1. When will the Middle School open for students?
The Middle School will open in 2011 with students in years 7 and 8. This will extend to year 9 level in 2012 and year 10 in 2013.
2. Can I enrol my child in the Middle School if they haven't
attended Primary School at The Hills Montessori School?
Yes. There will be limited places available for students to join the school at years 7 and 8 levels. You will need to complete an application form and entrance
submission, and be interviewed. This process is designed to ensure that all students and families understand the unique nature of the Adolescent Program at the Middle School, and that the student will fit into the community. Application packs are available here, or by contacting the school (12 Anderson Road, Aldgate; phone
3. What will the fees be?
Fees for years 7-10 (Cycle 4) students will be 20-30% higher than the fees for Cycle 3 students. Students who start at the middle school in 2011 and 2012 are entitled to a discount on fees for the duration of their middle schooling.
4. Where is the Middle School?
The Middle School is at the Wairoa campus on Mt Barker Road at Stirling. The campus is a five-minute walk from the Stirling library, and is located on the main bus route from the city, Mt Barker and other hills townships.
5. How will the Middle School be organized?
Middle school students will be aged 12-15 years, and in year levels 7-10. However the students will work in a multi-level and multi-age community that is flexible, and separates into various groupings for individual and group tasks, and for explicit teaching sessions.
A team of teachers will act as mentors and guides for the students. Students will work on individual projects, in small groups and as a whole-school community. Specialist teachers will visit the school, and students will visit the wider community for some out-of-school community work and to access community resources.
6. What will the staff: student ratio be?
There will be a much higher staff:student ratio than in other secondary school settings. Student numbers will be on average 15 students per year level to ensure that each student can work on an individualized learning program.
7. How big will the peer group be?
The middle school will be restricted to 60 students. Each student will work cooperatively with other middle school students and be involved in activities with the primary school, in their local community and the wider region. They will have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with a range of individuals and groups.
The size of the middle school is restricted for both academic and social reasons. The individualized approach to learning is only possible within a smaller
community. Students learn to negotiate relationships and work within their community. This replicates real life situations such as families, businesses, offices, sports teams, choirs, and casts of theatre and music productions.
In larger school environments the peer group is actually not that much larger - it is artificially maintained within one year level, instead of mirroring the mixture of ages found in most communities. In large secondary schools, social groups are usually small and close-knit, are rarely fluid, and tend to inhibit the formation of friendships between children with different backgrounds, interests and subject choices.
8. What facilities will the students be able to access?
Students will be based in the purpose-built middle school building equipped with kitchen and science facilities and large classrooms. They will use their own
games courts and gardens, and have access to the oval and native bushland at Wairoa. They will also learn within an extended campus that comprises facilities in the Adelaide Hills and the city such as libraries, local businesses, archives, museums, workshops and theatres.
9. What about extra-curricular activities?
Many traditionally extra-curricular activities are incorporated as intra-curricular elements of our interdisciplinary curriculum. For example students will
participate in organic vegetable gardening and building structures whilst learning about biology, physics, mathematics and design.
Students will be guided and supported in sourcing external activities they are interested in. Choices of activities will be based on each student's learning pathway and interests, and the interests of the group.
Further information about physical education and the creative arts is available in separate brochures.
10. Will my child learn all the academic subjects?
Your child will study all of the traditional academic subjects, or ‘Key Learning Areas’, but the manner in which they are approached is different. The
interdisciplinary curriculum covers in an integrated way English, Maths, Science, Technology, Society and the Environment, the Arts, Health and Personal
Development and Language other than English (LOTE).
The interdisciplinary curriculum enables students to see the connections between areas of knowledge that are often artificially separated. Teachers will ensure that as the students work on a range of different multifaceted problems, they also understand the fundamental knowledge of each of the disciplines and are able to apply that knowledge.
11. Will my child still cover all the required maths and science?
Yes, and in greater depth. Your child will cover the same material as in a mainstream school, but the material will be presented differently. The topics will
be covered as part of an interdiscplinary, hands-on curriculum in which the students learn through application to real-world problems. The students
therefore see the point of learning, and demonstrate better understanding and retention of knowledge.
Students also have the opportunity to study the topics in much greater depth than by stepping through the standard text books.
12. What sports opportunities will there be?
Please read the separate brochure on Physical Education at The Hills Montessori Middle School.
13. What opportunities will there be in the creative arts?
Please read the separate brochure on Creative Arts at The Hills Montessori Middle School.
14. Where will my child go after Year 10?
Several pathways will be options for middle school graduates, including undertaking the senior years at a specialist senior college such as Eynesbury Senior
College, University Senior College, Muirden Senior College, or the Australian Science and Mathematics School at Flinders University, or completing secondary schooling at a traditional secondary school (state or private). Many students from The Hills Montessori School already complete their secondary education at specialist senior colleges; these colleges provide an adult learning environment that more closely matches the environment at a Montessori school and at university.
Students and their families will be supported in choosing the most appropriate senior school on the basis of interests, strengths and aspirations, much as
our current year 7 graduates choose their high school.
15. Will my child be sufficiently prepared for senior school and tertiary education?
Yes. Your child will have the opportunity to learn all of the curriculum areas in preparation for undertaking the SA Certificate of Education (SACE) or the International Baccalaureate (IB), and gain entry to university. The interdisciplinary learning that will take place at the Middle School, and its constant application to real world problems, leads to a deeper level of understanding of the curriculum. Ideas and knowledge are better retained and understood when the themes are relevant to the students and can be appreciated in a real-world context.
Our students should be better prepared than most, having learnt to take responsibility for their own learning, to interact confidently and respectfully with
adults, and to make connections between subject areas.
The Hills Montessori Middle School will foster strong links with senior colleges and other schools to assist students in their transition to the senior years.
16. What about the New SACE?
The South Australian Government is implementing a revised version of the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), known as New SACE. This begins at year 10 level with a Personal Learning Plan. All Middle School students will have an Individual Learning Plan as the standard approach in Montessori middle schooling. This plan will more than meet the requirements of the new SACE, and middle school teachers will work with staff from senior colleges and schools to ensure that the Learning Plan of the year 10 level students will facilitate a smooth transition to the senior years programs at other schools.
17. What does Montessori mean?
Montessori is named after Dr Maria Montessori, an Italian medical doctor and educator (1870-1952), who developed a scientifically based approach to education in which each child is treated with respect and dignity, and provided with an environment in which they can learn at their own pace. Montessori schools work with each individual student, according to their needs and stage of development. They encourage students to take responsibility for their learning from a young age, and to develop independence and self-discipline.
Students learn actively by undertaking activities, rather than by listening passively to a teacher. Montessori schools are caring, cooperative and non-competitive. For more information about Montessori education, please read the Introduction to Montessori brochure.
Download the FAQ's here.