Message from our Acting Principal

Dear CMS Community,

Wow, what a fabulous start to 2018!

Staff had three amazing days of Professional Learning prior to the return to school when you would have been enjoying those last few days with your children buying new shoes for school and dusting off the lunch boxes. One of the days was delivered by ‘Preferred Training Networks’ and focused on communication. We identified preferred communication styles amongst staff and considered how better to approach not only each other, but all members of our community. Communication strategies, boundary setting, forming unity in the partnership relationship between staff and parents was covered and work-shopped.

The following day we switched from community communication to wellbeing for the children through the Bounce Back program, mentioned also by Louise Draper at the annual community gathering on Monday evening. The Bounce Back program fosters student well being and resilience and staff are working on the units as we set to start implementing the program within the next week or two. One of the key learnings I took away from the workshop was the idea that once we practise explicit lessons on supporting resilience (beyond the Montessori grace and courtesy lessons) with the children, the knock-on effect is a deeper peace amongst the adults.

This week Anthony is on leave to visit his recently born, very first grandchild. He left us equipped with a video message celebrating the unique qualities of Montessori education and the journey we embark upon here at CMS. The Board Chair, Jacqueline Gellatly was also captured, illustrating the recent past and school alignment to regulations from a Board perspective. Some of our talented parents are to be thanked for their development and production of the video.

As the Annual Community Gathering is an opportunity to mingle, chat to the Directors, and meet new families, it is also a parent only event and therefore the perfect opportunity for our Directors to share first hand their goals for the year. The message was heart felt from each individual and included the following dreams, plans and aspirations.

  • Leharne spoke of building strong community relationships and referred to the triad of Parent, Teacher, Child.
  • Tom spoke of breaking down unnecessary structures while deepening Montessori practice  by teaching to the energy and interest of the individual child.
  • Halima mentioned her desire to share her knowledge of Montessori through presenting materials and share in the joy of her work.
  • Aileen’s Action Research is based on a close look at supporting children to not be afraid of mistakes for it is by error we learn.
  • Glen spoke of the child at the centre and working with each individual family and child to reach potential.
  • David  would like to look closely into repetition of materials in the early years (Cycle 1), as repetition is key to learning in the Montessori environment. What happens when a child does not want to repeat a material? More to the point, why?
  • Louise has a personal goal to not only question how we can establish strong humanitarian values of compassion, gratitude and peace to create a harmonious community in the 3 to 6 environment but plans to work to take this peace beyond and into the second plane of development.
  • Ros wishes to investigate the barriers to engagement with the Montessori materials.

While the Directors have individual professional and personal goals, we as a school have a common goal which is timeless as we work with our children to develop core values and future focused skills, guided and grounded by Montessori philosophy. However, in breaking this down we have a strong message for 2018. It is one born out of reflection, feedback and future proofing school growth. The goal is holistic as we set about a deliberate action to bridge the gap between home and school. We need to know you to know more of your child. When we know your child, we can work together to guide the child and when necessary remove obstacles in the path of their development.

More specifically our aims in 2018 are as follows:

  • We would like to focus on a Montessori community where our differences to mainstream education are understood and celebrated.
  • Where our improving delivery of parent education is noted and easier to access (even if you are at home and unable to get out at night when trying to get tired children to bed!).
  • Where a deeper understanding of the philosophy is understood by the whole community to ensure our work complements home and school.

While we want to work together, collaboration is increasingly more difficult to attain in times when parents are consumed with work and staff are consumed with commitments to aspects of compliance unseen in the past. A simple restructure of responsibility and the Directors taking centre stage in community cohesion is certainly a step towards bridging the gap. Those who attended the working bee experienced how we have kick started the year working side by side to enrich the learning experiences for the children at CMS. Thank you!

Áine Barker
Acting Principal