings, some of which are delicious, and some of which aren't quite so tasty.
· We are big fans of first-hand experiences. Watching Bear Grylls have adventures on TV, playing games on computers or tablets, participating in mindless conversations on social media can never be substitutes for real life experiences. We expect students to get their hands dirty, either literally or metaphorically or both. Hikes, gardening, going to music festivals, sleepovers at school, travels to exotic destinations, meeting extraordinary people, performing to audiences, visiting concerts and galleries, going to opera or theatre… these are a part of everyday life at Alice Miller.
· We value communal eating as a part of daily ritual. Lunch, morning tea and snacks are provided at school, and as well, we have a small and cosy cafe which serves home-made treats every day at low prices. The hot chocolates are great!
We seek out staff members whose lives have been creative and adventurous, who treat people courteously and with integrity, who have a good sense of proportion, and who are liberal-minded.
Alice Miller School is under the management of educator and author John Marsden (Principal), and educator and dancer Sarita Ryan (Head of Campus).
Alice Miller School doesn't suit everyone. What doesn't work so well for us are:
· Students who are not able to regulate their own behaviour. Students who need an adult to manage their behaviour would be better suited at more structured and tightly controlled schools. We're not very tolerant of students who make it difficult for others to learn. We do expel students who are not able to change these behaviours.
· Parents who encourage an over dependent or helpless attitude in their children, and who become distraught at the notion of their children becoming more independent, self-reliant and resilient. We naturally expect parents who enrol their children at Alice Miller to be fully supportive of the School's philosophy and programs, and to demonstrate their commitment by making sure their sons or daughters participate in all camps, sleepovers, excursions and activities.
· People who are obsessive about food choices.
The school is named after the Swiss psychotherapist and author Alice Miller, who wrote that "People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood… will feel no need to harm another person or themselves." Miller believed that childhood was the key to an adult life of full awareness. We are a school which believes that the journey towards awareness, insight, understanding and wisdom is at least as important as the journey towards knowledge.