2023 Newsletter Term 01 | Issue 02
Upcoming events & Important Dates
Mon-Fri 6-10th Parent Observations | Primary Campus
Wed 8th Peace Run Incursion | Primary Campus
Mon-Fri 13-17th Harmony Week
Wed-Fri 15-24th Naplan | Primary Campus
Thurs 23rd Primary School Campus Tour: 3.15pm
Fri 24th Naplan | Primary Campus
Fri 24th Fees Due
Mon-Fri 27-31st Parent Teacher Conference | Aikya & Yani Classes | Primary Campus
Thurs 6th Last Day of Term
Fri 7th Good Friday
Mon 10th Easter Monday
Click HERE to see further calendar dates.
Dear Farmhouse Montessori Families,
Farewell Jenny Bensted. Following forty years of dedication to education, Jenny Bensted, an outstanding educator, and a stalwart advocate for Farmhouse Montessori, is retiring. Her last day is Friday 3 March. Children had the opportunity to say thank you and farewell during her last week, commencing with a party Kindergarten children and an afternoon gathering in Woolgoolga Park. The School Board, parents and educators have the opportunity to formally acknowledge Jenny’s contribution to education with a function at the Steyne Hotel, Manly, on the 30th March. An invitation to join us, an RSVP date is coming soon. Please save the date.
Parent Opportunity for Classroom Observations at North Head Campus. This year we will open our classrooms for observations during the morning work cycle. This will give the families an opportunity to view a Montessori classroom in operation. The planned observation sessions dates are: next week Week 6: 6th March to 10th March, and Week 8: 20th March to 24th March. Harshitha will provide more details in the coming weeks. I encourage all parents to take up this opportunity to join us for the Montessori experience at North Head. I am looking for a similar experience for the North Balgowlah campus for Term 2.
Parent Education Week / Montessori Snippets Last week, daily sessions on key topics for Montessori education were held for all parents. These sessions are designed to provide parents with a deeper understanding of the Montessori philosophy and how it supports your child’s holistic growth and development. I was delighted with the quality of presentations and with parent attendance. Topics were: Montessori Cycle of Work; Assessment and Evaluation; Learning Support; Stages of Development, and Practicing Freedom and Independence.
We plan to have more presentations in the near future. Thank you to Harshitha, Toby, Thomas, Amy, and Fiona for leading these important sessions.
Parent Tours of the School There is a desire for Montessori education. I am delighted with the number requests from parents to tour both campuses to seek out Farmhouse and tour the school with the view of selecting Farmhouse as their preferred choice to educate their child. We hold group tours and individual, private tours. Last week was a tour of the Primary Campus and this week a large tour of the Balgowlah Campus. Currently, school tours are held after school hours. So parents are able to observe Montessori schooling in action, I have planned tours during school later this term. Dates will be published this week. Please share the dates with your friends.
Pre-school – presentation evening was held Monday 27 February. I was delighted with the number of parents who attended. Special thank you to Jenny, Elizabeth, Catalina, Samantha, and Helen for their leadership of the evening.
Board IT Committee. To assist Farmhouse technological development, the Board is focused on forming an IT committee. Please contact me, through my PA, Suzanne Lyle firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to join this small sub-committee.
NAPLAN testing will commence 15 March. Students are being prepared to ensure they have an understanding of the process they will undertake during the testing.
Bruce Rixon | Interim Principal
ELOUERA | Stage 1 Infant Community
In Elouera the children have been very interested in the worm farm. They have been saving their fruit and vegetable scraps from their morning tea to feed to the worms. They have been cutting up bananas for their morning tea as well and once they have finished peeling and cutting up their bananas they put the banana peel into the worm farm.
They children enjoy checking the worm farm everyday to see how many worms they can find. The children also love to grind up egg shells in the mortar and pestle so the pieces are nice and small. They then put them into a container to bring outside and put into the worm farm. If the soil is looking dry in the worm farm we will add some water too so the soil stays damp for the worms. We ensure we spread the scraps around evenly for the worms. This makes it easier for the worms to find their food.
The children show care and respect for the environment and contribute to a healthy planet by learning to reduce and recycle their waste and learn how to best reuse our scraps. The children also learn responsibility and empathy when caring for the worms.
— Nina, Rachel and Yuko.
BURBANGANA | Stage 1
During group time over the past few weeks we have discussed our acknowledgment of country and what these words mean. The discussions have included our First Nations People and their culture, why we acknowledge country, differences in cultures and people and our families and culture.
These discussions about culture and diversity can spark an interest and understanding of cultural diversity within this environment and provide opportunities for the children to share information and stories about their family and culture.
The children have brought family photos into class to display and share with their friends. We have also provided opportunities for the children to explore natural materials to make patterns and tell a story. We have a variety of different Aboriginal symbols and artworks to inspire these creations.
— Helen, Teresa & Claire
COOINDA | Stage 1
The Cooinda children have been enjoying using the Sensorial materials. These materials help to develop all of the senses and are divided into 8 groupings. These are Visual, Tactile, Baric, Thermic, Auditory, Olfactory, Gustatory, and Stereognostic. Sensorial materials help children organise, compare, order, and classify things based on how they look, feel, sound, smell and taste.
Children can compare large and small sizes of the pink tower cubes or the longest red rod. They can feel the weight of objects and sort different colours. The sensorial materials open up a world of exploration.
— Catalina, Elizabeth, Jo and Angela.
AMAROO | OUTDOOR CLASSROOM
Birds are among the most beautiful, fascinating and amazing creatures on our planet. We are so lucky to have many different birds come to visit our garden on a regular basis. As a result they spark an interest in the children to ask questions and want to discover and learn more. Opportunities then arise to discover a birds physical attributes, nesting habits, eggs, different sizes and feathers. Discovering the biggest and the smallest bird, the fastest flyer and those that don’t fly at all, and anyway ‘how do birds fly?’ A fun filled couple of weeks with much enthusiasm, learning and creativity.
Learning continues to take place where the kindergarten children are settling in and working independently. The kindergarten children have been enjoying their music lesson up at North Head. It’s been a wonderful and fun experience for them, where they get to mix with the older children and learning music with Ben. All of the children continue to look forward to their trip starting from the bus ride, looking forward to seeing their siblings for some and a different environment each week. This weekly trip to North Head has seen all the children excited and curious in anticipation of what their new experience will bring.
Our excursion to the Maritime museum turned out great. The children had an enjoyable time discovering and exploring new things. When the children arrived, they settled into a room where they were introduced to various animals, such as crocodiles and penguins with skeletons and models. Another interesting activity was the introduction of plankton and the part it plays within our ecosystem. The children were shown a video about plankton and then were led outside to take a real-life sample from our harbour. The children found this interesting and cool when they were told a small sample of water from the harbour consisted of many living things, including plankton. The sample was later brought back into the room and placed under a microscope for all the kids to see. Other fun activities, like identifying different living things, kept the children engrossed. After lunch, one of the highlights of the day for the children was exploring a real-life submarine! Everyone was in awe and found it really cool. They all braved steep ladders and confined spaces to discover many interesting facts about the submarine. Many of the children compared the steep ladder to the monkey bars in the playground. From hundreds of dials to tiny cabins, kitchenettes to periscopes, it was an adventure of discovery for all the children. This was a great day out with older children; many had stories to tell. This was a great day out with older children; many had stories to tell.
AIKYA | Stage 2
This fortnight has been a particularly exciting time for the children in Aikya. We have been enthralled in our learning through focused curriculum study and inspired research and creativity projects. We have also continued to be inspired by our “Great Stories”, with this fortnight focusing on The Evolution of Humans and The History of Communicating in Signs.
The highlight of the fortnight was undoubtedly our excursion to the Australian Maritime Museum, where we were joined by the Kindergarten children and Cycle 3 (Yani). It was a wonderful opportunity to explore the museum and the stories of our nation’s maritime history and to take part in some of the interactive activities with a deep dive into the study of plankton.
We were also very lucky to explore, with Yani students, our surroundings with a bushwalk at North Head Sanctuary. This was a great way for the children to begin to understand the importance of our environment, and how it has changed over time. The Hanging Swamp Walk was teeming with frogs, dragonflies and bird life after all the rain we have had, and was a great way to give relevance to some of the studies taking place in the classroom.
We believe that it is important for children to go out into the community to learn and explore. We are thankful for the opportunities we have been given to learn about our local environment and the stories that are connected to it.
We look forward to another exciting fortnight of learning and discovery!
— Toby, Harshitha and Sarah
YANI | Stage 3
What an exciting last few weeks we have had in Yani! From our classroom lessons to our excursion to the National Australian Maritime Museum. It is such a pleasure to see this cohort start to become one group of friends that respect and care for one another.
The excursion was “awesome, sick, it was five stars, really fun” as a majority of the Yani children will tell you. We kicked off exploring the action stations where students had the immersive experience to learn about the HMAS Vampirate and Onslow (the submarine). Students ensconced themselves before the purpose built mini cinema and learned about both Vessels before going below deck to explore Onslow first hand! We entered the sub through an unsuspecting torpedo hatch which dropped us into the nose of the vessel. from here ‘the submarine looked like a vast tunnel with many rooms for many purposes, filled to the brim with mechanics and stuff like that”– Callum, 9. Amazing.
The submersive exploration was then followed by an interactive workshop on ocean micro beasts! Students were guided by Matt, who demonstrated how to collect these microbes from our very own Sydney Harbour. Students then studied their specimens under the microscope and were given the task to identify the microscopic beasts from each dish by matching them to the images provided. An excellent day with rich educational content, which I am sure the students will remember for years to come.
— Thomas, Nick, Amy & Ella Lee