Dear CMS families,
On behalf of the entire Canberra Montessori Society, I would like to welcome new and returning families to our school. It should be an exciting year at CMS and on behalf of the staff I would like to wish your family health and happiness for 2012.
I have spent the summer reading a great book by noted author and Montessori supporter Daniel Pink, entitled, “A whole new mind”. I was impressed with how relevant our method of education is to children growing up in today’s world. When I went to school, information was everything and whoever knew the most was declared the winner. Today, information is a commodity. It is the ability to synthesize information and collaborate that is important. What I love about Montessori Education is that it has a pedagogical basis for developing these important attributes. Whether it is a Cycle 1 child organizing snack with a friend or a Cycle 3 child planning a ‘going out” to investigate a scientific theory, the patient and consistent application of the Montessori prepared environment is successful. It is a privilege to see it in action.
This year at CMS we are focussing on three main initiatives for our school:
In 2011, we began our Quality Assurance Program with the Montessori Australia Foundation. Our school was one of the first in Australia to take up the process. During our mentor visits we focussed on how to grow and improve some of our processes with regard to professional development and reflective practice at our school. The MAF advisers were very helpful in providing us with ideas on how to improve our staff appraisal process and Felicity Young (our Curriculum Director) and I, intend to implement some of those ideas in 2012.
Last Year we chose “Writing” as a focus area, and I felt that we made some excellent progress as a school. However, we have decided to extend our focus on Writing, as a curriculum area, for another year. In addition to working on creative, narrative and persuasive writing we would like to emphasize areas such as poetry and speech writing in our language curricula. We do not use NAPLAN results to rank our students or as a source of motivation but we have noticed in analysing the data that certain elements of writing have been slower to develop with a few of our students, so we are using the data to help inform our practise.
Our third initiative involves looking forward to the future of our school. 2012 marks the final year of our current strategic plan and I know that the Board is keen to begin a consultative process this year to get some ideas flowing about “what’s next” for the society. For my part, as I now see the addition of a third Cycle 2 classroom in Holder, I think we need to begin to look for new ways to spread Montessori Education. As a first step, I believe there are a number of communities within the ACT that would be very interested in hosting a Parent Toddler program and I intend to investigate some of those opportunities for the school this year.
I begin my third year at CMS with a great deal of excitement. I am honoured to have such a committed staff to work with, and a group of parents that continue to amaze me with the energy they tirelessly volunteer towards enriching the school experience for the children. I am looking forward to the Meet and Greet events in Holder and Red Hill this week and kicking off the 2012 calendar. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to enhance your experience at the school.
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Welcome to New Staff
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome 2 new staff members to the CMS family. Helen Still has joined our team and is Directing “Waratah”, our new Cycle 2 classroom. If you see a big demountable that wasn’t there last year, please stop by and say hello. Helen’s husband is an avid sailor and I recruited her from Manly on the basis of Canberra’s coastal proximity (shhhhh).
I would also like to welcome Melanie Reid, who will be working in our Gumnut program as an assistant. Melanie brings a variety of talents to CMS including a fairly extensive background in music; simply follow the sound of the flute and Melanie will be there. Jack
Our afterschool program is becoming increasingly popular. As we now approach capacity on some days it will be very important for the office to be notified in advance if you are making a booking, or if your child is not attending. The more notice the better; thank you for your co-operation.
Each quarter we review several of the school policies. Our entire set of school policies can be found at the main office. The policies we intend to review over the first term are: Health and Safety, Privacy, Risk Management, Specials Needs, Staff Interactions with Children, Student Welfare and Suspension and Exclusion. A smaller file with just those policies currently under review is also available at the office and your input is welcome.
Fundraising and Learnscapes Meetings
Please note the times and dates of the first Learnscape and Fundraising and Social Event committee meetings of the year. Joining either of these groups is a great way to get involved in the school. They are organized by a committed group of parent volunteers who are always looking for new members. If you are new to the school or looking to get more involved this year, I would recommend dropping by and meeting the committee members.
From the Board
Welcome back! The Board would like to wish all our families, new and returning, a wonderful 2012. In particular, we would like to welcome Helen Still (who, by all reports, has taken Waratah, our new Cycle 2 class off to a flying start) and Melanie Reid, who will be working with many of our children in Gum Nut.
There are two big things that the Board is looking forward to this year. Firstly, on March 20, we will be having our 2012 Annual General Meeting. There is some great stuff to get your teeth sunk into as a Board member this year, so we hope you will consider putting your hand up, and encouraging friends and family to do the same.
There are few ‘firsts’ for the AGM this year. To start with, to try and make it really easy for people considering standing for the Board, we have created a Board Information Pack. This has FAQs, background information and specific details about what you should expect if you stand for the Board. This is available on the website at http://canberramontessori.com/Governance.aspx; please do have a look before nominating. It’s also a great resource if you would simply like to know more about the Board and how it works.
Our next initiative is to do with our sub-committees. We know there are many society members out there who might like the idea of the Board but are not sure they have enough time to commit to it. So, because we really want you to stay involved, we are encouraging people to join the sub-committees of the Board as ordinary members. If you have experience in policy, finance, capital development, building, communications or general governance, you may be just the person we’re after. You will not need to be elected; just express your interest and we’ll contact you after the AGM. You can find out more about the sub-committees in the Board Information Pack as well.
If you are considering standing for the Board, we will have an information session on Tuesday, March 6th at 6:30pm in Jacaranda. You will need to make sure you have your nomination form submitted by March 7th; a copy of all the nomination information is at the link above and it is also included in the Information Pack.
The other exciting thing planned for this year is the review of the Strategic Plan. We want to invite anyone who is interested to take part in this; it will be a fantastic opportunity to have your say about what you think is important for our school and society over the next few years. But we’ll save the details of that for the next newsletter…. Maybe just start thinking of ideas in the meantime!