Newsletter Number 4 • Wednesday 17th March 2021

From the Principal

We’re extremely proud of how proactive our students are in supporting causes they feel passionate about. Nowadays young people are very aware of the world they live in and the effect and environmental impact that humans are having through the choices that they make.  Young people are informed and well versed and it is important to encourage them to speak up and have a voice.

At The Hills Montessori School we encourage students to speak up, ask questions and be actively involved in their learning from a young age. We provide opportunities for them to follow their passions, use their influence in a positive way and voice their opinion both within their class, school and as they get older, amongst the wider community. 

In educational terms we talk about 'student agency'.   Student agency refers to learning through activities that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from staff.  Student agency gives students voice and often, choice, in how they learn.

Young people with high levels of agency do not respond passively to their circumstances; they tend to seek meaning and act with purpose to achieve the conditions they desire in their own and others' lives.

Student agency builds critical thinking and problem solving skills and is important because students who are engaged actively in their education build deeper understanding of content. 

The recent engagement from many students across the school in the Replace the Waste art exhibition is a good example of student agency and  provided an opportunity for students to voice their concerns, opinions and act with purpose for positive change.

Congratulations to Pearl and Maddie who won first prize in the advertising category of the Replace the Waste art exhibition! The Cycle 3 students designed a storyboard poster to raise awareness for the ban on single use plastic in South Australia. The artwork was named, ‘A Plastic Fork’ and last week Pearl and Maddie were invited to City Library where they were presented with certificates by Kevin McGuiness from Green Industries and Rachel Healy, Artistic Director of Adelaide Festival. This week Pearl and Maddie will be meeting with the creative agency who advise Green Industries on their marketing and advertising. Both students will be working with the creative agency to turn ‘A Plastic Fork’ into an ad, which is incredibly exciting for them both - congratulations Pearl and Maddie!                                                                                                   

Cathy France



Games Day for Cycles 2, 3 & 4

The Games Day was a great success with students from Cycles 2, 3 and 4 joining together to make up eight different groups. This year we had colours and animals to make up the groups. It was an opportunity to meet students from other cycles as well as working with a mix of ages and abilities. The groups were faced with eight different challenges that required students to work together, build trust, communicate, persevere and have fun.  

It was lovely to see how each group embraced the spirit of the day as they tackled the challenges with positivity and enthusiasm. Each challenge required a different set of skills, which saw students building trust as they led each other around blindfolded, or problem solved the fastest way to untangle the human knot. Other stations required students to encourage each other in the three-legged or egg and spoon race.

At the end of the Games Day groups came together for the famous tug of war which was lots of fun. Thanks to all the teachers who ran the various stations. Thanks to the students for arriving in colour and adding to the spirit of the day – it was a wonderful day. 

Games Day for Cycles 2, 3 and 4

Cycle News

Infant Program

We have been exploring the colour blue over the past couple of weeks and one of the activities on offer for the children in the Infant Program is 'blue snow'. Eloise and Zephyr are sharing the sensory activity and experiencing feeling the cold 'snow'.


This photo shows Vincent in an exciting moment of discovery while working with the Thermic Bottles – finding the two bottles that match in temperature using just his sense of touch! Children have really enjoyed exploring this specific sensorial material while learning about the five senses. Each thermic bottle set is filled with water that is cold, cool, warm and hot. Children have been working on both grading and matching the bottles.  

Cycle 1

This term the Cycle 1 primary children have been exploring the properties of water. In this photo the children are experiencing the three 'states of matter'. The children were asked to predict and observe what they thought might happen as blocks of ice were placed in a tub, in the shade and then placed in the sun on our back verandah. Much excitement and amazed expressions ensued as they observed the ice melt into water and then evaporate into the air. We talked about liquids, solids and gas. This led to discussion about where that gas goes and how it condenses in the atmosphere to make clouds and eventually falls again as rain.

Kai said, " It's a melting machine! Ice is frozen water".

Scarlett said, "It's very cold and it melts".

Cooper said, "It's in different shapes, it's very cold and it melts".

Soraya commented that, "It's very cold, it's frozen water".

Cycle 2

During our wellbeing lessons this term, our class has dedicated time to have discussions about our feelings, our friendships, feeling safe and identifying warning signs our bodies give us when we are not feeling safe. 

This week, we created a kindness tree which will proudly display acts of kindness that we notice on its leaves. 

We all agreed that kindness is a very important thing to share with each other. 

‘Kind people make me happy'. Aurora

‘Olivia is really kind because she tries to help people’. Bella

‘When you’re kind to people first, the other person will be kind too’. Arthur

‘It’s really kind if someone asks you to play’. Olivia 

‘Kind people are never mean to you’. Hattie

‘I think Lisa is kind because when I’m not feeling good, she helps me’. Mae

‘Being kind means not being rude, not rolling your eyes and making friends’. Tabby

‘I try to be kind by listening to people’. Jasper 

‘My mum is kind because she helps me and hugs me’. Elizabeth

Cycle 2 Photos

Cycle 3

BTN Bucket List

This term Suzie checked something off her teaching ‘Bucket List’! Her and Sam's class starred in ABC's Student current affairs show; Behind the News (BTN). As part of the Cycle 3 excursion to ‘The Plastic Bag Store’ they were asked to be part of a segment focusing on the current ban of single use plastic straws and plastic cutlery.

You can watch the BTN segment featuring Cycle 3 here.

Visit to ‘The Plastic Bag Store’

“On Thursday 25/2/21 Cycle 3 Suzie and Sam’s class went to The Plastic Bag Store in Rundle Mall. The artist who had created it was Robin Frohardt from Brooklyn, New York city.” Mollie Green

"The Plastic Bag Store is an installation that is fully made of recycled plastic and is about the overuse of single-use plastic and the horrible things it does to our environment.”  Joash Ng

“The best part that I liked was the humour of the installation.” Lachlan Barnett

Bike Education

For the last few weeks Cycle 3 has been participating in Bike Education. We have been learning about bike maintenance and how to ride on the road safely. You may have seen us out and about in our high vis vests!

Clean Up Australia Day

On Friday 5th March all students in the school participated in Clean Up Australia Day. Cycle 3 headed off campus to Carripook Park to clean up our local reserve.

Cycle 3 photos

Cycle 4

Cycle 4 students have been making the absolute most of our precious ability to get out and about and enjoy arts festival opportunities in Adelaide, even with masks in hand. Using public bus and tram, the odd bus hire and car ride, and plenty of leg work - we have also been roving the streets exploring markets, gardens, public spaces, memorials and street art.  The performances we have seen have covered some difficult topics, diverse perspectives and pressing environmental issues. They have also been brilliant examples of making theatre, and much discussion has been around how the various elements combine to bring the story and/or ideas to life. Food for thought for our cabaret term...

Festival highlights have been: Fangirls - Belvoir St. Theatre, The Pulse - Gravity and Other Myths, The Plastic Bag Store - installation and show, The Boy Who Talked To Dogs - STC and Slingsby Productions

Cycle 4 photos

Indonesian with Lyndal

Bread costs ten trillion dollars in the play scripts that Cycle 3 use to combine knowledge about large number words, family vocabulary and possessive pronouns. Cycles 3 and 4 have added to their store of stock phrases that they can more fluently 'gabble-off' without prompting, especially around the theme of family members. They are looking forward to a Week 10 "Gabble'Off' where they measure the amount  of times they can respond to randomly posed phrases such as : How many cousins do you have?" What does your mum like to eat?  What is your dad's name? How old is your younger sibling?

We have noted the interesting linguistic point that Bahasa Indonesia commonly asks whether one has an older or younger sibling, rather than asking about the gender of the sibling as English does with its words 'brother' and 'sister.'

Wairoa Market Morning

The first ever Wairoa Market Morning is on Friday 26 March (Week 9) from 8am until 12pm.

Please come along for a beautiful Wairoa autumn morning, catch up with friends for a coffee, and stock up on treasures and tucker. All school families are very welcome both before school starts, or throughout the morning.
  • There will be a fantastic Feeding the Community Cafe, run by our Year 7 students, serving hot drinks with fresh scones and other delights.
  • Savoury lunch-y foods will be hot from the barbie. 
  • A range of stalls will sell all sorts of hand-made products.
  • We encourage people to bring keep-cups, byo containers and shopping bags - both for environmental and cost-reduction reasons.
  • Come ready to spend! Both cash and card options will be available.

Community Support Coordinators

In our School we have a structure to provide practical help to families within our school community who require support or assistance in times of need &/or families who may be experiencing a crisis.  The Community Support Coordinator (volunteer position) oversees this program.  Community support may take the form of providing meals for a family, helping with pick-ups and drop - offs of children, child minding, shopping etc.  Everyone from time to time goes through difficult periods in life whether it is caused by illness, accidents and injury or the death of a loved one – we are all faced with challenges and moments that are hard.  When we are faced with a family crisis, knowing that we have the support of our community and there are people who are willing and able to help with some of the day to day routines and duties can really ease the burden.  Our school community can be wonderful at rallying around and offering small gestures of kindness to let families or individuals in crisis know that we care and we are here to support if needed.

This year Ellie Ross and Briali Bedson class parent reps, have kindly volunteered to take on this role.  We are sending out a questionnaire via Skoolbag to families to ask if there are any ways they may be able to support if and when needed.  We will be grateful of any support that people are prepared to offer and will ‘keep a register’ of support in the event that assistance is required.

If your family experiences challenging times or faces a crisis please don’t hesitate to contact either your class teacher or Cathy so we can provide some support.  Specific family situations will always be treated in a confidential, respectful and discrete manner and will not be disclosed to the community when seeking support. 

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.Anthony J. D'Angelo 

Student Absenteeism

Student Absenteeism - sickness

We ask that all families take note of the absenteeism procedures and follow them to assist us with our day-to-day running and administration of the school. 

If your child will be absent for the day and you have not informed the school previously, parents are required to phone, email or send a message through Skoolbag to the school to let us know the reason for the absence and length of the absence.

If we have not received a phone call by 9.30am on the day, the school will SMS or call to confirm your child's whereabouts.  These calls are made for safety and legal reasons; however, we really need parents to take on this responsibility and make contact on the first day of absence. 

Any Yultiwirra students arriving late need to report to the office to advise of their arrival and sign the student register or they will remain marked as absent.

Student Absenteeism – holidays or other

The law requires that all children who are 6 years old and over to attend school.  If you are wanting to take your child out of school during term time for family holidays or any other reason, this needs to be put in writing to the Principal stating that you wish to seek an exemption from school with the dates and the reason for your child’s absence.  The Principal then has the discretion to grant an exemption from school for the specified period.

Please note the following protocol:

  • For a period of absence less than one week  an email to the Principal is required
  • For a period of absence greater than one week, parents need to complete official paperwork in the office and this needs to be approved by the Principal.

Snippets with Susan

'Snippets' sessions with Susan has recommenced this term.  'Snippets with Susan' is held fortnightly on Tuesday mornings at 9.15am.   

On Tuesday 23rd March we will explore 'The Learning Support Program at The Hills Montessori School'. Please ensure that you RSVP as it is essential for COVID planning /spacing purposes.

If you have any suggestions of any ideas / topics  to explore as part of our 'Snippets' program, please email Susan at:

Please Shut the Gate

For much of last year we had the front gate to the school open every morning to avoid lots of people having to touch it and we would then shut it at 9am. 

We would now like to revert to keeping the front gate shut at all times.  Please do not prop the gate open and if you come through the gate please ensure that it closes behind you.  This makes it safe for all students.

Yultiwirra Open Day

Thank you to the parents who volunteered their time to assist as tour guides at our Open Day at Yultiwirra this week.  We greatly appreciate you giving up your time to help out on the day.  

Naplan Testing

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.  Students enrolled in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be participating in Online Naplan Testing in Term 2  from 11th May - 21st May.  However we have a preliminary testing day in preparation on Thursday 25th March. (There are no results from the preliminary day it's more to test our school's technical capabilities and to test every school in Australia being online at the same time.)

 If you do not wish for your child to be a part of the preliminary testing day for philosophical or personal reasons, please email Cathy or your child’s teacher ASAP.  

NAPLAN is made up of tests in the four domains of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and Numeracy.

All students are encouraged to participate in the tests.  Involvement in testing against the National Benchmarks is linked with receipt of Government funding and we are therefore, as a school, obliged to participate.  We view student participation as developing a “life skill” and teachers assist students in their preparation leading up to the testing week.

In previous years we have found that the results confirm what our own testing regime and professional judgment have identified, and thus we use the reports from this National Testing as part of our overall assessment practices.  Results will be posted to the school and we will notify parents when we receive the reports so the results can be interpreted together with your child’s class teacher. 

If your child is in Years 3, 5, 7 or 9 please notify the school if your child will be absent during the NAPLAN testing period. 

All children in these year levels will sit the tests unless an exemption or withdrawal has been arranged prior.

 If you do not wish for your child to sit the NAPLAN tests in May for philosophical or personal reasons, please come to the office to complete and sign a withdrawal form. 

More information is available at

Portia raises money for the Starlight Foundation

I joined a program called Star Light Super Swim on the 27th January to raise money for sick children.  I had to swim 6km over four weeks.  I achieved my goal and raised $250 and in the future I would like to become involved in similar programs that would support sick children.

Portia (Cycle 3 student)

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.

Event news: Shedding light on Peramangk Land

If you would like to learn more about the First Nation people of our local community you might be keen to head along to a walking tour in Hahndorf.  The tours are running this Saturday the 20th March and Saturday 29th of May.  They will be hosted by Peramangk and Kaurna elder, Uncle Ivan Copley, and owner of Hahndorf Walking Tours, Sharon Pippos. 

Information below from the Handorf Walking Tours website:

  • Ivan and Sharon will take you on a journey on the property known as ‘The Cedars’, just outside the village of Hahndorf. We’ll explore its changing landscape and the changing usage of the land.
  • Peramangk people nurtured this area of the Adelaide Hills for future generations. It’s fitting that Ivan will provide a Welcome to Country and a background history to the First Nations People. Together we’ll take a cultural walk to the Peramangk water holes: Hahndorf Creek, and Hahndorf (Bukartila) Women’s Swimming holes. An authentic glimpse of the relationship between the Peramangk and the gum trees, hunting, gathering and the laws of the Land.
  • This will be followed by an overview of the relationship with the first settlers in Hahndorf – one of the few good new stories.
  • Ahead of his time Hans Heysen purchased these 60 hectares to protect the magnificent gum trees on, and surrounding, this property.

There are trees over 600 years old here and Heysen was the first Australian painter to focus on eucalyptus trees in their true light and form. He usually painted trees on his own property. Heysen often expressed his love of light. We’ll be shedding light during the tour. Come join us.

  • Tour duration approx. 90mins.
  • Tour does not include access to Heysen house or studio.
  • A tasting of Lemon Myrtle Tea will also be provided.

Click on this link for more information

Save the Date

On Thursday 1st April our annual Community Breakfast will be held in the school courtyard at Yultiwirra commencing at 8.15am.  All food needs to be pre-ordered via the order forms to be sent home soon!  Food will be served between 8.15 – 8.45am.  We hope to see you there!

Community News

Diary Dates

Term 1 2021

Thursday 18th March

National Close the Gap Day

Tuesday 23rd March

Snippets with Susan 9.15am

Friday 26th March

Market Day at Wairoa 8am - 12pm

Monday 29th March

Sharing Assembly 2.30pm Cycle 2 & Cycle 4 sharing

Tuesday 30th March

Class Parent Rep meeting 2.30pm

Thursday 1st April

Community Breakfast @ Yultiwirra 8.15am

Friday 2nd April

Good Friday

Sunday 4th April

Day Light Savings Ends

Monday 5th April

Easter Monday

Tuesday 6th April

Snippets with Susan 9.15am

Marketing meeting 4.00pm

Wednesday 7th April

Policy meeting 4.00pm

Thursday 8th April

SPTG meeting 9.15am

Adolescent Program Wellbeing Festival

Friday 9th April

Term 1 ends 2.00pm finish

2021 School term dates

The 2021 School term dates are listed below. 

Term 1 - Wed 27th Jan - Fri 9th April

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

Term 2 - Wed 28th April - Fri 2nd July

(Term 2 Pupil free day = Tuesday 27th 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 education of the senses makes men observers.”

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