We are certainly going through an interesting time and how things can change in a week.  I would like to say that I am so proud to be a Montessori school due to the globalised network we belong to.  Over the past six weeks the world wide Montessori community have worked together to provide resources for school administration and teachers in the event of preparing for school closure and children learning from home.  Whilst in Australia our government are urging schools to stay open, I want to provide you with comfort with what we have in place at RMS.

Through this week we have seen a gradual increase in families who are choosing to self-isolate.  At this time, we have 13.24% of families across the school who have notified us in writing they will be keeping their children at home until further notice.  Whilst I understand this decision has not been made lightly, I thank those families for informing us of their intentions so that we are able to plan for all our children to continue with an excellent education whether at home or school.

Yesterday staff were briefed as to the expectations for the continuity of learning for each child in our school.  Staff were also engaged in professional learning for our selected online platforms of Teams and SharePoint through Outlook 365.  All Upper Primary and Adolescent Program students already have a school account with links to these programs and their teachers over this week have been working with these students to ensure they know how to access and utilise these programs.  For Infant Toddler Program/Playgroup, Children’s House and Lower Primary children we will need parents to download and sign up for the Microsoft Teams app, using the links below.

Download Microsoft Teams on any device.

https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads

Sign up for free using an Outlook account.

https://businessstore.microsoft.com/en-us/create-account/signup?products=CFQ7TTC0K8P5:0001

This platform will enable our staff to have daily contact with the children at home, it will enable lessons to be delivered to the individual, small group, whole class or whole school.  Students will be able to see each other and talk with others who are either at home or in class during selected class time periods. Each teacher will provide you with the daily work schedule which you will be able to follow at home so you will know which times your teacher will be online to work with your child.  This way you be able to arrange the days learning program with your child around these times.  Articles of work will also be sent via this platform however please note that these items will not fill a whole school day and we expect that from the sample activities we are sending, that you design your child’s daily learning program with input from the teacher.

This is new for our staff and the students so please have patience as we all learn how to work in this new environment.  Please know our amazing staff will be doing their best and we will assist this process at the school site by possibly combining classes at various times to enable teachers to work online with students who are self-isolating.

On the school site we have cancelled all non-essential activities that involve people coming on to the school site or that means students cannot keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others, this includes; incursions, excursions, school tours, observations, student trials, individual music lessons, community spirit events, school meetings and the end of term school meeting.  We have postponed our photo day and sports day.   We will however maintain our regular classroom programs which involve the inclusion of specialist teachers.  With regards to families whose children are accessing therapy from privately arranged specialists, we request that you make alternative arrangements for these appointments offsite for this period of time.  If this is not possible please do not cease this treatment, we will make provision for this to continue as this is essential.

I will continue to keep you updated as news comes to hand and I would like to thank all of you who have provided thanks to the staff for their efforts to date.  Together we will get through this time.

All work is noble; the only ignoble thing is to live without working. There is need to realize the value of work in all its forms whether manual or intellectual, to be called ‘mate,’ to have sympathetic understanding of all forms of activity.

Maria Montessori

Vanessa Aikins – Principal