Almos Szarka-Kovacs started at FMS in our lower Primary (6-9 Years) after going to another school for Kindergarten.  He chatted about how there was way too much free time in his other school and not a lot to do.  Although he liked all the playing, he was just a little bored and wanted to learn to read.  One of his first memories of visiting FMS was seeing a library full of books in the classroom and he just knew he’d be able to become a reader.  His first teacher at FMS was Anthony Milano followed by Xarifa Gabales.

“I was born in Australia and my parents were born in Hungary.  We’ve returned a few times to stay with my grandparents in Szeged. Once  travelling to Budapest and another time on a long road trip to Italy.  I think the air in the Northern Beaches is much clearer that the air in Budapest.”

When asked about his favourite subjects, his response was very engaging, leading into a discussion about his recent research:

“I love biology and maths.  I’ve also carried out some interesting research recently on the plague doctors and their work during the bubonic plague.  They wore long coats that had been soaked and dried in a fat substance in an attempt to repel the contagious disease.  On their faces they wore a bone mask with a long nose that was filled with rose petals or other fragrances, so they didn’t have to put up with the horrid smells.  The masks were not unlike the room diffusers we have today.  These were the plague doctors own personal diffusers.”

The irony of researching the plague doctors at the time of COVID-19 was not lost on Almos and it led us into a further discussion about the work he carried out in isolation.

“In isolation I really enjoyed studying the mountain land forms and my geometry work. My mum made us work quite hard.  Isolation was good and bad, kind of lonely but I also got a lot of work done.”

With high school as the next step on his educational journey, we talked about what he’s looking forward to.

“Art classes.  I like the art we do at FMS but I’m ready for more specialised work like life drawing, portraits and cartoon techniques.  For the moment, I want a career in animation so art will be important step in being ready for that.’

One thing that’s on his mind is how he’ll get graded at high school:

“I like that FMS doesn’t give us individual grades because it doesn’t make learning scary.  That’s probably one scary thing about high school.  Another thing is missing my FMS friends but I’m also looking forward to making new friends.”

Building students’ independence is a big focus for the teachers at FMS and Almos says that’s one of the factors he really loves.  The independence his teachers give him means that he’s free to really learn and choose the way he shows his understanding of the content he is studying.

Outside of school and before COVID-19 he was taking Jiu jitzu classes but for now, weekends are highly productive as it’s all hands-on deck helping with home renovations:

“There’s not really much spare time at the moment as I’m helping my parents renovate our house.  My favourite thing so far has been the set up for pouring concrete but my sister, Neste, prefers laying floorboards.  I made $80 last weekend as I earn $10 for every sqm of floor I prepare” 

Neste started FMS with her brother and they now have time learning together in the Upper Primary (9-12 Years) environment.  Almos likes that FMS is a small school and he’s pretty happy with everything.  He’s one of our sports leaders and he really enjoys that role. He does think we need to review our approach to technology:

“It’s time for the 9-12 students to be bringing their own laptops to school so they can get on with more research in a timely way.”

Keen to see how a Montessori education can help your child thrive beyond like Almos? Book a virtual tour today!

Denice Scala

Author Denice Scala

B.A, M.Ed, Dip ED, Dip RSA, Cert. Neuroscience. Principal, Forestville Montessori School. Denice Scala is an executive leader with extensive experience in key strategic roles requiring business transformation and innovation. As a passionate advocate for the power of education to enrich lives, Denice moved from classroom teaching to leadership positions in 1992 and since then has held international in roles in Scotland and Australia as Principal, Head of Junior School, and Head of Learning Support. She has an impressive working knowledge of early learning, primary, middle, and secondary schooling including gifted education and special needs. Her Masters in Gifted Education led her to work extensively to find ways to cater for gifted students. This led to providing professional development opportunities for educators to assist in their understanding of the characteristics of gifted children and the complexities of growing up gifted. Denice’s unparalleled grasp of current educational realities is equally matched by her big picture thinking combined with practical solutions to navigate change.

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