Newsletter Number 19 • Wednesday 8th December 2021

From the Principal

2021 has been yet another challenging year.  Another year of COVID interruptions. Another year of doing things differently, of changing our ways, of ‘pivoting’ at a moment’s notice. Another year of cancelling events, of changing our headset of how teaching and learning can look when forced into an alternative situation.  It’s been another year of less opportunities of coming together as a school community, less face to face interactions with parents, more Zoom meetings and more Zoom fatigue.  These times have really tested our relationships, our connections and our sense of community.  It’s been another year of trying to make sense of this ‘new normal’ – when it often doesn’t seem to make sense at all!

Change and adjusting to this ‘new normal’ can be tiresome, it can be stressful, anxiety inducing, demanding and traumatic. The past two years have affected us all in varying degrees, it’s made many people re-evaluate what is important.  Recently the vaccination mandates have made people really question their beliefs and their values. It’s forced people into making hard and sometimes life changing decisions, and it’s divided many individuals who share differing opinions.  In trying times, I encourage others to hold on to our school values in particular the statement that declares …

“We respect others, appreciate diversity, and are committed to treating each person with dignity and kindness.”

You don’t always have to agree with the opinions of others, but everybody deserves to be respected and treated with dignity and kindness.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the staff; both teachers and school assistants, for another year of being flexible, adaptable and creative in their work throughout the year.  We thank the staff for their ongoing resilience and their cohesion as a team.  They help make our school the wonderful, unique and vibrant place that it is.  

Thanks also to our Child Care and OSHC workers who work tirelessly throughout the year and provide a wonderful service and particularly to OSHC coordinator Roxy Lewis and Child Care coordinator Narelle Kenning.  Sincere thanks also to the admin and leadership staff; Susan Harris Evans, Pippa Milroy, Paul Noon, Jodie Searle, Gab Tooth, Alexis Winslow and Anthea Hagar for all that they have done to ensure things run smoothly on a day-to-day basis.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our parent community who have volunteered and helped in some way this year.  As a small, parent/staff managed school we rely heavily on parental assistance and support and truly value your involvement and contributions whatever they might be.  Parent involvement enhances, either directly or indirectly, the educational experiences for all of our students and contributes to maintaining a positive, supportive school community. 

Most importantly, thank you to the students who make our work meaningful, bring joy into our lives each day and life into our school.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.

Cathy France


2021 Graduates

Last week we held a modified version of our Year 6 (Cycle 3) Graduation Ceremony in the hall at Yultiwirra.  Graduates, their families and some staff listened to the graduates speak and recall the memories of their time in Cycles 1, 2 & 3, outlining their achievements and taking the opportunity to thank those people in their life who have supported them along their journey thus far.  After the formal part of the evening, the graduates and a few staff enjoyed a meal at a local restaurant to celebrate the end of a successful year for these senior students.

Last Friday the middle school students held their Exhibition of Work and Learning followed by the Year 9 and 10 (Cycle 4) Graduation in the early evening.  This also was a wonderful event where parents, staff, families and friends came to celebrate the graduation of Year 9 & 10 students completing Cycle 4.  Following the graduation speeches the Wairoa students and staff had a sit-down dinner together at Wairoa and then a ‘party’ that the students organised themselves.

These graduation celebrations have become embedded in our school traditions and are a rite of passage for these students.  Thank you to Natalie Costello, Sam Cameron & Suzie Saffin (Cycle 3 teachers) and Pippa Milroy, Dave Coulter, Riley Sabey, Ben Noble & Alice Nisbet (Wairoa teaching staff) for all of the wonderful programs and support you offered these students throughout the year and the assistance you provided in helping the graduating students prepare for the transition and next part of their educational journey.  

We acknowledge the following graduating students:

Cycle 3 – Year 6 Graduates

Harper Altmann

Charlie Baryczka

Portia Bordon

Georgia Cope

Owen Coulter

Sandro Evangelista

Noa Ezra

Isaac Bonilla-Killey

Seth Curtis

Summer Huston

Louis Kaethner

Elijah Koh

Harvey Kupniewski

Sidney Kupniewski

Dante Man

Abigail Rayner

Sasha Sierp

Catlyn Solomon

Caleb Thompson

Luca Were

Paxton West

Lucy Whitson

Jet Zahra

Jazeps Zeibarts

Cycle 4 – Year 9 Graduates

Lucas Clark

Charlotte Daly

Eamon Durham

Michael Evans

Macy Mae Gilbert

Oliver Goodwin

Harry Hawking

Raven Horton

Lilly Ingram

Oakley Lockyer

Innis Nettle

Cycle 4 – Year 10 Graduates

Marley Boyce

Jack Clark

Tara Sheridan


It is with sadness that we farewell Sanjay Taverna at the end of this year.  Sanjay has been teaching guitar and drums in our school for the past 13 years. We thank him for the work he has done and the care and support he has given hundreds of students over the years.  We wish him all the very best in the future.

2022 Staffing

I am pleased to announce that we have appointed the following people in the following roles for 2022.

Erin Lewis - Preschool Assistant & Child Care worker

Kylie Kennewell - Cycle 1 Assistant

Jenny Burgoyne - Cycle 2 Assistant

Isobel Scott - Cycle 3 Assistant

Rom Evangelista - Learning Support Assistant

Olivia Moore - Learning Support Assistant

Deb Clapp - Learning Support Assistant

Katy Walker - Student Wellbeing worker

Alexandra Blenkinsop - Cycle 3 teacher

Cycle News

Infant Program

Our final two weeks have been lots of fun as we draw to the end of our school year. We had special visits to both the preschool and our beautiful bush. The children have enjoyed some holiday style craft activities including grinding cinnamon and cloves, tree decorating, card and decoration making just to name a few! It has been an absolute delight coordinating the Infant Program these past two terms. I have really enjoyed getting to know the Infant Program community and want to thank them for embracing me as their new coordinator and allowing me to fill Janine's very big shoes! I look forward to seeing many next year for lots more engaging play, growth, development, and transformation! 

Infant Program Photos

Cycle 1 Preschool

The Preschool children have shown a real interest in developing their whole-body strength and coordination skills with the climbing frame and monkey bars this term. Regular practise with new gross motor challenges helps children to build their confidence and fluidity with a range of movement sequences.

After some practise, Layla very proudly made it all the way across the climbing frame on her own, sharing with everyone “I can do it now! I can do it now all on my own!”. Other children also love sharing news skills, often saying “Look what I can do!”. Some popular tricks on the monkey bars have been swinging from bar to bar, climbing to sit on top and getting down from the top safely. 

Preschool Photos

Cycle 1 Primary

What a fabulous year of learning, creativity and fun!

Cycle 1 have been exploring all sorts on sensory fun whilst we have learnt about our senses and mixtures in science. Making the very popular “squishy and hard” (Maggie) Ooblek dough mixture, we created a “Christmas explosion” (Scarlett) mixing bicarb and vinegar and we made a “lemon solution” (Florence) to serve at our class café.

We are making the most of our last term all together with the ever so successful Ixodia class café, hosting our neighbours to home made lemonade and pancakes. Christmas craft is now in full swing with sewing, painting, drawing, colouring, gluing, paper chain decorating and most prominently enjoying a good covering of glitter.

On a final note, we’d like to say a big and gracious thank you to our wonderful Year 6 Big Brothers & Sisters Seth, Harper, Portia, Paxton, Caleb, Louis, Dante and Catlyn for your help and care throughout the year.

Cycle 1 Primary Photos

Cycle 2

Our class has taken time together over the last few months to create our very own Acknowledgement of Country. Small groups brainstormed, worked together to share their thoughts in writing, orally and in artwork. While developing our class Acknowledgement of Country, students uncovered a whole lot of gratitude for the Peramangk Land (watta) our school is on.

Our class would like to acknowledge the important Peramangk Watta that we meet on today.  We are grateful for so much.  We are grateful for the rainbows and nature on our Peramangk Watta because leaves keep animals safe and healthy for koalas and possums, and bees make honey for us from flowers. We are grateful for the bush flowers in our Peramangk Watta because flowers produce pollen which bees turn into honey. Flowers make our earth look beautiful. We are grateful for the animals in our Peramangk Watta because they are really important to the environment. We are grateful for the fresh air in our Peramangk Watta because it is good for our lungs. Fresh air is so good for us. We are grateful for nature in our Peramangk Watta because nature can give us medicine and we are grateful for the beautiful flowers for us to look at. We are grateful for the blossoms in Spring. We are grateful for the cubbies in our Peramangk Watta because they are fun to build and decorate. We are grateful for the sunshine in our Peramangk Watta because the sun shines through the rain to give us rainbows. We are grateful for the bushland in our Peramangk Watta because you can find bones that tell us history. We are grateful for the trees in our Peramangk Watta because they give us air and they are fun to climb on. They are good shelters for animals. We are grateful for our school in our Peramangk Watta because it is in the bushland. We get to see animals and the native plants at school and we get to play. We promise to take good care of our Peramangk Watta, protect it and love it.

Cycle 2 Photos

Cycle 3

This term Cycle 3 has been participating in the Montessori Young Entrepreneurs (MYE) program. Throughout MYE, students worked in teams to design, create, market and sell a product. Each product had to have an element of sustainability or be environmentally friendly. Throughout the last four weeks we have undergone huge MYE production days where students were trialling the most effective methods to produce their product as a team. A massive thank you to all of the parents who donated their time to help us achieve this. We have had ideas such bbq rubs, bath bombs, fidget toys, snuffies, reusable cutlery holders and fabric face masks. 

On Friday week 8 and Monday week 9 we had our MYE stalls. Thank you to the families and children who attended these. The Cycle 3 students enjoyed the opportunity to share their creations with everyone, and the 2021 MYE was a huge success! We have decided to take some advice from the ‘Barefoot Investors’ and split our profits into thirds - 1/3 will go to a charity of the Cycle’s choosing, 1/3 will be spent by the cohort and 1/3 will be saved for the next round of MYE. We have decided that our ‘spend’ portion will be used for a delicious sushi lunch on our upcoming end of year excursion. Well done to all the Cycle 3 cohort for all your hard work!

Cycle 3 Photos

Cycle 4

“The Transitions and Celebrations group has organised many big events for the Wairoa students this term. Last week we welcomed the Year 6 students coming to Wairoa in 2022. The purpose of the Year 6 Transition Day is to help the new students understand the school and how it works. This year for The Big Day Out we headed off to the Marion Aquatics Centre for a day of swimming, friendship and fun. This is kind of our grand finale of the year. I really enjoyed the Transition Day. It was a great day of meeting new people and introducing them to the school. Sierra and I created a presentation to explain community work to the new students.

"It will be very exciting to have these new students with us next year”, Tahlee, Year 7.

“The recent Wairoa Café was a great way to finish off the year and have parents and friends come to try our delicious food and drinks. We also took the opportunity to thank some people who have helped us throughout the year. It has become a bit of tradition to run an event to allocate names for our end of year Kris Kringle. This year we had a Kris Kringle carnival with a variety of carnival games. It was a fun way to receive our Kris Kringle names.”  Charlotte, Year 9.

“A few of us are organising our Graduation Celebration. After the formal speeches, we will have a delicious pasta dinner prepared by the Pasta Making Occupation group, a dance party in the studio and we know it will be a great way to finish off the year and celebrate the graduates of 2021.” Tara, Year 9.

Cycle 4 Photos

Indonesian with Lyndal

We have become quite the clever clogs of late, so when we studied the script  The Little Red Hen across Cycles 3 and 4. We looked at three points of focus - fluency, rote recitation and nature vocabulary. Students were then assigned the task of creating a text innovation in response to this text, making either a small book or a poster.

Bush Blitz!

In Week 7, I was most fortunate to be accepted on Earth Watch’s Bush Blitz: TeachLive Expedition. A Bush Blitz is an opportunity for scientists to conduct field research in an attempt to discover new species, collect specimens and conduct quantitative surveys. Seven teachers were chosen to attend the Bush Blitz for one of the two weeks in order to develop new perspectives and ideas for teaching Science and Geography, and bring that knowledge back into the classroom. Over two weeks scientists from around the state gathered in Fowlers Bay S.A. to conduct field work. Fowlers Bay is situated two hours west of Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight; a small community with dramatic landscapes rich in biodiversity.

I found this experience to be invigorating and inspiring. Spending one week with South Australia’s expert scientific community chatting about and discussing all things from insects, animals and flora to education and the work conducted at the Museum, Universities, and Botanic Gardens, was enlightening.

While there, we stayed in the local caravan park and teachers and scientists alike would meet each morning to share breakfast and discuss the day's work, and finish the day with a communal dinner sharing new discoveries. Each day was a different experience for the teachers as we would be matched with a new scientist or group of scientists to get a broad experience. As such, I was first teamed up with a pair from TERN (a group who document flora and take soil samples to contribute to an independent public database). We drove out to two vastly different locations, firstly we stopped on a salt pan, it was dry and arid offering only three species of samphire and little else. Secondly we drove to the grasslands and navigated around the abundance of wombat warrens to conduct our survey and sampling of the flora there. My second day was spent with two marine-ecologists searching for invertebrates along the shoreline. We uncovered bivalves, pebble crabs (the cutest little crabs you’re ever likely to see) and hermit crabs living symbiotically with sea anemones. However, It was very exciting for us all to have found a white yabbie, the scientists suspect it is a yet-to-be described species! Invertebrates are a special interest of mine and so I was very excited to be taken out in the field with three scientists who study, respectively, spiders, wasps, and moths. Unfortunately, on this day it was overcast, windy and wet, not great weather for enticing such specimens out. However, all was not lost. I was able to sight a velvet ant (in fact a wingless wasp) which was cause for great excitement and Erin found a tiny wasp she had been searching for, no bigger than 2mm long. A week of observing the tiniest of creatures from dinosaur ants, to death adder snakes, to kangaroos and distinguishing between plant species―which until now blurred into a swathe of green―has certainly taught me to look at our environment differently and I hope to offer students this experience too. The more you know . . .

Having great conversations and taking in and trying out the various methods scientists employ out in the field was great learning. I feel better equipped to offer students more hands on learning and to ignite an interest in a world that so often goes unnoticed. All in the pursuit to connect students with the world around them.

Ben Noble

Cycle 4 teacher 


Congratulations to Cycle 3 students for raising $835 for the Women's and Children's Hospital Foundation.

“What the students and the whole school community have been able to achieve with their fundraising is truly amazing and everyone should be very proud – to almost triple your fundraising goal is an amazing effort and the funds raised will support sick kids and their families cared for by the Women’s and Children’s Craniofacial Unit.”

Mikayla York-Brown,

Community Fundraising Manager at the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Thank you Parent Reps

Thank you to the 2021 class parent reps for undertaking their role this year and giving their time to the many facets of the role.  They have assisted in building community spirit and a positive, supportive school environment. 

2021-2022 Vacation Care

To help with your summer holiday planning you may wish to take note of the Vacation Care dates over December 2021 and January 2022.  

Vacation Care will run from:

Thursday 9th Dec 2021 – Friday 17th Dec 2021

Vacation Care will close:

Monday 20th December 2021 – Friday 7th January 2022.

Vacation Care will reopen:

Monday 10th January 2022 and run until Monday 31st January 2022.

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.

Cultural Arts Opportunities

With tickets to performing arts events being excellent seasonal gifts, The Hills Montessori School Cultural Committee highlights just a few up-coming events that present an indigenous perspective.

A contemporary corroborree is presented by Bangarra Dance from 15-18 March in a work titled: Wudjarra: Not the Past.  

As part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival there are many family-friendly works promoting discussion about indigenous issues including an exhibition of Ngarrindjeri mixed media work titled Ngarrindjeri Ruwe, a G rated circus event called Boop!  and a display of First Nations People's work with textiles in the exhibition Luminous Lampshades.  

We also remind the community that Tandanya Arts holds free events for Survival Day on January 26th.

People’s Choice Community Lottery

Hands up if you want to support The Hills Montessori School and be in the chance to WIN some great prizes with a total value of more than $300,000? 

This year the school is again taking part in the People’s Choice Community Lottery to help reach our fundraising goals. We get to keep 100% from every $2 ticket sold and our goal is to sell enough tickets to raise at least $1500 so we can make improvements to the outdoor spaces at both Yultiwirra and Wairoa.

Tickets are only $2 each and by buying from us, not only do you support us, you also go into the draw to win one of 40 prizes with a total value over $300,000. 

To buy tickets, head to  and click buy tickets. Each ticket is another entry to win! 

Please feel free to also send this on to your family and friends.

Diary Dates

Term 4 2021

Wednesday 8th December

Term 4 Ends - 2 pm finish

Thursday 9th December

Vacation Care beings

Friday 17th December

Vacation Care Ends for 2021

Monday 10 January

Vacation Care begins

Wednesday 26 January

Australia Day Public Holiday

Monday 31 January

Pupil Free Day

Vacation Care ends

Term 1 2022

Tuesday 1 February

Term 1 2022 begins


“Everyone has a special tendency, a special vocation,

modest, perhaps, but certainly useful.”

   Maria Montessori


Term 4: 12 October – 8 December


Term 1:  1 February  – 14 April

Term 2:  3 May – 1 July

Term 3:  26 July – 30 September 

Term 4:  18 October – 14 December