Newsletter Number 1 • Wednesday 3rd February 2021

From the Principal

I would like to welcome students, parents and staff to the 2021 school year. I particularly welcome the new students and families and look forward to their involvement and input into our school.

The beginning of the year for teaching staff is a time to prepare, plan, discuss ideas and programs with colleagues, think about professional goals for the year and discuss and prepare for the individual needs of the students in their class. At the start of this year, a number of meetings were held with staff, and in addition, all staff undertook a full day’s training in First Aid. 

The recent Adelaide Hills bushfire provided a challenge that we hadn't factored in to the start of year plans! Regrettably, due to the bushfire, we had to cancel our scheduled professional development for teaching staff on the Monday pupil free day. 

The Cherry Gardens and surrounds fire highlighted the importance of having a clear bushfire action plan and I know many families and staff enacted their plan and evacuated the hills. Thank goodness for the heavy rains and the exceptional hard work, courage and dedication of our volunteer fire fighters, which helped extinguish the huge risk.

As I mentioned in the letter that I sent out via Skoolbag prior to school starting, one thing that 2020 and COVID-19 has taught us is to be resilient, flexible, adaptable and to accept swift decisions and changes to plans at short notice. I thank everyone; staff, students and parents for their understanding regarding the cancellation to Vacation Care at such short notice.

My letter also mentioned the COVID-19 requirements that have been advised to us by SA Health and the Association of Independent Schools SA concerning current restrictions and recommendations for schools for the 2021 school year.  Disappointingly we are still being asked to limit parents' time within the school grounds and we have now been asked to implement QR codes.  As we know, this disease is highly contagious and so we need to continue to follow the advice until further notice to ensure everyone's safety.

I hope 2021 is somewhat less challenging for us all and the COVID situation stabilises across the country. We all need to play our part to ensure the safety and good health of our community, state and country.

I wish a positive, fulfilling, safe and healthy year for everyone, and particularly for our students, a year full of wonderful learning experiences and opportunities.

Cathy France


2021 Theme - 'Connection'

Each year, as a school, we have a key focus for our school and community. This year we have decided the theme will be 'Connection'

Over the past year COVID-19 has challenged us with making and maintaining connections, so as we move forward I think it is important to seek out opportunities and find ways that we as a community can connect and support each other. 

Staff will also use this theme within their classroom programs to encourage students to make connections both within the school and beyond.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”  Brené Brown

We welcome our new Staff

We welcome the following new staff members to our school: 

  • Huda Alshamari - Preschool Teacher & Classroom Assistant
  • Stephanie Keller – Learning Support Assistant – Cycle 1,2 & 3 & Cycle 2 Classroom Assistant
  • Riley Sabey – Cycle 4 Teacher
  • Ingrid Proctor –  Cycle 4 Learning Support Assistant 

    We welcome the following staff members to new roles within our school:

    • Maddy Ryan – Classroom Assistant – Cycle 1 (Ruth /Lauren’s class) 
    • Holly Bottroff– Classroom Assistant – Cycle 2 (Lisa’s class)
    • Anne Winter - Classroom Assistant - Cycle 3 (Suzie/Sam's class)
    • Roxy Lewis - OSHC Coordinator

    Welcome to our new staff

    Welcome New Students

    We welcome the following new students and their families to our school as well as some new Infant & Transition Program families.

    Cycle 1 Preschool – Riley, George, Lillian, Griffin, Layla

    Cycle 1 – Jack 

    Cycle 2 – Seph 

    Cycle 4 – Sierra, Lila, Seren, Penelope, Lucy, Tadhg, Tahlee, Eden

    Wairoa Building Project

    The building project at Wairoa has begun this term. We are excited by the fact that the Common Room is being extended, a meeting room, small break out/music room and new reception area are being accommodated into the plans. It will be wonderful to have these new facilities particularly as the cohort of Cycle 4 students has increased this year.

    Obviously it will be disruptive for staff and students during the building work but we have no doubt that "the pain will be worth the gain"!

    In the interim, our kind neighbours at Wairoa have enabled us to use 'The Barn' facility on the Wairoa property for some of the middle school lessons.  We greatly appreciate their generosity and this arrangement.

    Humanities lessons in The Barn at Wairoa

    Welcome back to the 2021 school year!


    Wairoa Campus Information Night will be held on Wednesday 10th February

    Yultiwirra Campus Information Night will be held on Thursday 11th February

    At Information Nights teaching staff provide parents with vital information covering their program and plans for the year and expectations of the classroom and cycle. Parents will also have the opportunity to ask questions and meet other parents. We seek your attendance and support as we believe a strong partnership between the school and parents is crucial in establishing a successful learning environment for your child.

    Notices and information about both Information Nights will be sent out via Skoolbag soon!  It is important that parents RSVP to let us know if they are attending to ensure we can provide a COVID safe setting.  All parents attending will need to use the QR code on entry into the school and follow the COVID safe recommendations.

    A crèche for your child/ren (3 years and over) will be provided at the Yultiwirra Information Night while parents attend the meeting/s.

    Please book your child’s place via Skoolbag ASAP.

    Snippets with Susan

    I am excited to be recommencing 'Snippets' sessions again this term.  'Snippets with Susan' will be held on Tuesday mornings at 9.15am, fortnightly from Tuesday 9th February.  Please ensure that you RSVP as it is essential for COVID planning /spacing purposes.  

    Our first topic will be 'Supporting your child with a positive start to the school year'.

    On Tuesday 23rd February we will explore 'Supporting your child to read- tips for helping young learners'. If you have any suggestions of any ideas / topics  to explore as part of our 'Snippets' program, please email me at :

    I look forward to reconnecting with our parent community in this relaxed forum.

    Susan Harris Evans

    Yultiwirra Assistant Principal


    Primary students who will be travelling regularly on a bus service from school or walking or riding their bike home must fill in a Travel Arrangements Form with parents giving consent and details of the arrangements made for their child. We will send forms home to students who catch the bus or walk home; however if you do not receive one of these forms please contact the office.


    Volunteers can make a significant contribution to the life of The Hills Montessori School by sharing their time, interests and expertise to complement programs and add to the range of learning experiences available to the students. In order to comply with the Child Protection Act and our school procedures, parent volunteers who regularly work with students in classrooms are asked to undertake a Working with Children Check and attend a Volunteers training session.

    During COVID times we are limiting the amount of parents who can be in classrooms assisting students and staff at any one time, however these opportunities will go ahead with the understanding that COVID recommendations are being followed in line with the SA Health advice we have received and are required to follow. Staff are asked to request approval for each Parent Volunteer classroom activity during these current times.

    A Volunteer Training Session will be held on Wednesday 10th Feb 9.15am. Please register your interest at the office if you would like to be a parent volunteer in 2021. 


    The Fire procedures are emailed with this Newsletter to inform families of school procedures in the case of a bushfire. Please read the procedures carefully so you are well informed. In light of the recent fires it is vital that everyone reviews their own bush fire survival plan.

    Note: The school is closed on a day with a Fire Danger Rating of Catastrophic for the Mt Lofty Ranges. The school also reserves the right to close on a Severe or Extreme Fire Danger day if deemed necessary. Parents will be notified of this decision and be given as much notice as is practicable.

    It is the responsibility of parents to check the Bureau of Meteorology website ( for the forecast and Fire Danger rating issued after 4pm daily.


    If your child has moved cycles/classes in 2021 you will need to make slight changes to your Skoolbag preferences and re-select the the new class in 'Groups' on the Skoolbag app. The Skoolbag app is our main form of communication with parents. Most consent and permission forms will not be sent home as paper notes. You will need to access these and all other school communication via the Skoolbag app.

    Vacation Care News

    Thank You Megan Lynch

    Megan Lynch stepped down from her OSHC Coordinator role at the end of Vacation Care in January. We thank Megan for the hard work and commitment that she has shown in the past 2½ years as she has worked tirelessly in this role. We greatly appreciate Megan's input and contribution to the OSHC program and the care she has shown the students that she has worked with.

    We have pleasure in announcing that Roxy Lewis has taken over this position as of the first day of this term.  Roxy has worked in the school for a number of years as a Classroom Assistant, OSHC worker and Vacation Care worker.  We look forward to Roxy taking on this lead role and her input into the OSHC program.

    Summer Vacation Care

    When your vacation care programme starts with DJ Drax, then you know you’re in for a good one. Our theme was to celebrate this year and DJ Drax certainly started us off well. Thanks Hunter for bringing the beats, it was an excellent end to the school year and an excellent way to start the summer season. We celebrated Christmas celebrations from around the world and had a jolly good time doing it. In the week before Christmas the children participated in activities like cooking, craft, games and loads of outdoor play. As part of the summer program, we explored different activities based upon various aussie animals. There was koala nature craft, slimy snake days, lots of water play and a couple of excursions, one to Cleland and one to bird watch and nature spot around our local playgrounds. 'Who’s poo is that?' was a fun day to introduce the idea of being a nature spy and being aware of the things that animals leave behind. There was an impromptu talent show, lots of cubbies, stories, music, movies and so much more. A great deal of summer fun was had by all.

    On a personal note, I would like to take the opportunity to say farewell to all the OSHC and Vacation Care families and thank you all for the lovely chats, feedback and support over my time as co-ordinator. I have enjoyed building relationships with the children and am glad to still be able to share in special moments with them around the school. I would like to wish Roxy all the very best in the role, I know she’ll be great.

    Megan Lynch

    Outgoing OSHC Co-ordinator

    Vacation Care Photos


    Newsletters are emailed to all families and can also be accessed on the Skoolbag app. Newsletters are a vital link between school and home and an invaluable source of communication with the aim of keeping families informed of current and upcoming events and highlights of school life, so please take the time to read themcarefully


    The school has arrangements with specialist music teachers to provide private music lessons for Primary/Middle school students during school hours for Piano, Guitar, Ukulele or Drums. If your child would like to commence learning an instrument, please collect a form from the school office. Specialist music lessons for voice and guitar start in Week 2 and piano lessons with Lisa start in Week 3. Cycle 2 & Cycle 3 choirs start in week 2.

    Please contact the teachers directly for bookings, costs and times.

    Piano - Lisa Taverna 0423 173 383

    Guitar/ukulele/drums - Sanjay Taverna 0417 080 325

    Voice - Katie Moore 0417 641 464

    Please note specialist music lessons will not be taught at Wairoa in Term 1 due to the building work.


    David Koestler from Chess Life offers Chess Club after school starting on Tuesday 2nd February and continuing on a weekly basis. Chess Club is being offered to Primary & Adolescent Program students. Chess club operates from 3.45-4.15pm.

    Register online: or contact Chesslife for further details.

    Stephanie Gordon 0490 474 316


    Diary Dates

    Term 1 2021

    Friday 5 February

    Fundraising committee meeting 9.15am (Held in the staffroom)

    Tuesday 9 February

    Snippets with Susan

    Finance meeting 6pm

    Wednesday 10 February

    Volunteers training 9am

    Cultural understanding committee meeting 4pm

    Student Wellbeing committee meeting 4pm

    Wairoa Welcome and Information Night

    Thursday 11 February

    Yultiwirra Welcome and Information Night

    Saturday 13 February

    National Apology Day

    Tuesday 16 February

    Executive meeting 6pm

    Board meeting 7pm

    Wednesday 17 February

    Policy meeting 4pm

    Wednesday 18 February - Friday 19 February **Please note change of date**

    Cycle 4 Orientation Camp

    Thursday 18 February

    Wairoa Open Day

    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)


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

    and to go on our way.”

    Maria Montessori

    2021 TERM DATES

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