Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support of our school and staff this term as we continue to strengthen our Montessori practices, our prepared environment the children thrive in each day, and as we continue to evolve together as one school community.

As you know, we are achieving this by continuing to build and enable a collegial team of excellent teaching staff who have come together beautifully this Term. New faces are becoming familiar and I am inspired to see the children enjoying both consistent and new experiences on their individual learning journeys. I am also pleased to see the children planning and hosting heart-felt farewell celebrations for some of our departing and longest-known staff.

Following the child

Something I particularly love at our school, is that we make the space and time in an already busy primary curriculum to follow the children’s specific interests and passions. I was especially interested to hear in Cycle Two for example, teachers have made the space and time to follow the children’s desire for an excursion to Questacon next week. I look forward to hearing about their adventures and the discoveries soon to be made. Conversations with children are the favourite parts of my days. In that context, I encourage reflection on a quote from Maria Montessori:

“As soon as children find something that interests them they lose their instability and learn to concentrate.”

Modelling positive behaviours

We as a staff are tasked to lead, educate, care for and protect children during periods of adversity or challenge within the context of them building their intrinsic capacity for self-reliance and resilience. As adults in the prepared environment, we can also model positive behaviours that assist them to see and do this. I really encourage parents to speak positively about school with children, to focus on the strengths of new experiences, new Montessori work and new relationships to be explored.

The Six Cs of 21st Century Education

This Term, many of you were introduced to new experiences, Montessori work and new relationships at two parent education evenings which were very well attended despite the winter chill. Teachers presented to parents Montessori lessons on many of the language materials used across the Cycles. Parents heard from our Mr. Glen, (Director of Learning and Teaching) about the benefits of completing a whole primary education in a Montessori environment. I am pleased to announce that next Term, our next parent education evening will explore The Six Cs of 21st Century Education, and how they develop peacefully for a child in a Montessori environment:

Critical thinking

Back to study

For some of us, next Term will also see a return to an extensive study load while we embrace the final stages of completing our AMI Montessori Diplomas. You will see us moving into the adult Montessori classroom between Dryandra and Acacia from 3:45 – 8pm most week days and all of our Saturdays. On top of extensive reading and written work required for the Diploma, this sort of commitment on top of full time work from so many of our already traditionally qualified staff, including myself, is a testament to our dedication to offering CMS children the truly authentic Montessori experience we are known for.

End of Year Events

I am also looking forward to seeing many of you at our end-of-year events next term, our Family Breakfast, Spring Fair, End of Year Extravaganza, Summer Disco and Graduation. The Spring Fair is a day that is especially cherished by children, so if you haven’t already thought about how you might help on this front, I encourage you to discuss options with your Class Parents, stall and fair coordinators.

On a final note, I would like to continue to offer clear and frank information about feedback I receive and discussions I have with parents where they become relevant for all CMS families. I am concerned that there still seems to be a conversation underway amongst some parents regarding staffing and other operational changes that are based largely on misinformation. I want to assure you that CMS is very well equipped to manage all of these changes, which are business as usual in schools. Teachers move around the sector, classrooms change, schools grow and consolidate and build on their strengths. What remains consistent in a Montessori school in particular however, and certainly at CMS, is the prepared environment and the consistent following of each and every individual child. This ongoing conversation is continuing to cause unnecessary angst for some families, and harm for our school. In this context, I urge all parents to raise any queries you may have at all, directly with the school. While the pathway and car park conversations may be interesting and sometimes even compelling, unless we can address queries and concerns directly, harm can be caused unnecessarily. Please email Ms. Aine (Director – School Administration) or myself with anything that may be of concern at CMS for your individual family, and as always, we will do our very best to partner with you to ensure the best interests of your children are met, providing… simply the best, for each child.

On closing, if you are travelling these holidays, please be safe and enjoy the warmth that is beginning creep into Canberra, I am personally looking forward to motorbike weather again.

Anthony Vandermolen