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I always get excited preparing for Jump Rope for Heart.  It happens every year in springtime and I get an adrenalin rush counting down the days.  Because of COVID-19 our parents won’t be able to come and watch us this year but we’re thinking about organising a live stream so they can watch from home or work.”

This will be Maree Barbara’s tenth year of raising money for the Heart Foundation by participating in the annual Jump Rope for Heart event onsite at FMS.  It’s one of the many events Maree loves but this year is particularly special as she’s one of the leaders and will be organising the routines for the whole school.  Jump rope for Heart is one of the many ways we unite the school with every student from 3 years to 12 years old involved.

Maree, graduating from Forestville Montessori School this year, started with us when she was 18 months old in the NIDO program.  She can still remember always looking down into Christine’s room and wishing she could be with the older children.  Her wish was granted because Christine was her teacher when she was in the Children’s House.

“We made scones.  We all took turns based on the alphabet.  I was M for Maree, so I had to learn to wait a few times.  I started learning to bake with Christine and I still love baking today.  I’ve moved on from scones to cupcakes, biscuits, brownies and lots of savoury goodies.  I love cooking.’

We got chatting about all her other teachers at FMS, “The teachers at FMS are amazing.  They’re just great!  We learn a lot, but we also have a lot of fun, I love it.”

Asked what her favourite subject was and she didn’t miss a beat;

“History for sure.  I’ve been researching migration and learning about refugees.  It’s so interesting finding out about migration around the world, where people come from, the patterns of migration and how they arrive in Australia.  Now we’ve moved on to the three phases of history.”

The list of subjects she enjoys extends well beyond her favourite one.  At the moment she’s enjoying photography although she admits she doesn’t see herself as an artist, but she likes doing art.  In mathematics, she finds the materials very helpful when it comes to really understanding a concept and the particulars of mathematics.  Lauren, she says, one of her teachers, explains things to her really well and that helps her to learn in a meaningful way.   It’s the variety of what’s on offer in the Upper Primary (9-12 Years) that she really enjoys and the freedom her teachers give her to get into the subject in a ‘big way’.

She has lots of fond memories of Forestville Montessori School.  One that definitely stays with her is the camping trip at the beginning of her time in Upper Primary (9-12 Years) because it was real camping in. a tent and helped her to get to know all the other children in 9-12.

‘I’ve made so many great friends.  We’re a small group but we’re really close.  Three of us met in NIDO!  We don’t always agree but that’s a good thing.  We really respect each other.”

The Barbara family has a long association with Forestville Montessori School.  Maree’s two sisters also attended, Isabella who is now 14 years old and Gabrielle who is 15.  They started in NIDO and had Christine Wright as their Pre-School (3-6 Years) teacher too.

‘My mum and dad sent me to FMS because it’s a great school.  You learn more about how to manage your time, do really interesting things and it’s just so much fun.’  Says Maree.

She’s looking forward to high school but thinks she’ll miss the Montessori materials and learning to do things with your hands.

Asked if she would like anything to change or improve at FMS and she was quite definite.

“No, I really like it just the way it is.”

Interested to hear how Montessori students manage the transition to high school? Click here to read our interview with Maree's parents.

Keen to see how a Montessori education can help your child thrive beyond like Maree? 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. Denice’s passion for Montessori education led her to undertake the AMI Introduction to Adolescents Course, to audit the AMI 6-12 Diploma, and to also currently undertake the AMI School Administration Certificate Course.

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