From Director of School Administration

23 June 2017

A parent enjoys a warming hot chocolate on the first day of winter

Dear CMS Community,

In the last Bulletin, I welcomed the winter with anticipation. What a treat it was for the community to receive such lovingly made hot chocolate on the first day of winter. We thank Judy McGowan for her efforts as she melted a huge amount of eating chocolate and stirred in a little milk!

The Directors successfully managed the reports despite an amount of disruption due to staff illness. We make tough calls trying to battle on, but staff are encouraged to stay home if unwell. While it is reasonable for the children to expect their normal routines, and unfortunate when that special adult is not present, the day does continue nonetheless as our Montessori children have the ability to choose activities to explore. The children perfect skills and discover new concepts within the materials. For the older children, research continues and managing work diaries with daily guidelines supports a consistent work cycle. The younger children are always supported by the older role models (children) in the environment. This is one of the beauties of auto-education as the Directors’ work is to guide our children to be a part of a society where they emerge as independent, innovative thinkers.

The Montessori Refresher course and Conference last weekend was enjoyable as always. Tom Ransom, Leanne van der Merwe and Halima Khurram attended workshops relating to the cycle they work within. Anthony and I attended the administrators workshop. The workshop allowed for discussion with other schools as we shared our similar challenges, with a focus on solutions. Some of the elements have already been shared with staff regarding our job as advocates for the Montessori Method. More will be shared at the Pupil Free Day on 14th July when we gather again to plan for Term 3, including looking at how better to serve the needs of your child and your family.

On the subject of meeting the needs of the family, the parent talk on Thursday 15th June was well attended. Those who were fortunate enough to hear Sarah Moudry speak, went away with a ‘tool bag’ of ideas. We were so grateful to be able to use the venue at Orana School. I became a light and sound technician that evening and had a wonderful time sitting there listening to this calm and polite lady give some really practical advice on how to parent with patience. Christine Harrison, Montessori Association Foundation (MAF) President and Managing Director, Education Services, opened the evening with reference to the partnership Eucalyptus Montessori and Canberra Montessori School had in sponsoring the event.

My ‘take away’ from the event was one of the last items on Sarah’s list of messages. She said, ‘go to the parent education at your school’. I felt her message was poignant as she had so beautifully endorsed all we do when we provide parent education events, or talk at the door, or provide a link through the website. Sometimes when it is just us talking, we can feel alone on the ‘soap box’. Having an international speaker come to Canberra through MAF was a first for us and hopefully now that we have paved the way, we may attract more parent talks to the Capital in the future.

And yes, I will mention the Fractions Parent Education we had this Term too. Glen Watson did such a beautiful job of introducing the evening and himself (Welcome Glen). He related a story of his time when he was working in a main stream setting and drew upon Montessori fraction material making concepts, so abstract to many adults, but turning them into a concept so easy and fun to explore. Our Directors, Leanne van der Merwe, Halima Khurram, Louise Draper, Kerrie Pillay and Tom Ransom did a lovely job, as always, presenting interesting materials. No doubt those who attended, will now look at an apple as much more than something to be eaten, following the evening! To those that did attend, thank you. Your presence, as Glen pointed out, is not just an opportunity to deepen understanding of what your child is exposed to, but also is backed by research indicating children are more likely to succeed in life when parents are engaged with their child’s learning.

Enjoy the parent interviews before the break. And for those attending the Holiday Program, have fun. Between Bouncy Castles, visits to the gym or baking, every day looks like a good day to sign up.

Aine Barker