Newsletter Number 17 • Wednesday 14th October 2020

From the Principal

‘Enhancing the Cultural Curriculum’ was identified as our key professional development thread across the school this year with Dave Coulter (Cycle 4 teacher) taking the lead role as Curriculum Coordinator in this area.  However due to COVID we have had very little chance as a staff to spend time on this area of learning.

On the pupil free day this week teaching staff focused on ‘place-based education’ and how that approach can enhance students’ learning.

Place-based education is an approach to learning that takes advantage of geography to create authentic, meaningful and engaging personalised learning for students. More specifically, place-based education is defined as an immersive learning experience that places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, and uses these as a foundation for the study of english, mathematics, history, geography, science and other subjects across the different curriculum areas.

 For our PD session this week the teaching staff ventured to Woorabinda Reserve in Stirling to use that site as the example of how you could use 'the place' to enhance learning. Woorabinda contains native flora and fauna of conservation significance, 20ha of bushland and several resident threatened species.  It was a beautiful setting for our professional development and the weather also lent itself to outdoor learning.

We started the session with a mindfulness and meditation session led by Nari Glover and then had a session with Mandy Brown, a local indigenous person who talked to us about her indigenous and family history. We also participated in a nature treasure hunt and discussed ways of using the place to enhance students' learning across the curriculum.

The session provided valuable time for teaching staff to discuss, reflect and plan opportunities and ways to enhance their current programs utilising the place-based approach and extending on what they already implement using this approach.

Cathy France


Staff Professional Development at Woorabinda Reserve

CELEBRATING 10 years of our Adolescent Program

In 2020 The Hills Montessori School celebrates 10 years since we opened our Adolescent Program at the Wairoa campus in Stirling, which caters for middle school years 7, 8, 9 and 10.

It is a significant milestone in our school's history and this year we had planned to celebrate the achievements, reflect upon our growth and thank those who have contributed to our Wairoa community over the past 10 years with a reunion for all past students and staff.  Unfortunately we had to postpone that event due to restrictions, however we hope to host an event next year celebrating 10 plus years!

We are incredibly thankful to the passionate and committed staff at Wairoa who are dedicated to guiding our adolescent students to be the best people they can be. I would like to thank the students over the past ten years who have given our work purpose and meaning, have brought joy and life to Wairoa and who have made us incredibly proud as they continue on with their life long learning after leaving our school.  

The first intake of students in the Wairoa Adolescent Program in 2011

Vacation Care News

The theme was great words, great authors, great stories and I feel like we thoroughly adsorbed into our celebrated books. From Gibbs' bush babies to Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2 we 'arted and crafted', played and baked, gardened and explored and generally had a great time.

There were clay teacups and teapots in the spirit of Alice’s tea party, plasticine mini characters in the theme of Winnie the Pooh, a picnic to Bridgewater with Sergeant Cuddles in tow. A re-working of the Alice story, performance style. Watercolour patterns and painting with an Eric Carle feel. Games in the hall, visits to the library, bush play and pre-school play, rabbits and chickens, science slime, dough and oobelek that carried over two days and so much more- it’s been busy, to be sure.

Two of my favourite experiences were the adventures with slime that turned into a show and tell of all the different recipes the children knew, our role was to keep the cornflour, food colouring and other supplies flowing, while a range of slimy grimy concoctions were made- the image of Mae covered in slime so quickly will stay with me forever.

I also loved watching Angus and Wallace piggy back Sergeant Cuddles to the playground along with all the other teddies for our picnic, sitting in the sunshine, reading Winnie the Pooh and eating honey sandwiches was a lovely way to spend a day.

Moving into Term 4, we will be back in the hall for the 9 weeks of Term 4 before our summer Vac Care season starts, a program will come out mid term.

Megan Lynch

OSHC Coordinator

Vacation Care

What’s happening in OSHC in Term 4

Monday - Cooking with Holly and Maddy

Tuesday- Games and Sports with Holly and Clinton

Wednesday - Art with Megan, Angus and Marley

Thursday - Gardening with Megan and Maddy

Friday - Gardening with Megan and Angus

Our extra support staff are Sammi, Charlie and Lyn.

Afternoon tea will be offered from 3:45-4:00 and when weather permits, we will venture out to one of our lovely outdoor spaces.

For a full program, please visit the hall for daily happenings and the term breakdown. Thankyou staff, children and families for a lovely Spring vacation care, here’s to a positive finish to the year.

Wairoa Coffeehouse Cabaret Review

Until very recently we weren’t sure that the annual Coffeehouse Cabaret Festival would go ahead in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, which meant the performance that also coincided with our 10-year anniversary of the Adolescent Program, was all the more special this year.

To accommodate restrictions around social gatherings, the event moved to the school hall at Yultiwirra campus and even with shorter preparation time and change of venue, our Cycle 4 students entertained, amused, delighted and captivated audiences over two nights. 

Coffeehouse Cabaret is an opportunity for Cycle 4 students (Years 7-10) to showcase and celebrate performing arts through our musicians, bands, vocal ensembles, plays, poetry, dance troupes and media students. 

Students supervise all aspects of the performance including front of house and stage management as well as set, lighting and costume design. In addition to the performance component, students catered for the evening with an array of nibbles and treats.   

Audiences were entertained by acts that spanned the performing arts' spectrum, from Rick Astley to Rocky Horror Picture Show, stand-up comedians to International Youth Silent Film Festival finalists. 

It is incredibly rewarding to watch students flourish through the performing arts' program and to see the confidence, assurance and self-esteem it builds in young people. 

Congratulations to all our Cycle 4 students on a stellar performance. Special thanks to our Cycle 4 staff; Pippa, Tim, Dave, Alice, Wendy and Denise for their energy, enthusiasm and persistence in guiding our students. 

Coffeehouse Cabaret

Life Education

Our school was pleased to welcome the Life Education Program to the Yultiwirra Campus in Week 10 of last term.  The Life Education teachers presented a range of topics for healthy living to classes across the campus from preschool to year 6.  Topics included healthy food choices, healthy living, forming good friendships and keeping safe (cyber bullying) depending on the age group. Activities included discussions, short video clips, selecting and sorting 'healthy foods', and of course, meeting Health Harold, the Giraffe Puppet.  Feedback from staff and students was overwhelmingly positive with a particular highlight being meeting Harold and then enjoying relaxing with the 'twinkling night sky' in the van with dimmed lights. 

Cycle 4 students at Wairoa will engage with Life Education this week focusing on drug education.


Congratulations to Emily (Cycle 1 preschool teacher) and Attila (PE teacher) who got married during the holidays! As a community we wish them love and happiness for their future together.

Emily has changed her surname, so is now Emily Nandori.

Cultural Sharing

The Cultural Awareness staff committee would like to draw your attention to a new book release.

Lowitja – The authorised biography of Lowitja O’Donoghue, by Stuart Rintoul (Allen & Unwin).

“Taken from her mother, trained to be a servant, SA’s Lowitja O’Donoghue became a national voice for justice.  Now a new biography charts her journey – and the pain that drove her.” – Stuart Rintoul

In 1996, she was a contender to become Governor-General.  She has received many awards and honours: Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Australian of the Year, National Living Treasure and Companion of the Order of Australia.

Her life story is also filled with sorry and hardship.  It appears to be a remarkable story of an extraordinary woman.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating called her ‘a remarkable Australian leader…’

Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson called her ‘the greatest Aboriginal leader of the modern era.’

We highly recommend the read.

School Photos

School Photos will be taken in Week 3 of Term 4 on Wednesday 28th October for most classes and Thursday 29th October.  We are using the same photographer that we have used in previous years, and you can order & pay online.

Further information will sent out via the Skoolbag app shortly. 

We are a Sun Smart School

We are a Sun Smart School and we have updated our Sun Protection Policy (following recommendations from the Cancer Council) to require all students to wear a broad brimmed hat and appropriate clothing from 1 August (previously 1 September) to 30 April and when the UV radiation level is 3 and above at other times, when going outside for any activity.

Broad brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hats (bucket hats must have a deep crown and 6cm brim) are required.  Baseball caps are not acceptable.

Clothing made of closely woven material including tops with collars and long sleeves and longer style skirts, dresses and shorts are recommended.

The Cancer Council recommends that students are encouraged to apply SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen before coming to school.  Preschool staff will reapply sunscreen prior to outdoor activity at lunchtime and Primary students are encouraged to do the same.

Please ensure your child wears appropriate clothing and has a named sunhat that can be kept in his/her bag or at school during these times.  School hats can be purchased from the office for $15.

Adult Electives: Fundraiser

Wine Fundraiser

Thanks to all our Geocach'ers!

Diary Dates

Thursday 15 October

Policy meeting 4.00pm

Monday 19 October - Friday 23 October

Book Week

Tuesday 20 October

I&PC meeting 8.00am via Zoom

Executive meeting 6.00pm

Board meeting 7.00pm

Thursday 22 October

WHS meeting 4.00pm

Friday 23 October

Fundraising meeting 9.30am via Zoom

Tuesday 27 October

Marketing meeting 4.00pm

Combined Special Finance & I&PC meeting 6.00pm

Wednesday 28 October

School Photos

Thursday 29 October

School Photos

Parent Rep meeting 1.45pm via Zoom

2021 School term dates

The 2021 School term dates are listed below. 

Please Note:  The 2021 school year will start on Wednesday 27th January as Monday 25th January will be a pupil free day and Tuesday 26th January is a public holiday.

Please Note: Term 3 pupil free day will now be held on Monday 26th July rather than the previously advertised Friday 13th August.

Term 1 - Wed 27th Jan - Fri 9th April

(Term 1 Pupil free day = Monday 25th Jan)

Term 2 - Tues 27th April - Fri 2nd July

(Term 2 Pupil free day = Monday 26th April)

Term 3 - Tues 27th July - Fri 24th September

(Term 3 Pupil Free Day = Monday 26th July)

Term 4 - Tues 12th October - Wed 8th December

(Term 4 Pupil free day = Monday 11th October)


“The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. 

The child who concentrates is immensely happy.”

Maria Montessori


Term 1:  29 January – 9 April
Term 2: 28 April – 26 June
Term 3: 20 July – 25 September
Term 4: 13 October – 9 December