Our Journey to Now
In March 2017, Deborah Schiel Zaini started a group on Facebook looking for like-minded parents and teachers; parents and teachers in Innisfail who wanted alternatives to the State and Catholic/Christian schools available in the area.
The Innisfail Forest School Incorporated association (later renamed Cassowary Coast Community Campus Inc) was created in May 2017 with the aim to establish one or more small community schools in the Cassowary Coast Region, inspired by Montessori, Steiner, Forest Learning and Nature Play philosophies.
Many of the parents present at the first information session were from the Mission Beach-Tully area so the next meeting was held in Mission Beach and a site for the school was secured with a handshake the next day at nearby Dundee Park.
An application was submitted in July 2017 to the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board (NSSAB) to establish two campuses, one in Innisfail and one in Mission Beach, however the Innisfail site was later withdrawn from the application as it did not have full council approval.
In March 2018 NSSAB granted accreditation to The Rainforest School for primary education on the school site located at Dundee Park, Mission Beach and the school opened in January 2019.
In May 2019 Deborah stepped down from the position as chairperson of Cassowary Coast Community Campus Inc to focus again on her original aim of establishing a forest school in Innisfail.
Darlingia Ltd, a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, was created in June 2019 with members of the Innisfail community volunteering to become directors of the school board, all wanting to see a third schooling option available for local families. Our application was submitted to NSSAB soon after for the accreditation of Darlingia Forest School.
Unfortunately, securing a site for Darlingia was not as easy as the first time around and for various reasons we found then lost several sites before finding our current council-approved location: a suburban house that was set up as a tutoring business for nearly 20 years.
After three false starts, and a pandemic, Darlingia finally opened in February 2021.
Facebook support group created
Group’s association formally incorporated
School site secured at Dundee Park
First application to NSSAB to start a non-state school
Rainforest School accredited
Darlingia Forest School
New site approved
Darlingia opens at last!