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Most parents attempt, with time available, to become involved with their child’s schooling in some way. Parents rely on their child to share information about their day at school to know how to support them and when they ask the question “What did you do today at school?” it is not unusual for children to reply “I did not do much today” or even “Nothing”. So where to from here?

 In most traditional schools it is through the work children bring home, that some evidence of work accomplished is understood by parents. In a Montessori environment, children use the Montessori materials to learn sensorially and concepts get transferred to paper and pencil only once there is understanding of concepts. The lack of evidence of work completed, unfortunately, supports the parent’s view of their child not doing much at school.

 Nothing could be further from the truth. Children work consistently in a Montessori class. At the Caboolture Montessori School, children enter their class at 8.15am and become engaged soon after with ‘work’. Montessori children work really hard and their level of concentration has to be seen to believe. It is not unusual for a 3 year old child to concentrate on the puzzle map of Africa for 30 minutes or more. Older students engage with selected activities for hours and most work is self-directed.

 So, what about parents in this environment? Parents are a critical element in the learning of their child both at home and at school. We want parents to be engaged not just involved. This means that parents are welcome to come and spend time in a class to observe: how children learn, how they freely move, choose work, socialise and support others with learning. Parents can visit and provide their talents in the class or generally within the school. Parents can be part of school function by joining the Parents & Friends Association or School Board.

 Parents are there to support their child’s learning, by understanding how our environment supports growth; they are there to foster discipline of their child with teachers; they are there to work as a team with the school in ensuring we know each student personally and meet their needs.

 Parents you are critical in your child’s learning, come and enjoy being part of a Montessori class.


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CMS icons 

Our logo icons: Global awareness, Care for Environment, Thrive for more Knowledge and always Care


 1998 - 2018 Caboolture Montessori School (CMS) celebrated 20 years of growth. Our year has been filled with happy children, busy staff, dedicated parents and many fun-filled events.

 We celebrated the growth of the school, from 18 students to over 200 enrolments. We celebrate a growing Toddler community; thus strengthening our Montessori philosophy. We celebrate students being at CMS for over eleven years. We celebrate families supporting our mission, by working with us: in the library, with fund raising, with student banking, with the Parents & Friends Association. We celebrate having a School Board that provides professional guidance, mentoring and vision. We celebrate new families coming to our school and entrusting us with their precious children. We celebrate highly qualified staff, that are fully dedicated to their children and environment.

 We have so much to be grateful for and would like to share our gratitude with you, the community. May 2019 bring many blessings, laughter and love and may the year be an easy one and hopefully slow down enough to absorb each day and the treasures it may bring.

                                                  Xmas tree


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How are we building people of tomorrow?

We start with the premise that sooner rather than later’ is best when we look at developing strong individuals for the future. We will also agree that parents and schools are the best arena in which we can develop and enhance a child’s abilities at an early age.

I will presume that we all agree that the idea of combined effort and starting early is embraced by all; however the pathway is curvy and arduous. Societal messages continuously espouse that health, mental wellbeing, high achievement levels and success for everyone should be our aim. These are all great messages: how do we get there? Research is showing us that children today are not very resilient, they do not take risks easily, they look for safety nets. Confidence and optimism is not always the ‘go to’ for many.

We know that we need to develop strong personal qualities for future success. Future leaders and society members, specifically the children of this century, will need to be flexible, confident, brave and search for challenges; they will need to strive for excellence and not perfection. Making mistakes and looking for alternative solutions, will be the best way to move forward using an enquiring mind. Collaborating and using other’s help and abilities will increase own capacity and success.

It then stands to reason that providing children with choices (appropriate for age and capability), providing ways to be responsible for own actions; allowing consequences to determine success or failure in decision making; trusting our children to think for themselves and find alternative solutions to own problems is most definitely a good start in building the adult of tomorrow. Being a parent or teacher that does for the child what they are more than capable of doing on their own, is a recipe for failure.

"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed."

M Montessori

Tips for today:

  • Start early - infancy

  • Be aware of what your child can do on their own

  • Let them fail and help them find solutions to repair the problem

  • Never fight the battle they can manage

  • Allow your child to be sad as well as happy

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The Value of Direct Instruction

Educational pedagogy reminds teachers that to achieve best results with student engagement, learning capability and high interest, there is a need for explicit and direct instruction.

Didactically we are told when we complete our teacher training, that students must be able to connect new information to known concepts, for the new information to make sense and augment understanding. We also know from practice that students will grasp easily and enjoy matter taught, if the lesson is explicit and appropriate for individual students. Student engagement is the first step for learning and real learning happens when more parts of the brain are involved. Next we need the student to retain the new concept shared. Recall will generally happen if the student is given ample opportunity to repeat new content in various ways and through different modalities.

A Montessori class director will apply these pedagogical approaches to teaching with ‘A Three Period Lesson’. A student is observed to identify their learning strategies, their capabilities and their interests. A lesson is then planned including previous learned information and a clear focus on concept taught. Generally the lesson incorporates concrete materials for sensorial exploration (First Period). The child will make use of own learning style, be it visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or a combination of these, to repeat the exercise until they feel comfortable they understand the new concept (Second Period). Finally the adult will assess understanding and mastery of learning (Third Period of the Three Period Lesson).

Adults empower students to perceive where they are in the process of learning through much constructive feedback and the process of conferencing.

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From our Board President

I would like to share firstly, that I regret not to be able to deliver my speech to you directly and have asked our school Principal to share instead.

The Strategic Plan is developed with the three year lifecycle, that is reviewed annually and amended as required, and then substantially updated at the end of the three year period. This year was the first year of a new plan, so it was anticipated that the update to the Strategic Plan this year would only be to reflect the achievements over the past 12 months.

The review and update of the Strategic Plan was conducted by the whole Board and was facilitated by David Robertson, who is the Executive Director of Independent Schools Queensland.

At the Strategic Planning Day, there were presentations on the future financial projections for the School, the pathways to establish a High School and a review of the work being done at the school to achieve the Strategic Plan. Throughout the day, David Robertson also provided his insights into how the Caboolture Montessori School is performing in comparison to other independent schools in QLD.

The achievements for 2017 which were recognised as successfully completed and therefore removed from the plan were:

  • Increase the number of Cycle 1 classrooms to four, and
  • Implement the delivery of Outside School Hours Care

There was also recognition that progress has been made in a number of areas towards achieving the Strategic Plan, and as these deliverables were not realised as yet, they were refined to reflect current progress. These included;

  • Our Students – all of the deliverables in the current plan were progressed in 2017, so changes were made to reflect the use of the outcomes already achieved
  • Our Teachers – again, the School has been actively working on the achievement of the deliverables listed in the plan, with minor changes made this year to reflect the outcomes achieved to date
  • Our Environment – as you can see, this was our greatest achievement in 2017, which is reflected in the completion of a number of deliverables, as outlined already.

Overall the updates to the plan, although not substantial, reflect the ongoing progress that the MBMA Board and the CMS School Management have achieved in 2017.

The updates to the plan represent the recognition of these successes and subtle adjustment of the plan to keep us on track to achieving steady growth of the Caboolture Montessori School.

Happy Easter and thanks for your commitment to your children’s school.

Nick Willemsen
President of the Moreton Bay Montessori Association
Caboolture Montessori School

The P&F 2018

Hello, my name is Alex, and I am the new President of your P&F. For those of you who don't know me, I have two children here at CMS – Rosie is in 1C and Elliot is in 1D. We've been at the school since 2015, and I joined the P&F in 2016 as the Minutes Secretary.

I would like to thank the outgoing committee members, Joe, Louise and Waiti, for their contributions to the P&F over the last few years. Their effort, dedication and time have contributed greatly to the P&F and the School Community.

The other incoming Committee Members are Anita Wilson, who is the Secretary, and Kylie Sartorelli who will be the Special Events Coordinator. There is currently a vacancy on the Management Committee for the position of Treasurer. If you feel that you can fulfil this role, please get in contact.

In 2017, the P&F held Mother's and Father's Day stalls, served food at the School concert, provided icies on Fridays, welcomed new parents, held a raffle, and put on an end of year disco. We donated two new barbeques to the School, provided funding for parent helpers to attend school camps, and support was given for the purchase of Montessori classroom materials.

2018 is a big year for CMS, and the P&F is excited to be supporting the school's 20th Anniversary program of events, as well as planning some events of our own. We will again be holding Mother's Day and Father's Day stalls, providing food at the concert, putting on a disco, and running raffles over the next three terms.

We need your support. We have been working very hard over the last few months to produce a new structure for the P&F, which adheres more closely to our Constitution, and which will also allow for more Community Members to contribute where they can.

The most immediate way you can support us is to become a member. We've discovered that previous beliefs about membership are not correct. We need each member of the School community to become financial members of the Parents' and Friends' Association. The membership fee is $2, payable just once. Having official members of the P&F is vital for our Association, as we apply for grants and other funding. Please fill in a membership form before you leave the library today and pay your $2, to myself or Kylie. Otherwise membership forms are available at the office.

On Wednesday 18th April, the first Wednesday back in term 2, we are having a planning meeting. I encourage everyone to come along if you can. All ideas and suggestions are most welcome. If you can't make the meeting, please email us. We are very keen to get your input.

Our primary fundraising goal is a new playground. The playground just outside this library is tired and needs replacing. We were unsuccessful in a grant application last year, but we will be applying for more grants this year. We are also very keen to broaden our fundraising scope to the wider community.  Our first event in term 2 is a sausage sizzle at Bunnings Morayfield on Saturday the 28th April. Please support us by volunteering on the day, or come down to Bunnings and buy a sausage and a drink.

As a School Community, we can all work together to contribute to our fundraising efforts.  Become a member today, and help us achieve this goal for our kids.

Thank you.

Alex Hunt
President of CMS Parents & Friends Association


by Principal Yvonne Rinaldi

1998 – Two teachers, Annette Soliman and Yvonne Rinaldi and a visionary, Mrs Glenda Sawtell opened the then Harmony Montessori School with 18 students. No real home, no real money but tons of hope and motivation.

2008 – 10 Year celebration. The celebration took place in our first classroom at the Caboolture Historical Museum. We now had 82 students in 4 classrooms 

2009 – The school was purchased and the name changed to Caboolture Montessori School. There were 96 students and 4 classrooms

2013 – We introduced a full Montessori cycle 1 cohort. We now had 149 students and 7 classrooms

2018 – We are 20 years young. We have today just over 200 students and 35 toddlers. We fill 10 classrooms and looking to add two more next year taking our school to approx. 250 students and 12 classrooms, not counting our Italian classroom and our music space.

This school is grateful for loyal parents, dedicated teachers, visionary leaders in Board and Principal and beautiful students.

Our Montessori values and principles have provided our community with an ethos of:

  • Building community
  • Fostering inclusivity in all areas
  • Identifying talents and needs in all to establish growth and support
  • Addressing explicitly leadership in adults and children
  • Growing a culture of learning
  • Understanding the value and enhancing collaborative practice in all we do
  • Strengthening our delivery of a unique and futuristic curriculum
  • Providing true service to the child with caring and knowledgeable adults

Where to next? Our Board President Nick Willemsen has shared with you our Strategic Plan and so you have heard that our story will continue to develop and we are getting ready to take another step into the world of secondary education for two main reasons. Our parents want a Montessori continuum and we want to provide our children with an environment that will continue to be positive and that will augment and not restrict their capabilities.

Our focus will not diminish for our primary students, in fact if anything it will provide more opportunities and ways of learning – always within the Montessori philosophy and methodology.

Thanks you for attending this meeting and we are always happy to answer any questions you may have or that may rise in the future.

“This is education, understood as a help to life; an education from birth,
which feeds a peaceful revolution and unites all in a common aim,
attracting them as to a single centre.
Mothers, fathers, politicians: all must combine in their respect
and help for this delicate work of formation,
which the little child carries on in the depth of a profound psychological mystery,
under the tutelage of an inner guide.
This is the bright new hope for mankind.”

(M Montessori - The Absorbent Mind, p. 15)

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2018.  A year of consolidation and integration. A year to celebrate our 20th Anniversary.

The Caboolture Montessori School started Jan 1998 in very humble surrounds with 18 students and two adults. We were guided by our passion and love of Montessori. Today 20 years later we have over 200 students, a collegial group of 40 staff and a wonderful community.

Every child and every parent that has attended CMS in the last 20 years has left their imprint and together with present and future community members has added to our values and direction. All students, from our Cycle 1 (Early Childhood) cohort to our Cycle 3 seniors, will celebrate our rich history.

This year we are planning celebrations to commemorate our history and journey so far and acknowledge past parents and students. We thank our present families and children for all their contributions and we are contemplating a future, in which, we will be able to offer a secondary environment. Our plan to start a Cycle 4 is becoming more tangible and real. Our research is gathering data to ensure we look at what students need and want, what parents feel comfortable in signing-up to and what we know is an educational program that meets all needs. Our secondary environment will foster entrepreneurship, responsibility and active learning for future leaders and global community members.

Our educational program this year will provide our students with a strong literacy and numeracy focus, it will provide many cultural connections to extend understanding of diversity and we will include specific programs to broaden the access of extra-curricular activities for students with specific gifts. Our robotic program will take shape through the various designs, plans and execution of our talented and creative pupils. Student and staff wellbeing is on the daily agenda!

Of course I sound very biased, and I recommend you come and see for yourself what CMS has to offer our bright, respectful and capable future leaders.

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The trend in 2017 is to speak about digital technology, digital disruption to future jobs, creative industries, entrepreneurship and of course the types of jobs that will disappear or change radically.

Dare I say that all this jargon is alas past news. We are already experiencing major disruptions and will be facing impressively fast changes in all industries moving forward. So what will be the look of a class and a teacher in ten years, twenty years or even in the next five years?

The hope among many teachers is that their job will still be satisfying and rewarding. The conversation is had with trepidation of wanting to know that children/students will still have their fundamental needs met. If we want a wholistic education, then we are looking at academic, physical, social and spiritual needs, not just digital input.

The educator of the future will need many talents: 

  • Flexibility to change rapidly and adjust intentionally
  • Very high social competency to develop relationships and partnerships
  • Creativity to think differently and with diversity
  • Openness to understand the old and welcome the new in any sphere
  • A willingness to be a continuous learner

There is a sense in 2017 that a student’s human qualities must be supported and managed for that person to achieve optimally. The student’s personality, qualities, capabilities and emotional maturity must be considered. The question then will be how does the fast pace of life in general, and technology in particular, affect these basic needs?

The belief, coming from a Montessori perspective, is already nearly resolved. The future teacher is already there in your class: it is the student. Students in a Montessori class already have to be well organised: from the age of five, students need to plan and develop ideas for chosen projects, they have to be critical thinkers, and make selected, appropriate choices. They need to be socially adaptable in an environment where working in groups to resolve problems and complete demanding tasks is a daily requirement. Students in a Montessori environment are leading their learning by choosing how, when and, mostly, what they need to progress their capability and knowledge.

What we see in future educators are these primary learners extending their ability to the level of selecting the direction of the future and working actively in areas of their choice. Content and information will no longer be essential for these entrepreneurs as this is available to them in many formats. Creativity, strategic and lateral thinking, maintaining a sense of value for environmental sustainability, and operating at a high efficacy due to directed learning: these are the skills needed by our future educators, which are embedded in the Montessori method of education, and which we foster at CMS.

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To every member of our community a special wish for the festive season: may you laugh, love and enjoy a peaceful time with your loved ones.

The CMS family

xmas bells

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Encouraging parents to observe in a Montessori classroom is important for many reasons: parents become more aware of how their child performs in this environment; they understand the significance of providing an environment that meets developmental needs and most of all, they come to witness a Montessori Prepared Environment.

The comments we receive after an observation are very similar. “The children appear to be fully engaged without the adult directing them”, “There is such a sense of individual exploration”, “The children appear to be so happy”, “The children are all working”, “There is a real sense of peace in the room”.

Other comments are directed to the way the adult manages the children, such as “How does the teacher know where each student is academically?”, “How does the teacher prepare individual lessons with three age groups in the same room?” How do adults assess children and do they assess them at all?

And then there are the myths. It becomes apparent from parent and visitor’s questions when they ask if we are a school where children are allowed to do what they want or a school for children with special needs. Parents ask if children are required to complete academic tasks and meet specific outcomes.

The Caboolture Montessori School like many Montessori schools is an environment that fosters learning and places great expectations on the children to perform at their best. It is a place where children show independent thinking by making the appropriate work choices. Children are responsible to complete their work often without adult direction, once they are given initial guidance. Students are expected to extend their learning through own choices and adult suggestions. It is not unusual to plan with students a term’s work schedule and for them to then become instrumental in organising this according to own capability and need. Our children have different capabilities and are all treasured for their contributions.

Children are generally in the same class for three years and adults learn to understand and know each individual, their abilities, likes and dislikes. Class Directors/Teachers are highly qualified and very professional. They are continuous learners themselves and have high expectations of self and their students. They provide the keys to many doors unknown to children and then allow exploration to take place.

Montessori students are able to work in an environment where each student is often working on different subject items to same age peers. Focus and engagement are vital for Montessori children to accomplish the ‘Big Work’ during our Three Hour Work Cycle. A Montessori classroom is a place where children:

  • Choose with support from adult guidance
  • Are responsible to complete their daily/weekly and often term work by organising their time
  • Are respectful at all times with self, others and the environment
  • Work with engagement and focus
  • Achieve highly as they are responsible for own outcomes
  • Complete willingly tasks recommended by the adults
  • Love extending their learning and look for more work

The environment is not:

  • A place where children can do what they want when they want
  • A ‘Hippie’ school, although we love people with lateral thinking ideas
  • A cult with strong prescriptive ideas
  • A magic space that ‘fixes’ children
  • A school for children with specific needs or abilities

The Caboolture Montessori School is a school with strong principles and values. We foster and encourage children to achieve highly in all their work. We have a strong curriculum with clear outcomes and staff prepare their lessons with rigour and high expectations. Teaching staff are highly qualified educators that display daily passion, excitement and care for their children.

Mythology does not have a place at our school even if often we think it is magical place, due to the results and behaviours we see daily. We love our school.

Come and visit and see for yourself!

Yvonne Rinaldi
Caboolture Montessori School

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Montessori environments are still today, after a century of practice, misunderstood. The perception is still erroneously of a school for ‘hippy’ children, a place for students with learning difficulties or indeed gifted and often considered an education where children are free to do what they want without adult guidance.

To clarify some misconceptions, we will try to elaborate on how we support our gifted students.

The Caboolture Montessori School is the home to children from diverse backgrounds and abilities; it is a learning space with strong academic rigour. We have students with exceedingly diverse and impressive aptitudes. Identification of a gifted student is not always easy. Gifted students can demonstrate significant competence in areas of social adaptation, physical ability, creative skills or academic understanding. These students can also be disruptive, struggle with social cues and not perform to their abilities.

The question if these students suit the Montessori environment is often asked. It is well known that Dr Montessori started her approach to learning with children that were ‘deficient’; children that were considered less capable that peers in traditional educational setting. Her methodology however was not designed for a specific level of student ability. Her studies in human development, lead her to design an environment that would meet specific developmental stages and not for just exceptional students from both ends of the learning spectrum.

The gifted students at the Caboolture Montessori School are not differentiated in a way that sets them out to be different from their peers; differentiation is the norm for what is expected for each child in our environment. Academic expectations are defined by the student and their needs. Adult Guides/Directors assess student capability and provide activities that will enhance their growth both laterally and vertically within the curriculum and student interests.

Generally gifted students are able to apply learned knowledge to diverse areas of learning. This capability suits our didactic approach. CMS runs an integrated curriculum and provides opportunities for students to expand their integrated learning. Gifted students work with students with similar abilities, and not necessarily with peers of same age or class. The environment is modified to meet the student needs and not vice versa.

Managing gifted students is very rewarding, even if at times not simple. Preparation of the adult is critical. Having spaces that endorse and augment student needs, facilitate student’s decision making and independent learning is vital. Ultimately the best way for a student to operate is to become totally independent in their thinking and problem solving, so they are able to identify ways to source information and progress their learning.

Montessori schools are learning settings, where academic achievement is sought. We encourage personal growth as much as academic performance. We want students to reach their potential, continue exploring the world around them and develop own high expectations through intrinsic motivation.

Yvonne Rinaldi
Caboolture Montessori School

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A Strength of our school: Parent dedication.

A meeting was held between Parent Representatives and the Principal today (28.3.17). The purpose of the meeting was to establish relationships between the team and to review roles and responsibilities. Parent reps. are the liaison person in building community by organising support for their class teacher and in providing communication links between parents and school. Another important role Parent Reps provide is by welcoming and introducing new families to our community.

We are very happy to introduce our Reps for 2017:

1A – Fili Alefosio (Veronika and Evie’s mum)

1B – Shanan Brandis (Riley’s mum)

1C – Jo Gibson (Emmelyn’s mum)

2A – Kate Stanway (Ricardo’s mum)

2B – Mellissa Golsby-Smith (Koko and Isis’s mum)

2C – Mary-Jane Seeto (Madeline’s mum)

3A – Krystle Hutchinson (Elle Gillon’s mum)

3B – Ellen Richards (Violet Park Weir’s mum)

We would like to officially welcome each mum to their role and please if you recognise any Parent Rep when on school campus, introduce yourself to these generous parents and become their friend. We are a community and as such want to strengthen bonds between members of the community.

Children love to know that their parent is intrinsically invested in their schooling and share in the task of developing school programs. We all take ownership in growing the school and maintaining our strong values.

I would like to personally welcome our volunteers in any way they choose to dedicate their time and expertise with our school: we collaborate for the future of our children and for a Montessori education.

IMG 9440

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Staff and the new year.

The first week back at school is a time for staff to prepare their environment, both inside and out the classroom; it is a time to share holiday stories and reconnect with colleagues; a time to review final educational plans for the term and as a group to have conversations about how we will manage the year and the first term in detail.

Staff approach the year with a sense of renewal and genuine excitement. This is a time when we need to refocus on our own role as Montessori adults and the values of our school. We have challenging conversations with regards to building capacity in ourselves, developing a stress free environment for our children and ways to identify progress in all areas.

How best to achieve this? Dr Montessori states that to provide an optimal environment, we need to first understand and prepare ourselves in welcoming the child. Hence a focus for our professional development was the spirituality of the child, Normalisation and the ‘inner sanctity of the child’. Of course the practicality of ensuring that every class is resourced and prepared to entice learning was a priority.

This year we have enhanced staff motivation with an inspiring hour of excellent guitar playing by the talented Michelle Blythe. Michelle is a proficient musician and guitar teacher. Her classical, Spanish and modern pieces kept us all entranced and at the end of this engaging session, Michelle invited staff to become involved in a jam session. We agreed that music is food for the soul and that we need to invite our children to listen, play and enjoy music, as this will enhance their learning capacity and general interest.

I know that this will not be the last we see of Michelle as Cycle 1 staff are keen to have Michelle visit our school again and invite our children to travel the world through a real experiential activity with artefacts, music and food.

IMG 0374

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Welcome back to 2017 school year.

A warm welcome back to parents, children, staff and new families joining CMS. Come and enjoy an exciting fun-filled learning year with motivated and passionate teachers.

For those parents that are still not part of our community and possibly are thinking about our wonderful school, please view what we offer by exploring our website, enjoying the work the children and staff have done during past years and have fun looking at a quick mind map of why you should choose our school.


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A Politically Correct Christmas
~ Anon

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck...
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wilds, by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his beautiful sleigh,
because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,
And millions of people were calling the Cops,
when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe, had his workers quite frightened,
and his fur trimmed red suit was called “unenlightened”.

To show you the strangeness of today’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.

He went to Geraldo, in front of the Nation,
demanding millions in over-due workers compensation.

So...half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife
who suddenly said she’d had enough of this life,
joined a self help group, packed and left in a whiz,
demanding from now on that her title was Ms.

And as for gifts...why, he’d never had the notion
that making a choice could cause such commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur...
Which meant nothing for him or nothing for her.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot,
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific,
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish upon the truth.

And fairy tales...while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone might get hurt,
besides - playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe.
and Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, dishevelled and perplexed,
he just couldn’t figure out what to do next?

He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you must have to admit he was having a very bad day.
His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy - with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
Every race, every hue,
everyone, everywhere...even you!
So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
“May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on Earth.”


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Maths workshop with Peter Erskine

The teaching staff at Caboolture Montessori School increase their learning repertoire by attending Montessori workshops whenever and wherever they can.

Staff described the latest workshop run by Peter Erskine, Montessori Australia Foundation representative, as a spellbound experience. Peter explained and presented the magic of algebra through squaring and cubing; he demonstrated how children as young as 5 can absorb sensorially basic algebraic concepts that can then be built upon in later years. This process provides students a strong sequential rubric to consolidate experiences. Learning by ‘doing’ cements understanding and memory retention.

Staff were inspired by the workshop and went immediately into action by developing materials to share with their class.

An added bonus for staff was to work with teachers from other Montessori schools, thus contributing to each other’s range of strategies and developing stronger bonds with new colleagues.

It is always reassuring to experience the relevance and validity of the Montessori methodology and the appropriateness of the lessons for each stage of development and capability.

Peter and algebra1

Pter algebra2

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Reading and Writing

Literacy coaching at CMS is now owned by the students. We have come a full circle from our Literacy Coach Mr Bill Park Weir, imparting his knowledge and experience to teaching staff, to staff working with students and now students working with students. Well done CMS children!

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On Tuesday 23rd August, the Amphibians, Dolphins and the Sea Stars celebrated CMS's Writer's Festival by visiting each other's classrooms and reading aloud to each group. The children aged 5-12 loved sharing their stories and spending this creative time together.


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 A school community is formed by families, children and staff. To compliment this group at the Caboolture Montessori School we have many volunteers, some are parents, others, are ‘giving’ people that want to support communities such as ours. The make-up of the different groups within the community establishes a school ethos: a way with which we work, play and explore, whilst learning.

A group that really defines the school is our student group. At CMS we have 170 students within the pre-primary and primary sectors and 30 younger learners in our Infant/Toddler group. How do children personalise our school? What do they do that actually reflects the image of who we are?

Visitors at our school make the following comments: “Children appear to be so peaceful”, “There does not appear to be any stress or negativity in the environment”, “Children seem to be fully engaged, with or without the adult direction” and “These children are seemingly happy to extend themselves beyond what is prescribed”

The nature of the child is that: children always want to do the ‘right thing’. Children want to please and want to learn. Children are capable of achieving and at CMS there is provision for them to achieve at their own pace and with as much time as they need. Children are supported by caring adults that want students to succeed. We all look at academic rigour.

So, I would like to share my answer to the question: Who are the students of the Caboolture Montessori School?

They are the caring individuals that work with clients in the dementia unit at the local RSL. Each student is asked to work with a specially selected resident that ‘fits’ with their interests and will become their personal friend for the year. Our students develop great empathy and share mutual interests; what is truly exciting to witness is the bond that is formed, crossing generational barriers. The patience demonstrated by our eleven year old students is admirable and the joy expressed by the RSL residents is remarkable.

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Our students display characteristics that are unique and valuable.

These are not only visible with our older students. Our toddlers are really happy to provide visitors with a cup of (herbal) tea. At a ripe age of 2, they will make from scratch a good ‘cuppa’ and serve this with grace and courtesy.

From fifteen months we encourage independence, confidence and community living. This happens in an orderly and caring environment, which fosters respect and caring for others. Infant making tea2

Our Cycle 1 students (aged 3-6) are young teachers and they become enthusiastic presenters when they select to demonstrate a lesson for their peers. This process enhances communication skills, confidence, early organisation skills and provides much fun.

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What about our junior primary students, the cycle 2 pupils?

These students are very comfortable working with our community and embracing the value that their families and families of other children bring to our school.

community and children

Whilst visiting former students in their high school environment, recently, the school principal of the school asked our former students: “What do you think are the most important qualities you learned from Montessori?” The response from eight students was: Independence, forming great relationships with the adults in the environment, the ability to learn at own pace, ability to get on with required tasks, freedom to ask as many questions as are needed”. The Principal then asked Year 8 students: “What about maths?” and the response was: “At this stage we are still revising work presented, as we have done all the work at our primary school”. He then asked about grammar and again the response was the students are ahead of others and not much new learning has been started this year for the younger students. These responses are only from one secondary environment and very typical of what we have heard in the past from CMS alumni.

Our students are the young people you come across in our environment that will easily talk to you and share experiences. These are confident individuals that have insights of what respectful behaviour is about and are excited to elicit responses from others about their understandings.

CMS students are excited about their learning and will take any opportunity to show you what they are doing; they display excitement of learning as well as pride of own work.

Our students appreciate humour and will converse happily with adults about fun items; they are trusting individuals that know they are safe at school and they own their space.

Our students are happy to challenge: they continuously challenge themselves and are very comfortable in challenging the adults in the environment in thinking about lateral or creative solutions.

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful cohort of respectful, happy and forward thinking children!

Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School

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MAF and Board


Ms Christine Harrison President of the Montessori Australia Foundation shaking hands with Nick Willemsen President of the Moreton Bay Montessori Association – Caboolture Montessori School


Board meetings at CMS are strategic, effective and occasionally even inspiring. Last week was definitely exceptional, thanks to our special guests.

We were honoured by the visit of the President of the Montessori Australia Foundation (MAF), Mrs Christine Harrison. Christine Harrison has been involved in Montessori education since 1985 and was Principal of the Canberra Montessori School, one of the largest Montessori schools in Australia, for over ten years. She is the founding Chair of the Montessori Australia Foundation.

Today Christine travels the globe to carry the message of Montessori and last week we heard Christine recount the enterprising history of the Foundation and the services they offer to all ‘montessorians’ and their schools. We heard about programs MAF staff are developing with persons with dementia, indigenous children, quality assurance programs for schools, teacher training and much more.

Christine works incessantly with the Australian Government to promote Montessori education and adds a strong voice in the arena of early education and independent schools. MAF has come a long way in a very short time: from a few hard working volunteers to a considerable and professional team of approximately 20 staff members, still working hard. We acknowledge and thank Christine for taking time out of her busy schedule to share with CMS Board members her life’s work.

The evening continued with exciting information about progress achieved of our planned high school. Jay Bishop the Deputy Principal provided the Board with information about his role in supporting the Board’s Strategic Plan with the implementation of a CMS Middle Years Program. Jai spoke about the research he is working on with the Principal, in addressing a forward path to a Montessori secondary environment that includes the principles of Dr Montessori (The Erdkinder) and the contemporary and local needs of our students. Jai shared his experience with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program and how conducive this program would be in a Montessori context.

Jai also spoke about the work he is doing in addressing CMS curriculum in the learning area of technology and the way we intend to differentiate by integrating and connecting thinking strategies to a hands-on environment. Jai’s passion and energy level was felt by all!

Both speakers were inspirational and enriched our knowledge and strategic direction.

We take this opportunity again to thank Christine Harrison and MAF staff for what they do in keeping Montessori alive; we thank Jai for coming onboard and supporting school growth and we thank our industrious and caring Board for the work they accomplish in leading our amazing school to a secure and sustainable future.


Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School


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Caboolture Montessori School offers an early education program for children between the ages of 3 to 6. Children in this group are in the pre-kindy, kindy and prep age range. Our difference and reason for not calling our cycle 1 rooms a childcare setting is due to the fact that we include these children in all activities and events offered to the school students. The school program, including Italian, library visits and sporting activities are provided to all children. Our young learners are involved in all learning areas from science to botany, from maths to literacy, from the age of 3.

We provide a Toddler Community for children between the ages of 15 months to 3 years in preparation for the 3-6 community and then follow-up with a comprehensive primary education, thus preparing children for an easy transition to high school. All children belong to the Caboolture Montessori School.

Our difference starts with promoting independence and confidence, developed through own selection of activities and work (games). As in many Montessori schools, all activities are age appropriate, didactically designed and developmentally sound. Children learn through their own experiences, relationships and what the adults carefully prepare in the environment. Children love learning!

Families become part of our community as they join the toddler or childcare group and parenting is supported with parent programs and forums. Learning is a whole school endeavour, not just for children.

You are invited to come and visit our school to experience first-hand our difference. 

1 garden 

Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School

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Our community are experiencing exciting times! Our growth in enrolments and growth in both leadership and educational efficacy has vitalised our school.

Another milestone is about to be reached with the construction of a double storey building to house in total eight classrooms. This building will be the last addition with regards to student classrooms, as we will have met our target enrolment of 300 primary students. The building will grow in three phases: initially two classrooms upstairs with complete architectural framework; the nest phase will see the construction of two more classrooms upstairs and finally the fit-out of four classrooms downstairs.

Approaching this project by meeting our school ethos and sustainability, has been really interesting and at times a little scary. Students and staff were involved with architect in determining the look and requirements of the building. We were pleased that Rachel Towill, our architect, from Towill Design group, had very similar values to our community: a building that would be energy efficient, employ natural materials as much as possible, provide optimal learning elements such as lighting, space, air and a building that would harmonize with our purpose built school.

The students’ biggest worry was about cutting trees and bamboo to make space for this rather large building, so we had to ensure that plans to the landscape architect included revegetation and the reintroduction of identified clumping bamboo somewhere not too far from the new building. Plans are already circulating among parents of new structures that can be made with bamboo that has to be cut.

Concept drawings are provided to our community to show what we are hoping the new classrooms are going to look like and neighbours have been invited to share in our excitement.

We will provide staged photos of this amazing new addition as they occur. Watch this space!





new buidling

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Staff wellbeing at CMS - At the end of term you would think the staff members are scuttling off, away from school. Not at CMS. We sit together talk about various topics and share precious time becoming involved with each other on a personal level.

Our Wellbeing Team organises different ways for staff to manage their physical and mental wellbeing: today we are weaving using recycled cd’s and yarn. The completed work will be a whole school piece of art that will be displayed for our community to see.

Thank you WOW Team. You care for us so we can care for others, especially our children.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE - There has been a Government announcement re the Preparatory Year of schooling by our Premier The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Minister for Education, the Honourable Kate Jones. Please read below:

Queensland youngsters to benefit from  compulsory fulltime Prep year


Premier and Minister for the Arts         The Honourable  Annastacia Palaszczuk    

Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major  Events         The Honourable Kate Jones    

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Queensland youngsters to benefit from compulsory  fulltime Prep year

All Prep-aged children will be in a Prep classroom from 2017, under a plan  announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland parents had been able to enrol their children  in Prep since 2007.

However, she said under current arrangements legislation did not require  Queensland children to complete a fulltime Prep year before entering Year 1.

Ms Palaszczuk said since the introduction of a Prep year and the National  Curriculum, there had been a strong overall improvement in Queensland’s Year 3  NAPLAN results.

“We want all students to benefit from a fulltime Prep year before starting  Year 1,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I want to build on the Government’s provision of 15 hours each week of  kindergarten for all our four-year-olds.

"It was a Labor Government that footed the bill and kick-started universal  Prep in 2007 – addressing a great disadvantage for our youngsters.”

In 2015 98% of Year 1 students attended a year of schooling before commencing  Year 1.

Estimates are that around 500 children are missing out of the benefits of  Prep.

“We want all students to attend class every school day because we know that  fulltime Prep is a great start to school and an important start to learning,” Ms  Palaszczuk said.

Education Minister Kate Jones said the past ten years had clearly shown just  how beneficial a Prep year was to a child’s early phase of learning.

“It’s been almost 10 years since Labor introduced the Prep year and NAPLAN  results have proven the benefits of this extra year of schooling,” Ms Jones  said.

“Last year’s Year 7s were the first full Prep cohort and they returned their  best ever results for reading, spelling and numeracy.

“They are better equipped for their seamless entry into more formal education  in our schools.

“However, some children are missing out on the benefits of a full Prep  year.

“As a result some children are behind those who have had the advantage of a  fulltime Prep year when they start in Year 1.

“Like the Premier, I believe a compulsory Prep year will benefit children’s  education,” Ms Jones said.

Ms Palaszczuk said another great benefit was the ability of teachers to  identify students who may need further assistance early on in their education  “All our children must have the same opportunity and the very best of starts  with their schooling,” she said.

“I have asked the Education Minister to begin consulting with parents,  teachers, early childhood educators and other key stakeholders as we prepare the  legislation required to make this happen.

“So principals and parents have plenty of time to prepare for the  introduction of compulsory Prep, we will introduce the necessary changes to the  Education General Provisions Act later this year.

“There still needs to be some flexibility, as I do understand in some  circumstances some children may not be ready for Prep in the year they turn 5 by  the 30th June and may need an extra year of kindy.

“However, every child will need to attend Prep as the first step in their  formal school education.”

President of the Queensland Association of State School Principals Michael  Fay said Prep gives children the best possible start to their education.

“This sends a strong message that Prep is a vitally important part of school  education laying a strong foundation for the primary years which follow,” Mr Fay  said.


The Sunday Mail (24/1)

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Does school influence a child’s life?

There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child; however we also believe that it takes a school to raise a village. The sentences above have definite meaning and have proven to be true in many ways and for a long time.

At the Caboolture Montessori School we follow this mantra as we DO believe that children need all the adults in their lives to be mentors and role models. The most important adults in any child’s life are their parents and the extended family. The next group of adults a child will come into close contact with are the adults in a school. The school is a community and today schools are not just a learning place, but they become an environment that provides our children a home from home. Children spend approximately 10,710 hours at school, between primary and secondary school attendance, in their life, and according to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Australia is the country with the highest demand of hours in class.

Hence, the question of whether a school influences a child in some ways is very much superfluous. Added to this factor is the accepted understanding that the early years are the most critical formative years for any child. This does mean that early learning and primary schools have a great responsibility towards our children.

How do we address this at Caboolture Montessori School? I could say that because we adhere to the Montessori philosophy, we inherently care about each child and ensure we provide the best environment to develop their unique potential. However we purposefully and actively live our philosophy. What we do every day is getting to know each individual that enters our classrooms, ensure that a day at school is about being responsible for own learning, selecting work that challenges, with guidance, supporting each other rather than competing for top spot in the class or school. The time we spend in the environment called school, must include outdoor time: time to care for our outdoors, including caring for animals and gardens, time to sit under a tree or on a veranda working out our mathematics equation or indeed managing a problem with a friend.

Learning or as we refer to our learning ‘work’, happens when a child is thinking, problem solving, making high level choices, developing own skills and improving own understanding of the world around them. Achieving academically will happen automatically if children are given the opportunity to interact with the real world, the world they live in. The greater global interaction, will happen through their research. The adults in the environment must be able to guide, to instruct and share their knowledge; fully accepting that own knowledge is limited and that children are very capable of extending own learning through interest: what they see, hear touch and imagine.

To manage a wholistic approach, every staff member becomes responsible for each child in our environment; of course the class teacher and assistant are the main support system, however all staff are expected to mentor in different ways children on campus. How do we manage as a whole-school team? We work cooperatively with decisions that affect learning in the school. We adopt each person’s academic and personal strength to formulate a rich educational environment.

Our School Improvement Plan team is formed by a member of each group of stakeholders: Governance, Parents & Friends, Learning Enhancement, Teaching staff, administration staff and Principal. Meetings address various elements that ultimately enhance learning in the school. The product of the copious meetings is an analysis of what we do well and what we need to do to improve in all areas: from every stakeholders perspective. Growing the village is the CMS mission and must be led by leaders who become the voice of our students. Having a village with a strong focus on the child as he/she is today and how this young person will look like in the future, is our vision.

It definitely takes a village to raise a child and we agree and want to foster the saying that it takes a school to raise a village.

Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School

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Our school opened in 1998 and one of our first students was Miss Keyonie Bolton. Keyonie graduated from CMS in 2003 and attended high school at St Columban's. Keyonie today is the music teacher at our school and on the 25/11/15 graduated from completing her Bachelor of Music degree. We are so proud to announce to our community that Keyonie was awarded Dux of her course. CONGRATULATIONS Keyonie.

This shy, generous and amicable young lady deserves all the happiness and fortune that comes her way.

We love you and commend you for your hard work and well deserved achievement.

IMG 1670


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Strategic Planning the CMS way - Saturday 21st November, our School Board, Business Manager and School Principal worked together to review our Strategic Plan. It is a collaborative and productive way to ensure the Caboolture Montessori School addresses accountability, school needs and future planning. The process was supported as in previous years by David Robertson, Executive Director of Independent Schools Queensland.

The day was filled with ideas, evidence of school progress and exciting future planning for our wonderful school. The process is always one of collegial challenge to ensure we are uncovering any possibility for improvement and a process of analysing goals and ways to enhance outcomes.

The Team works well together, as we all have the same objectives: foster improved learning for children and staff and provide the community with an excellent educational context based on respect and the development of individuality and independent thinking. It helps that we are all ‘friends’.

I would like to thank our Board for working with their mind and their heart, and with no remuneration, for our wonderful school. We appreciate your expert advice, your time and dedication. We all gain from your support, especially our students: from our fifteen month old children to our twelve year old seniors. Thanks to David for facilitating the process and ensuring we stay on task, as well as providing valuable information to aid our decision making.

P1010322  P1010333 




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SPORT at CMSSports Day 15 2

Sports Day 15

At the Caboolture Montessori School, movement and physical activities are highly valued and our curriculum provides for activities that focus specifically on developmental stages of movement in children.

Some activities are planned and delivered by class directors: yoga, morning limbering exercises, morning runs, skipping and bouncing with spelling and time tables and many more activities to provide learning through movement. We then provide formal physical education through our Physical Education (PE) director, Kelly Webster. Kelly holds a teaching degree as well as a Montessori qualification and identifies every term sporting activities that children enjoy as well as activities to develop sporting rules and skills.

Every term Kelly selects different sports: soccer, tennis, athletics, dance, archery, netball and more. The sport chosen will target various strengths and skills: upper body strength, hand-eye coordination, body balance, core strength and specific discipline skills. As a Montessori school we encourage our children to develop their own strategies and to aspire to achieve their personal best at all times. In sport this principle is fostered, even if we know that we are all competing in life. We compete with ourselves from birth and then we are taught to compete against others.

We do not believe that competition does not exist; what we do believe is that we do not want or need to foster competition against others by building an ‘us and them’ scenario. We focus on building teams through our own skilling and highlight the talents of the individual to support and enhance the group. We talk about collaboration and mentoring each other. We encourage growth through combining strengths.

Does this work in sporting activities? Do our children still thrive to win? Do students apply their skills with the same motivation?

The answer to each of these questions is yes. When we play a game of soccer, each team plays to win. Each child becomes excited and focussed on the game and their role in the game. They are disappointed if they are not victorious.

The difference between a Montessori school and a traditional school is the attitude of the adults and the expectations we place on each student participating in the game. The adults celebrate the winners and debrief on the reasons for positive outcomes. This conversation is had with both sides of the team. The team that did not achieve a win listens to the analysis of the game and then are encouraged to analyse own strategies and see what can be learned by the event. The next game will see players from each team mixed, so again there is not an ‘us and them’ but the team for today.

No student is compared with another: strategies are compared. The aim of this conversation is to build each individual in the game and to recognise the abilities that we all need to grow and improve. This attitude does pervade all our games and we recommend that parents work with us in fostering the love of participation and integration as well as celebrating achievements, both individual and team.

Looking at theories espoused by futurists, we hear that in the future, unless individuals have strong collaboration skills, transfer of knowledge will not be complete; it does require for people to work together to access larger quantities of data and to source the relevant data. We will not be impressed by an individual that promotes their own ideas, unless we have had comparative and substantiated information. (Hicks and Katz, 1996; Wuchty et al., 2007). Leadership is changing. Our world is shrinking and information must address global societal changes and needs, therefore collaborative work will identify different perspectives and feelings (Gibbons et al., 1994; Ziman, 2000).

The word competition is not a dirty word, but needs to be reframed. We do not want our children to compete for grades or prizes, but emphasize working with creativity and innovative thinking and building with all brains in the group. In conclusion, to our sporting parents, I would like to say that your child will never have their competitive streak dimmed in a Montessori environment, as this is our human nature; what we want to encourage in a primary school is the value of commitment and personal achievement, respect for others (better and less able than us) and collaborative associations.

“Do we believe and constantly insist that cooperation among the peoples of the world is necessary in order to bring about peace? If so, what is needed first of all is collaboration with children.... All our efforts will come to nothing until we remedy the great injustice done the child, and remedy it by cooperating with him. If we are among the men of good will who yearn for peace, we must lay the foundation for peace ourselves, by working for the social world of the child.”

(International Montessori Congress, 1937)

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There are many factors that support the wellbeing of a school and I do mean wellbeing and not efficacy. For a community to thrive you do need all the basics such as structures, systems, well organised members; however none of this would really hold much value, without ownership, commitment, collaboration and true shared responsibility.

The CMS Parents and Friends Association have been running for the last two years with approximately four people and what a difference they have made to whole school direction. A small but ultra-dynamic group. The group have established clear procedures for activities they run, to facilitate volunteer interaction and participation. The team has defined their roles and responsibilities and shared these with the community to transparency. The P&F members have spent time linking various stakeholders, to reach common understanding of what is needed for school growth.

One of the most important functions of the Caboolture Montessori P&F team has been to understand the value of collaborative leadership and to do this with fun and much laughter. Our school improvement plan for 2016 will thrive due to commitment of embers of the P&F team.

This fun loving team invites anyone brave enough to share their loud laughter and exciting plans for 2016 to come forward and support the amazing work being explored.

We cannot thank the CMS Parents and Friends Association members enough and are grateful and excited that they will hold same roles for 2016.

Welcome back:

Emma Pryer – P&F President

Louise Rogala – Treasurer

Kate Weaver & Julie Sutherland – Shared Secretary position

IMG 1314From left: Julie Sutherland, Emma Pryer, Kate Weaver and Louise Rogala.


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One of the questions asked by all parents when they are thinking of enrolling in a Montessori school is: “How will my child cope when they leave the nurturing and small space of a Montessori environment and go to a large secondary school?”

Our reply will suggest the following: “Children usually adapt easily to change and Montessori children, if given a full Montessori education, develop many skills and strategies to support adaptive behaviours, confidence, resilience, independence, protective behaviours and have a strong sense of who they are. This accumulation of distinctive qualities, provides these students with abilities that are now fully owned by them and therefore ready to be adopted in any situation.

Montessori children do acquire specific capabilities due to our approach to learning and teaching. Our students develop curiosity for and love of knowledge; they fully understand how to manage their strengths and challenges and are not intimidated by new contexts. Children that have been at CMS for six years or more, show traits that demonstrate maturity beyond their years.

Montessori parents often comment on the change our students display in their final year of schooling. They describe a transformation that resembles the picture Dr Montessori calls ‘psychic rebirth’. Children display strength of character and true readiness for the next stage of development and educational context. They want to explore new territories!

We meet every year with secondary principals to understand the progress or challenges our children face when they leave CMS and the comments we receive, are always positive and encouraging. It provides the staff at CMS the belief that we are using the right instructional tools and philosophy and reinforces our conviction of the rigour of our methodology.

We would like to reassure parents thinking of enrolling children at CMS that they are providing the best education they can source: children achieve high academic standards, develop social competence, grow an understanding of empathy and are given the tools to manage the disciplines required of them in different environments.

Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School

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C3 work2

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow,

yet we forget that he is someone today”.

Stacia Tauscher


School is a child’s second home; hence schooling is one decision that is not taken lightly by parents. When choosing a school, often a parent cannot identify easily what the school offers from visiting the school. Therefore we would like to provide some features and characteristics, to look for during this sometimes stressful process.


The Children

  • The children appear relaxed, happy and respectful.
  • There is a sense of intrinsic discipline in the children.
  • The children during playtime appear content and busy.
  • Children appear engaged and interested in their learning.
  • Children demonstrate a happy learning environment, through their engagement.


The Adults/Staff

  • Adults in the environment are friendly, helpful and give a sense of professional care.
  • The Principal is accessible and shows interest in meeting parents.
  • The staff are dressed appropriately and conduct themselves professionally.
  • The teacher’s morale appears good.
  • Positive comments are heard from all adults in the environment.
  • There is a positive presence of parents in the school.
  • Education is extended to parents.


The Environment 

  • The grounds look inviting and are maintained.
  • Classrooms are attractive and appear to be well resourced.
  • Classrooms look set-up to meet children’s needs.
  • School buildings are conducive to learning: airy, full of light and accessible.
  • The reception area is welcoming, clean and tidy.
  • There are outdoor activities appropriate for number and age of children.



  • Communication on notice boards gives is friendly and respectful.
  • School brochures are available for new parents.
  • Children’s needs are met considering their abilities through special provisions.
  • Parents are provided different ways of understanding school rules and philosophy.
  • Communication is effectively and respectfully provided according to parent needs.
  • There is a sense of community.
  • Specific school policies are available to families.
  • The school values: student/staff wellbeing, collaboration, parent involvement and continuous learning.


Ultimately a family, when walking around a school environment, should assess how they ‘feel’, as this will give a sense of perceived school ethos. Having many great facilities and not addressing values, discipline and respect will not produce happy children.



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In any community values are highlighted, when they are put into practice. A value we believe is vital for effective functioning is health, and as a collegial group we address this through our Staff Wellbeing. Staff members lead the project and act as role models by designing activities and providing staff events and personal development to encourage a healthy lifestyle.


On the weekend, members of the Caboolture Montessori School staff, took to the mountains and looked for ways to improve their physical abilities. Increasing oxygen intake, large muscle toning and general whole body exercise was included in a brisk morning walk up NgunNgun Mountain.


If we agree with the quote from Roman poet Juvenal: “ Mens sana in corpore sano”  - “A sound mind in a sound body”, we will encourage each other to be more physical as we need a daily quota of mental strength, to conduct our role effectively.

    ngun ngun   mt ngunngun may 2015

 top Mt Ngungun

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Differences between Montessori and Traditional teaching

When we address education, we retrieve memories of our own experience and decide what we want for our children. If there is much choice, it could make a school selection harder and yet, if the selection is limited comparisons become critical.

Below is a basic comparison of what we perceive are differences between the traditional education system and Montessori schools. For better understanding and to 'get a feeling' of the school, parents should take the time to personally observe how a school and classroom function and assess the relevance of an educational program for their child.

Montessori Education


Traditional Education

Whole school philosophy &   methodology

Programs define methodology and often philosophy

Developmental approach for each   stage of learning

Curriculum based learning – same   for all

Focus on all aspects of   development: social, emotional, physical and intellectual

Instruction is mostly based on academic achievement

Learning at own pace: choice of how   long to work on a specific concept

Adult decision of when new topics   are introduced

Children actively involved in own   learning

Adults direct all learning

Intrinsic motivation is fostered: no rewards or punishments

Rewards and punishments still used   to encourage/discourage student behaviours

Self-discipline is grown through   methodology

Discipline is imposed by adults   and rules

Experiential learning through   manipulation and real experiences

The curriculum guides direction of   learning

Children are held accountable and   responsible for their learning

The adult is responsible for   outcomes reached

Uninterrupted work cycles

Time table dictates length and type of   lessons

Multi-age classrooms

Same age groups

Student teach with the adult

Adult teaches the group

The environment includes   scientific equipment for the acquisition of concepts (hands-on learning)

Learning is mainly acquired   through visual information

The environment is the child’s   space to work where they feel comfortable

Set seating and restricted movement   during work time

 To understand the learning approach more effectively, come and visit and ask to observe in our classrooms. We are here to share what we do.

Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School

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Manners! What are manners?

Extracted from the Oxford dictionary: A person’s outward bearing or way of behaving towards others.

In today’s world, are manners still effective?GC


Do we respect people more if they are mannered?

Is saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ enough?

Is there more to what Dr Montessori called her learning area ‘Grace and Courtesy”?

As early as the third millennium BC, social graces, self-control and kindness to others was written about (Ptahhotep). Confucius (551-479 BC) looked at governmental morality and personal correctness. In the middle 1600, during the era, norms were established that provide guidelines to social graces and standards of behaviour.

Today, each culture has a set of rules and norms that in fact, define that culture: each valorising respect and care for others. In Southern Africa, the Zulu woman does not look into the eyes of a leading man; that would be highly disrespectful. In Australia we expect people to look at us when we are speaking as a sign of respect. It is therefore evident that our cultural background will establish different expectations of what is polite and respectful.

In the school community of CMS as in every Montessori environment, Grace and Courtesy underlines all areas of curriculum and philosophy. We understand that manners are outward behaviours of a much stronger sense we are trying to build in each individual. We want children to develop ‘complex thinking processes'; we would like to be able to provide our students with opportunities to learn easily through trust and care. We aspire to provide experiences that build many neurological pathways to stimulate positive learning.

None of this can happen without children living in an environment of true nurture and respect.

Manners, Grace and Courtesy can start with a please and thank you, however there is much more below that thin surface. Just as an iceberg, underneath a simple 'please', there is a world of “Let me help you”, “I am really sorry you are sad”, “Let me offer you my seat”, “Take this little flower, as I can see you need comfort”, “Please help me, I am stuck”.

Adults are role models and we know that children emulate what we do and say. If we share ‘good manners’ we actually prevent negative behaviours and possibly support great mental health (Val Curtis - executive functions).

I would like to challenge each of us, to start an experiment and use beautiful manners (more than we are already doing) in our home for a month and see if this makes a difference to our wellbeing and children’s behaviours.


“What is social life if not the solving of social problems, behaving properly and pursuing aims acceptable to all?
– Dr. Maria Montessori, page 225, The Absorbent Mind



Manners 2

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We would like to inform our parents of new legislation affecting our Cycle 1 students.

Children will be able to attend an approved, funded Kindy program from the beginning of the year in which they turn 4 years old by 31 July. If a student enters early into Kindy there may be a need, and/or benefit by participating in an additional year of kindergarten (Delayed exit).

Generally children progress from Kindy to Prep. However this extended entry level to kindy does not assure these children an automatic entry to Prep the following year. Children born between the 1st and 31st July will still need to apply for early entry into prep. It will be at the Principal’s discretion to ensure the child has the appropriate attributes to cope emotionally, physically, socially and academically with the new classroom requirements.

Children attending Kindy and not progressing to Prep, can attend a second funded year of kindergarten.

Birth Dates and Kindy enrolment



1/7/2010   to 31/7/2011


1/7/2011   to 31/7/2012


1/7/2012   to 31/7/2013


1/7/2013   to 31/7/2014



The Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2006 (EGPA Regulations) was amended in late November 2014.

Children younger than the prescribed age for Prep may be enrolled in Prep if:

  1. They turn 5 on or before the 31 July in the year of proposed enrolment in Prep and the Principal is satisfied the child is ready for Prep (See EGPA Regulations Part 4, section 15) or
  2. The child has attended Prep in another state or country and was already enrolled in a Prep program

It will be ultimately the principal’s responsibility to ensure that children are attending the appropriate level of education according to attributes; however collaboration between parents, teachers and principal will establish the correct environment for students to achieve highly, successfully and easily.

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Live Grow Learn Love

2015 is here and with the New Year; we experience many hopes, expectations, excitement and maybe a few trepidations. We look forward to welcoming back all our students and families and the many new additions to our growing community. Our school has resumed the business of education and caring and we are sure the children are looking forward to returning to their friends and class guides.

Each year we plan to improve, to grow professionally and personally and to provide all stakeholders with a unique environment where our children learn with interest, motivation and fun. We are looking forward to sharing our student’s learning with their families and our community.

This year our theme is 'Cerebration'. (Thinking and consolidating). We want to consolidate projects started in 2014 in Literacy, student data collection and staff wellbeing. Our School Improvement Plan will address our continued need for progress and whole school improvement. Staff are looking to develop further our integrated studies through their term and yearly planning and hopefully children will come back with renewed interests and passions.


We welcome new families and students and wish our graduates from 2014 all the very best at their new schools and hope to hear about their achievements and new experiences. A very warm welcome to our generous volunteers and dedicated staff.

Yvonne Rinaldi - CMS Principal




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Strategic Planning  - 2014


Last weekend, the members of the Caboolture Montessori School Board and the Principal got together to review the year that was, identify outcomes reached and actions that may need future attention. Addressing the direction of the school for the year ahead and beyond is the focus of the group at this event. The process is helpful in many obvious ways by setting a pathway forward and ensuring past objectives have been met; however, the most relevant components of the day are: asking the critical questions, finding innovative solutions, exploring past and new aspirations and adopting what we know the community wants and needs.

Our School Board is composed of parents and external professionals and all are involved and interested in a healthy business and an effective educational context. They provide their insights and experience to grow our Montessori environment and are at ease with asking the provocative questions they know will enhance our progress.

The process was facilitated and challenged by Mr David Robertson, Executive Director of Independent Schools Queensland. David has supported our strategic planning for the second year and has provided a truly high level of investigation and outcomes. We thank him for donating his time and passion and dearly thank him for sharing his expertise.

We celebrate our successes, reached in a short time span:

  • Starting a full cycle 1 cohort
  • Adding an active Infant Community
  • Growth of a third cycle 2 class
  • Addition of two new classrooms and a library
  • Meeting all the requirements of our Development Approval through the Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • Providing a strong leadership for the school starting at Governance level
  • Programs and resources to drive professional growth among our educators
  • Collection of tools to address student progress through reliable and viable means
  • Meeting the philosophy and methodology of Dr Montessori through staff training
  • Former students achieving highly academically and personally in their secondary schools
  • Our positive financial benchmarks

The above are just some celebratory events in our recent history.

Thank you to each Board member for taking time to meet on a really hot weekend and contributing to a sound direction for strategy and operation at CMS.

CMS Board members:

Nick Willemsen – Chair (Parent)

Helen Spry – Vice Chair (Parent)

Jo-Anne Chaplin – Treasurer (Local business person)

Mark Ryan – Member (Local business person)

Bronwyn Conway - Member (Local business person)

Roelie Hartwig – Member (Business person & Montessori director)

Toby Robinson - Member (Parent)

Yvonne Rinaldi
Caboolture Montessori School

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The decision of selecting the correct school for your child is certainly not an easy decision. In an enrolment interview at any school, the enrolment officer or Principal may hear these words: “I want a school that will provide my child experiences to allow their potential to flourish. I want my child to be happy coming to school. I would love to know that the adults in the environment care for my child and highlight their very best qualities”. …And in Montessori schools: “I want my child not to be disadvantaged by the Montessori methodology.”

flower infant 2.5 aged child arranging flowers

One or two years may pass and the parent may consciously realise that what they want for their child has changed slightly, they want more. Their child is now in early primary dealing with many academic tasks and is very interested in the social aspect of school life. The parent may now suggest: “I want my child to be able to achieve with their writing, spelling, and mathematics. I would also like for my child to have positive friendships and experience extra-curricula activities. I would like to understand better what they are doing daily”.


A few more years may pass and your child could be about eight or nine and again doubts may arise about the value of education you are providing your precious little person. “I would really love my child to be able to have a canteen in the school, be able to compete with other schools and understand the world ‘out there’; I would love my child to have a lap top as all other children in traditional schools. Is my child missing out on vital education???”


These are all valid thoughts and genuine concerns. When a parent enrols their child into a Montessori school, they have to accept and trust, as they themselves have not experienced the benefits of Montessori and comparisons are not possible. How do they know that the content delivered will meet the national requirements? How can they trust that their child is getting the very best for the money the parents pay year after year? How do they know that attending a small school with limited physical attributes will provide their child with an education that can stand up 21st Century requirements? Why would their child need to be educated differently from their own schooling experiences?

breakfast Former student helping with school event

What about the academic achievement of the student? How can we tell their progress without comparisons with other children of the same age? Student achievements are measured in many ways; the various assessments done by class teachers showing the level the child has reached in various subjects, the odd standardised test completed and the results our students attain in their first few years in a secondary context. We continuously see and hear about the amazing achievements of our former students and the high level attained in all academic subjects. Most importantly, what we hear is the type of individual and the attributes they bring to the new environment. Comments from local secondary principals about our students: “Please send more of them to our school. Your children stand out for their beautiful behaviours and willingness to work with the adults. What do you do to produce such high standards?” These are just some of the comments we hear.

Graduation Former student awarded for academic achievement

So, in conclusion, why do you keep your child in a Montessori environment? It is certainly not because we have the greatest facilities or amenities, it is not because we have victory boards in reception or flash buildings; it is because you value true wholistic education, you love our purpose built classrooms and the bush setting so familiar to Australians. You want what you announced many years ago, when your child was only three: “I want my child to be happy and achieve the best they can achieve.” Your loyalty to Montessori will fulfil this aim. Many of the assets gained will not appear as traditional outcomes; each child will possess qualities and values that are relevant to whom they, as individuals, will become.

The true difference between Montessori and traditional education is the way each child is nurtured and encouraged and the method adopted to reach personal outstanding outcomes. Honesty, confidence, independence, creativity and responsibility are what are grown at CMS, through the years.

15 year Our beautiful school

Yvonne Rinaldi


Caboolture Montessori School


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The Infant Community

From the moment a child is born there is a strong will to adapt to an environment and a desire to be nurtured. The focus on human faces allows the newborn to perceive sensory information that will feed the brain and the immature psyche of this individual.

Language and independent movement are not present as yet and the infant will adopt basic emotions such as sadness (crying) when there is discomfort or peacefulness (sleep) when all needs are satisfied.

It is really evident that the work of this individual is to ‘become’ and take on the characteristics of a species: they have to move and communicate in the language spoken by the people around them and grow behaviours that express their personality and interaction with the environment.

In a Montessori Infant class, we are very aware of these early needs and our focus is movement, language and of course independence. Every human being wants to be independent, self-sufficient and capable and be what we can be. Maslow calls this Self-actualisation, the highest level of need acquired by individuals.

Therefore, the environment we need to provide for these young explorers must have elements to encourage movement, communication and simple activities to instil a sense of success. The environment and the new activities are developing new neural connections and due to the interactive nature of each activity the connections are formed in many areas of the brain. This will enhance learning later by providing an established foundation of knowledge and skill.

Our environment must foster the ability of each and every child; by offering a place that naturally supports ways of skill building. Parents become an intricate part of this process in our Infant Class and weave their beliefs and cultural understandings in the fabric of this future adult.

Our early years are not just a foundation of ‘who’ we will become but it is a time when we establish a deep, unconscious, sense of ‘how’ we relate to the world.

                   Infant 1    

The Infant Community at CMS is working towards these objectives.

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The sun filters through the Melaleuca trees, the billabong is quiet still with small concentrical waves on the surface, made by insects. In the distance you can see an Australian Brown Wood Duck pruning its feathers and showing signs of gentle business. A malachite kingfisher is perched on a branch and stares at the water in the hope to see a fish swimming to the surface of the water. There are few sounds and these are mostly made by birds, frogs or tree fronds gently touching other trees.

IMG 0806a    IMG 0805a  

My description of this beautiful environment is right here on the back porch of our school. We are so lucky to be able to offer our students a place that serves so many purposes. We have a real ecology to explore and analyse through microscopes and books. We are able to identify various species of flora and fauna, very typical of Southeast Queensland as well as have a place to relax and find peace on any school day.

Dr Montessori suggests that individuals of all ages need nature to restore balance and to get in touch with our natural development. Dr Montessori said “But if for the physical life it is necessary to have the child exposed to the vivifying forces of nature, it is also necessary for his psychical life to place the soul of the child in contact with creation.” Psychologists today are finding that children spending time in nature are showing reduced levels of stress, higher levels of self-discipline and appear to have better self-esteem.

We recommend that each student and adult realises the beauty of nature, shares space with our environment sustainably and understands the relevance of our mutual co-dependency.

Come and ask staff to show you around the school and visit our gorgeous billabong.

Yvonne Rinaldi
Caboolture Montessori School

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Behaviours to consider...


Analysing any behaviour is always intriguing and often confusing. Behaviour takes on a strong meaning when we have a two year old visiting a shopping centre with mum who, all of a sudden, may display unhappy feelings by throwing themselves on the floor, thrashing arms and legs and ululating some incoherent sentence. That is generally when mum looks around and would like to say: "I do not know this creature, would you like her?", or "What did I do to deserve this?", "The entire centre must be looking at me".

Have you ever experienced anything like this? Surely not!

In a Montessori class, we have similar situations. Children in our 3-6 Community, may at times resentfully disagree with adult or peer decision making and will display behaviours that we would rather not witness. How do we deal with these impromptu events? We adopt a modification behaviour model:

  1. Handle each situation in its own right
  2. Ensure safety is addressed
  3. Lead the child to a quiet space in the room
  4. Plan with them a different way of expressing feelings

A great help with understanding children and their behaviours are the Montessori defined Stages of Development. Identifying what children need and how they view the world at any point in time helps us manage and guide the direction towards which the child would be most likely to succeed. Each stage has unique qualities and clear needs that must be provided within the environment.


This method works most times and the results are beneficial in producing positive, non-punitive learning. However there are times when reasoning is over and we would like to voice loudly the four letters in the acronym above. HELP! We look at the child's background, including cultural attitudes and involve the family to help us make the necessary changes so we have happy, engaged children.

Any method adopted will be futile without the support of the family. The contribution parents make to their child's positive behaviour cannot be expressed and valued enough. Children want to please and mostly want their family to accept them as loved individuals; hence the relationship between children and parents is the most critical of all. At school we can only reinforce what we feel is acceptable to our society and that will provide the individual with every chance of future success.

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We would like to express our gratitude to the Queensland Government and to the Caboolture Montessori School Board for providing funds and strategies in securing a stable and safe environment for our community and for the community of the Moreton Bay Region.

The Queensland Government has provided an External Infrastructure Grant to complete the alterations to Old Gympie Road in front of our school. The Grant will provide our school with over $200,000 to match the same amount sourced by CMS for the cost of changes.

Our little semi-rural educational setting, through great strategic planning of our School Board and school management, is meeting objectives to grow our school to 300 students. Growth is happening with considerations to safety and future needs.

We would like to officially thank the following agents, instrumental in completing this project:

  • The project managers and designers of the project UDP Consulting Engineers, specifically the Senior Engineer Mark Ryan.
  • Shadforths Civil contractors for executing an amazing project speedily and professionally.
  • The School Board for thinking ahead and ensuring our school moves forward considering all safety measures.
  • Last but certainly not least our thanks to Simon Dwyer from KHA Development Managers for being our town planning advisor and ensuring all facets of our Development Approval were progressing with no problems and within a rather tight and demanding budget.


Gympie changes 14

Further developments

We have applied for a new Development Application with Council to increase our enrolment numbers from 150 to 300 and this has now been granted.

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Parents are working really hard with us to develop skills and behaviours to foster resilience. We know the benefits of this important quality. By giving children resilience we are providing them with confidence and strength to cope with everyday bumps in their journey to adulthood.

Feel comfortable is saying NO, with no anger, fight or long discussion. The word NO can be at times the most positive manner to manage future problems. Of course consistency is presumed; No cannot be for when we are angry or frustrated.

The word should be used when we want to give the child the right direction.

How to grow confident children

1. Self-Protection

The whole point behind having boundaries is to keep things that are harmful to us away, and keep things that are healthy for us close. It’s important for children to learn how to say no when something feels threatening, to learn how to tell the truth, and to learn the appropriate physical distance to keep from strangers.

As a parent, self-protection can be taught by allowing the child to say no when they feel smothered or harmed. This will allow the child to feel safe, and know it’s OK to say no if they are scared or in discomfort. What will this do for your child? It gives them the practice of saying “no”, so when the time comes when they are put under peer pressure, it will be second nature for them to say “no” to them as well…all because they’ve had 10-12 years of practice under their belt of saying no to harmful things.

2. Taking Responsibility for One’s Needs

One of the most important things a parent can do is encourage the expression of feelings in a child, even if it doesn’t match how the parent or rest of family feels. Realize that you as a parent must feel comfortable talking about feelings in order to be able to help your child take responsibility for their own feelings. When you see your children struggling with a situation, or when something traumatic happens in your family, ask your children how they feel. Allow them to talk about the negative emotions they are experiencing. Most importantly, allow them to talk about these negative feelings without trying to make them feel better. If kids perceive their parents trying to cheer them up, they may begin to think that feeling sad or upset is “wrong” & not something that is natural to feel. This is why it is important to allow your child to express negative and uncomfortable emotions. Lastly, if your children ask you questions that seem hard, don’t assume you have to have all the right answers!

3. Having a Sense of Control & Choice

Whether it’s letting your child choose what they want for breakfast, or what colleges they want to (or not to) apply to, children like to have choices in their lives so they don’t feel helpless and dependent upon adults. A lot of parents have great intentions in trying to prevent their children from making painful decisions. However, if you intervene too often, you do more harm than good. Interfering in a child’s decision making process stunts their ability to think for themselves, develop self-esteem and character. It also impedes their ability to see two options in front of them, and be able to use discernment in their decision making ability.

A great way to teach discernment in parenting is to give options when disciplining. If your child is refusing to act appropriately, give them options. For example, if they’re refusing to clean their room, you can say, “You’re right, you can choose not to do this, but remember, if you choose not to do this, you’re also choosing not to go to the party/etc… tomorrow night”.

4. Delaying Gratification of Goals

Dr. Cloud & Dr. Townsend point out that delaying gratification for a child can begin as early as age 2. What does this look like? It means teaching children the value of saving, the value of patience, and waiting their turn. This being taught at a very early age is what keeps children from turning into impulsive adults with the “I want it now” attitude. This helps children become goal oriented and teaches them to value what they buy.

5. Respecting the Limits of Others

Kids by nature are ego-centric. They think the world revolves around them. Boundaries help them realize the world DOES NOT revolve around them. Why is this important? It helps them to be able to entertain themselves and not be dependent on others. It also teaches them to hear the word “no” and listen to it. At the same time, it teaches children to become empathetic & learn how to love another person. They learn how to think of how other people feel, and not always think of how they feel.

How a parent approaches boundaries in child rearing has an enormous impact on their child’s self-esteem, how they develop morals, and how well they do academically, socially and in relationships.

Tamara Wilhelm, MA, LMHC

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Our Mission

The Caboolture Montessori School's mission is to educate individuals in our school and community by implementing the Montessori philosophy and methodology. Our aim is to prepare a developmentally appropriate environment to encourage our children to responsibly and respectfully engage in their learning journey.

Contact Details

  • Address: 200 Old Gympie Road, Caboolture, QLD, 4510, Australia.
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  • Phone: 07 5495 5877
  • Fax: 07 5499 3927