Message from Director of School Administration

Dear CMS Families,

Welcome back to Term 3!  It was lovely to see so many happy children running down the path as usual on day one of Term and great that Bill McKeith could be there to meet so many of you as Anthony made the introductions.

Anecdotes from staff suggest those most connected with the classroom and the child’s learning are frequently the people most committed to the philosophy. This shows itself also in their active involvement in school committees and support groups.  One such support group is the small band of parents making classroom materials, an activity greatly appreciated by our Directors. It is a fun way to get to know some of the materials your child takes home. Actually cutting up those little straws or pieces of string for the necklaces, or cutting out strips of paper for weaving, all deepen an understanding and appreciation for the work your child does when you help to make the ‘raw’ materials. Your contribution creates a sense of belonging especially when you see the children (not just from your own child’s class) come forth with items they enjoyed working on.

While there are many ways to create a positive impact on your child’s education another really important aspect of Montessori education is the ability to ‘include’. Part of the Director’s journey is to modify the environment for the child as any obstacles in their way are unblocked. Through observation, Directors can work out the child’s needs and working with the parent, we journey together. Often parents ask how we deal with discipline in the classroom. This is easy to answer in a nutshell when we say ‘through work’. By engaging the child’s fascination and interest in the right materials the child becomes more settled. However easy the answer is, we know the complex process involves a special relationship built over time by the adult. The adult gets to know your child by learning about individual interests. With this information the whole curriculum is opened to your child at every stage of development.

This may sound either wonderful and believable or perhaps impossible for the children who appear to have obvious challenges, the ones you have seen in the playground who seem to not have reached a peaceful state. While we are a community of like minded parents, we do not all have the same parenting style. Parents are on a journey to support their child. Sadly, we are not so lucky as to attend a prepared environment every day, where a trained expert is standing by to gently guide us through the minefield of parenthood without interruption or correction.

We guide our children to be mindful of others. The activities we use to explicitly support this state of grace is called called ‘Grace and Courtesy’. These lessons start with the special greeting first received at our school through the Parent Toddler Program, when the Director takes the hand of the 18 month old into hers and greets by name as if that child was the only one in the room. The skills associated with grace and courtesy are seen not just to support polite social behaviours but also are demonstrated to the those around us. A struggling reader is quickly helped by one more proficient. When a Cycle 2 child cannot reach the gate, another will step in and help. The tolerance and acceptance of difference is the making of the peaceful classroom environment.

As the adults in the community, we too have a part to play in demonstrating grace and courtesy as we interact and accept each other. The children have the advantage of coming to the adult when stuck, but quite often are encouraged to see their peers first so they can work out the best approach to a problem. Perhaps when you see a parent struggling with their child, you might offer a helping hand. Various parenting styles are seen at our school as at any other, but considering ourselves part of the CMS community, we can do our best to model our school values with Montessori principles at the core of how we interact in an inclusive society.

Warm regards,

Áine Barker
Director School Administration