Newsletter Number 12 • Wednesday 18th August 2021

From the Principal

At our last Board meeting, we had a long discussion about school holidays and whether we should or shouldn't continue to schedule the three week holiday in the middle of the year and start the school year at the same time as Department of Education (DoE) schools.

The Hills Montessori School (HMS) opens and provides schooling for 39 weeks of a year as do other independent schools.  HMS adheres to the South Australian Education Standards Board requirements for how many hours and days a school must operate in a year.

Over the years, many independent schools have changed their holiday periods and chosen to have a three week holiday at the end of Term 2 rather than starting the school year a week after DoE schools.  Up until two years ago, we have always chosen to open the school a week after DoE schools and have a two week mid year break.

In 2020 the School Board decided to change this arrangement and start the school year in line with DoE schools and have a three week holiday in the middle of the year.  This was to accommodate the Wairoa building project.  Unfortunately, due to COVID the building project was postponed and so the Board chose in 2021 to again start the school year in line with DoE schools and have another three week holiday at the end of Term 2, and this year it greatly assisted the completion of the Wairoa building project.

The School Board has recently begun discussing whether the school should now continue the three week mid year holiday or return to the delayed one week start at the beginning of the school year.  The Board would appreciate feedback and preferences from both parents and staff to help inform their decision making regarding this matter.

We would be grateful if you can consider the pro’s and con’s outlined below and then complete the one question survey that will be sent out to all families and staff today.  You may also like to write a supporting comment to accompany your preference. 

The Board will collate and analyse the results of the survey at our September Board meeting and then inform the school community of their decision and also provide the 2022 school term dates.

We ask that you complete the survey by Thursday 26th August.

Prior to completing the survey and providing your preference you may like to consider the following:

Pro’s for having a three week holiday mid year

  • The School would be in line with DoE schools at the start of the year (but it would mean we would be out of alignment mid year for one week).
  • A longer holiday in the middle of the year gives staff and students a lengthy time to “re-charge” their batteries and provides a break in the ‘flu season’.
  • Families are able to book a holiday mid year when DoE schools are back at school which may make holiday bookings easier/cheaper (families could also do this at the start of the year if the school year started a week later than DoE schools).
  • Three weeks gives families a lengthy holiday away.

Con’s for having a three week holiday mid year

  • Starting a week earlier at the beginning of the year (and having three weeks mid year) means the school (which is situated in a high fire risk zone) is open for one week more in the high fire risk season (late January/early February).
  • A three week holiday in July can be difficult for parents entertaining children in the cold, wet, winter months.
  • Starting a week earlier means less time at the beginning of the year for teaching staff to go away and have a break and subsequently less time to set up and prepare for the new school year.
  • Starting a week earlier means less time and added stress for administration staff to prepare for the start of the year – billing, classes, data entry, end of school financial year. 

In anticipation, thank you for completing the survey.   We appreciate and value the input of our community. 

You can access the survey here.

Cathy France



Cycle News

Infant Program

This week welcomed back the infant program families. We continued our focus on the Senses and the Colour Orange. Many children enjoyed the activity of peeling and eating a mandarin.



Infant Program photos

Cycle 1 Preschool

The Banksia Preschool class has been working on creating their own Acknowledgement of Country. This is a statement that we can practice daily at group times to thank and acknowledge the Peramangk people. The children were very enthusiastic in brainstorming ideas in discussions about what should be included. Indi commented that we should say “Thank you for having us.” While Indiana said, “We love our trees and the leaves!”. Albie added that “We don’t want to chop down too many trees!”. Piper came up with her own long and detailed version with lots of caring words such as “Thank you to the people who are Indigenous. We’re sorry for not being there to help. We care for the trees, earth, leaves, plants, flowers and people who are on the Peramangk land.... We will always care for the Peramangk people and their land.”

We combined some of these words and phrases and then thought of some actions to go with them. The children then opened the assembly with this special statement last week. We look forward to continuing to practise this piece to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land that we meet on.

Cycle 1 Primary

The Cycle One students have been finding out about some of the ancient history of Australia. In our discussion about their learning so far, Sahara said, “The planet didn’t always look like it does now and the continents are still moving.”  Henry added, “Scientists think that animals probably started in the water.” Noah mentioned, “Dinosaurs lived a long time before us and so did fish.” Maggie told us that, “Some dinosaurs were meat eaters and some were plant eaters.”

The children painted a 6.5m strip of paper to represent 65,000 years; the length of time that Aboriginal people have lived in Australia. Charlie said, “Aboriginal people have been living here for a very, very, very, very, very long time” and Maggie added that non-Aboriginal people have lived in Australia for a very short time”.

Cycle 2

Cycle 2 have begun their continent study on Australia.  After reading the Rainbow Serpent Creation Story we discovered how Aboriginal people understand the creation of hills and waterways in Australia. We are also exploring Aboriginal Australia with its many language groups.Together we are building an understanding and appreciation of our Peramangk Watta (Peramangk Land) and taking on a responsibility to care for it as the Peramangk people have done for thousands of years. Where we live in the hills is owned by the Peramangk people. In the city it is owned by the Kaurna people. The Aboriginal people took care of the land for so long, it made our home and our school so great.

"The land and water is so special to the Aboriginal people". Bella

"Aboriginal people have lived on Australia for thousands of years". Jasper

"There are so many Aboriginal language groups". Seph

"I’m going to find the language group near Whyalla". Layla

"Millenia means thousands of years". Tabby

Cycle 2 photos

Cycle 3

Graduate Jumpers Have Touched Down!

Last week saw the arrival of the long awaited Graduate Jumpers. At the beginning of the year all Graduates wrote an application for a Leadership Committee.

These committees include:• Graduate Jumper Committee• School Leadership Team• Open Day Guides• Assembly Presenters• School Event Helpers • Sports Equipment Monitors• IT Monitors.

Throughout the year there are jobs and responsibilities for these committees to undertake. Congratulations to the Graduate Jumpers Committee for their creativity, hard work and perseverance to make the long-standing tradition of Year 6 Graduate Jumpers a reality for 2021. It was no small feat to navigate the ideas, opinions, and desires of a large group of graduates. The jumpers look amazing - well done team!

Last week also saw the School Event Helpers, IT Monitors and Assembly Presenters all working hard to make the Cycle 1 and 3 sharing assembly run smoothly. 

Cycle 3 Graduate jumpers

Cycle 4

This term, Term 3, 

has not been a bore 

not a single snore

no open jaws

for the Cycle 4’s.

We’ve occupied our stations 

for Occupations 

from research to making

there’s no mistaking

the learning in Investing, Designing, 

Farming and Wearing.

International Trade

How investors get paid

Not a muscle moved, every student stayed.

“We’ve been learning about how the stock market works, 

what to invest in, 

preparing to play the ASX sharemarket game." 

"And I’m going to win!” 

Michael. E exclaimed.

After much discussion on the Wairoa place,

students are designing a new sacred space.

A daunting task not, for there are things that are scarier,

“We are making mood boards,

picked out new styles, 

And now we’re working on our final picture for the area,“ 

said Jack. C with glee.

But a time at Wairoa without nature's connect

is a time at Wairoa we could not accept.

So in Dave went, that’s who we all sent

To work with the students on our environment.

Urban Farming was the name and bees were the game,

"Farming small scale?" the question was framed.

Pinch me, it cannae be true! 

The story of fast fashion 

it affects me and you.

But if we sew our own clothes 

No longer we sit back, 

“We’ve been learning about all the impact 

of fast fashion and production.” 

Oh Frankie, 

there is much here for discussion…

But there's a buzz about the school, this winter term,

Excited to invest time with open eyes, no concern.

A space for creating and a space for debating.

A place for shaking up what we think that we know.

Cycle 4 photos

Indonesian with Ellis

Cycles 1 & 2 have already been busy in Term 3, describing their ‘Liburan’ (holiday); learning new language around sports (inspired by the Olympics) and hobbies. Currently they are enjoying exploring the many fun cultural practices surrounding the upcoming Indonesian Independence Day  celebrations (17 August). They are also learning to perform the popular song and dance ‘Goyang Maumere’, from the eastern end of the Indonesian Archipelago.

Students join group story-telling with large-format ‘flip books’; with Power Point, video clips and narrative texts used to instil and practise the key vocabulary. They further develop and extend their communication skills through participative games such as ‘word bingo’, using flash cards, posters and HMS’s extensive collection of authentic Indonesian artefacts and everyday items. They also enjoy challenging activities delivered through online language-learning apps such as Kahoot, Languagenut, Rasa Bahasa and Moji Jam.

The children demonstrate and reinforce their progress by drawing and labelling images, matching words to pictures and constructing their own simple narratives using the new vocabulary and grammar they have acquired. It is gratifying to see how quickly they can identify, analyse certain contexts and apply the appropriate language conventions.

Indonesian with Lyndal

Cycles 3 and 4 have been using word building knowledge to make large number words. We have shared and solved  large numbers about personal facts, population numbers of people celebrating  Ramadan, transport facts and, in Cycle 3, large numbers to do with our new staff member Lisa's birth country, Ukraine.

Your child may be able to amaze you by solving this number sentence (answer at the end of the newsletter).

The Indonesian teacher Lyndal is :   empat ratus lima puluh delapan ribu hours old.

Welcome new staff member

We welcome Lisa Savchuk to our staff.  Lisa has been appointed as a School Assistant to support students in Nat & Sam's class in Cycle 3.

2022 Class allocation

This term we will begin to look at class structures for next year.  This is a very time consuming and complex process where a number of factors need to be taken into consideration.  We endeavour to balance individual student needs with those of the whole school.  Where possible we try to achieve gender balance within classes, maintain friendship and peer groups, balance academic working groups and special needs of individuals and have a balance of different age groupings.

We also need to consider which students will be in the school in 2022.  Whilst official notification of withdrawal is not required until day one of term four, early notification certainly assists with the task of class allocation.  If for some reason you are planning on not returning next year, it would be appreciated if you could indicate this to the office staff.  Likewise, if you know of any likely enrolments would you please let us know. 

If you have any information regarding your child that you wish to be considered during the class placement process, please forward this information in writing to Cathy before FRIDAY 27th August.

Thank you

A big thank you to those who assisted with the Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraiser on Sunday including the fundraising committee who coordinated the day. We raised over $1000 which is one very successful BBQ!

Alfie Kohn Presentation for Staff and Parents

Staff /parent education session - Let the child be the guide

We are excited to promote our upcoming staff and parent education session on Thursday 9th September, 6.30 pm at Wallis Cinema Mitcham, the screening of ‘Let the child be the guide’.  

We are thrilled to be sharing this event with Southern Montessori School and are grateful that we can offer this film through the support of a government grant - Parents in Education. 

Please come and join us for the screening of this fabulous contemporary documentary of daily life inside a Montessori classroom. Filmed over the course of a year, the director captured the ebb & flow of an Early Years Montessori community in France. 

Tickets are limited - we have 15 x FREE tickets to give away! Parents are asked to email the office; of their interest in attending by Friday 27th August. Parents will be advised if they have been successful in securing a ticket by Friday 3rd September.

Roundtable Interviews at Wairoa

As part of the reporting procedures, three-way parent / teacher / student roundtables will be offered this term in Week 5 at Wairoa. These were scheduled for earlier in the term; however with the recent COVID restrictions staff were very keen to ensure they could be face to face so they have been deferred a few weeks.

An email has been sent out providing parents with more information about these and providing a step by step guide as to how to make an on-line booking.  Bookings need to be made by this Friday 20th August.

The Roundtable Interviews are an opportunity to discuss your child’s achievements and areas for further learning.  Wairoa Term 2 reports were posted to families at the end of the holidays.

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.


The Cultural Understanding Committee informs parents that Adelaide will celebrate our neighbours in Asia with the up-coming OzAsia event 21st October - November 7th.  A specific Indonesian event is listed below.


27 Oct 2021 - 30 Oct 2021

Stunning imagery and live music turn the traditional art form of wayang kulit on its head as Indonesian Australian artist Jumaadi and his collaborators reinvigorate the ancient storytelling technique of shadow play.

Perahu-Perahu, which means ‘boats’ in Indonesian, explores the precarious relationship between humans and the sea. Inspired by the history of travel across the waters separating Indonesia and Australia, Perahu-Perahu is a surreal and magical adventure into new lands, bizarre encounters, triumph and peril.

Immersing audiences in an exquisite world of images crafted from hundreds of intricate cut-outs and compositions blending traditional and contemporary music, this satirical and playful new performance work is a captivating fusion of old and new.

Term 3 Sausage Sizzle

The beginning of Term 3 sausage sizzle was postponed due to COVID.

We are pleased to be able to reschedule this event for Friday 27th August. Most students have ordered and paid for their sausages last term.  If your child has not ordered a sausage please request an order form from the office and place your order by Monday 23rd August.

Snippets with Susan - Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness

The role of phonological awareness in learning to read

Tuesday, 24 August @9:15am (finished by 10am)

Please join us via Zoom for a snippets session focusing on questions like:

  • How do children learn to read?
  • What is phonological awareness?
  • Why is phonological awareness so important for children learning to read?

We welcome special guest Dr Tiffany Winn, who will lead this session together with Susan. Tiffany is in her final year of a Master of Speech Pathology (MSP) degree at Flinders Uni. She has a background as a university academic, and has previously conducted research in the areas of mathematics and early literacy education.

Please RSVP to the Skoolbag invite and a Zoom link will be emailed to interested parents.

2021 Quiz Night

How can you help with Quiz Night

Do you have any items that might be suitable for our Silent Auction & /or our prize pool for the Quiz Night being held on Saturday 11th September??  We would love to hear from any school parents who are able to donate anything to help make our Quiz Night successful.  This is one of our big fundraisers for the year so we would appreciate any donations.  Please let us know in the office or email .

We are hoping to be able to hold the Quiz Night as a face to face event.  Please save the date and get your tables organised.  There will be class tables of eight people that you can add your name to, or you can make up your own table.  The Quiz night is a “child free” event.

Tickets will go on sale soon.  This is always such a fun night out!

The answer to the Indonesian puzzle.....

The Indonesian teacher Lyndal is 458,000 hours old!

Diary Dates

Term 3 2021

Monday 23rd - Friday 27th August 

Book Week

Tuesday 24th  August 

Book Week Dress up day

Tuesday 24th August

Snippets with Susan 9.15am on Zoom

Phonological awareness The role of phonological awareness in learning to read

Friday 27th August

Yultiwirra Sausage Sizzle

Sunday 29th August

Yultiwirra Open Day 2pm - 4pm

Monday 30th August

Year 6 visit to Wairoa 8.45am - 12.25pm

Tuesday 31st August

Maria Montessori's Birthday

Alfie Kohn webinar for staff and parents 

Thursday 2nd September

Wairoa Cafe - 9.15am

Friday 3rd September

Parent Discussion group with Libby 9.15am

“And such is our duty toward the child; to give a ray of light

and to go on our way.”

Maria Montessori


Term 1:  27 January – 9 April
Term 2: 28 April – 2 July
Term 3: 27 July – 24 September
Term 4: 12 October – 8 December