Hello, World! Introducing Luminaria.

We’re excited to finally share what we’ve been working on so passionately behind the scenes at Luminaria.

Our world is changing faster than ever before, and our children will live vastly different lives than the ones we know today. For our children to thrive and for human civilization to flourish in this new era, we urgently need to reimagine education.

Our mission at Luminaria is to empower children to thrive in and build the world of the future — a future world that is anchored in humanity, and realized through invention.

What it means to be a human being is fundamentally changing

65% of primary aged students will work in jobs that haven’t yet been invented. McKinsey predicts that robots could replace 800 million jobs around the world by 2030. The Australian government estimates that 70% of the country’s jobs will be affected by AI and automation in the next 20 years. Scientists in multiple countries are now using CRISPR genetic editing technology to edit the genes in human beings.

How are you preparing your kids for a world where their playmates and future colleagues might be CRISPR-designed, or not even human?

We can’t entirely predict what the world of the future will look like. However, we can equip our children to be as prepared as possible for any version of the future world. To be resilient, lifelong learners who approach the world with curiosity and engaged empathy, who are as fluent in emotional intelligence as cognitive intelligence, and who can think independently and originally, and have the skills with which to architect this world ethically and compassionately.

Why now? What does it matter?

The reality is that most current school models were built for a different era, the first Industrial Age, where compliance and rote learning of knowledge were valued over creativity, collaboration, and multidisciplinary synthesis.

Luminaria is part of a global movement transforming education, to make the much needed shift
 — from industrial production to creative collaboration,
 — from students to lifelong learners,
 — from courses to pathways,
 — from teachers to facilitators and coaches,
 — from schools to learning environments,
 — from walled gardens to porous hubs.

We need to urgently transform education now, not 5, 10, or 15 years from now, if we are to put in place the foundational building blocks for a thriving, cohesive, and functional human civilization.

Education, and especially early years and primary education, are the most foundational and formative periods of a human’s life. Most children are born creative geniuses, capable of first principles and independent thinking. Unfortunately, most of that creativity and multidisciplinary synthesis is culled from children by an education system that is still iterating from its Industrial Age roots.

98% of 4 and 5 year olds are creative geniuses, but only 2% of adults can still be categorized as creative geniuses

According to a NASA backed study, 98% of 4 and 5 year olds they tested could be categorized as creative geniuses, meaning they were capable of coming up with new, divergent, inventive ideas to problems. However, when these same children reached age 10, only 30% could still be categorized as creative geniuses. By the time the kids were 15 years old, that figure had dropped to 12%. And for us adults? Only 2% fall into the creative genius category.

What’s happening? Our current Industrial Age education system is pruning a lot of our innate potential away from us, in systems that reinforce compliance and strict quantitative assessment.

Our education system urgently needs to change, so that we can preserve and cultivate our most valuable resource, the untapped creativity, ingenuity, and insight of human beings. As our world becomes even more technologically advanced, we need to become even more human.

Welcome to Luminaria

In building Luminaria, we’re practicing what we teach every step of the way. Everyday, we start by asking ourselves:

What is the purpose and meaning of education?

As human beings, we have the most extraordinary capacity of any being on the planet. If we are to become the most fully realised version of ourselves, then what we know from our earliest days is that intentional learning will most fully untap our potential. Our mission as educators is to develop our children into the most fully realized versions of themselves possible, to provide children with the capacity to thrive and flourish as adults.

As educators, our work is to shape human beings who then go on to shape society. Education plays a fundamental role in crafting the mindset, the capabilities, and the outlook of the future creators of society. We can think of no greater issue or problem to work on that can universally benefit humankind than the early education of our children.

Thus, we’re reimagining every part of the school experience — from how we craft learning experiences to strengthen childrens’ intrinsic motivation, to how children are assessed and evaluated, to how teachers work in teams, to how students move throughout the school during a day, to how we organize our physical spaces, to what tools students use to solve problems, to how students form collaborative learning partnerships with one another, to how students transform learning into invention for the benefit of real people — and much more, to bring schools into the modern era.

100% of our 5 year olds said that they enjoyed working with their kangaroo colleagues and would do so again.

Last term, our 5 year olds designed pouches for orphaned kangaroo joeys, our 6 year olds invented shelters for the endangered hooded plover that nests along the Victorian coastline, our 11 year olds partnered with a drought impacted Papua New Guinea community to create water irrigation systems, and our 12 year olds worked with the Asylum Seekers Resource Center to build mobile libraries for people in our local community who don’t have fixed addresses, and thus don’t have easy access to information.

We’re building a set of frameworks for delivering whole school, whole system transformation. All of these frameworks are built upon our 5 educational building blocks.

To dive deeper into the educational model we’re building at Luminaria, please visit http://www.luminaria.org/philosophy/model/.

“The promise of reimagining education has really been delivered for our son. The way he’s being taught is truly engaging him in life and learning, and exposing him to real life issues and challenges. He’s become engaged, capable and genuinely interested in learning every day, which is a treasure.”

Anna and Steve Alley
Parents of a Year 4 Lumineer Academy student

Equity and Contributing to the Global Community

We know that we stand on the shoulders of many pioneers, recognized and unrecognized, whose dedication and passion for the art of teaching make it possible for us to do our work today.

Our mission is much bigger than just ourselves, our mission is much bigger than just one school — our mission is to contribute to a global movement that can transform quality education for everyone worldwide. We’ve started with an independent, private school in Melbourne, Australia because for us, that was the most effective way to develop and deliver a whole school transformation model. (It turns out there are scarce private capital markets for whole school innovation models.)

Our aim is to share our research, learnings, iterations, frameworks, and tools broadly. We’re committed to contributing to a grassroots movement that can accelerate the quality of education for everyone throughout the world.

We believe that access to quality education is a fundamental human right and that civilization-scale well being relies on quality education for everyone, regardless of background.

With gratitude,
Amanda, Shane, Sophie, and Susan

Our Team

In Luminaria, we’ve brought together a diverse group of educators, innovators, storytellers, artists, and scientists to create something new in education.

Lumineer Academy Head of Teaching and Learning Kim Staples, Hobsons Bay Mayor Councillor Jonathon Marsden, Lumineer Academy Principal Amanda Tawhai, Tim Watts Federal MP for Gellibrand (l to r)

Our core team:

  • Amanda Tawhai, leading primary educator and early years specialist
  • Kim Staples, early childhood development specialist
  • Shane Hunt, previously lead STEM educator at Melbourne Girls Grammar and Frankston High, co-founder of TEDxFrankston
  • Susan Wu, Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative in Business” “Most Influential Women in Technology”, investor, advisor, or early team member of Stripe, Square, Twitter, Canva, Color Genomics, Project Include, others.
  • Daniel Tram, Teach for Australia associate, mathematics specialist
  • Sandy McLeod, linguistics and languages specialist, Mandarin educator

Luminaria provides several different types of educational offerings, including the Luminaria Educational Model, Lumineer Academy, a primary school, and Lumineer Expeditions, innovative after school STEM enrichment workshops.

Download our Media Kit
Media enquiries: [media@luminaria.org]