Village School has been in operation since 1982, and although it has evolved over the years to suit the needs of the school community, it has successfully maintained its original vision.
The need for Village School was conceptualized in late 1981 after three teachers Carol Glover, Lola Hill and Trevor Stacey confirmed their disillusionment with the prevailing structure.
The three founding teachers, Carol Glover (Principal), Lola Hill and Trevor Stacey were previously the three primary staff members of a school called E.R.A. (Educational Reform Association).
Till today Village School has successfully maintained the focus of these three teachers using the educational aims of J.S. Bruner:
“We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught in an intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development. It is a bold hypothesis and an essential one in thinking about the nature of the curriculum.”
~ J.S. Bruner, 1960
Today, this style of school is known as a democratic school, awarding students with the responsibilities of running their school alongside their teachers.
It means that the children at Village School have a voice and are heard.
Our amazing location
The teachers started Village School in 1982, with a leased old wooden cottage on a small piece of land on Maroondah Highway in Ringwood.
The land and the cottage were owned by Penguin Books Australia (who are no longer at that site) and the founding principal’s husband was the CEO of Penguin Books Australia, thus the land was provided gratis, we assume, as there is no record to the contrary.
There were about 30 students housed in the cottage, one Nissen hut and one portable. After 2 years on the site it was decided to relocate to afford students more space and the school the possibility of growth.
During this time the teachers were considering the current site at 9-13 Holloway Road, which borders Wonga Park and Croydon North.
They were successful in securing a bank loan with a government guarantee for the land, and with Croydon Council providing planning approval for an enrolment of up to 240 students from prep to year 10, Village School came to occupy its present site in 1985.
Over the years
The original portable was moved to the permanent site in Holloway Road and has since been refurbished with the help of a government grant.
Two other portables were procured at this time which provided us with six classrooms. The cedar building became a kitchen and an office, before the latter was moved into another portable bought by the school.
Refurbishing of the portable classrooms, made in accordance with asthma friendly materials provided us with enough space to house a primary school up to 120 children.
The other original building became a drama/music room until it was refurbished when the hall was built.
The other portable classrooms were replaced in 2007 and 2009 by the hexagonal classrooms currently on site.
The most recent building project, the school office and boardroom was completed at the end of 2018.
Improvements to the buildings and school grounds are ongoing.
In 1993 a group of parents and teachers from this school formed the Brushy Creek Wetlands, and involved the children in a lot of environmental study activities, like bird spotting and recording frog calls.
There were some members of the local community who came on board as well. Sadly the creek was subsequently re-routed and most of the time our wetland ‘lake’ is dry.
However, the plus side of re-routing the creek was that the school grounds were no longer are flooded.
The original playground consisted of a couple of half-submerged concrete tunnels and a wooden climbing structure called the Adventure Playground.
It eventually needed a lot of repair and was replaced by the current purple and green playground, which was quickly named “The Little Kids Playground” by the year sixes, giving the school a clear message that they needed something more challenging.
So a couple of years later the school purchased what is called “The Spider Web” which has been much used.
The rebound wall was also put up, with the assumption that children would play ball games and racket games against it. They prefer scaling the wall instead!
Taking care of the animals
In 1990 the second principal, Mary Hawthorne and one of the parents Marie Smith, talked through the concept of having horse riding and horse care as a special focus for the school.
At the time the school owned one horse, as well as a goat and chickens. Over the years we have had sheep, goats, one baby calf saved from being veal who of course grew into a huge cow, too big to handle!
Many lessons were learnt about keeping animals over the years. In particular, that ducks prefer a wetter environment than do the chickens, and goats have a strong tendency to develop sore feet or rather large toenails.
In 2019, we made the decision to stick to chickens and horses as they provide enough work for the children, and we felt confident that we had the expertise on site to care for these animals properly.
Here’s a selection of photos from the school’s early years.
More about our school
To learn more about our school and our unique approach to education, please see: