Newsletter Number 9 • Wednesday 9th June 2021

From the Principal

We are very pleased to be offering an upcoming parent session focusing on Screen Time.  In recent years this topic has become one of the main issues that parents face in our media saturated world, and now our COVID socially distanced world.  Parents often ask me and fellow educators, ’How much screen time should I allow my child?”  “How can I determine what is ‘good screen time’ compared to ‘bad screen time’?  “Can excessive screen time contribute to psychological and poor health outcomes for my child/young person?”

It is important as a parent to think through your ideals and beliefs and what you want for your child. Not all screen time is equal in the potential benefits and risks for young people.

The same ‘parenting rules’ should apply to your children’s real and virtual environments. As a parent, you also need to reflect on your own screen time and what you are modelling to your child. 

Setting family guidelines for your child/ren from an early age is vital.  It is important to involve your children in this process so that they understand why you’re setting limits.  Once you have set limits it is important to stick to them!  Well known psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg says that parents need to develop a ‘digital backbone’ and learn to say No!  Being consistent with the limits and boundaries is key.

As we all know it is important that humans have a healthy balance of work, rest and play.  Physical activity and sleep are crucial to a child and young persons development.  As educators we unfortunately see the negative effects of excessive screen time – inattention, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, self esteem issues, social issues.

It is important as a parent to think about these issues from an early age and not wait until your children are adolescents.  By then it is too late!  I implore all of our Preschool and Primary school parents to attend our upcoming parent session on Screen Time.  Come along and join in the conversation.  This interactive session will provide information, advice and a framework to support parents around the use of technology outside of school which is founded in the principles of Montessori Education.

Tim Moore, a Cycle 4 teacher from our Middle School will facilitate this session.  Tim has some interesting data to share from our own adolescent students along with current research.  We would also encourage families to revisit our School’s Screen Time Guidelines which can be found on Skoolbag.

Cathy France


Screen Time – Parent Session

Screen Time – Parent Session

Thursday 17th June 4.00pm – 6.30pm

Yultiwirra Common Room

If you leave this conversation until your child starts in the Middle School, it will be too late!! As a parent you need to think about this NOW!

The topic of Screen Time raises many questions for students, parents and teachers, such as, "How much is too much? Why do children want to spend time on screens? What type of screen time should they access and how much time should be spent on it? Is all screen time the same? When should parents step in, if at all? What guidelines are there?"

Screen time is the time you spend watching TV or DVDs, using computers/laptops/tablets, playing video or hand-held computer games, and using a mobile/smart phone. It is important for parents to find appropriate ways of helping their young people find balance in our tech-filled world. A healthy family lifestyle includes limits on daily screen time.

This interactive session will provide information, advice and a framework to support parents around the use of technology outside of school which is founded in the principles of Montessori Education.

Tim Moore, a Cycle 4 teacher from Wairoa will facilitate this session.

We encourage you to come along and join in the conversation and get some current information.  

A creche will be provided for children 3 years and over. Bookings essential!  Please RSVP and book creche via Skoolbag by Tuesday 15th June.

Parent comment from when this session was last run….

We have been part of Montessori for nearly 12 years, in different countries and states. I’ve attended a lot of different parent sessions and information nights. 

I can assure you Tim’s presentation on Screen Time is a “must see / don’t miss it” session. Use pen when you put it on your calender, you shouldn’t rub it out. If you’ve got kids and devices - it’s a no brainer!

Amanda Prance – Cycle 4 parent

Cycle News

Infant Program

 Cycle 4 students from Wairoa visited the Infant Program as part of their Caring for Children program. Many of the Infant Program children were more than happy to engage with the older students and they read stories, did craft and outdoor activities and it was a rewarding experience for all. Daisy and Oliver are doing a black and white marble painting.

Cycle 1 Preschool

As a continuation from our learning about the seven continents, we have been sharing and learning as much as possible about our own culture, heritage, and backgrounds. This has given much meaning and depth to the children’s understandings of the world, as well as adding to their sense of belonging. For example, Arlo enthusiastically talked about his Dad’s Scottish background during a Show & Tell, sharing that “a kilt is something you wear in Scotland. Daddy is from Edinburgh.” We looked at a photo of Arlo’s Dad wearing traditional dress including a sporran bag and kilt. We learnt that the kilt had a special pattern on it called a tartan that represents Andrew’s family clan of ‘Leslie’. Arlo’s Dad then taught us some Scottish words while reading ‘The Gruffalo in Scotts” which the children loved.

Meanwhile, Albie confidently shared his Lebanese background during Show & Tell saying that “Today we are learning about Lebanon. This is the mountain where Grandma and Grandpa lived. This is a coffee pot. I call Grandpa Jiddo and Grandma Tata. Does anyone have any questions or comments for me?”

We were also lucky enough to have a visit from Magnus’ grandpa Mickey who shared his Hungarian heritage. The students had lots of questions, for example Piper asked “What foods do they eat in Hungary?” while Griffin asked, “Why is it called Hungary.. like the word hungry?” They also thought of many different words they wanted to hear in Hungarian, for example Arlo asked, “What are cafés called in Hungary?”  Mickey very kindly prepared some traditional Hungarian ‘Palacsintas’ which are very thin pancakes also known as crepes. We learnt how to wrap and eat them the Hungarian way and wow, were they yummy!

Cycle 1 Primary

Grammar is fun!

The children begin to explore many early grammar activities in the Cycle 1 class. The action box is a much loved choice as they explore verbs through movements. Harry loves to run, jump and spin. Maggie and Matilda worked through the non-phonetic farm and after a period of discussion and cooperative effort produced sentences with all the main parts of speech. Using the miniature environments makes grammar activities enjoyable and teach us how to construct interesting sentences. Matilda said “I love writing funny sentences using the farm like; the brown foal drives the tractor”. Noah shared “Verbs are actions, I love doing the actions outside”. Amber said “nouns can be a person place or thing, grammar work is fun” and Sahara thought that the preposition box was fun because she could choose where the frog got to sit.

Cycle 2

On Friday the 4th of June, Cycle 2 had the great privilege of visiting the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre -Warriparinga which means ‘windy place by the river’ in Kaurna language. 

We got to meet Tom, our wonderful Kaurna guide who took us on a tour to appreciate the natural environment of Warriparinga and the Sturt river. Through his stories, we were able to gain an understanding of the history and significance of Warriparinga and Dreaming stories of the Kaurna people. We also had the opportunity to create some artworks inspired by native Australian animals and Aboriginal art techniques.  

I loved learning about bush lollies and bees. - Avi

Going on the bus was the best. - Elise

I really liked trying dot design art. - Olivia

Walking around the bush was great and doing art on the wood was so fun. - Tabby

Tom showed us how to find bush lollies on gum leaves and told us about all the bush medicines. - Bella

We found bush rattles and a huge hole in a tree that Kaurna people made a shelter in and the digging sticks were amazing. - Arthur

I put food in the tree bowl and got to hold digging sticks. - Pippa

I loved doing the Aboriginal art. - Ashlee W

My name means food in Kaurna. - Mae

You can’t cut two shields out of one tree at the same time because the tree will die. – Lachlan

I learned that Kaurna people used shields. – Audrey

I learned that native bees don’t have stingers. – Stella

I learned the story of Tjilbruke. – Mila

When it rained, fish went into holes and got trapped so the Kaurna people didn’t have to go fishing in the river. – Daniella

Cycle 2 Kaurna Excursion

Cycle 3

This term our class has loved connecting with nature. We have taken advantage of sunny days to spend some time in our beautiful bush area for fitness and writing opportunities. Recently, we ventured down bush during a morning work cycle to embrace nature and use it as inspiration for our daily writing. Students chose to sit all around the bush area, including on the grass courts, the swings and on rocks. We had a great time taking a few moments to breathe deeply, observe and to be grateful for nature. Some of the writings the students created were see, think, wonders, imaginative pieces, songs and poems based on what they observed in nature that morning. Below are some samples of the work that was produced during our nature writing session.

The Clouds

Soaring through the sky

The clouds flying high.

Making lots of shapes,

I feel calm once again.


Trees reaching the sky.

Green grass sprouting from the ground,

Butterflies up high.

Matilda V

Cycle 3 photos

Cycle 4

Last Monday the Adolescent Program students, as part of their Occupations work, took part in this term's Occupations Day. An immersive, hands-on day to engage with the community, experts and venture beyond Wairoa for specialised learning opportunities.

The Exploring Fungi crew travelled to Pure Mushrooms, a commercial mushroom farm in Woodcroft to see the day to day workings of mushroom production and farming. The students then travelled to Kuitpo Forest to continue their foraging for more local fungi and add to the ever-growing list of species they have learnt about this term. 

The Caring for Children group started their day at the Primary School, working with the students in the Infant Program, Preschool and Cycle 1 before participating in a First Aid course, specifically for children under the age of 8 years old. 

A group of students has been working on producing a Thrive Guide - a publication including their learning about resilience, mindsets, positive relationships, neuroplasticity, health, and more. The feature for the day was working with Rhiannon, an experienced Zine author. She taught the students about the history of the zine, and took them through making their own, based on a hobby or interest.

What do an alpaca farm and a leather smith have in common? Well, they were both visited by the Farming Fabrics occupation students. They travelled to Ambersun Alpacas in Mt Compass, where they bottle-fed baby alpacas, learnt about shearing, the different classes of fleece and export procedures. In the afternoon we travelled to Hahndorf, where we were introduced to different types of leather, then used leather working tools to make home-artefacts.

Thank you to all of the volunteers, visitors and hosts for another great Occupations Day!

Cycle 4 Occupations Photos

Indonesian with Lyndal

Cycles 3 and 4 have made chatterboxes as an assignment piece showcasing knowledge of prepositions and animal vocabulary and revision of possessive pronoun and family member words . eg 'you will eat cake under a camel with your dad!' We spent one lesson making them but will do further work responding to our funny sentences.

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 item below.

Warndu Mai (Good Food)

This year’s theme at The Hills Montessori School is ‘Connection’, and many of us use food as a means to connect with our loved ones and communities.  We all have fond memories vividly recalled at the mere taste or smell of a nostalgic dish.  Food also provides us with the opportunity to connect with culture, both our own and others. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have traditionally incorporated an expansive range of native flora and fauna in their diets, many of which remain unknown to most Australians.  Their obscurity is a shame, as these foods are adapted to the Australian climate and have been cultivated by Aboriginal people for over 60,000 years.  If you are curious about introducing more native Australian ingredients in your cooking, Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan’s book Warndu Mai (Good Food) is an informative place to start.

Here is an easy recipe to get you started.  It has been tested by the Cycle 2 Dianella class using ground wattleseed, saltbush, and lemon myrtle.  There were many requests for second servings!

Parent Discussion Group - Friendly Schools Wellbeing Program

Friday 11th June  9.15am Yultwirra campus 

As part of our Wellbeing Program for 2021, we are excited to be working with a program called Friendly Schools across each of our cycles.  

This program has been developed over 20 years by Australian educators and researchers, and is aimed at building social and emotional wellbeing in Australian children and adolescents.  

Our cycle teachers have already begun implementing the program, and we are excited to be able to share our plans with you and the ways you can also be involved in conversations with your children at home.

This session is hosted by Libby our Wellbeing Worker at our Yultwirra campus on Friday 11th June at 9.15am. If you would like to join the conversation, please RSVP via the eForm on Skoolbag by Thursday 10th June. 

Staffing update

Tim Moore will be taking Long Service Leave during Terms 3 and 4 of this year. Wairoa students and parents have recently been informed of this. During Tim’s absence his teaching responsibilities will be covered by Riley Sabey (current Cycle 4 guide) and Ben Noble.  

Ben Noble has previously taught both at Wairoa and at Southern Montessori School, so he is very familiar with the Montessori Adolescent Program, experienced in Montessori methodology and philosophy, and also has a good knowledge and understanding of the way we do things in our setting. 

We know that you will join us in welcoming Ben back to our community and also wishing Tim a very enjoyable and well deserved two term break.

Walk or Run to School!

In the spirit of being active and getting together as a community let's walk or run to school!

When: Friday @ 8.30am in week 8 

Where: Bridgewater Oval

Please see the information sent out on Skoolbag form for more details.

Please RSVP the Wednesday before the active Friday or if you know your schedule RSVP now!

Add this date to your family calendar: Friday 18th June

Cycle 4 Coffeehouse Cabaret

Time, history, the whole catastrophe! 

Buckle up for a night of great theatre as we announce this year’s Coffeehouse Cabaret!  Following the success of last year, we will again host Coffeehouse Cabaret in the Hall at Yultiwirra for three great nights of entertainment from Tuesday 22nd - Thursday 24th June. Save the dates! 

More information will come out soon regarding ticket sales so stay tuned! 

Sharing Assembly - Cycles 3 & 4

We wish to invite all parents/caregivers to our next sharing assembly on Thursday 1st July 9.30am to be held at Yultiwirra campus, where Cycles 3 & 4 students have the opportunity to share their work with the rest of the school.  

Working Bee

Yultiwirra Working Bee

Sunday, 27th June 2021 10 am – 12 pm 

We are seeking parents who would like to help replenish our sand pits and top up our bark chip soft fall in the Preschool and bush play areas.  It would be great if you could come for some or all of the time!  Please remember to bring a shovel and wheelbarrow. 

We would LOVE your help!

A note will be sent home to all families via Skoolbag.  Please RSVP via Skoolbag by Wednesday, 23rd June 2021.  

There is some stringybark firewood from recent tree lopping in the bush play area that we would be happy for volunteers to take on the day.  

Tax Deductible Donations

It is nearly the end of the Financial Year so you could take advantage of a Tax Deduction through making a donation to our school Building Fund.  Many families already donate and have nominated to do this when paying their tuition fees.  Your donations can make a very real difference for our students and we are extremely grateful for the donations we receive each year from families. 

You can support through donations to the School Building Fund.

This fund is used to help cover the costs of new buildings, renovation & improvements to existing structures but you only have until the 30th June for a tax deduction for this financial year. 

Snippets with Susan - The 8 Key Principles of Montessori Education

Tuesday 22nd June 9.15am

The 8 Key Principles of Montessori Education - as described by Angeline Stoll Lillard. 

Come and hear a brief summary of the 8 Key principles that Montessori educators use to guide their learning environments and activities. Principles such as movement, learning with & from peers, choice, order, learning in context & more! 

Diary Dates

Term 2 2021

Wednesday 9th June

Sharing Assembly - Preschool, Cycle 1 & 2 - 11.15am

MSCA Parent online workshop

Dr Tom Nehmy 'Pathways to a Healthy Mind' 7.30pm AEST

Thursday 10th June

Class parent rep meeting 2.30pm

Friday 11th June

Parent Discussion group with Libby 9.15am

'Friendly Schools Wellbeing program'

Monday 14th June

Queen's Birthday public holiday

Tuesday 15th June

Executive meeting 6.00pm

Board meeting 7.30pm

Wednesday 16th June

Policy meeting 4.00pm

Thursday 17th June

Parent information session 'Screen Time' 4.00pm - 6.30pm

Friday 18th June

Walk or Run to School 8.30am

Tuesday 22nd June

Snippets with Susan 9.15am

'The Eight Principles of Montessori'

Marketing meeting 4.00pm

Tuesday 22nd June - Thursday 24th June

Cycle 4 Coffeehouse Cabaret

Tuesday 29th June

Special combined Finance and I&PC meeting 6.00pm

“All our handling of the child will bear fruit, not only at the moment, but in the adult  they are destined to become.”

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