6th March 2019


Dear Parents

It was extremely encouraging to see so many parents at the Parent Discussion Night on ‘Discipline’.  Discipline is such an intriguing word, and as you heard on the night, our classroom environment  presents that perfect balance of freedom and structure which greatly facilitates the development of a strong sense of discipline within a child.  Thank you for making the time to be present.  We thank Lena Streiff Kosok and Ria McBennett for their enlightening presentations on that night.

It was lovely to see our children return refreshed after the extra long weekend.  Before the weekend, our staff had been engaged on Friday 1st March in programming, planning and professional learning activities.   Parents who attended the Lower Secondary Information session earlier this year will be aware of the changes to the Lower Secondary syllabus this year.   Lena Streiff-Kosok who attended the Montessori Orientation to Adolescence training course conducted by the Templestow College in Melbourne over December 2018 – January 2019 will be working closely with Emma Seeber, who  has been appointed as our second Generalist in the Lower Secondary, to bring this programme to fruition.

International Year of Indigenous Languages:

Many of you will know that 2019 has been designated as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.  This morning we were very fortunate to have Noel Nannup visit our school and tell the story of “Moondang-ak Kaaradjiny” which when translated is “The Carers of Everything”.  This story is of great importance to all south-west Aboriginal people as it covers country known to be occupied by all south westerners.  We heard how Noel at the age of eight first heard it from his uncle Thomas, who told him that he needed to know this story as he, Noel, was a Noongar!  We have enjoyed a wonderful session with Noel, and children have been practising the Noongar words they have learned from him today.  Our staff have also devised an interesting activity for the school community to participate in!  To find out more you will have to visit the school notice board! 

IT Software Upgrade:

We are in the process of upgrading the IT software that handles the administrative functions and are confident that this will deliver improvements to the system. However, there are the usual teething problems and our staff are making every effort to address and resolve the issues when they arise. We are very grateful to you parents for your patience and understanding.  As an interim measure, until we are confident that all the issues are resolved, in addition to emails being sent out, we will be posting important information on the notice board.  We earnestly request parents to please remember to check the notice board for notices and information – just in case the emails do not reach them.

NAPLAN Online:

This year, our students will sit the NAPLAN online tests.  You may recall our students undertook the trial in 2018 and have had the opportunity to try out the online assessment platform.  Parents of children sitting the NAPLAN test will be receiving further information.  As always our teachers and myself will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have.

Free Bike Check:

To celebrate Bike Week 2019, the City of Joondalup is holding free bike checks by the Bike Dr. This is being held on Sunday 17th March : 8.00am – 12.30pm at Shepherds Bush Park, Kingsley.  More information is available on the school notice board.

Working Day
The school is in urgent need of volunteers to assemble and varnish chairs for our Secondary classroom.  Thank you for those who have volunteered, we are very grateful, but are in need of a few more volunteers.  Please leave your name at the school office if you can help with this project. 

Saturday 16 March from 8.30am – 12 noon at the school. 

We look forward to seeing you all on Friday 15th March to enjoy a story session on the ‘Night Sky”  with Noongar elder Noel Nannup. 

Yours sincerely

MaryAnne D’Souza

Principal


21st February 2019


Dear Parents

The Montessori terminology “Prepared Environment” in broad terms, is a Montessori classroom, with a teacher, mixed-age group of children and shelves of Montessori material.  Yes, they do make up a vital part of the environment, but delving deeper we encounter an environment where great care is given to appropriate lighting, the colour of the walls and noise levels.  The environment is uncluttered and shelves are not crowded with material to distract the attention of the child.   It contains all the essentials for optimal development but nothing superfluous.  Attributes of a prepared environment include order and reality, beauty and simplicity.  Gradually this prepared environment becomes a space where confidence, true interest and concentration is developed in a child.

Dr Montessori was trained as a scientist.  The Montessori Method is a pedagogy that is completely developed and refined through a scientific method.  Dr Montessori experimented with the type, number and size of material to include in the environment that would correspond to the child’s natural interest and plane of development.

The staff in our classrooms continue to do the same for our children.  When you are in the classroom at your next observation, I encourage you to take a closer look at this ‘prepared environment’.  

  • It is orderly, although at your first visit this may be hard to detect. An orderly environment contributes to a feeling of internal calmness;
  • The jobs are varied, stimulating and invite engagement; and
  • The jobs involve activity and demand physical and intellectual engagement.

In the Prepared Environment of our High School, there are activities of a higher level of purpose and construction.  The syllabus is planned to provide experiences for our secondary students to prepare themselves for entering and participating in the work and life of the adult society.

While the first pupil free week of this term had been taken up in preparing rooms, our staff have been constantly fine tuning the environment – experimenting with removing or rearranging material in an effort to invoke the interest from the child.  With interest comes repetition, and with repetition comes concentration.

A recent visitor to the school, was in awe of this environment and commented on how ‘quiet’ the rooms were.  They truly were!  What we saw, was a scientifically prepared, student oriented classroom.

Twilight Parade: Joondalup Festival 2019, Saturday 6 April, 6.15pm

This year our school will be participating in the Twilight Lantern Parade, an highlight of the Joondalup Festival.  The school has been very fortunate to receive from the City of Joondalup the help of an artist in residence as well as funds to meet the cost of materials for the lanterns.  We will be seeking parent volunteers to help with the event.  Please mark this date on your calendars as all staff and students are expected to attend the event.  It always is an enjoyable experience for our children.  The lanterns look beautiful and special, as do our children in their very special ‘blue T-shirts” that the school provides. 

We will keep you posted with updates of the parade.  If parents have any concerns, they are welcome to please discuss these with their child’s teacher.

Dr Laura Flores Shaw Presents a Parent Talk on “Montessori is Brain-Based Education”:  

Dr Shaw is an author and speaker who consults internationally on education, brain development, parenting, and organizational behaviour.   She will be conducting workshops for teachers and a talk for parents at the Beehive Montessori School.  The parent talk is scheduled for Tuesday 12th March,  7.30pm – 9.30pm.  A flyer with details has been mailed out to parents last week.

Here is a link from the Montessori Australia Foundation site for those who wish to know a little about Dr Flores Shaw.  We hope parents will take this wonderful opportunity to hear her speak.

https://montessori.org.au/montessori/videos/interview-laura-shaw

Display of Reading Material : Friday 22 February 2019 : 2.30pm

We strongly encourage parents to visit the classrooms on Friday 22nd when the Montessori Reading material will be on display.   Montessori reading is based on a solid foundation of phonics.  In the very early years at our school, children learn the sounds of the letters and trace their symbols with the sandpaper letters.  It is a multi-sensory approach that enable children build and write words even before learning how to read them.

All our teachers are trained to use these scientifically validated methods. It is a slow and solid method. There are no fast results or superficial performances or outcomes, instead we focus on the child’s development rather than on assessment.

Parking:

We ask parents to be mindful that parking for an extended period of time will cause additional inconvenience to parents who are already doing laps of the parking area in search of a free parking bay.  If you intend to spend time at the tree at the cul-de-sac while your children are having a play, we  request you to park on Goolellal Drive or side streets.  We have been informed by the City of Joondalup that street parking should not be a problem so long as there are no signs restricting the parking.

We thank parents for their support in helping to alleviate some of our parking issues.  Some of these have been to remind parents about the ‘No Parking’ zone at our cul-de-sac, and speaking and apologizing on behalf of our parents to neighbours who have our parents cars partially parked on their lawns. 

PPSC Event:  Story Night with Dr Noel Nannup : 15 March 2019

We look forward to seeing many parents at the story night being organized by the Parent Participation Subcommittee.  We would like to thank all our parent volunteers who have organized this wonderful event for the school community.

We welcomed many visitors to our Open Day on Monday. We extend a big thankyou to our parent and long standing volunteers who helped with the event.

On behalf of all our staff and students, I thank you for your invaluable support! 

Yours sincerely

MaryAnne D’Souza

Principal


5 December 2018

Dear Parents

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!!       

Yours sincerely

MaryAnne D’Souza

Principal

 

8 October 2018

Dear Parents

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:

  • Partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people;
  • Acceptance of difference as unique and to be respected;
  • Learning more about ourselves and each other, and,
  • Sharing a common journey along the path of healing and reconciliation towards a more harmonious and optimistic future

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.







August 2018

Dear Parents

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



July 2018 

Dear Parents

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.

  • ‘The code of conduct for students should set out the minimum standards of conduct to be observed by students attending the school and boarding facilities if relevant. The code should guide student behaviour, establish expectations for personal boundaries and clearly delineate appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in relation to staff, other students and other members of the school community. The code should make clear when, how and whom to tell when students have concerns about breaches of the code of conduct for students.’

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


June 2018

Dear Parents

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





MAY 2018


The child will learn anything that we offer him provided that we can keep his interest alive.  This is the secret of education.

Maria Montessori: Creative Development in the Child


Dear Parents

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.

Parent Meetings

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.

Attendance

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.

NCCD

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.

https://docs.education.gov.au/node/32685

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.

Allergy Awareness

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


FEBRUARY 2018


Dear Parents

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