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Amanda Tawhai
Kim Staples

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Luminaria is reimagining education to help children thrive in and build a more human and humane world of the future.

Luminaria Educational Model

Williamstown, Australia
The Luminaria Model is structured around 5 key anchors to empower students to become effective architects of their future world: 1. Building knowledge from first principles, 2. Whole child development, 3. Multidisciplinary synthesis across SEL and STEM, 4. Delivering over 70% of learning in hands on design and making, 5. Ensuring that all learning has an authentic real world purpose and audience.

What is the meaning and purpose of Education?

Amanda Tawhai, CoFounder, Luminaria and Principal, Lumineer Academy
“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.”

Amanda Tawhai, CoFounder, Luminaria and Principal, Lumineer Academy

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.

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.

Luminaria Educational Philosophy and Model

We are building an educational philosophy and model that’s built on 5 fundamental building blocks, and is scaffolded through a series of frameworks and tools:

  1. Building knowledge from first principles
  2. Whole child development across multiple axes: social, emotional, cognitive development and well being, capacity for design and making
  3. Multidisciplinary synthesis across SEL and STEM
  4. Delivering over 70% of learning in hands on design and making
  5. Ensuring that all learning has an authentic real world purpose and audience

Our entire philosophy and model are grounded on extensive, evidence based research across multiple disciplines. Here's a brief overview of some of our core foundational building blocks:

  • By learning how to think from first principles, children become much more capable of genuinely inventing rather than merely iterating
  • Additionally, learners are more capable of retaining and using knowledge effectively because they understand the fundamental building blocks and aren’t just memorizing content
  • An understanding of system structures enables students to see the similarities between seemingly different systems. For example, understanding how contagious diseases spread across populations helps students understand how a rumor spreads, how fake news propagates, or how a fashion trend grows.
  • When using systems thinking concepts and tools, many students show increased motivation, engagement, and self-esteem.
  • Learning which is physically active, involves gathering information, thinking, problem solving and attaining knowledge by participating or contributing has a significant advantage over passive approaches. 
  • Cultivating a nurturing, supportive, and safe environment is a fundamental prerequisite for each child's learning success. 
  • We believe that the crucial capabilities of emotional resilience and commitment to personal growth are ones that develop learners to their full potential through patient and dedicated practice, supported by validating relationships. 
  • We believe that every child can become a self confident, self-starting learner in a consistent and nurturing environment, and we work with children individually to strengthen their own intrinsic motivation. 

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Innovation Overview
4 - 12
Age Group
1 565
Tips for implementation
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. In the same spirit, 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. 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. View the full Luminaria Model: View our Blog:
Contact information
Amanda Tawhai
Kim Staples

See this innovation in action

HundrED Victoria Spotlight - Luminaria Education Model
Learners work in collaborative project design teams and develop empathy for one another.
All of our student projects have real world stakeholders and outcomes.
Students designed and built water irrigation systems for an island community impacted by drought.
Students engage in first principles thinking at the start of every project.
Students work with a Wildlife nonprofit to design and build pouches for orphaned kangaroo joeys.
Luminaria Model – Luminaria
We’re building a set of frameworks for delivering whole school, whole system transformation.


Achievements & Awards


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Learn about the Luminaria Educational Model
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Learn how to think and teach from first principles
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Teach SEL and STEM holistically
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Visit Us for an Educator Tour
Come and visit our first school implementation, Lumineer Academy, just outside of Melbourne, Australia. During our Educator workshops, we introduce you to first principles and design thinking. If you'd like to come visit, please let us know by signing up here:
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How to Guide: Luminaria Ed Model
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