Newsletter Number 5 • Wednesday 13th April 2022

From the Principal

This term myself, Susan Harris Evans and Pippa Milroy have been undertaking an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Administrators Course for Montessori leaders.  It is a 12 week online course with thirty six Montessori leaders from all over the world participating.

This week we are half way through the course and the first half has focused on revisiting key Montessori principles along with the history of Montessori.  Despite it being somewhat challenging to find the time to do the required readings and complete the weekly assignments along with the three major assignments, it is also refreshing to revisit the core tenets of the philosophy that drives our work. 

It is important for us as leaders and educators to re-read Maria Montessori writings and other articles written about her method of education.  It is so valuable to analyse, discuss and interpret with colleagues the meaning and intent of her work and how that fits with our context and our school.  During the course we have studied Maria Montessori's inspiring life story and looked at the history of the Montessori movement both globally, within Australia and South Australia.  We have revisited Maria Montessori's ‘Planes of Development’; the framework outlining the different characteristics of needs of children and young people at different stages of development and how we support this in the various cycles. 

We have re-examined the Montessori prepared environment and the role of the Montessori teacher and assistant and how the prepared adult can support the development of the child.  We have discussed our understanding of the concept of ‘freedom’ from the Montessori point of view and the growth of discipline as an inner development.  We’ve compared Montessori education to mainstream education understanding the major areas of difference between the two.

The first half of the course has laid the foundation with the fundamentals of Montessori education so the second half of the course we can begin to reflect on how we lead and manage a Montessori school incorporating the key Montessori principles into all aspects of the school operations.

This is my 19th year as Principal of The Hills Montessori School and my 39th year as an educator and despite having a wealth of experience one should always be open to learning new things and reflecting upon one’s own practice and refining one’s skills.  It’s important that the adults in our school continue to grow in their learning and be provided the time and quality professional development to do this.  Continued learning nourishes our minds and helps make us feel fulfilled.  It can open our minds to new possibilities, change our opinions and attitudes and provide deeper understanding.  Importantly, as leaders we are role models to our staff and students and we can demonstrate and foster the value in continued learning for the staff, children and young people we are working with.

Cathy France


“The secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.”

Maria Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential

2022 Theme - 'Appreciation'

We appreciate the opportunity to relax and recharge during our upcoming school holidays. 

Term 1 has been challenging for staff, leadership, students and parents dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 on our personal, working and school lives.  It is important to make time for ourselves to stop, be present and spend moments doing the things that  give us joy and 'make our hearts sing'.  

I hope everyone in our community can take some time over the school holidays to find ways to unwind and rejuvenate ready for Term 2.

Cathy France


"Sometimes the best solution is to rest, relax and recharge. 

It's hard to be your best on empty."

Board Communique

At our Board meeting this week the Life Membership nominations were ratified.  The Board also spent time discussing the pros and cons of a staff vaccination policy now that the COVID vaccination mandate has been revoked in schools.  Board committee chairs presented their 2022 operational plans and we ratified the reviewed Sun Protection Policy and the staff Performance and Development program.

Jade Crathern

Board President

Cycle News

Infant Program

These last few weeks of term has seen our 3 year old children visiting the preschool to give them the opportunity to meet their new teachers and friends. The Transition Program also allows children to become familiar with a new space and develop skills, confidence, and familiarity of a new learning environment.

Infant Program Photos

Cycle 1 Preschool

In the Preschool this term, we have enjoyed participating in a range of significant student ‘Show and Tell’ sessions.  Show and Tell time creates a wonderful opportunity for ‘getting to know’ each other more, for example, as we learn about a student’s special interests, significant events, a family pet, a new sibling or a special item. This guided language experience helps children to build their confidence in language, to express ideas clearly and in a logical sequence and is preparation for creative writing. It also gives students a meaningful opportunity to practise making comments and asking questions.

Preschool Photos

Cycle 1 Primary

In Cycle 1, we LOVE reading! Of course we enjoy reading with an adult to practise the sandpaper letters as we learn the individual letter sounds or learn decoding skills when we do our readers. We play rhyming and word games as we develop our phonological awareness.

In our classes there are so many different ways to practice the skill of reading. Just this week alone we have practised readers with our teachers and read to a friend. We have shared story books during relaxation and had quiet time reading a picture book in the comfy chair. There have been readings about aircrafts with the 3 part cards, learning of the butterflies' life cycle with objects and description cards. We have read our own creative stories to each other, practised box work and even read about 4 types of arthropods: insects, crustaceans, arachnids and myriapods.

Tommy – I really like reading, I keep on getting great readers that I love.

Madeline – Reading is lots of fun.

Coralie – I like reading with a friend.

Noah – I love to get new books because I get to hear a new story, it’s the best.

Cycle 1 Photos

Cycle 2

This term we have been working on creating a new Acknowledgement of Country to reflect our new cohort for 2022.  The students and adults brainstormed ideas and the recurring themes were that ‘we are grateful that the Peramangk People looked after nature’ and ‘we love having a beautiful bush area to play in at school’.  This is our final product:

The Peramangk people, the traditional custodians, have looked after nature around us for tens of thousands of years, and that is why we can enjoy it today. We thank the Elders past, present and emerging. We are thankful that this particular piece of land was chosen to build our school and much of the native bushland was kept for us to appreciate.

We are surrounded by bushland that we can play in, so we can climb trees and build cubby spaces around them at lunch time. We are proud to connect with the land culturally, spiritually and educationally, when using these beautiful spaces. We love to share our space with others, because it is not crammed with playgrounds and buildings. We are grateful that we can experience this during our time at school.

As part of Acknowledging Country, we have decided to adopt and care for a plant in our native bush area.  We have identified and researched the plants and committed to watering and weeding around them to support their growth.  We have decided to do this to honour the tens of thousands of years that Peramangk People have cared for the land on which our school is located.  

Cycle 2 Photos

Cycle 3

Alex and Suzie's class have concluded their first personal project for the year with formal presentations to their peers. Students worked hard this term to formulate questions, collect sources of information, summarise information and report in their own words. Students are developing project preparation skills such as crediting their sources in a bibliography, and meeting deadlines/due dates. Once the students had finalised their project and submitted it by the due date, they worked on presentation skills. Students prepared cue cards with a few key words to help prompt them, and they practiced voice projection, looking up at the audience, and drawing attention to focus points in their project. As a class audience, we worked on being an 'active listener' and practiced grace and courtesy skills while our peers were presenting. Each student had two peers provide written feedback in the form of 'two stars and one wish'. Reviewers were to give two positive points, and one thing they 'wished' they could have seen in the presentation. While developing our reviewing skills, students discussed and noted how to provide constructive feedback using positive language. Students felt proud of their work, organisation, and growing confidence in public speaking. 

Cycle 4

Our wonderful adolescent community continues to show their resilience and flexibility as they adapt to the ever changing public health situation. Having worked toward a Market Day in Week 10, groups working on food and garden stalls along with a range of other small businesses, have pivoted in light of our need to postpone the event until next term (Market Day will now be held on Thursday, Week 2, Term 2). As part of the cultural curriculum the older students have been thoroughly engaged in designing and constructing prosthetic hands, while the younger students have been tracing the socio-economic development of humans from hunting and gathering societies through to the Neolithic Revolution. We head to the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre this week and as this term draws to a close we are busy preparing for what will be a very full second term, with camp kicking off in the first week back.

Cycle 4 Photos

Annual General Meeting

Please enter Tuesday, 24th May 6.00pm in your diary as the date of the school’s AGM.   The AGM will be held via Zoom. Closer to the time families will be sent the online link.

Board Nomination forms and information about the AGM will be sent home this week.  Board Nominations need to be lodged at the school office by Friday 6th May.  If you would like to discuss Board member obligations, please email Cathy.

Naplan Testing

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.  Students enrolled in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be participating in Online Naplan Testing in Term 2  from 10th May – 20th May.  

NAPLAN is made up of tests in the four domains of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and Numeracy.

All students are encouraged to participate in the tests.  Involvement in testing against the National Benchmarks is linked with receipt of Government funding and we are therefore, as a school, obliged to participate.  We view student participation as developing a “life skill” and teachers assist students in their preparation leading up to the testing week.

In previous years we have found that the results confirm what our own testing regime and professional judgment have identified, and thus we use the reports from this National Testing as part of our overall assessment practices.  Results will be posted to the school and we will notify parents when we receive the reports so the results can be interpreted together with your child’s class teacher. 

If your child is in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9 please notify the school if your child will be absent during the NAPLAN testing period. 

All children in these year levels will sit the tests unless an exemption or withdrawal has been arranged prior.

 If you do not wish for your child to sit the NAPLAN tests in May for philosophical or personal reasons, please come to the office to complete and sign a withdrawal form. 

More information is available at


Cultural Connection Zone

The Cultural Connection Zone is a regular spot in the Newsletter highlighting cultural events & information provided by the Cultural Understanding (staff) committee. See items below.

Multicultural dates in April


We would like to acknowledge that it is currently the spiritual time of Ramadan for Muslim people in our school community and around the world. This year, Ramadan began on Saturday 2nd April and finishes on Sunday the 1st May. Ramadan is a month of reflection, prayer, reading of the Qur’an and fasting from sunrise to sunset, for Muslim people who are physically able. To anyone taking part, we would like to say ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ which means to have a ‘blessed Ramadan’.


We wish our families well while celebrating any of the following cultural dates that are occurring in Week 11 and over the school holidays.

Upcoming multicultural dates in April:

Ramadan – month long Islamic event - 2 April – 1 May

New Year and Water Festivals:

Songkran – Thailand -13-16 April

Thingyan – Myanmar/Burma -13-16 April

Choul Chnam Thmey – Cambodia - 13-16 April

Pii Mai – Laos -14-16 April

Puthandu/Aluth Avurudda – Tamil and Sinhalese New Year -14 April

Nava Varsha / Bikram Era – Nepalese New Year - 14 April

Pohela Boishakh – Bengali New Year - 15 April

Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday – Christian event -15, 17, 18 April

Pesach/Passover – Jewish pilgrim festival - 15-23 April

Theravada New Year – New Year Buddhist festival -16 April                      

Ridvan – Baha’i faith festival  - 21 April – 2 May

Holy Friday, Holy Saturday, Pascha (Easter Sunday) – Orthodox Christian event  - 22, 23, 24 April

Vacation Care

The Vacation Care Program will operate each day during the coming holidays from 7.30am to 6pm.  The program will also operate on Monday 2nd May (pupil free day in wk 1 of Term 2).  The program has been sent home.  You can find the program here.

If you are interested in your child attending Vacation Care and have not already completed the booking form, please make sure you do this ASAP and hand into the office or directly to Maddy. We are currently trying to finalise staffing and confirm excursion arrangements.

With Sympathy

Our deepest heartfelt condolences, thoughts and love go out to Bec Mackenzie (Past parent & Life Member of the school) and Mackenzie Francis Brown (past student) on the death of Simon; their husband and father.

Community News

“The unknown energy that can help humanity is that

which lies hidden in the child.”

Maria Montessori

Diary Dates

Term 1 2022

Thursday 14th April

Term 1 ends 2.00pm finish

Friday 15th April

Good Friday

Monday 18th April

Easter Monday

Tuesday 19th April

Vacation Care begins

Monday 25th April

ANZAC Day public holiday

Monday 2nd May

Pupil Free Day

Vacation Care Ends

Tuesday 3rd May

Term 2 Begins

I & P C meeting 8.00am

Wednesday 4th May - Friday 6th May

Cycle 4 Orientation Camp

Friday 6th May

Yultiwirra Sausage Sizzle lunch

Tuesday 10th May

NAPLAN testing period starts

Finance meeting 6.00pm

Wednesday 11th May

WHS meeting 4.00pm

Thursday 12th May

Foundation Board meeting 6.00pm

Friday 13th May

Fundraising meeting 9.15am


The 2022 School term dates are listed below. 


Term 1:  1 February  – 14 April

Term 2:  3 May – 1 July

Term 3:  26 July – 30 September 

Term 4:  18 October – 14 December