Upcoming events & Important Dates
Tues 9th – Parent Info Session: Montessori in the home: Preschool Campus
Mon 15th – School Photos: – Primary Campus
Mon 20-26th – Book Week – both Campuses
Wed 24th – Primary School tour – 3.15pm
Wed 24th August – 26th – Great Aussie Bush Camp – Primary
Tues 30th – School Photos – Preschool Campus
Tues 30th – Poetry & Music Night Primary Campus 4.30-6.00pm
Wed 31st – Maria Montessori Birthday
Click HERE to see further calendar dates.
Dear Farmhouse Montessori Families,
I am delighted to have been invited to the join the community of Farmhouse Montessori School as the Interim Principal. It is indeed an honour. By way of supporting the communique from Nick, the Board Chair introducing my appointment, I have penned a few words as an overview of my background. From an early age music has been a central part of my life which led to a career of heading up the Music and Creative Arts departments in a number of schools including St Andrew’s Cathedral, Riverview and Shore. During these years I conducted many amateur and professional musicals and have led international music tours to England, Scotland, Ireland and Europe. I have also written a number of music textbooks.
For the past 17 years I have been Principal of Kindergarten to Year 12 Anglican and Muslim Schools. Away from school follow I much sport. I am quite a cricket tragic, in the past coaching local and state teams. Over the years I have engaged in missionary work assisting the building a school in Zambia. I am the proud father of three boys and grandfather to four grandsons.
Thank you for the warmth with which you have welcomed me. I thank Nick and the Board for this exciting opportunity. I am looking forward to meeting more parents, engaging in the classroom, and being part of the Farmhouse community, as together we continue to build the wonderful Montessori education for your child.
Bruce Rixon | Interim Principal
A Message from Jenny
Part of the Montessori philosophy is the understanding of community and the act of giving. For the young children on the North Balgowlah campus this is embedded into the curriculum in different ways. However, one of our constant acts of giving to the community is through our support of ‘One Meal ‘ Northern beaches. This organisation provides much needed food to families on the Northern Beaches. The children regularly bring in food to the school which is collected by this service.
Last term we became aware of an increased need for food on the peninsular. We decided to hold a Teddy Bear’s picnic and raise money to buy food for the collection.
Not only did the children(and bears) have a fun day this also gave us, as educators, the opportunity to reinforce to the children what their donation was for and to empower them with the ability to do something to help.
Thank you to all our really generous families. $500 was raised by our preschoolers which was spent on staple food items for fellow friends in need. We were amazed by what we could achieve and the One meal organisation was so grateful.
—Jenny Bensted | Preschool Coordinator
ELOUERA | Stage 1 Infant Community
We are very lucky in Elouera to have access to a variety of outdoor spaces. We have our outdoor classroom, our gross motor play area, and the ‘big garden’. Spending time outside in nature is so important to the child’s development, we get outside almost every day – rain or shine!
Our gross motor play area features a variety of climbing, balancing, and jumping resources that encourage the children to explore risky play. Our outdoor classroom includes lots of gardening, tool, and practical life work that support the children in caring for their environment.
The children’s favorite place to visit is the ‘big garden’. When we visit the big garden, we don’t take any resources or activities with us but instead, give the children the opportunity to simply be in nature. Nature play stimulates creativity and problem-solving skills which are integral to executive function. We find insects, we dig in the mud with sticks, we practice building and balancing with tree stumps and we help look after the things growing in the garden.
— Corinne, Sarah & Nina
BURBANGANA | Stage 1
The moveable alphabet is a key material used in the Montessori approach to reading and writing. The material gives a child the ability to express himself in written words, without being able to hold and write with a pencil. For many children, being introduced to the moveable alphabet is an exciting transition. Prior to this stage, they have only been working with sandpaper letters. The moveable alphabet allows them to put together the various letter sounds they have learned to form words, thus allowing them to begin expressing themselves using the written word. There are several stages in the Montessori approach to language development. The moveable alphabet should be introduced in the word-formation stage after children are familiar with all sandpaper letters and their corresponding sounds. They should also be very adept at listening to the different sounds that make up words (beginning, middle and ending sounds) and should also be beginning to blend them together. (e.g. ‘c’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘cat’)
Observation of the child is key to determining when they are ready for any Montessori material.
— Amanda, Teresa and Claire
BURBANGANA IN ACTION
COOINDA | Stage 1
The children of Cooinda class have returned to term 3 eager to continue with their artist study on Matisse. We finished the painting of Matisse’s Still life with Magnolia in term 2 and the children asked if we could start to work on ‘cutouts’ just like Matisse.
When children are engaged and excited about the art they are studying they begin to reflect on the past artists they have learned about and also then lead the continuing learning. We have started to observe the children begin to compare past artists with the current investigation. I heard in the class last term a child say ” Monet didn’t use red like Matisse does.”
The children are already planning the next stage of the Matisse study by asking if we could make a big stained window like Matisse did in the church.
Matisse quoted that “The artist has to look at life with the eyes of a child.”
— Jenny, Catalina, Jo & Angela.
AMAROO | OUTDOOR CLASSROOM
In the outdoor classroom children are often given the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. This is often instigated by someone having an idea and then others want to be involved. Sometimes the initial idea is educator led but then the children choose to run with it in their own way. This way of working encourages problem solving, listening skills and self confidence as they learn to articulate their ideas and thoughts. There are often examples of encouragement and empathy as well as excitement, enthusiasm and satisfaction in their achievements.
Some examples over the last couple of weeks have been the building of The Eagle as we discussed the first moon landing; the creation of a gum tree for National Tree Day; and the often witnessed working together on puzzles and in the garden.
Every day I am amazed by the ingenuity, compassion and creativity of the children.
In kindergarten this week some of the children have been working on simple addition activities. The addition snake game uses the coloured bead bars to make a snake arranged in any order, the snake is then changed into a golden snake by adding the bars and stopping when we make 10. This activity is used to reinforce combinations of numbers to ten and to demonstrate sensorially making combinations to ten.
KINDERGARTEN IN ACTION
AIKYA | Stage 2
Within the class, term 3 in Aikya has gotten off to a wonderful start. The children have returned with a strong sense of community and restored energy.
This fortnight has seen a mix of subjects taking shape as we build platforms for term-long learning with the students. Studies in Botany, Zoology and the earth’s hydrosphere are of note. Also, the class has also been busy starting new focus texts, with Fantastic Mr Fox, Danny the Champion of the World and one group even exploring various fairy tales in a deep dive into narrative writing.
Furthermore, we have started a weekly community meeting with the students as a group. The meeting intends to give children a constructive voice within the classroom and promote collective ownership. Key elements of a community meeting are that we recognise small and large acts of leadership, give compliments and thank yous and come together to solve our community issues. It is an organic process that will require time and regular practice and, while initially structured by teachers, is aimed at being handed over to the students when ready.
We welcome back all our families, old and new and look forward to continuing the children’s learning journey this term.
– Harshitha, Toby, Thomas
YANI | Stage 3
Yani had a fantastic first week back at school after their holidays away surfing, skiing, climbing mountains, and enjoying Manly. We even had a go-pro video on show from one of our students!
Children were excited and engaged when they walked into a newly configured room with more space for collaboration and opportunities to sit with their work buddies.
The rain was welcomed with our newly configured room. The children engrossed themselves in chess (thanks chess club!), sewing, and some Jenga during their wet weather play. They also particularly enjoyed their lesson with their newly appointed Teacher Nick, and his lesson on ‘Fantastic Fungi’. This lesson explored the taxonomy of mushrooms and their wider connection in the ecosystem they grow in. We look forward to seeing what the Yani students create after this great lesson!
EVERGREEN | Music
This term in music we meet the Orchestra.
We are learning to recognise the difference between the sound of a band and an orchestra, kicking off by meeting the string family.
Last week we met the Violin and this week, a big pink Cello which they all delighted in playing!
Talking points: Your kids should be able to tell you what a bow is for and what it’s made of! And if you’re watching Bluey together, keep an ear out for the orchestra.
NORTH HEAD CLASSROOM MUSIC
In the classroom Yani and Aikiya have started learning about the movement and music of the late 1960’s. We started the term by all learning to sing the Beatles iconic flower power anthem “All You Need Is Love”… as relevant today as it ever was.
The band have continued working on 2 songs they were rehearsing from last term ‘Cloudy Day’ by Tones and I and ‘Minds Eye’ by Wolfmother. These are both sounding great and we are looking forward to an awesome performance at the upcoming Music and Poetry night.
James, Angie, Ben & Deb
The Evergreen Music Team
CULTURE | Workshop
The Board invited all of the parent community to a culture workshop at the end of Term 2. The session was to understand what our community sees as the most important values that we should promote, to help shape the culture we want. It was the first stage of engagement that will continue into Term 3 as the Board reviews and develops the school strategy, collaborating with the community, staff and students.
The workshop was held in the Aikya classroom at the North Head Primary campus, expertly facilitated by Nic Rivers with help from Ariane Fricke and with parents fortified by enormous amounts of pizza.
The workshop asked parents’ views about the school’s proposed draft Purpose Statement: “Empower children to flourish, with the values, skills and passion to have a positive impact in the global community”.
We asked people to think about what behaviours and symbols would bring this purpose to life, and what it would look and feel like. Finally, we asked people to nominate and then prioritise values that we should promote in our school, thinking about how these would apply in the Organisational, Educational and Community domains. After a lot of careful thought and discussion, there were a clear 4 top values nominated by the parent community:
– Trust and Honesty
The following 3 values were also highly ranked:
The session was a great opportunity for the community to come together to define what was important and to help shape the future direction for the school. There were some insightful and fascinating discussions that will help the board and the school set the vision and future strategy.
Please keep an eye out for an invitation to strategy workshops later in Term 3, where we want to hear your thoughts on the future direction for the school.
Nick Fletcher, Chair on behalf of the FMS Board