Newsletter Number 18 • Wednesday 28th October 2020

From the Principal

Celebrating Children's Australian literature

We celebrate story books every day, however Book Week gives us the opportunity to look at new Australian books, authors and illustrators who are being acknowledged in the Book Week awards.  Established in 1945, the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) was founded at a time when Australian children’s books were few, and Australian authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. In 1946 the CBCA established annual book awards to promote books of high literary and artistic quality. These awards are now the most influential and highly respected in Australia.

Book Week also allows students, teachers and staff to share some of their favourite children's stories as events take place across the week. On Monday students arrived at school to be greeted by our annual book week installations, which this year included scenes from the following books: The BFGMr McGee and the Big Bag of BreadThe Magic Faraway TreeThelma the Unicorn, and Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas. 

On Wednesday our annual Book Week Parade in the courtyard celebrated our favourite story book characters, and there were a lot of characters on show! A very special thanks to the wonderful group of parents led by staff member Lisa Goodwin, who put in considerable time and energy in creating the Book Week installations this year which looked fantastic!

Staff enjoyed swapping classes three times over the week after lunch, to read some of their favourite stories to different classes .

 The 2020 CBCA Shortlist is a treasure trove of some of the best Australian children's books published over the past year and I would encourage you to peruse the Winners and Honours List when you have time (books also make great Christmas presents!) :

Book Week was a wonderful week of celebrating the joy of reading and books!

Cathy France


Book Week Installations

Book Week Parade

Farewell Terri

It is with sadness that I announce to the school community that one of our longest serving staff members, Terri Ross will be retiring from her school assistant position in the Preschool at the end of this year.  Terri has worked in the school for 22 years.  Over the years she has worked with hundreds of children in our Preschool.  Terri is a valued and loved member of our staff team and I thank her for her kindness and her caring nature that always shines through to all of the students in her care.  I greatly appreciate the dedication she has shown to our school over the years.  Terri has contributed to our school in so many ways over the years and will be sorely missed by staff, students and parents. I know you will all join me in wishing Terri happiness and good health as she transitions into her retirement in 2021.

Up Close and Personal with Terri...

What is it about the school that has made you want to stay here and work here for so long? 

 I feel blessed to be able to say to people that I love my job. 

Working here has felt like home, especially being in the Preschool and supporting children to learn so many life skills. Right from the start I have appreciated the way we guide children as they journey through the cycles; it has always felt the right way to foster children’s learning. 

Working in this beautiful environment has been special. 

What is a favourite memory that you have from your time here?   

It’s hard to choose one stand out memory as there have been so many that have touched my heart. A recent special moment though was at Coffeehouse Cabaret when in one act all 6 people on stage had been in my Preschool class, how privileged to have the opportunity to see their performances. 

What will you miss about The Hills Montessori School?   

The children definitely, each day is rewarding, different, fun and makes me smile a lot. Working so closely with the children and their families has been such a joy. I’ll miss the staff greatly, they are an amazingly dedicated and passionate group of people who also  like to have a lot of fun together. They’ve become like family. 

What will you do in your retirement?   

Spending time with my grandchildren will feature highly in retirement. 

I’ve been studying permaculture and also learning beekeeping, furniture upholstery and mosaics, my goal is to increase the productivity of my garden and also have time to complete some other projects.

Parting words.....

I’ve loved being a part of and seeing such amazing growth in the school like the establishment of our childcare program and later on the Middle School. I wish the school, staff and students continued growth and much happiness going into the future. 

Refugee Week Poster Awards

Congratulations to Cycle 3 students Maddie and Amelia who were shortlisted in the Refugee Week Student Poster awards.  The Australian Migrant Resource Centre has for the past 10 years hosted the poster competition which is a aimed at providing students from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions the opportunity through art making, to raise awareness about issues affecting refugees and the valuable contributions of refugees to Australia’s social, cultural and economic development. The project also educates young people on themes such as multiculturalism, human rights and cultural diversity.  The Poster Exhibition will be officially launched on Monday 2 November in the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery and posters will be on display until 25 November.

International Silent Film Festival

In Term 3 students in the adolescent program developed three short films for submission in the International Silent Film Festival. This competition challenges young filmmakers, 20 years and under, to create a modern version of a silent film. Two out of the three films produced by students made it into the top 20 films, with one of these making it to the top 10. These films were screened at the Capri Theatre at a fabulous event, and it was great to see so many of our students turning out on the night in support of their friends! It was a thrill for students to see their work up on the big screen and to receive encouraging feedback from international guests and celebrity judges.  

Cycle 4 heads to the International Film Festival Awards

Cycle News


In the preschool this term we have a focus on the study on invertebrates. During a class discussion Raphael commented that, “Invertebrates don’t have a backbone” while Charlie said, “You can find them under rocks!”. Children have especially enjoyed making observations of visiting a Hunstman spider, hermit crabs and our new ‘pet’ stick insects as well as and a range of species found in our natural environment. Luca commented that “Hermit crabs can grow back their claws”. Meanwhile Aurora found out that “Crabs have a hard shell that protects their body called an exoskeleton”. Children have enjoyed using the Montessori nomenclature card materials to learn the correct language for types and parts of invertebrates.

Cycle 1

Cycle One has been exploring rocks and minerals in science this term. We tried to think of as many words as we could that we use for rocks, and the list of ideas kept growing. We also went on a rock hunt in our bush area. Sahara said, “We find sandstone in our bush” and Annabel added, “And we found quartzite.” Jasper mentioned that, “Sand is a tiny rock” and Micah said, “Rocks can also be sand or dust”. Mila told us, “Rocks can come out of volcanoes”, and Zavier said, “Some rocks are heavy and some are light”. “I saw a diamond; it was shiny!!” announced Ava.

Cycle 2

Over the last two weeks, we have been busy sewing our sections of the Friendship Quilt. The children are displaying great confidence with their back stitch and running stitch. We have also made our Button Buddies as part of our Book Week readings. The children have written acrostic poems, using alliteration if possible, about the name of their Button Buddy.

Cycle 2 Button Buddies


Polite, polished                                                                      



By Oscar Holland 

Cycle 2 Button Buddies

  trusting, talented, talkative

I  independent, incredible

L loveable, light

L loyal, likeable 

Y yappy         

by Arana Wheaton

Cycle 2 Button Buddies

Mr. Green & Mr. Orange

I’ve got Mr Green and Mr Orange 

Mr Green is really mean 

Mr Orange.....he’s just orange!

 By Oliver Bolt

Cycle 2 Button Buddies

Cycle 3

Friday afternoons continue to be a time in the week that we capitalise on the opportunity to come together as a whole cycle and build on our creative skills. In Term 4, we kick off an exploration of ‘The Arts’ with a mixture of students rotating through performance arts workshops and clay and sculpture creations. Cycle 3 students offered their thoughts ... 

“I have really enjoyed the games because it is a great experience and I enjoy spending time with the other class". Portia.

“I really like Art as a whole cycle especially when we get to draw together. The chance to mix with the other class is great”. Owen. “Drama is fun and getting to know more people is fun too because I have some friends in the other class". Catlyn

“The clay activity is really fun and I enjoy working with the other class for art. I am excited to do the next round of drama too”. Georgia

Cycle 4

Our Creative and Physical Expression sessions have begun on Thursdays. Attila, as always, is running the PE options of Tennis and Cricket as well as challenging the students in morning fitness sessions. 

Last term a group put together a set of plans for the area around the pizza oven. With some projects still underway, the brilliantly named 'Finishing Projects' team will focus on finishing what was started - paving a fire area, installing a chimney in the pizza oven and fixing the wood shed are key projects. The gathering serpent is also still waiting to be rendered. Making 'Paper Cuts' uses the humble piece of paper and a sharp knife to create intricate artworks. Students have practiced cutting with precision and focussing in one using negative space to create their designs.

In the kitchen, the Culinary arts crew has responded to the brief of - 'Eating a rainbow'. So far they have made some sensational salads and will assemble spectacular platters as we come into summer and prepare for the Christmas holidays. They are learning to balance sweet and sour flavours, smooth and crunchy textures and all the little extras that take salads to the next level. 

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write a novel during the thirty days of November! 13 students have taken this on - and they are loving it, as they prepare for when the challenge begins in earnest next month. As always, there is a dedicated team working in the productive garden, maintaining our current plantings and taking on new, interesting and ambitious projects.

Indonesian with Ellis

Preschoolers, Cycle 1 and 2 students celebrated Indonesia’s 75th Independence Day with a range of class activities. They learned the history of this significant day, played traditional games and competed in a statewide colouring competition run by the Indonesian Students’ Association of Australia.  HMS swept the field, winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the under-six category:  CONGRATULATIONS to Florence (Susan/Tristen’s class), Layla and Mae (Lisa/Debbie’s class)!

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.

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.

Information has been sent out via the Skoolbag app. 

Parent Discussion Group -off site

Parent Discussion Group - Connect with Libby 

Date: 06/11/2020    Time: 09:30am-10:30am       Venue: Fred's Eatery

This term’s parent discussion morning with Libby, our Wellbeing Worker, will again be held off site. 

Come along to Fred’s Eatery in Aldgate on Friday 6th November from 9.30 - 10.30am. We have booked the upstairs area for 15 people, so it’ll be nice and private to have coffee and chat.

Numbers are capped at 15 so please RSVP via the eForm on Skoolbag if you’re keen. See you there!


Adult Electives: Fundraiser

Wine Fundraiser

Diary Dates

Thursday 29 October

School Photos

Parent Rep meeting 1.45pm via Zoom

Friday 6 November

Parent Discussion group 9.15am

Tuesday 10 November

I & PC meeting 8am via Zoom

Finance Meeting 6.00pm via Zoom

Thursday 12 November

SPTG meeting 9.00am via Zoom

WHS meeting 4.00pm

Tuesday 17th November

Executive Meeting 6.00pm

Board meeting 7.00pm

Wednesday 18 November - Thursday 19 November

Cycle 3 overnight camp

Wednesday 18 November - Friday 20 November

Cycle 4 camp

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)


“We seek to sow life in the child rather than theories, to help him in his growth, mental and emotional as well as physical, and for that we must offer grand and lofty ideas to the human mind.”

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