From the Director of School Administration
Dear School Community,
Dear CMS Community,
Welcome back to another fantastic year at our school. We have kicked the year off beautifully with three days of fantastic Professional Learning from how to use a fire extinguisher (heavier than you might think) to having sport instruction given to our Directors.
The sports facilitator, Harriet Walker, came from PE Pulse and shared websites and resources with our Directors who may be a bit rusty having not delivered PE for some years. Harriet encouraged all our Directors to sign up for what is going on in the ACT. She explained how the old days where the children stood in the hot sun for most of the lesson listening to instruction is a thing of the past. It is all based on research and it just happens to be our local University of Canberra that is leading the government endorsed thinking, with Dr Richard Keenan and Sarah Keenan bringing physical literacy alive by providing games on play cards free to ACT students. Not being the sportiest person alive, I was intrigued to hear about the importance of ‘Physical Literacy’. This is not just the skill to kick a ball or develop hand eye coordination, but a combination of skill and confidence to get out there and feel good. It is a lifelong love of physical activity. Harriet described it as working when at aged 25 one does not stop being engaged in sporting activities. A half an hour of getting active for the children is what is required and of course the health component of the curriculum is being delivered by our Directors.
The class parents are appreciated as a wonderful conduit for parents to find out more from their Director without having the Director explain every little nuance pertaining to the daily life at CMS. Our class parents are extremely valued by our staff and leadership of the school and help us recognise many details of focus for parents. A class parent recently mentioned her view that a person ‘not knowing’ means communication is failing. With this is mind and following from the reference I made to sport this year, I would like to address any concerns raised regarding a feeling of lacking resources or staff shortage. This has not been clearly communicated previously for various reasons, all out of respect for teaching staff, each of whom is on a different classroom practice continuum.
Specialist Teachers in Montessori:
The Montessori Director is responsible for the whole child. Watching the development of the child very carefully, as each movement and response to the environment is observed, allows unblocking of obstacles and developing planned presentations of our Montessori materials to develop the child in all areas of growth. The reason authentic Montessori schools do not engage specialists is due to the whole Montessori curriculum Directors are trained to deliver. If we give part of the curriculum ‘away’ we deprive ourselves of the full picture of the child. Sport, mathematics and music are linked so to give one subject away is problematic for the Director. While all good intentions exist that we will go out to see the children doing sport with another teacher, in reality life gets in the way as we quite often become distracted with immediate daily work that is perfect to complete at that time. Respecting the specialist teachers employed for many years at CMS, the subject was not really appropriate to communicate to the community until such time the subjects could stop being delivered. If you feel the standard of art, music or physical activity is any different, please provide feedback to the Director who can explain what your child is engaged in and why they may be drawn to particular curriculum areas at a given time.
I hope this clears up any misconceptions regarding resources not being delivered or that our teachers have to do something unjust. I think if you ask any of our staff if they are happy in their work and delivery of an authentic Montessori curriculum they will share the joy they feel every day as they watch each child progress and develop their unique potential.
I know we will all have a wonderful first term judging from the happy and peaceful start within each classroom under the careful guidance of our fabulous Directors.
Áine Barker – Director of School Administration