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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Caboolture Montessori School