Newsletter Number 18 • Wednesday 24th November 2021

From the Principal

Back in 2008 a small, passionate group of parents came to me as Principal of the school asking if the school Board would explore the possibility of opening a Montessori Adolescent Program.  This was not the first time this request had been put forward nor the first time the Board had discussed this idea.  However, in 2008, there were the ‘right’ people in place to turn this request and dream into a reality.  We had a group of passionate parents and staff who worked tirelessly investigating all of the aspects required to open a middle school. 

Committees were established investigating interest from current families, curriculum, staffing needs, marketing to internal and external families, financial structures, fundraising, possible sites, resources required and school registration requirements.  It was a mammoth task and took 3 years to make the vision a reality.

One of the major hurdles was to find an appropriate site for our Adolescent Program which also addressed Maria Montessori’s specific criteria and where young people could thrive.  When a small group of us first visited the site in the beautiful grounds of Wairoa, we knew instantly that it 'felt right' and it spurred us on to make the Middle School happen! Wairoa was the ideal situation and place for our young people to work, learn & develop. 

In Maria Montessori’s writings about the Adolescent Program she talks about providing an environment where adolescents can enjoy “life in the open air and in the sunshine”, “living on a diet high in nutritional content from produce they have grown”.  She writes about “adolescents working amongst calm surroundings where the wonder of nature can satisfy the adolescent’s need for reflection & meditation”.

We knew we had found a place at Wairoa where both manual and intellectual work could be undertaken by the adolescents fulfilling the requirements of Dr Maria Montessori’s Adolescent Program.

Having found the perfect site for our Adolescent Program the next major challenge was to raise enough money to purchase the site.  We were extremely fortunate at the time to have Paul Thomas on our school Board who thought ‘outside the square’ and presented the idea of a Unit Trust to the Board.  After considerable investigation and financial modelling the Unit Trust was established in 2009.  The Trust would reduce the amount of initial capital required by the School for the purchase of the new site by enabling other individuals and organisations to make an equity investment in the purchase.  

The dedicated ‘Middle School committee’ then set about finding investors to purchase units so we could raise the funds to purchase the Wairoa site.  We proudly opened Wairoa campus at the start of the 2011 school year with nineteen students and three staff.  The rest is history! 

Over the past 12 years the school has re-purchased units as they have increased in value, from the various unit holders.  The school has leased the Wairoa property from the unit holders at a commercial rate providing an annual dividend to investors.

I am pleased to inform the school community that just recently the school purchased the last remaining units and now officially owns the Wairoa property outright.  The current school Board has recently made the decision to wind up the Unit Trust and so we are working through the legal steps to finalise this process.  Two weeks ago we held the last ever Unit Trust annual meeting.

I would like to thank the investors and pioneering people who provided the financial support and believed in, and supported our vision of a Montessori Adolescent Program.

The Unit Trust has been a completely separate entity from the school and subsequently had its own Constitution and rules, bank account, structure and operations.  Since the inception of the Unit Trust, Paul Thomas (who proposed the original idea) has been one of the Directors and has managed and administered the Trust voluntarily.   Paul Daly, former School Board president has been the other Unit Trust Director who has generously given his time and expertise for many years to oversee the operations of the Trust.

On behalf of the school, I would sincerely like to thank both Paul Thomas and Paul Daly for their input, contributions and support of Wairoa and the Unit Trust over the years.  The school is very much indebted to you both.

Cathy France


Vaccination Mandate

As you are aware, the Commissioner of Police, acting in his role as the State Coordinator responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, has announced the Emergency Management (Education and Early Childhood Settings Vaccination) (COVID-19) Direction 2021.

This Direction requires all individuals to receive at least 1 dose of a Therapeutic Goods Association approved COVID-19 vaccination and a booking to receive a second dose by 10 December 2021, except those who have a medical exemption endorsed by the Chief Public Health Officer.

The Direction applies to all employees, OSHC providers, volunteers, parent helpers, contractors and service providers either engaged by the school or contracted to provided services to the school.

A copy of the Direction can be found here.

We would like our staff, students and parent community to rest assured that we have implemented measures to ensure compliance with the Direction by 10 December 2021.

I appreciate that this will be difficult news for some but the school has always been fully committed to implementing the best available health advice and has no option but to comply with the Direction which has been established as a result of SA Health advice.

I trust that we can all work together respectfully to ensure the safety of our school community.

Cathy France


Staffing News

It is with sadness that we farewell the following staff at the end of this year.

Clinton Donald (OSHC worker)

Holly Bottroff (Cycle 2 assistant/OSHC worker)

Steph Keller (Cycle 2 assistant/Learning Support assistant)

Kelly Harvey (Individual Support assistant)

Anne Winter (Cycle 3 assistant)

Ester Calabro (Cycle 3 assistant)

Narelle Kenning (Preschool assistant)

Roxy Lewis (OSHC Coordinator/Cycle 1 assistant)

Libby Roberts (Student Wellbeing worker)

Ben Noble (Cycle 4 teacher)

Some of these staff are moving on to take up teaching careers, retire or pursue other endeavours.  All of them have contributed to our school and we thank them for their work and the care and commitment shown to our students.

Last year we farewelled Anne Winter after 30 years of service to the school however her retirement didn’t last long and she returned this year as a Cycle 3 school assistant.  We greatly appreciate her stepping into this role, but we now wish her well as she transitions into her ‘true’ retirement!

I would particularly like to acknowledge Narelle Kenning and Ester Calabro who have both been long standing staff members, 11 years and 12 years respectively.  Narelle and Ester have been truly loved by the hundreds of students they have worked with and supported over the years.  We greatly appreciate their commitment and the years of dedication and service they have given our school.

I know our school community will join me in wishing all of these staff good health and happiness for the future.  They will all be sorely missed by staff, students and parents and will forever be a part of our ‘Montessori family’.

We are currently finalising staffing appointments for the 2022 school year.  Parents will be informed of new appointments and any changes once this process has been finalised.

Wellbeing Worker

I am pleased to announce that we have appointed Katy Walker as our new Wellbeing Worker who will start in the school at the beginning of the 2022 school year.  Katy is currently a lead counsellor in another Independent School, and we welcome her to our community and look forward to the skills and expertise that she will bring to this vital role.

We take this opportunity to thank Libby Roberts for the amazing work, dedication, passion and commitment that she has given to her position over the past three years.  We wish her all the very best for the future.

Board Communique

At the November board meeting, we ratified the Schools 2022 budget, reviewed the Environmental & Strategic risks and discussed the recent education and early childhood settings vaccination direction.

Jade Crathern

Board President

Strategic Plan Parent Survey

Closing THIS Friday 26th November

The Hills Montessori School is currently collecting data to assist with formulating our new Strategic Plan. 

Our Strategic Plan provides the road map to guide our way to achieving our school’s vision. 

Parents can help the school Board develop the new Strategic Plan by participating in our parent survey. The staff, Board and school committees have taken the first step in brainstorming activities that will help us reach our vision.  And now, we would like to test them with our community, asking parents to indicate their priorities and check if we have missed anything. In coming weeks, we will be asking for input from students.  

The Strategic Planning committee will then collate the collected data and bring it all together to draft and deliver our new plan in early 2022. 

We ask that you visit our Strategic Plan survey at this link and let us know your priorities.

Please respond by Friday 26th November

PLEASE NOTE: In indicating your priorities you must enter the exact number of priorities asked for under each heading (no more or less!) otherwise the survey will not allow you to submit your answers.  If you are having trouble submitting the survey, please go back and ensure you have checked the exact number of priorities asked for.

Thanks for being such vital contributors to this important work.

Fundraising Achievements and Goals

It is with great pride and appreciation to announce that the School’s Fundraising committee has raised $9,356.52 in 2021, due to a lot of hard work and with thanks to our very generous and supportive community. 

Fundraising monies are securely maintained and kept separate from the School’s normal operations and are applied to initiatives that directly benefit our students.  During the year, we have spent some of this money on Book Week items, Preschool plants, playground soft fall, classroom storage facilities, Reconciliation Week posters, among other things.  Any unspent fundraising money is accumulated and carried forward to meet future needs. 

A significant and exciting future need that students have identified is an outdoor physical education, play and “hang-out” space at our Wairoa Middle School campus.  After a number of years of planning and consultation, we are now thrilled to announce that a final concept has been determined. 

Under the guidance of staff and Climbing Tree, creators of the Preschool outdoor learning area and climbing structure, Middle School students have applied their creativity to design a variety of 3-dimensional models.  Students and staff have now agreed on the impressive design (see photo).

Climbing Tree has submitted their quote for this work, which will likely be done in stages due to funding constraints, but we intend to commence construction next year. 

We will apply much of our accumulated, unspent fundraising monies, funds raised in 2022 and some of the School’s annual Capital Expenditure budget to build this wonderful structure (unfortunately, our Building Fund donations cannot be applied to sports fields, sports equipment and playgrounds under the ATO’s regulations). 

We hope that you are all very excited by this student led initiative and that the whole community will continue to support our fundraising endeavours in 2022.  

2022 Class Placement

Notification of class placements for primary classes for 2022 have been sent home to families.  All parents of primary students should have received this.  A transition session has been organised for all primary students to move to their new class and meet their 2022 class mates and teacher/s on Fri 26th November from 9.30 - 10.30am.

Cycle News

Infant Program

The children have been enjoying a shiny Silver and Gold focus this week. With an emphasis on practical life they have been busy polishing fine silver, screwing large silver nuts and bolts and transferring golden beads from bowl to bowl. Exquisite silver and gold paints and art and craft activities have been enjoyed by many, alongside their regular Infant Program activities.

Cycle 1 Preschool

Parent involvement in the Preschool is keenly encouraged as it is a great way for parents to share their expertise with the children. This term, in the Goodenia class, we have had three parents offer their time. Kathy (Jack’s mum) came in on two occasions to teach us about the Solar System. On her first visit she talked about the sun and its invisible pull to the planets as they orbit around. On her second visit Kathy showed us a video of an astronaut living in the International Space Station. The astronaut showed us where she slept, how she brushed her teeth, how she went to the toilet and how food was stored. It was very interesting, and the children asked a lot of questions. Noi (Max’s mum) also came in to make bread and Rachael (Lillian’s mum) made sushi with the children. These parent interactions are very important in our class, and we are very appreciative. Thank you.

Preschool photos

Cycle 1 Primary

This term the Cycle 1 primary classes have been focused on a study of the artist, Henri Matisse. He is famous for his paintings and collage works which the children have been exploring.  As part of this study the children have been encouraged to design their own collages using a variety of material both man made and natural. The children have really enjoyed this work which can be seen in their following comments...

Harry said, "I love collages because you can make your own designs".  Dolina remarked, "You can use whatever you want and do whatever you want".

Zeke exclaimed, "I made a house with blue paper and a swimming pool".

Ruby said, "My favourite type of collage was when we used seeds. I made a pattern".

Sophie said, "I like sticking things on" and Millie said gleefully, "I'm making a wild place where it's not busy and there are rocks and wild things".

Cycle 2

It is a little hard to believe we are in the last half of term four! The adults in our room have had a wonderful year with our students, many of whom we are privileged to have return next year. In the last week of term, we will have a class lunch with the students and say farewell to Ollie, Hazel, Clancy and Dusty who will be moving on to new and exciting adventures in Cycle 3. Throughout the year, each week the Cycle 2 classes attend choir sessions with Katie Moore, learning a range of old and current songs. They performed together at the Cycle 2 music concert in Term 2 and will again perform at the end of year assembly. In the lead up to Christmas, we have been practising some Christmas carols in choir and as a class have just begun Christmas crafts and activities. The morning work cycle has remained the usual routines and small group presentations. Cycle 2 photos reflect students using the algebraic peg board to practise square roots and many other students practising multiples using various bead chains.

Cycle 2 photos

Cycle 3

Last week the Cycle 3 cohort ventured down to Normanville for their outdoor ed camp.  With approximately 50 children onboard three mini buses, Wilderness Escape supported the program.  The children sanded and painted Boomerangs, did a scavenger hunt around our base camp, helped prepare meals and slept in dorms.  They also went to Second Valley on the second day and did snorkelling, fishing and rock pool exploring.  They were all brave and resilient, willing to try all activities despite the weather NOT being in anyone’s favour.  On the final night we had a visit from Uncle Ivan Tiwu Copley.  He did a Welcome To Country and shared some stories and artefacts.  The camp was a welcomed adventure for the group and a huge success.

Cycle 3 photos

Cycle 4

A select group of older students travelled to the riverland to participate in the Expedition camp. This involved self-reliant camping over four days of paddling in kayaks and exploring the Ral Ral creek system near Renmark. Each of the students took turns to plan and lead a section of the trip; as well as unpack and repack their boat, prepare daily meals and develop their camp craft. The students stepped-up massively to the challenge and had a great time while they were at it. Meanwhile, the remaining younger crew travalled to Barmera for the 'base camp' aquatics experience. Over the course of the 2 days of activities, the students sailboarded, kayaked, sailed, kneeboarded and some even tried water skiing. We had some pretty extreme weather hit us on day 2; so extreme that we had to take down our tents and move camp!  All students faced the changing conditions with great sense of humour and resilience, and supported each other too.

Cycle 4 Photos

NAILA Awards

I invite you to join in celebrating the shortlisting of some Cycle 4 students' National Speech Award entry by clicking on the link to NAILA  and voting. (the entries are not subtitled as it is mostly expected that voters are Indonesian speakers, however, we ask you to let the entries speak to you with their vivacity).

The Hills Montessori School students have entered this competition for the last six years and this year as always, gain so much by creating their own authentic oral texts that 'cut the mustard' alongside Australia's best.

For the first time, two of the Montessori quality entries were shortlisted and we invite you to vote for either of them. The theme in 2021 was 'Travel'. Macy-Mae, Lilly, Sophie and Charlotte wrote their own song about the island of Lombok, as their study group is named Lombok. They researched facts about this beautiful island and then commenced the challenging task of making what they wanted to say rhyme. Their final product is sweet, harmonious, impressed me, and will delight Indonesian voters. Jack Clarke's entry will likely have Indonesian speakers in stitches. He plays himself and also his four wives, to whom he seems to have overpromised extensive and exclusive holidays. As they naturally discover his over-commitment, the wives  decide to travel together without the company of, but funded by, Jack.

I hope that you can see in these entries both how much independent work our young thinkers undertook and also how much joy they have taken in their productions.

Voting closes November 26th - please feel free to on-send the link to supportive family members.

Wairoa cafe

Thursday 25th November, 9am-11am

This term we are holding our Wairoa Cafe. It is the first cafe we have had this year so everyone at Wairoa is very excited to prepare and serve you our delicious food and drinks. It is on Thursday the 25th of November, 9am-11am. Tea, coffee and yummy home-made food can be bought, cash and eftpos payment will be available. Please remember to bring a mask to wear, sanitise your hands and practise social distancing. The cafe is a great way to socialise, meet new people and see our brand-new space.

End of Year concert

It is disappointing to have to cancel the end of year concert for the second year in a row which was being organised for Monday 6th December. We understand that this may be upsetting for some families, but due to COVID restrictions we are unable to hold the event. 

At Yultiwirra an assembly will be held just for students and staff so that we can celebrate our Year 6 leaders and thank and acknowledge their leadership in 2021.

In anticipation, thank you for your understanding.

NAPLAN Results

Parents with children in Years 3, 5, 7 & 9 are asked to contact their child’s class teacher to make a time to discuss the NAPLAN results in conjunction with other school records.

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.

Goolwa Primary School has released a new picture book – Kraiyi

Ngarrindjeri is a part of the most ancient, continuous civilisation on Earth. Find out the meaning of kraiyi and learn about how Ngarrindjeri people lived, and continue to live, in harmony with the ruwi (country) in and around the Coorong in South Australia. Suitable for all ages as an authentic resource for learning about Aboriginal language and culture.

Living Kaurna Cultural Centre at Warriparinga wetlands

The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre is located at the Warriparinga wetlands, which has been a gathering place for the Kaurna people for thousands of years. The centre is operated by Kaurna owned business Southern Cultural Immersion, striving to promote and nurture reconciliation and cultural respect towards First Nations people within Australia. The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre is open to visitors, and features an art gallery and retail space set in the sprawling grounds. The grounds feature stunning art instillations and natural flora and fauna, all surrounding the Sturt River. The Living Kaurna Cultural Centre also hosts major First Nations' celebrations, including music performances and markets. Cultural training, community engagement, art and cultural workshops and cultural tours are all on offer.

Warriparinga Way, Living Kaurna Cultural Centre, Bedford Park, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, 5042

8357 5900

Aboriginal Way

News & stories for, and about, Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal Way is a digital, print, and radio news service. Our quarterly newspaper is read by 10,000 people across SA and into the NT, including Aboriginal community members and organisations. Each school in the state receives Aboriginal Way newspaper.


 Read the newspaper > Browse the blog

Phone: (08) 8110 2800 Email:

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.

Request from school family

Looking for a new home for our gorgeous 8yo desexed ginger cat.  He has lived with dogs since we re-homed him as a last chance cat.  He’s an indoor/outdoor cat and the only rodents we see are dead ones! He loves a scratch behind the ear and is often happy being site supervisor while you're gardening. 

If anyone knows someone in their network who would like to bypass the kitten stage and would be happy to take him in please let us know.  We are keen to know he has a good home before we relocate overseas for a few years. 

Please contact Katherine on 0427 500 130.

Community News

Diary Dates

Term 4 2021

Thursday 25th November

Wairoa cafe 9.15am

Friday 26th November

2022 Class transition 9.30am - 10.30am

Year 6 transition visit to Wairoa - full day

Monday 29th November

Strategic planning committee meeting - Zoom 6.30pm

Tuesday 30th November

Executive Meeting 6.00pm

Wednesday 1st December

Year 6 Graduation @ Yultiwirra

Friday 3rd December

Year 9 Graduation @ Wairoa

Tuesday 7th December

Finance meeting 6.00pm

Board Meeting 7.30pm

Wednesday 8th December

Term 4 Ends - 2 pm finish

Thursday 9th December

Vacation Care beings

Friday 17th December

Vacation Care Ends for 2021


“To think and to wish is not enough,

It is action which counts.”

   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