Term 2, 2018
Welcome back for Term 2. I trust your family had a refreshing break from the school routine. Welcome also to our new students, Savannah and Batsi.
There are a few events coming up this term which you should note, either for action or for your information:
- Gardening: Cycle 2 classes will be combining into mixed groups to tend the three cycle 2 gardens this term. Thank you to Peta, Flynn’s mum, who has volunteered to assist with supervising the groups for this activity. A different group of 6-8 students will be gardening each Tuesday and Friday morning. Each child will be rostered to several sessions of gardening for the term.
- Journey and Discovery: Journey and Discovery is 2-part workshop to help parents better understand the Montessori philosophy and method. It is run at the school by Yvonne and teaching staff twice a year and it is expected that all enrolled families attend as early as practicable in their child’s time at CMS. The next J&D will be held on Friday evening 11 May and Saturday morning 12 May, at the school. Child minding is available on site. Places are limited so it is essential that you book your place by contacting the School Secretary, as soon as possible. Journey and Discovery is always enjoyable and illuminating, and if you have not yet attended, I strongly urge you to take the next available opportunity to do so.
- Hive Mind: This term, our entire school community will be collaborating on a unique and insightful art project known as “Hive Mind”. Hive Mind is a ‘community driven art installation and research project’. The staff had the pleasure of meeting the facilitator and creating our contributions to the installation on 16 April. This included pondering and recording our answers to the questions: “When you were younger, what did you wonder about?” and “What do you hope for yourself when you are older?” The answers to these questions will become part of the installation in a surprising and ingenious way. Members of the broader school community will have an opportunity to contribute to the project later in the term, and I encourage you to take the opportunity if you can. The students in our class will have our main session on the project on Friday 11 May.
- 20th anniversary celebrations: As you may by now be aware, this year is our school’s 20th anniversary. A major event to celebrate this, titled ‘Back to the Future’, will be held at the school on Sunday 20 May. Watch the newsletter and CMS notes for more information.
- Parent-Teacher interviews: This semester, the school is trialling a new arrangement for Parent-Teacher interviews. Monday 18 June will be a student-free day. All parent-teacher interviews will be scheduled throughout the day and I believe some time into the evening. There will be more information being made available through the school admin but please be aware that there will be no school on that day and make whatever arrangements are necessary for your children. I’d like to emphasise that admin will be seeking feedback from parents after the day has run its course. Please save your feedback for then!
- Sharing: We will continue sharing (‘show and tell’) on Friday afternoons this term. Every week, children will have an opportunity to share with a small group and every term they are rostered once to share with the whole class. I am attaching the roster for your information. Please support your child to be prepared, particularly for their whole-class sharing day. Generally, I am encouraging them to only bring a prop on the day that they are rostered to share with the whole class. On other days, they will have practice talking about a pre-considered topic with their small group.
- NAPLAN: NAPLAN will be held for year 3 students on 15, 16 and 17 May. Although only a few students in our class will be sitting the test this year, many of our children are at risk of being exposed to negative messages about NAPLAN which could lead to a negative experience for them when they do start sitting the tests. At CMS, our approach is to encourage the children to treat NAPLAN as a new and interesting experience. As they move through life, children will at times undergo procedures similar to NAPLAN and this is all part of life experience. Having done these tests and maintained their perspective on them will help prepare them for similar experiences in the future. Most of my students enjoy the novelty and feel a bit special as it is something that only the seniors in the class get to do. I emphasise that what they do in NAPLAN doesn’t have any bearing on them personally whatsoever. However, unfortunately, the mainstream media sends the message to children and families that performance in NAPLAN is something that has a lasting personal impact and many children experience intense anxiety as a result. I mention this here in the hope that you can start debunking these false messages so that your child has a healthy attitude to this testing at such time as they are subjected to it.
- ANZAC day: Wednesday 25 April is a public holiday for ANZAC day. The school will be represented in the Caboolture march – parents are welcome to join our community in marching alongside their children. If you would like to join us, look for the permission form which went out last term with CMS notes or contact the office.
- Uniform policy: I draw your attention to the school’s uniform policy, which is being made available via Parent lounge and the website. I’d like to highlight the following points from the policy, for you to keep in mind as you continually update your child’s wardrobe and monitor their readiness for school each day:
- “the wearing of school uniform brings with it many benefits such as the promotion of the school’s public image; an enhanced school spirit; a reduction in rivalry between students; an increase in convenience and cost-saving for parents; and preparation for work environments which have dress and safety codes.”
- “Shoes are to be flat, enclosed and ALL BLACK.” – While ‘all black’ can sometimes be difficult to source, black with some silver or white trim is far preferable to multi-coloured.
- “Hair which is shoulder length or longer must be tied back with navy blue hair ties or hair accessories available from the uniform supplier.” – Large or ostentatious hair accessories often serve as a distraction and I usually ask people to put these straight in their bags on these occasions.
- Of course, there are exceptional circumstances and occasional unavoidable lapses in a child’s school uniform are understandable, however, the policy is intended to generally be adhered to by our school community.
- I’d like to make one more point regarding uniform. In our school, we spend a lot of time sitting on the floor. Consider whether you would feel comfortable doing this dressed in a skirt, particularly one which is mid-thigh length. I highly recommend the ‘skort’ (ie pleated shorts), which can be purchased at low cost from major retailers and complies perfectly with our uniform policy, as well as being comfortable, practical and monkey-bar friendly.
Best wishes for a safe and productive term,
Term 1 2017
Gabi has been working very hard this week and wanted to share it with you.
TERM 3, 2016
Hello Seahorse parents,
Welcome back to a busy term 3. A special welcome to our new students who have come to us from Cycle 1 this semester, Matthew and Jackson.
Concert: The biggest thing happening this term is the school concert, in the last week of the term. The Seahorses developed ideas and started work on the script for our production last term and we are now in the final stages of script development. Thank you to those people who have sent in cardboard; our specific needs will become much clearer in a few weeks as we start set production and I might send a renewed request, but for the time being we have heaps to get started with. Also thanks already to Shae, who is providing invaluable assistance with choreography.
Weekly routine: A brief reminder of the general structure of our week:
- Library with Kelly is on even Tuesdays (ie weeks 2, 4, 6 etc).
- Italian with Rosie is at 10:45 every Thursday.
- Sport with Kelly is at 1:45 every Thursday. Students can wear coloured sport shirts on Thursdays.
- Sharing: All students share (ie show and tell) with a small group every week. Each child is rostered to share with the whole class once per term. The roster for this term is attached.
- Please bring homework folders in on Fridays.
- Birthday celebrations: We love to have parents join us for their child’s birthday celebration. As your child’s birthday approaches, please make contact to arrange a convenient time to join us. Some parents bring a plate of healthy food to share with the class but this is entirely optional. The best time for birthday celebrations is in the afternoon leading into pick-up time but we are flexible.
- We are so lucky to have a number of parent helpers who have regularly come to help with reading and other activities throughout the year. If you are interested in coming in on a regular basis, we would love to hear from you.
- We have more books requiring covering – If you would like to take some home to cover, I will put some packs of a few books and some contact together which will be available to pick up from Monday 18 July. If you can’t pick them up yourself, email me and I’ll send the pack home with your child. I can’t wait to get these books into the classroom!
- Our class meeting for this term will be this Tuesday 19 July at 3:15pm in the classroom. I’m really sorry for the short notice and I understand if you can’t make it. The purpose of the meeting is just to go through our routines and procedures, meet new parents and discuss the upcoming semester. I will send a summary by email after the meeting.
- Just a reminder about the philosophy of homework. Mandatory homework is not associated with Montessori education. However, we know that children benefit from having daily practice, with adult support, of skills such as reading and sight word recognition. The obvious way to provide this daily support for every child is for a parent to work with them at home on reading and sight words. Even independent readers will get value from discussing their comprehension of more complex texts with an adult.
- To facilitate these benefits for the Seahorses, we provide levelled readers for children to read with support at home, which we change every Friday, as well as sight words according to the progress of each individual student. Children also take their word sorts on a fortnightly basis and this is an enjoyable link between home and the spelling that the children are learning at school.
- Parents of independent readers are encouraged to start the habit of sharing a book together on a regular basis.
- Please bring homework folders on Fridays.
- It is very helpful for us if parents fill in the reading log. If you have not had a chance to read the books during the week, still send them back and we will not change those books which have not been read. The folder needs to come for new sight words and word sorts.
- Please ensure that your child has a functioning water bottle, labelled with their name, and support them to bring it to school every day.
- Please ensure that all your child’s clothing and equipment is clearly marked. Don’t forget to check the lost property seat/box (just outside admin) if you are missing something, named or otherwise.
- Children must be under parental supervision if on school grounds prior to 8:15am.
- Pick-up: Staff have been lamenting the traffic situation at pick-up time. This is a good time to remind parents that children in Cycles 2 and 3 do not arrive at the pick-up area until 2:55. If you find yourself waiting in the queue before 2:55, please either do a lap around the carpark and merge back into the queue or park in the carpark. Cars waiting at the front of the queue for children who have not arrived at pick-up prevent other parents from reaching the pick-up area and this can then result in traffic backing up onto the road. Likewise, if you are entering the school and a car has done a lap and is trying to merge back into the queue, please make way for them, as their actions have helped the queue move forward.
- As always, thanks go to our regular parent helpers. Thank you also to those whose changed circumstances have enabled them to offer their help for the first time. We will be in touch…
- Many people don’t know that a volunteer, Katie Iliffe, has been working with us on Mondays since term 1. Katie is a former student of the school and is currently undertaking Cert III in Education Support. As Monday is our day without an assistant, Katie’s help has been monumental and we are indebted to her.
I hope to see some of you on Tuesday for the class meeting.
Marg and Leah
April 14, 2016
Welcome back for term 2, Seahorses!
I trust you all had a safe and enjoyable Easter break. It was great to see the children back and enthusiastic about the new term. Here is an update on our classroom procedures for the term:
Homework: Please return homework folders on Fridays. Readers will be replaced and the children will put in their new word sort words. Thank you to all those parents who have been filling in the reading log – this information is very helpful to us when choosing new readers, particularly for the younger children.
Sharing: Sharing for every student will again be on Thursdays after lunch. Everyone shares with a small group every week. Each student will be rostered one Thursday for the term to share with the whole class. Please see the attached roster and assist your child to be prepared for their rostered day.
Lunches: A reminder again that the school is nut-free. As the children are free to eat their lunches in any classroom, it is very important that we all remember this, for the safety of those children whose anaphylaxis may put their lives at risk if they come into contact with nuts.
An important part of the Montessori philosophy and method is promoting independence in children. An idea to help with this at home is to encourage your children to be involved in their own food preparation, for example, by packing their own lunch (without nuts of course!).
Parent helpers: We have been so fortunate to have the assistance of a number of parent helpers, both regularly in the classroom and helping with making materials. I am looking forward to welcoming our parent helpers back this term. If your circumstances have changed and you are able to help by coming regularly into the classroom, or if you can help with making materials at home, we would love to hear from you.
Cooking: Leah will again be taking small groups for cooking on Wednesdays. Each child is rostered to cook every five weeks and the food produced is shared with the whole class. We usually serve the food after checking that the children have eaten the majority of their packed lunch.
Scheduled specialist classes: A reminder that we have library with Kelly on the Tuesdays of even weeks (ie week 2, week 4 etc). Italian with Rosie is every Thursday (10:45 – 11:45) and Sport with Kelly is on Thursdays (1:45 – 2:45).
Exciting new developments: Leah is a qualified and registered teacher and this year she is advancing her already considerable skills and knowledge by undertaking her Montessori Diploma through Montessori World Education Institute (MWEI). The injection of fresh knowledge and perspectives will not only benefit Leah but our class and the school in general. As part of her training, Leah will be doing a number of placements in other Montessori schools and Children’s Houses. The first of these is set to take place on Thursdays throughout this term. On those days, we are lucky to have the services of Katie Iliffe, who currently volunteers in the classroom on Mondays as part of her Teacher Aide training.
Parents and Friends Association: Did you know that the P&F conducts essential fundraising activities and represents all families in the school community? It can only exist with the involvement of parents and all are welcome and encouraged to become involved. I encourage all Seahorse parents to consider attending P&F meetings to become involved in the school community and help continue to carry this great organisation forward.
Breaking news: The Seahorses will be having an all-day excursion to Caboolture Historical Village on Tuesday 17 May. We will require two parent helpers who are able to stay for the whole day. The plan is for students to be dropped off in the morning and picked up at the end of the school day from the Village, which is just around the corner, in Beerburrum Rd. Watch this space for more details soon.
Have a great term and don’t forget to check the attached Sharing roster!
Marg and Leah
COOKING IN TERM 1
This term we are cooking each Wednesday, using
produce where we can from our newly established garden bed within the School
community gardens. Japanese pancakes with one of our parents was a hit in Week
3. This week we have sown seeds for basil, oregano, tomatoes, capsicum and
eggplant and the children are looking forward to pizza after the harvest.
Marg & Leah
More news from the Seahorses
CMS children were excited to learn about bees, with the imminent arrival of our native bee hive.
Hello Seahorse parents,
Welcome to term 3! We would especially like to extend a welcome to two new students joining us this term: Yusuf, who has come to us from Cycle 1, and Isabelle, who is new to the school. Here is a brief rundown of what is happening in 2A this term:
Homework : Starting in week 2, all students will again be bringing home “word sorts”. Having their clear plastic homework folder in their bag on Mondays will assist with getting these sheets home in one piece. A reminder on the procedure for using these lists of words will be included with week 2’s words. Those students who are not yet independent readers are strongly encouraged to take home levelled readers and sight word lists to read regularly with an adult at home. We recommend that students read each book two or more times and then bring their folder back (on any day of the week) to have their books changed.
Morning routine : We will continue to spend from 8:15 to 8:25 playing running and throwing games on the hard court. This is not a part of the official school day, so attendance is optional.
Parent rep. : I am pleased to advise that the wonderful Sarah Heath will be continuing in this role this term.
Class meeting : Class meetings for all Cycle 2 classes for term 3 will be held commencing at 3:15pm on Thursday 23 July, in the respective classrooms. The purpose of the class meetings is to provide an opportunity to discuss the term program, activities and routines in more detail. While this opportunity is always available on an individual basis (see the section below regarding my availability for meetings), having a collective meeting is efficient and gives parents an opportunity to meet and interact with one another.
Unfortunately, past experience has shown that the presence of children at these meetings causes a significant disruption, and the school is not set up to provide casual care for a wide range of ages. For these reasons, we do ask that you make alternative arrangements for the care of your children for that session if you wish to attend. We understand that it can be difficult to arrange alternatives for childcare after school and that some parents will be unable to attend for this reason. I will send out a summary of the discussion by email after the meeting. Unless you have specific questions about an activity, you may, therefore, find it more convenient to await the email and then follow up with any other questions which arise.
Communication: By far the most efficient means of communication with myself and/or Leah is by email. If there is anything you would like to discuss, please send an email to arrange a time to meet. I am usually available on Monday, Wednesday (only until 3:30) and Thursday afternoons.
Sharing: The Seahorses will again be sharing with a small group every Thursday between PE and playtime. Each week, 2-3 students will also be rostered to share with the whole class. Please assist your child to be prepared for their rostered sharing time as it would be disappointing to miss their one rostered time for the term. Some examples of meaningful sharing topics are: a recount of a weekend outing; something the student made; a photo of a significant event, family member or friend with an explanation of their significance; a souvenir from a holiday; an interesting shell or other found natural object, along with an explanation of how they found it. Please note that a toy is not an appropriate item for sharing in this forum.
Concert: This year, in a CMS first, all three Cycle 2 classes will be combining to prepare and present an item for the concert, which will be held on the last Thursday night of term. Be assured that many more details on this will follow in due course. Rehearsals are commencing in week 1 and you should note that, while no Junior students have been given a speaking role, they all have non-speaking parts and will perform in at least one dance number. As students progress through Cycle 2, they will have opportunities to perform speaking roles. As the term progresses, prop and costume production will commence in earnest. Please contact us or Sarah, our parent rep, if you are available to assist with this in any way, either with the children at school, or at home.
Term plan: This term our Cosmic Ed. studies revolve around the Second Great Story: the coming of life. In particular, we will be focusing on botany. A comprehensive term overview will be posted outside the classroom.
Looking forward to another busy term. Hope to see you at the class meeting.
Marg and Leah
TERM 2 WORK
The term got off to a big bang with the first great Montessori story: The Cosmic Story. Over the term, we began with the study of astronomy and progressed to Earth and its geology. The children carried out physics experiments relating to gravity and force and made plasticine models of the earth and its composition.
TERM 2 – 24 April, 2015
Hello Seahorse parents,
Welcome to a new term at CMS! We trust you and your children had a refreshing holiday period. This is just a brief rundown of some of the upcoming highlights of this term.
We have had a lovely start to the term with the children settling in quickly. The term got off to a big bang on Monday afternoon with the long-awaited First Great Story of the formation of the Universe and Earth. The children are excited about learning more about space and Earth. The big bang, black holes and volcanoes were some of the popular topics. If you have any materials at home which you think might be relevant to this topic, do feel free to send them in, either for a day or for several weeks, at your discretion. Please ensure particularly that books are named so we can be confident that they will get back to you. The Great Story will set the scene for our study of Astronomy, Physics concepts of gravity and forces and finally a closer look at the landforms and continents on Earth.
I am excited about the spelling program we are implementing this term. It is based on the acclaimed “Words Their Way” system, which emphasises higher-order thinking to sort words according to contrasting spelling patterns. This takes the focus away from rote memorisation and is well-aligned with Montessori principles and methodology. All students will be bringing words home to sort and more information will be sent with them in the next few weeks.
To brighten up our room when the children are eating and to aid in keeping the classroom clean, we are going to invest in some placemats and tablecloths. As these will need to be laundered each week, we will develop a system of sending the washing home with a different student each week. In this way families will only have laundry duty about twice per year. As a Practical Life activity, the students will be developing their needlework skills to embellish the placemats.
Sharing in small groups will continue this term and the groups have been mixed up so that most children have a different sharing group and day from last term. Please continue to look out for their sharing reminder slips, on which the students record the topic they intend to present at their next sharing session. Your assistance in ensuring they are prepared for these sessions is greatly appreciated.
You may have noticed that the communication book is no longer in place outside the classroom door. Email is by far the most efficient means of communicating with us, but likewise, if you are present in person outside the classroom either before or after school and need to arrange a meeting or pass on information, this is also welcome. Please be aware though that our priority at these times (and throughout the day) is the children, so we will not usually be able to have a lengthy discussion, nor be checking email continuously during the day. If you need to discuss anything, however minor, the best option is to arrange a time to meet straight after school. These arrangements can be made either in person or by email (with a day or two’s notice for email). If you have urgent information and cannot get to the classroom door, the best option is to send a note with your child or phone the office and ask them to pass on a message.
Finally, a reminder that the ever-popular, but optional, morning run on the hard court is continuing this term from 8.15 – 8.30 each morning. With the cooler weather commencing, this is a good opportunity to get the blood flowing to extremities and brains for a good start to the day.
Marg and Leah
Language in Term 1
This term our language work has focused on the narrative writing genre and we have enjoyed the work of great writers and storytellers. The students have created their own writing books and work together in weekly writers’ workshops. Once they have completed their rough copy, they rewrite it into their writing book using their handwriting skills.
Music in Term 1
We are utilising one of our new resources – a set of untuned percussion instruments. They are beautifully made from timber and other natural materials.
We are learning musical notation, based on a simplified form of standard musical notation and concentrating on rhythm.
Ideally, this would lead to the children being able to create and notate their own rhythms.
Cultural in Term 1
In conjunction with our responsibility this term for raising and lowering the school flag, our study of countries has been complemented by a closer look at flags of Australia and the world: we have also been learning the National Anthem. Our Parts of The Flag activity is shown here.
Welcome Seahorse parents,
New and returning, to a brand new year! I trust you all had an enjoyable, safe and refreshing Christmas period and that you and your children are looking forward to the new school year. We are starting the year with 20 Seahorses, including 7 new students, three of whom are also new to CMS. We are looking forward to getting to know them and their families.
You will notice some changes in the way we do things in 2A this year. Sharing (show and tell) will initially be done in small groups, with every child expected to present to their group once per week. Students will soon be coming home with a reminder slip showing the date and topic for them to share with their group. Please support your child in being prepared for these sessions by reminding them of any props they may need to bring to school on the day.
Starting in around week 2, students will have weekly spelling words which will be beneficial for them to practise at home. The whole class will be testing each other on their words on Mondays and receiving new words on Tuesdays. We will also begin providing most students with a selection of levelled readers for reading practice at home. These will be changed weekly, with the assistance of a parent volunteer (identity to be confirmed – please see me if you might be able to help).
This term our language work will be inspired by the Great Story of the history of written communication. We will focus on the narrative genre and to help us do this we will enjoy the work of great writers and storytellers such as Aesop, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, A.A. Milne and Hans Christian Andersen. The students will support each other in their writing with weekly writers’ workshops in small groups.
In maths there will be a focus on consolidating knowledge of number facts and this is an area which, like spelling, can benefit from additional practice. In addition to our other number and operations work, we will also be focusing on fractions, geometry and problem solving.
The Great Story of the formation of the universe and Earth will start us off on our science and geography studies for the year and this term we will use this as a springboard to explore gravity and forces as well as landforms, continents and countries. In conjunction with our responsibility this term for raising and lowering the school flag, our study of countries will be complemented by a closer look at flags of Australia and the world. We will also be embarking on a musical journey with the aim of introducing music notation and establishing basic recorder skills which we will build on throughout the year.
Our topics and routines will be explained in more detail at our class meeting for parents, scheduled for Thursday 5 February at 3:15pm. This is an opportunity for parents to discuss and ask questions about the classroom management and direction for the term and the year. I am also pleased to confirm that the charming and talented Sarah Heath (Ella’s mum) will continue to act as parent representative for the class this year. Sarah will be a central point of contact for parents of Seahorses.
On a final sad note, I am sorry to announce that our class fish, Angel, did not make it through the holidays, in spite of excellent care from the Marshall family. Angel had had a long life (for a goldfish) and at times quite hair-raising life and her demise did not come as a great surprise. We will be discussing as a class how best to replace Angel and we again extend our thanks to Nina and her family for their commitment to caring for her over the break.
Best wishes with the coming weeks and we look forward to catching up on Thursday 5 February.
Marg and Leah