Edition 3 | June 2018

Immersion Experiences

In our first Immersion Experiences article
we revisit URStrong and have a guest section on Nature's Pharmacy.

Discovering Magical Maths

What is URStrong?Visit URStrong Website

URStrong is an internationally-recognised friendship program that empowers students in grades 1 to 6 with the skills, language, and self-confidence to be better friends and develop healthier relationships. The research clearly shows that children with healthy friendships perform better academically, have higher self-esteem, a more positive body image, get involved in more leadership roles, and make smarter decisions in future relationships.

Following the URSTRONG workshops for our 6-9 and 9-12 students, FRIENDOLOGY 101 sessions have now commenced. These are being run by our trainers, Xarifa and Tamlin who attended the train the trainer session and are bringing lots of great ideas to our students.

The sessions begin with a pre-assessment, so we know what the children are thinking and how to tailor the session to their needs. At the end, the children take a post-assessment to see how their thinking has changed. We’re including these statistics in the global database, so we can see how our work is progressing and the positive difference the sessions are making.



  • How to Get Real
  • How to make Friends
  • How to be a Good Friend
  • How to put our Friendship Fires
  • How to be a Friendship Ninja
  • How to handle a Tricky Situation
  • How to remember URSTRONG

So, what do the children have to say so far?


“It’s good to have a kind of plan when you get into odd conversations with your friends.”

“I think we get this stuff in theory but now we all need to practice.”


“I’m liking the word Friendship Fire because when I say it my friends don't think I’m being nasty to them. We just need to put out a friendship fire then it’s all done and we go and play.”


Down the track we’ll run a parent workshop to help with encouraging the same techniques at home. This is conflict resolution for children and the beauty for FMS is that we have a common language and approach that we can all use as we continue to develop our culture of grace and courtesy.

Learn More on URStrong Website


Exploring Natures’s Pharmacy For Even Greater Independence

We invited Karenna Reidy, a parent with a daughter in our 6-9 class, to share her vast knowledge of practical applications of essential oils. Karenna currently teaches Japanese style yoga classes and runs workshops combining Japanese Yoga with pure essential oils.

This is an independent article promoting natural health. Forestville Montessori School invites future articles sponsored by providers, terms and conditions apply. Please contact Alena Swinbourne, our Stakeholder and School Relations Coordinator for more information.

Nature's PharmacyThe year before last I was chopping pumpkin when the knife suddenly slipped and I cut my finger quite badly. Despite the blood and the shock, my heart warmed when my daughter (then 4 years old) compassionately asked “Mama shall I get the Tea Tree oil?”.

What are Essential Oils?

There are many definitions out there – the quickest and simplest way to think of essential oils is that they’re the immune system of the plant. How that relates to us as humans is that on a chemistry level, we’re aligned with plants. We actually speak the same language (albeit with different accents!). Therefore, when we use pure therapeutic grade essential oils on our bodies we’re tapping into that wisdom of nature and supporting ourselves to strengthen and heal. In this way we can think of essential oils as nature’s pharmacy*.

That fateful moment my daughter offered me the Tea Tree oil, I realised that my choice to use essential oils in our home had far greater reach than simply supporting our day to day health hiccups. Yes, it empowers me as a parent, but perhaps even more importantly it empowers my daughter to connect with her own inner wisdom, it grants her sovereignty over her own body and is a gift for her entire life where she can take a big positive step away from the ‘learned helplessness’ that we see these days as far as it relates to taking care of our own health. The ultimate Montessori moment!

For years now, we’ve used essential oils for just about every common and simple ailment. Sometimes the essential oil is enough, sometimes we use the oils to complement other natural modalities that we use. The beauty of using essential oils is that it’s not an either/or scenario with other holistic health approaches.

Here are a few ideas for using essential oils to support everyday issues that are part and parcel of parenting and life.


After washing clean with warm water and soap, try a drop of Tea Tree oil (for antibacterial qualities), layer it with a drop of Lavender oil (for calming as well as analgesic properties) and if you think there’s a chance of scarring, layer on top of that a drop of Frankincense oil. Alternatively, you can make up a rollerbottle** ahead of time with the three oils mentioned above (try 5-10 drops of each in a 10ml rollerbottle) and top it up with Fractionated Coconut Oil(FCO)***.


To prevent: Diffuse a Protective Blend containing clove oil, wild orange oil, cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil and rosemary oil. Clove is nature’s strongest antioxidant and is proven to prevent the spread of pathogens in the air. A great website to check the science behind this is pubmed.com.

To get well: A 10ml rollerbottle blend known as the ‘immune bomb’ is highly effective: try 10 drops each of Frankincense, Lemon, Protective Blend oil (the one with clove in it), Oregano, Tea Tree and top it up with FCO. Apply morning and night under the feet (and up to once every 4 hours if the child is home from school).


Peppermint oil really clears the airways and opens the lungs. You can also try a Respiratory Blend that contains Laurel Leaf, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara and Ravensara oils (think of this blend like Vicks without the petroleum).

Just place a drop of either the peppermint oil or the Respiratory blend in the palm of the hands and inhale. You can also dilute (with FCO) and apply a drop to the chest, back and bottoms of the feet. At night time try putting a few drops in a diffuser and run throughout night to aid sleeping.


There are a number of oils that are known to ward off mosquitoes. I personally use a repellent Outdoor Blend spray that has a mix of Ylang Ylang, Tamanu, Nootka, Cedarwood, Catnip, Lemon Eucalyptus, Litsea and Arbovitae oils. I spray my daughter every day before school – she seems to be a mosquito magnet at FMS – and it’s very effective.


Lavender oil by itself can also be very soothing, however I need something a bit stronger for my mosquito-allergy cherub. A blend I’ve come to know and love (very well!) contains Lemon, Siberian Fir, Citronella, Lime, Tea Tree, and Cilantro oils. This is what I’ve had the most success with. The trick is to get a drop on the bite as soon as possible and apply every 15-30 minutes until the swelling reduces. Once the skin is broken I find Lavender oil and Tea Tree to be helpful in preventing further infection. I’ve also used the blend mentioned above on tick, bee and wasp bites and have had phenomenal results.


* The quality of the essential oils you use is of paramount importance and there’s next to no regulation in this industry. Therefore, if you are purchasing your oils from supermarkets or even health food shops, please do not expect to get the desired results. This is because unfortunately these oils simply aren’t therapeutically pure despite being allowed to print ‘pure’ on their label (and this includes some ‘organic’ oils). Look for an essential oil company that is transparent about its testing practices and sourcing processes and you won’t be disappointed.

** Rollerbottles can be purchased on ebay for a few dollars each. Just google ‘glass rollerbottle 10 ml amber ebay’ and you’ll find them easily.

*** Diluting has many benefits and is crucial when using essential oils with children. The younger the child, the more dilution is required. The general rule of thumb for a 10ml rollerbottle that’s topped up with FCO is: babies: 1-3 drops of essential oil (EO); 1-5 yrs kids: 6-15 drops of EO; 6-11 yrs: 15-50 drops of EO; 12-17 yrs: 30- ratio of 1:1 (drops of EO to carrier oil); adults: 1:1 (drops of EO to carrier oil); elderly: go back to kids ratios. Fractionated Coconut oil is the best oils to dilute with. Other oils that can be effective include jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed oils.

The above is an independent article promoting natural health. Forestville Montessori School invites future articles sponsored by providers, terms and conditions apply. Please contact Alena Swinbourne, our Stakeholder and School Relations Coordinator for more information.