John Marsden, renowned author and founder of Candlebark School which he has described as ‘somewhere between Steiner and The Simpsons’ will be presenting at the 2017 Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT) Forum. Set up in 2006, Candlebark School is the majestic setting upon which the 2017 forum will be held.
John’s literary work includes more than 40 books, mostly for teenagers and children, including Tomorrow When the War Began, So Much to Tell You, and Letters from the Inside. He has sold around five million books worldwide, and has won every major writing award in Australia for young people’s fiction. South of Darkness, John’s recent novel for adults, won the FAW Christina Stead Award for Best Novel of 2015.
John’s passionate interest in education led him to start his own P-10 school, Candlebark, which is on a vast forested estate near Romsey Victoria. The school’s motto is “take risks”, and every day students are to be found riding bikes and skateboards, climbing trees, rolling down hills and playing stick wars. This year John opened a second school, Alice Miller, at Macedon, a Year 7-12 school with an emphasis on the creative arts.
At the 2017 forum, John will be speaking about both Candlebark and Alice Miller Schools, but more generally about the important principles which need to underpin every school’s functioning if it is to be successful. ‘The emotional, social and spiritual health of young people in these early decades of the 21st century has forced itself to the forefront as the major concern for educators – and for every caring adult in our society’, says John.
AABAT forums are designed to be inclusive, collaborative, and experiential – just like the work that bush adventure practitioners deliver. This year’s theme is ‘Connecting’ and aims to explore ways to not only connect with nature but with oneself, each other, and new ideas. Whether you’re just exploring your interest in Bush Adventure Therapy, an ‘old hat’ or brand new to the field, there is something for everyone!