From Director of School Administration – Week 3 Term 4

Dear CMS Community,

 

Lovely to be back at school after the break for a term of consolidation of all the learning both children and adults have embarked upon in 2017.

With a grand number of 110 children attending Cycle 1 in the afternoons, we have placed more adults on playground duty. I have stationed myself on ‘duty’ in the Cycle 2/3 playground. While it has been fun to be on duty in the Cycle 1 playground all year, it is very interesting to view the Cycle 2 and 3 children just as the year draws to a close. As you are aware, our Directors discuss ‘Student Welfare’ during our weekly meetings. By all accounts, there have been ‘moments’ on the playground. The use of sticks and twigs drew a fine line between all that is learnt in Cycle 2 (fundamental needs of man for shelter); potential weapons, and territories (peer group acceptance) have had to be dealt with and negotiations made. Delightfully a new phase in the cycle of the year is seen. Our oldest students have segregated into a boy group and a girl group and they are less active and more into just ‘shooting the breeze’. The next cohort emerges for a short time staying on the periphery, probably unsure of the changes in our emerging adolescents, but then skip off to pursue more active engagement with the outdoors. Children continue to snack on the nectar of the grevillea flowers (they call them honeysuckle year in and year out) and amble around happily in our lovely environment created by our green fingered and hardy parents and staff who have turned many a sod out there.

Okay, I am being a bit nostalgic here and it is not the end of the year yet! but I am so proud of our teachers and the guidance they have provided your children in 2017. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated professionals who appropriately place your child at the centre of every decision made. Our upcoming evening on 30 October will not only provide an opportunity to deepen understanding of Montessori education, but allow you to see why your child will benefit from their time at CMS into the future. I started work at CMS over a decade ago and can safely say this is the first time all of our Directors have stood before our parent community to speak and answer questions on what Montessori education truly means. I do hope all parents will be able to come along to this evening.

We had a great Fundraising and Social (F & S) meeting last week with all the wonderful members, stall coordinators and class parents (who have taken on a co-ordinating role – an integral part in bringing the whole event together). The fundraising meeting was on the same day as the class parents’ meeting at which I made a commitment to communicate an update on the library and how funds from ‘Fundraising 2016’ are/were being spent. While some of the funds were allocated to classroom materials (swiftly spent!), the library has had many of hours of ‘sweat and tears’ poured into it.

In a nutshell:

  • The library will be retained as a lovely space to relax, research and read.
  • Lovely is the operative word…we will spend the money on the lovely!
  • Lovely means plants, beautiful hardback picture books for our younger readers/listeners, more fiction for our older researchers and some cosy furniture to set the scene.
  • The nitty gritty measures involve attaining consensus on what the future looks like, e-readers versus hardcopy books or both, and systems for scanning and logging reading resources.

If you require further information on this please have a chat to your class parent who will happily offer to see you over a coffee if you require further detail of the nitty gritty.

I would like to thank Catherine Holmes for sharing at the class parents’ meeting the journey she embarked on this year at CMS when she shot her hand up to set up/improve the library space. At the meeting, she took time to explain the journey including networking to find necessary support. Delightfully, one of the Casuarina parents is a librarian and has provided advice all year. Catherine stepped us through the many phases of library progression, including her own experience setting up library spaces in Western Australia, working bees at CMS designed to cull the backlog of old and uncatalogued books, and staff meeting discussions. Staff, and notably Karri parents, tackled the impossible during the year when they cleaned the space, resulting in our donation of thousands of books to Lifeline. There is a time in space when a book is obsolete! …very difficult concept for Montessori guides who value the old vase with the kitsch adornments, as we know what attracts the child to the materials. However, there is a finite line with books and the guidance from our librarian parent helper has afforded us the know how as to when to part with a 1999 publication of encyclopaedia!

Just one more item if you please? I thank you for your commitment to Montessori education and our amazing teaching staff. It is the teachers who make all the difference.

Regards
Áine Barker
Director of School Administration