From Director of School Administration

Dear CMS Community,

The Pupil Free Day on the Queen’s Birthday weekend is in our calendar to enable staff to attend the annual Montessori Australia Foundation Conference/whole school refresher course in Sydney. Members of staff who attended will share what they learned on our upcoming Pupil Free Day in July, the day prior to students returning for Term 3. One of our staff members, Tom Ransom wrote an overview of his experience:

A few weeks ago, a number of staff attended the 2016 Montessori Conference at Novotel Brighton Beach, in Sydney. The content of the workshops was engaging, and it was also a good opportunity to meet with Montessori educators of all age groups from across Australia and New Zealand—including some familiar faces, such as Helen, Jackie and Felicity.

After an initial session introducing the workshops, we broke into groups according to the age group taught. I found the 6-12 (Cycle 2) workshop, led by Rebecca Dallam, to be exactly what a Director in Training would want: Rebecca kicked off each session with a brief overview of issues faced in the teaching of various curriculum areas, then we went through all of these areas one by one, and discussed the best, most engaging and interesting activities we used in these areas. I came away with a long list of exciting ideas to try out in the classroom, as well as some new contacts in different schools around Australia.

The Novotel was an excellent venue (the buffet was vast and sumptuous!), and my colleagues seemed to all agree with me that the refresher was a valuable experience.

Those staff who remained in Canberra spent the day deepening knowledge of the Australian National Curriculum, as they continued working on the documentation that shows how the Montessori curriculum maps to the Australian curriculum, using evidence of practice at our school.

Another professional learning opportunity was delivered as Alison Waddell shared a session of music she and Tomomi Evans attended earlier this Term. The Music Engagement Program by Dr Susan West was titled The Music Outreach Principle and was facilitated through

Alison presents elements of the Music Outreach Principle

Alison presents elements of the Music Outreach Principle

Australian National University.

The program was a lot of fun as Alison had us all singing and clapping under the premise that music begins with our own voices. The program provided a positive and powerful way to overcome a general problem many adults experience when believing music is not their forte.  Those of you who have spent time in the Parent Toddler program will be aware that a basic participatory intent is the key to having fun with music. Alison and the Cycle 1 staff take music further as your children progress through the school and are introduced to many aspects of music appreciation and engagement.

Speaking of Parent Toddler and the experience of music brings me to a sad farewell from me to the toddler community. I have finally reached the conclusion that though I love the class so much, my role in supporting staff suggests time spent in all classrooms (including visits to PTP) is a better use of the school’s resources. A strategic decision was made this Term to cease the Parent Toddler Program at Gungahlin which enables Darcy Loughton to now run PTP from Monday to Friday while Tomomi Evans continues to facilitate the Saturday morning class at Holder.

Some of you may have noticed the folders at reception. Staff all contribute to policy through meetings and an online forum. If you as parents and society members have a moment to spare and wish to read through our reviewed or newer policies please do so. Feedback on DRAFT Policy is particularly important to us as we shape our school together.

Have a wonderful break.


Áine Barker
Director-School Administration