I write this letter with positive feelings as I reflect on a very satisfying year that draws to a close. In fact, we have already actively started preparing for 2019!
2018 has been an extremely productive year for the school! As in the past years, our greatest joy and satisfaction comes from witnessing the development of our children and watching them grow in confidence and independence!
The Montessori education is focused on assisting this development. In doing so, great care is exercised to ensure that the assistance given to the child is exactly the right measure - not too much nor too little. Doing more for the child than what they need can often hinder, rather than help their growth towards independence. We are on this journey together with you. We celebrate the good work done by both parents and staff in encouraging and supporting the children in their journey of discovery and independence.
We end 2018 with a high retention rate and a healthy growth of student numbers in all sections of the school for the next year! One of the measures of the success of a school is often the increase in student numbers. However, for us, we attribute this to the strong commitment and trust of you parents in our school. Your time and effort as volunteers for school activities, and the continuous focus by our staff on each child as an individual are significant contributors!
Our School Council has also played a significant and valuable role in their overall governance of the school. We greatly appreciate the dedication and commitment shown by all our School Council members – so ably chaired by Michael Broderick and Angela Chew this year. Thank you for all the good work you do!
Michael Broderick’s contribution to the school has been very significant and I take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of the staff, students and parents for his dedication and support. We are very fortunate that Angela Chew, another long-standing and dedicated council member, has generously agreed to step into the Chairperson’s role and continue the good work.
Members of the various sub-committees have also contributed in no small measure to our growth! Their genuine interest in the life of the school is so evident! The members of the newly formed building sub-committee are working towards an exciting project of enclosing the undercroft to give us the much-needed space for our students.
We thank each one of you for your time. Your commitment and continued efforts for the school is invaluable.
As always, this time of year brings change, and so too for us. Yaelle Grinberg and Faye Peel leave us to focus on their personal goals and all our good wishes accompany them. Faye and Yaelle will be missed dearly by us all. We thank them for their valuable contribution to the school and wish them a bright and successful future.
Maria Vaioleti Ponga has reduced her working hours at the school for 2019. She will be working Monday to Thursday as PP1 teacher, while Ciara Foley will be the class teacher on Fridays. Ciara will also be working with Maria from Monday to Thursday as Teacher Aide in PP1.
Audre will be the Teacher Aide in PP3 and Hemali Vasanjee will be the Teacher Aide in PP2.
We have appointed Rikhi Sadique and Megan Beasley to take over the positions vacated by Faye in Upper and Lower Primary respectively. Rikhi Sadique, who currently teaches Science in Lower Secondary, and Chemistry and Physics teacher in IB, will be working together with Jessica Wallace in Upper Primary in 2019. Megan Beasley will be working together with Salwa Guirgis in Lower Primary.
Penny King, who has been our long standing and deeply committed staff member and Art Teacher, will be retiring at the end of this year. Penny will always be remembered for her in-depth knowledge and strong passion for her subject, and her commitment to passing this on at the highest level to her students. She had the enviable ability to encourage her students to take on challenges and produce outstanding results. This is evident from the beautiful art pieces that were displayed at the IB Art exhibitions held by her students over the years. She had the ability to work on various tasks with very little or even no help at all, and was always willing to help and share her expertise with students and other staff. Penny may be missed dearly but will always remain in our heart.
As we end another great year, we bid farewell to our 2018 graduating students Emma Troncone and Cassandra Warner. Both Emma and Cassandra have been at our school since the age of 3. We wish them all success in wherever their future takes them! Sadly, we also farewell their parents, who have had a very long association with the school. We thank them for their trust in us and for being such a valued part of our school community.
In closing, I would like to thank dearly my colleagues who are just such wonderful people!! They are so generous with their time for the benefit of the children and school as a whole. I would like to thank them for the care and support and appreciation and respect they have for each other. They truly are in a ‘class’ of their own!
On behalf of all our staff, I wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday, and all the very best for 2019! We hope this festive season gives you and your families lots of opportunity for fun and joyful celebrations, and time to spend with family and others who are important to you.
May this lovely break be a happy one for you all!!
I would like to open by extending a warm welcome back to all. I hope you have enjoyed a restful and enjoyable break with your loved ones. As we head into the final stretch of 2018, we look forward to working with you once again in what promises to be one of the busiest, challenging and exciting final term of the year.
I will take this opportunity to gently remind you all that the school day commences at 8:40am. I am sure you will understand our request for students to make every effort to be on time, as this is very important for the smooth running of the school and avoids disruption of the classroom. Parents who need to collect their children earlier than 3.00pm are required to sign in at the office before they pick up their child from the classroom. This applies also to those parents who come in for observations and lunches.
If a student’s absence becomes necessary, we request parents to notify the school as soon as possible. The school is required to obtain an ‘acceptable explanation’ from the concerned parents. We therefore seek the understanding and co-operation of parents when the school administration contacts you and requests you to provide this for our information and records.
PALS Grant Activities: As in the previous years we have been once again successful in receiving a PALS grant this year. The PALS grant is a government initiative to support schools that undertake an active effort to work towards reconciliation and for better understanding of our indigenous culture and communities. We have planned two wonderful activities which will take place early this term.
PALS is based on the core attributes of:
On Monday 15th of October we have the pleasure to welcome Roni Forrest from AISWA to our school. Roni has worked with many schools before creating wonderful sand murals. Children are encouraged to design parts of the sand mural expressing the story of our place. On the day children will be involved in the sensual activity of pouring of the sand which will take place on the lawn between Lower Primary and the Shammai. At pickup time the area will be opened for parents to view the mural. Please do stop by.
In week 3 we have a second activity planned. Koorlong workshops are run by a group of young indigenous musicians whose aim is for schools to learn about indigenous culture through song. We will enjoy 3 workshops where children will learn songs appropriate for their stage of development, and we will round the day off with combined singing of all students.
More information on the group can be found at https://www.madjitilmoorna.org.au/
I extend my sincere thanks to Lena Streiff Kosok for planning and organising these events for the school.
Lake Walk: You may recall that we could not hold this event last year due to poor weather conditions. With the hope that it will not be cancelled this year, we have moved the event from Term 3 to term 4 hoping for better weather.
We hope many parents will be able to join us for this event.
Volunteers Morning Tea: Wednesday 12 December 2018: We will be sending out a formal invitation later in the term but could parents please note the date in your diary. We would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation and say thank you for the many ways you help us with your very valuable contributions to the school. We hope many of you will join us.
End of Term 3 whole school picnic.
We welcome back all our parents and extend a special welcome to all new parents who have joined the school, and parents and staff of the Kingsley Montessori Playgroup. We hope you have all had a wonderful holiday!
Bush Classroom Progress:
Beginning of Term One 2018 Beginning of Term Three 2018
I am sure you will recall the announcement of the approval of the Bush Classroom at the beginning of this year! We continue this initiative this semester and are very excited to show you the near completion of the path that gives access to the Bush Classroom.
This has been achieved with the work and diligence of the Secondary students in approximately 20 half days or less across Terms 1 and 2. This beautiful, winding, undulating pathway through the bushland has so much character and blends in so naturally with its rustic surrounding! One can well imagine what an interesting topic of conversation this will be for the children of varied ages who will be walking this path one day!
While this project has been successfully executed by the students, they have had the guidance and mentorship of their teacher Lena Streiff Kosok, and Rainer Kosok our instructor for the Occupations Programme. Both have been hands on, working side by side with the students on this project. It is proving to be an extremely valuable learning experience for all!
Science Week: We are very happy to see the fantastic turnout of parents to the Science Display on Friday, 3rd August. As always, it gives us great pleasure to bring to you our Montessori curriculum through events like these. It gives parents an insight into how special the Montessori pedagogy is! Montessori education is inquiry focused and offers many learning opportunities for students. The material is fascinating, and it gives an understanding of the special art of the teacher, on how to raise interest, encourage and to know how NOT to say or teach more than is necessary!
As part of National Science Week (13-17 August), the teachers of Upper Primary, Lower Secondary and IB are planning a science action day on August 15th. In addition to planned activities on the day, they have organised a screening of award winning documentaries presented by SCINEMA (Australia’s science channel). Our teachers have previewed these documentaries and deem the ones they are showing, a valuable contribution to the science curriculum.
Class Placement: It is wonderful to hear from you that your children who have joined our school for the first time, or who have moved to a new group are settling in well. Having positive and supportive conversations with your children regarding their new school or room always helps. We are a Montessori school and all environments are excellent Montessori environments. Our teachers have the best interest of your child at heart and are always willing to meet with you to discuss any concerns you may have. Please allow enough time to meet and discuss concerns. Positive relationships between parents and teachers begin and develop with mutual respect and good communication.
Staffing Changes: As informed in our previous letter, with Jessica Jackson away, Jane Coffey and Ciara Foley will be the teachers in PP3. The teachers for PP2 will be Ciara Foley and Ria McBennett until Jessica’s return.
NAPLAN Online – School Readiness Test: You may have heard that NAPLAN Online was introduced in 2018, with all schools having to transition to NAPLAN Online by 2020.
In preparation for this move, our school is undertaking a trial this year. This trial, called the School Readiness Test (SRT), will enable us to assess our technical readiness to implement the new online assessments. In addition, it gives us a chance to try out the new national online assessment platform in a real-life classroom environment
During August or September 2018, some students of ages 8, 10, 12 and 14 will participate in a trial of the assessment platform, by undertaking one/two online readiness test/s that include examples of the new NAPLAN online questions.
Participating in this trial will help us ensure we have adequate internet connectivity, and whether students have access to sufficient number of devices for NAPLAN Online testing. During the trial, our teachers will have the opportunity to practice managing the classroom logistics for an online assessment and the new test administration processes.
The readiness test has not been constructed to assess curriculum knowledge. As such, no reports will be generated.
Our teachers and myself are happy to discuss any concerns you may have.
8 August, 2018
I hope this letter finds you well and that you are enjoying the holidays!
This week is proving to be a very productive week for all of us. Staff have been very busy attending to maintenance works and a number of Professional Learning sessions, including First Aid Training and many staff meetings.
We are seeing the fine results of maintenance works that are being carried out. Our beautiful trees have been inspected for any risks associated with them and attended to accordingly. All electrical, safety equipment in the laboratory, lighting and plumbing have been checked. Cleaning of the windows, cobwebs and painting of some areas of the Lower Secondary and Heritage Building have been completed!
We are ready for the arrival of our students!
Pre Primary News: Effective, second semester, a staff to student ratio of 2:20 will be maintained in PP1. With some children having moved to LP this semester, the numbers in PP1 have dropped. Maria Vaioleti-Ponga and Audre Mare will continue as PP1 staff, while Shanie Do will be joining our PP2 team to maintain the required ratio in that room.
We share with you some wonderful news of Jessica Jackson. Jessica leaves us to get married and will be away from 8 August until 7 September. I am certain she will take with her all our good wishes for this happy occasion. We wish her good health and happiness at this lovely time! Jessica has promised to certainly return! Jessica’s role will be shared by Jane Coffey and Ciara Foley who is also a Montessori and Early Childhood teacher. We are very grateful to both Jane and Ciara for their support in ensuring that the continuity of our strong Montessori environment is maintained.
Science Material Display: Friday, 3 August 2.30pm: Our staff are putting in a lot of thought and effort to ensure the display will be relevant and helpful for parents. We look forward to seeing you there.
Student Code of Conduct: From July 2018, all independent schools are required to have a Student Code of Conduct. The Guide to the Registration Standards and Other Requirements for Non-Government Schools July 2018 describes the Student Code of Conduct as follows.
Teachers in all areas of the school will induct students into the Student Code of Conduct at an age appropriate level. The induction process will involve the opportunity for students to ask questions and demonstrate that they have understood the Code of Conduct.
The Montessori School’s Student Code of Conduct is now available on the school’s website.
Over the years, the Education Department’s accountability and compliance requirements have increased significantly. The additional workload due to this has significantly stretched the resources of administrative and teaching staff, particularly in a small school like ours.
We request your co-operation and your support with Registration and Compliance issues.
School’s Parking Policy: We request all parents to support the school’s parking policy and be respectful and considerate to the needs of others by dropping off and picking up children efficiently. Please be mindful that parking for an extended period of time will cause additional inconvenience to parents. A copy of the school’s parking policy is available on the school’s website.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday, and we look forward to seeing you on Monday, 23rd July!
20 July 2018
I am again astounded about how quickly the term has passed, and so much has transpired in this time!
Reports: The mid and end of year parent – teacher meetings as you know, spread over a number of weeks at our school. These meetings give you feedback on a myriad of attributes beyond just the academic performance of your child. You are given feedback on a holistic basis and this includes your child’s strengths, needs, behaviours, and learning styles. This is information gathered through very systematic observations of the trained eyes of our teachers.
I am certain you will recognise that the teachers put a lot of time in preparing these reports and give these parent teacher meetings its due importance. I thank all parents who have taken the time to meet the teachers. I also thank our teachers for the extra time they give so willingly to meet parents before and after school. As always, please discuss these reports with your child in a constructive manner.
Geography Night, Orientation and Secondary Information Morning: We were very happy to see such a good turnout of parents at our recent events. Thank you also for your feedback which is very heartening, and encourages us to continue to bring these events to you. These sessions are a reminder that the Montessori pedagogy is primarily concerned with supporting the development of the human personality. Montessori represented the stages of development as a ‘rhythm’ of six year cycles, and it was so well explained by our teachers on how each of their classroom environments are designed to meet the specific needs of the child at that developmental stage of their life!
Like myself, you may have also realised how fortunate we are to have the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for our High School students! The IB Information morning gave us an insight into the outcomes expressed in the IB Learner Profile. The values that IB is governed by and stated in this Learner Profile is exceedingly compatible with the Montessori Method!
Mrs Duyker-de Vries: We are extremely proud of the fact that our Montessori School was the first Montessori School in the world to adopt the IB Programme. This was made possible by the foresight of our Founder Mrs Willemien Duyker-de Vries Mrs Duyker was a student of Maria Montessori herself! And like Maria Montessori, Mrs Duyker was a woman of great vision!
In the words of Mrs Duyker “This was an awe-inspiring experience. Communication, face to face, with one of the greatest minds in the world was a powerful guide to continue to live on the highest level possible without compromise.”
The last day of Term 2, is a day when we especially remember Mrs Duyker. Mrs Duyker was born on the 5th of July, a day that often falls on the last day of Term 2, or the first week of the holidays that follow. In memory of Mrs Duyker, students of the Lower and Upper Primary visit the Aegis Aged Care in Kingsley, they meet and share morning tea with the residents and donate a hand knitted blanket that they have worked on for almost a year!
Mrs Duyker’s legacy very much continues to be felt at our school. We are proud to witness the positive impact the environment founded by her, has had on all the students who have passed through our portals
Thank You: As always, we can never do everything we do without the help of you, our parents. Once again, I would like to say how grateful we are for your invaluable support you give the school. To name a few – our volunteers of the Bush Sub-committee, the laundry roster and guides for Open Days, and parents who help with our activities in so many little ways! Getting our laundry dry at this time of the year must be a challenge and yet we are never short of clean laundry because of your efforts.
In a few months we will see some new growth in our bushland. While this is the result of work done by our students, it is only possible with the efforts of the members of the Bush Sub Committee who have donated many an hour to share their knowledge and expertise and provide guidance!
Thank you parents for another wonderful term! We wish you many happy moments of walking together, talking together, reading together, eating and having fun together with your children!
We will be here to welcome our IB students back on 18th July and the rest of the students on 23rd July 2018!
29 June 2018
Maria Montessori: Creative Development in the Child
Our Montessori school is undoubtedly a busy and exciting one for the students! Last week we had the pleasure of showing visitors around our school and giving them a “feel” of our classrooms. Their overwhelmingly positive comments showed how impressed they were with what they had experienced!
Even to the untrained eye, it was clearly evident that each area of the school provided a different environment that supported the child’s development of each of the different phases of their life.
A recent visitor from Japan gave me great joy and filled me with pride when she stood in awe and exclaimed that she had thought such an environment exists only in books and did not realize that a classic Montessori environment exists in real life even in today’s 21st Century society!
These visits gave me the unique opportunity of seeing our work through their eyes!
Yes - our children are purposefully engaged without having the threat of failure looming over them;
Yes - our classrooms are pupil-centric and not teacher- centric;
Yes - we can see co-operation and not competition in the classrooms;
Yes - our environment genuinely fosters a calm, joyful space for the children to learn in; and
Yes - the classrooms are light and airy and have plenty of room for children to move about!
It goes without saying that this is only possible because of our very dedicated and nurturing staff, our highly skilled Montessori teachers and Teacher Aides and our parents’ trust in the school and their willingness to understand and adjust to the Montessori method.
That said, we are constantly striving towards making the whole offering better! As we heard at the AGM, we are currently looking at ways of optimizing the space in the Upper Primary to cater to the trend of increasing student numbers.
Our teachers have been very busy conducting parent teacher meetings this term and this will continue with the teachers discussing the mid-year reports with some parents. Our school’s tradition of face-to-face meetings is a very valuable and useful one. Our experience has been that this open and direct communication helps build meaningful relationships with the parents and goes a long way towards ensuring that incorrect assumptions and misunderstanding is either eliminated or minimized. It has been a pleasure meeting with so many parents this term!
Examinations and Assessments
The IB students underwent the IB Examinations (Mock and Language Finals) this term. They handled the exams very well and displayed tremendous confidence and composure. Their commitment to perform to the best of their abilities and to the standard expected of them was also commendable!
For the rest of the school, we have been developing a constructive approach towards conducting the NAPLAN assessments. While we are required to undertake these assessments for compliance reasons, and do take them seriously, the teachers take great effort to handle the assessments in a manner that will not cause any anxiety or stress to the students. Our teachers are very aware of every child’s ability. They treat children as individuals and, while they work towards achieving good academic results, they are equally passionate about nourishing the child’s human spirit and take great pains to ensure this is in tune with the child’s natural desire to learn.
I would like to remind parents of their responsibility to abide by the School Education Act (1999). The Act states that the parents of children of compulsory school age are responsible for ensuring their child is attending school daily. The Act also requires parents to provide an acceptable explanation to the school authorities for any absence. If a student absence becomes necessary, we request parents to notify the school as soon as possible. An acceptable explanation for absence is a mandatory requirement of the Act and we are required to obtain this from the concerned parents. We therefore seek the understanding and co-operation of parents when the school administration contacts you and requests you to provide this for our information and records.
The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability will take place across all school across Australia in August. The NCCD uses a very broad definition of disability, taken from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005. These documents detail a broad range of health and learning conditions for which schools are required to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to support students.
The relevant data is required to be collected by each school. However, any personal details, such as student names or other identifying information, are not provided to local or federal education authorities.
The latest NCCD parent fact sheet and additional information is available on the DOE website. The link is given below. If you have any concerns, please do meet and discuss them with your child’s teacher.
Government school entry age
To align our guidelines with the West Australian Government’s cut-off date for transitioning students from one class to another, we have decided to gradually adjust our policy over the course of the next two years. This will mean that those students who turn 12 by 30th June in any year will move into secondary school. Upper primary will cater for those students who turn 9 by 30th June in any year and Lower primary will begin for those students who turn 6 by 30th June in any year.
Our experience is that some children, particularly if they are born in the second half of the year, benefit from being allowed this extra time to develop the skills needed. With students undertaking the International Baccalaureate curriculum, we have seen that students who are more mature tend to perform better. The transition will also become more streamlined for those students who elect to join our school from other schools.
Parents of those children who are affected by this change will shortly receive an invitation for a midyear meeting with your child’s teacher. Please take this opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have. We will be pleased to discuss this with you.
I wish to thank all parents for your understanding and co-operation towards helping us look out for our students with severe allergies. Some students at our school have a severe allergy to nuts and are at risk of suffering from an anaphylactic reaction. We greatly appreciate your support in ensuring your children do not include such food products in their lunches or birthday treats etc. Keeping such foods out of the classroom is the most effective method of avoiding a potentially serious incident. If your child notices any nut products which may have been included inadvertently in their lunch, please ask them to let the teacher know as soon as possible. This will facilitate the school taking appropriate action.
28 May 2018
Firstly, I must draw your attention to the School Parking Brochure and letter received from the Coordinator Parking Services - City of Joondalup, with a request to notify the school community about parking near schools.
As we begin Week 3, I am really encouraged by the momentum that we have gained already!
We received such a wonderful, positive response to our invitation to the Material Display event on Friday 9th February. The turnout, as well as the parent participation in the event was fantastic! Thank you for your support and involvement! We trust it was a meaningful session for you and that it facilitated a better understanding of Montessori didactic materials that support reading, writing, and understanding simple to complex grammar.
My sincere thanks also go out to all the staff who put in such a lot of thought and time in preparing this presentation! They also go through great lengths to ensure our children feel safe, comfortable and cared for. Thank you, parents, for your messages of appreciation, as well as the many anecdotes you have shared with me of your child’s days at school this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening and sharing these with my colleagues.
Now, it gives me great pleasure to bring to you, a glimpse of the emerging initiative of our adolescents for 2018!
Our Bush Classroom !
Projects like these require a lot of time to conceive, plan and bring to fruition. The students work on such projects on one afternoon of the week, as part of their Occupations curriculum. Last year, they successfully thought up, executed and delivered the Chicken Coop project, which has now grown into an integral part of school as well as the Playgroup activities. This year, we watch, with anticipation, the evolution of another worthy project - our Bush Classroom!
We wish to thank the Bush Sub-Committee for making this possible for us by allocating us space in the bushland. We are also grateful to Ray Coffey for giving us his time and sharing his knowledge of the terrain to identify a suitable spot that will be accessible to the school children of all ages.
My opportunity to interact with our young adolescents has enabled me to increasingly appreciate how students engage in classroom projects and grow toward independence in a Montessori environment. Perhaps it is also with time spent in the primary school that I have been privileged to witness, recognize and understand that the reasons our adolescents perform so admirably is because of their learning and experiences in the primary and elementary years.
This, by no means, takes away from the commendable efforts of the teachers who work with the adolescent group. At this level, the teachers continue the task of preparing the environment to suit learning needs of each child. Their expertise in monitoring student progress, while at the same time providing social and emotional support in a supportive and a non-confronting manner is what causes students to be motivated and engaged! It is also their enthusiasm, motivation and initiative that inspires the students!
In a Montessori environment, complex tasks are broken down into smaller, (though not necessarily simpler) tasks. This is done to prevent the task from appearing to be an insurmountable obstacle in a child’s development. The students know there is a challenge to be met and a challenge ‘they can’ meet.
As adults, we watch, not at the job being completed but how children develop themselves while the job is being completed.
13 February 2018
As the school year of 2017 draws to a close I feel a sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Appreciation of the support that I have received from you and my colleagues as I transitioned into the Principal’s role and satisfaction, because we have had a year of achievement and steady growth. Our goals for 2018 are well into planning stage and I feel incredibly optimistic about next year!
I am extremely pleased to report that our application for re-registration has been approved and our registration is now valid until June 2020. I would like to thank all the students, parents and staff who have participated in this process. While the visiting panel have acknowledged the quality of education being provided at our school they have recommended additions to some of our school policies. With effect February 2018, we will also need to comply with the National Quality Standards and maintain a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:10 in the pre-primary classrooms.
The adage that hard work precedes success has well and truly been proven in the success we have had this year. While I know that there are many who contributed to this achievement, I would like to especially acknowledge some of them.
First our students – Never a day goes by without them giving us something to think and smile about! They form the biggest part of our beautiful community and the only reason for its existence. We share a common feeling of pride as we watch them develop their individually unique qualities.
We are extremely grateful for the support and involvement by you, our parents – many of whom are also members and helpers of sub committees. You have contributed a great deal to the school in ways that are too many to enumerate! Your efforts have resulted in obtaining valuable grants and donations for the school – not to mention the time spent in successfully organizing fundraising events. We also thank you for your spirit of generosity in devoting your time and effort to helping with services like camp supervision, creating surveys, laundry, sewing, presentations, news sheets, busy bees, IT, baking, invigilating, transport and more, along with your participation at school events. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you.
We acknowledge the efforts of the Chair and members of the School Council. We are very grateful for their time and guidance to the school. The work they do benefits the entire school community, including staff and students. We thank them for taking on this significant responsibility and for devoting their time to the governance of the school.
My colleagues!! I thank them not only for their professional contribution, but also for their whole-hearted cooperation and all the extra hours that they work so willingly on matters other than teaching. Our success, and the good progress that we have made, is undoubtedly due to their hard work and their strong commitment. The shared sustained conversations they have with the students – both in and out of the classroom comes naturally from their hearts! On a personal note I thank them for their strong support, their intellect, excellent wit and humour (and wisecracks) which has helped me see the lighter side of my work.
This time is also tinged with sadness, as we part ways with some students, parents and staff who are moving on in their lives.
Firstly - we bid farewell to our graduating students of 2017. We wish them all success in wherever their future takes them. Sadly we also say goodbye to some of their parents who have had a very long association with the school. We thank them for their trust in us and for being a valued part of our school community.
We also bid farewell to those students and families that have moved on for personal reasons. We respect that and thank them for their contributions to the school community and wish them all the very best in their future endeavours
Bernice Oellermann, who has resigned and is moving on to pursue her studies, will be missed dearly by us all. We thank her for her valuable contribution to the school and wish her a bright and successful future. For Yaelle and Zoe, the next year will be exciting as they happily look forward to an addition to their family! They leave with all our good wishes and we look forward to their return in 2019.
Results of the parent survey 2017 are here and indicate majority of the responses were positive. It was wonderful to note that the caring, nurturing and non-judgmental attitude of staff stood out as one of the aspects parents valued most. The vast majority indicated that staff provide useful feedback. Responses also indicated areas for attention and improvement. Of note, there were some parents who requested improvements in parking, increased community events, opportunities for and style of communications with staff, improvements in physical activity and greater transparency and understanding of Council operations. Some of these have been addressed as you may have seen by now. We thank you all for your active participation and constructive feedback.
As we count down to a lovely break, we wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday with your families. Christmas traditions vary with different cultures, whichever one you may follow, we wish you a happy one.
13 December 2017
A warm welcome to all of you and a special welcome to the new students and newborns who have joined our Montessori community. We hope parents have enjoyed a relaxed holiday with your children. As we begin the final term of the year, I find myself reflecting on the wonderful year we have been having!
It was an absolute pleasure greeting students and parents yet again this morning. I just happened to see one staff member’s beautiful gesture of welcoming our second year IB students individually, as they walked through the gate to begin their final term with us! They will soon be moving on to begin the next chapter of their lives, most of them having been with us from the age of 3!
If you haven’t already done so, please stop by and take in our new notice board. This has been made possible through the work of the School Promotion Subcommittee and the Parent Participation Subcommittee. We thank them for their ongoing work. We are also extremely grateful to parents who have so willingly participated in the fundraising events organised by the Parent Participation Sub-Committee. We extend our thanks to Greg Atkins, who has donated his time and expertise to design, build and install the notice board.
As is usual, our teaching and non-teaching staff have been busy during the holidays, organising and carrying out maintenance works, preparing their rooms and creating new material in preparation for another interesting term for the children. I am very grateful to our staff for their deep sense of responsibility and purpose and thank them for their commitment towards creating such a positive learning environment for our students
You may have noticed the fine results of maintenance work that was carried out during the break. Several trees have been trimmed and shrubs have been removed from some areas of the playground. The grounds have been freshly mulched and the sand pit has been topped with clean sand. The gutters have been cleaned, Secondary building beams and floors have been cleaned and the floors sealed. The exterior wall panels, ceilings and doors have been painted. All is beautiful!
It seems appropriate to share with you a seemingly innocent, yet powerful, observation made by the painter who was working on the premises during the holidays. “I love this place, I love working here” he said! That said it all! His concise statement echoed Maria Montessori’s sentiments so aptly! Maria Montessori said that the environment should be tranquil, beautiful, warm and inviting!
Our school is indeed a very special Montessori environment - created by the combined efforts of our children, parents and staff. It is an environment which we love and take care of so that it can be enjoyed by all those who enter here!
We hope you enjoy this wonderful term!
10 October 2017
We are nearing the end of the school year of 2017. With only a week to go in Term three we will be entering into our final and busiest time of the school year.
The winter illnesses have been very prevalent this term and many students and staff have fallen sick with the cold and flu. If parents notice symptoms of gastroenteritis and especially vomiting in their child, we ask that they be kept at home for twenty four hours.
With our current registration period expiring in December 2017, we had a Review panel from the Department of Education visit us on Monday 4th September to conduct the school’s re-registration process. All Non-government schools are required to be registered by the Director General of the Department of Education Services. The day went smoothly, with the panel taking time to talk to parents, students, staff and Council members. The status of our re-registration will be known to us in term four.
We would like to thank all parents and visitors who attended the Parents’ Night on Assessment. Your interest, participation and questions were well received by our teachers. We hope by the end of the night, parents had a good understanding on how we conduct Formative and Summative assessments at our school and the different methods teachers use to track a child’s progress. Assessments aside, teachers continuously question and review the environment to ensure optimum opportunity for each child’s development.
On behalf of all our staff and students, I would once again like to thank the members of the Bush Committee and the group of parents that regularly support them, for their great efforts at the Busy Bee on August 26th. Their continuing work is fundamental in enabling us to preserve and improve our wonderful bushland that is part of our premises. The bushland allows for learning and development activities that are undertaken by our students and also brings home the importance of preserving the environment for the future. We especially thank the members of the Bushland Sub-Committee for their passion in helping our students learn through first hand experiences the importance of this special environment.
Development of outdoor skills is equally important for the overall development of adolescent children. Our Lower Secondary students will be doing plenty of this next week, when Lena Streiff Kosok our Lower Secondary Teacher along with parent volunteers Peter Bruchez-Walker and Julie Maitre will be accompanying them to Pinjarra on their school camp. There is a lot of team building and enduring memories to be made! We wish them a wonderful trip! Thankyou Lena, Peter and Julie!
Due to the weather forecast of rain for tomorrow, regrettably we have had to cancel the scheduled Lake Walk. However, we are hoping for fine weather for our end of term picnic! A big thankyou once again to our Upper primary students who will be organizing the activities for the picnic!
We look forward to many parents joining us there!
Attending the International Montessori Congress was a beautiful experience. Being among 1800 participants from 70 countries highlighted for me, the immense faith and trust Montessori teachers have in the developmental abilities of children. And, how important it is for the child to experience and grow in independence in a prepared environment. But, there is no place like home – and while the congress was inspiring, even awe inspiring at times, it is just wonderful to be back!
What we take for granted in our environment is always brought to consciousness again by comments from visitors to our school. And - visitors we have had many in the last few weeks!
We are constantly looking at the environment through the eyes of the child and making subtle changes to the room to suit their needs. We have heard the Montessori classroom referred to as a sanctuary for the child. It is a peaceful and safe environment, a beautiful environment created with a lot of thought to help a child acquire their necessary life skills. It is a place like home, where the parent is the child’s first and most powerful teacher.
The Open Day, Orientation and Information Mornings were well attended. Thank you to all our parents who took time to attend these sessions. We were also very pleased to see some parents from other Montessori schools attend the Secondary and IB Information Morning.
Last week a delegation of 13 Principals from the International Brainy Bunch Islamic Montessori Schools of Malaysia visited our school for the second consecutive year as part of their study tour. We were extremely pleased to hear of their admiration of our school and peaceful environment where children are happy and engaged in work.
The NAPLAN results have arrived today and will be ready to go out to parents on Friday 25th August.
I request all parents who have any queries on the results, to meet and discuss them with the class teachers.
On behalf of all our staff and students we extend a big thank you to our Parent Participation Sub-Committee for all their efforts in organising such an enjoyable evening at Scitech. A lot of hard work is involved in organising and managing the smooth running of such an event. Thank you to all families who supported the event with your attendance.
Event dates for the calendar: (Please check the website for updates):
Term 4, 2017:
We must thank parents, Michael and Segolene King of our school community and members of their band who have very generously offered to hold an evening of live music for us. This event will be held at school and more details will be available as plans get finalised. A poster is up on the school notice board!
Our Pre-Primary children have a beautiful tradition of preparing a blanket for the arrival of a new sibling. There is plenty of reason for those hands to be kept very busy this year! We welcome to our Montessori community, babies that have already arrived and look forward to many more joining us in the months to come.
On that note, we request and remind parents to keep the parking bays that are closer to the school gate free for our expectant mothers and parents with babies. We also request and remind parents to be mindful that parking for an extended period of time will cause additional inconvenience to parents who are already doing laps in search of a free parking bay.
This term we have had many, many parents and visitors observing in the classrooms! That is just wonderful! We hope all have enjoyed the visits. For parents, observations give a wonderful insight into their child’s day at school and allows them to share the experience with their children at home.
Observation of the child is a very important teaching tool for Montessori teachers. Our teachers in Pre-Primary, Lower Primary, Upper Primary and Lower Secondary have had a Professional Learning refresher session on Observation this term.
Observation is considered to be the cornerstone of the Montessori method. It is a specialised, accurate, watching and seeing perfected through repeated exercises, and forms a major part of a Montessori teacher’s training. For a Montessori teacher, observation is a skill that involves training.
The type of observation a Montessori teacher focuses on is the scientific observation. It is an objective observation. It doesn’t include judgements, feelings, or opinion, and it is not influenced by emotions or personal prejudices. The aim is to gather facts and so it requires discipline.
However, both scientific and unscientific observations are important. Scientific (Objective) observation gives us factual information, and that is every Montessori teacher’s goal; while Unscientific (subjective) tells us about ourselves, and helps us to see how our judgements and feelings come in the way of our Observation.
Parent Survey and ISCA Research :
We thank parents for taking the time to send in their responses to the parent survey. We appreciate the effort parents have made to provide some thoughtful comments and suggestions. While we are in the process of collating and analysing the responses, we are very happy to know that the results show that 97% of the parent community would recommend our school to others.
This is very encouraging to us as a small independent school. According to the 2017 Research Report from ISCA, we are informed that parents use word of mouth from friends or other parents as the most influential information source. ISCA (Independent Schools Council of Australia) is the national peak body representing the independent schooling sector. Its role is to bring the unique needs of independ