Testimonials from Past Students

“Hi, I’m Janet and this is Francesca”

“And we graduated from Montessori in 2007 and we are currently in year nine. I go to Ruyton Girls’ School in Kew”

“And I go to Carey Baptist Grammar School, also in Kew. I went to Montessori for nine years.”

“And I went for 7 years.”

“First cycle was an incredibly fun three years. You were under the age of six, your eyes were open to all the wonders of the world, there was a sandpit in the playground, you helped the younger kids out if they needed it, and you learnt how to count using the daring pink tower. Nothing could go wrong.”

Second cycle was the beginning of the real work. You were introduced to all the basic concepts of maths and English, and you began broadening your knowledge with geography, history, science and who could forget the legendary ETL – Evolution Time Line. You became a ‘bigger kid’, you felt more involved, more a part of the school, you had the maturity now to make decisions for yourself, and to discuss options with your class.

“Year Six (3rd year, 3rd cycle) at Montessori was undoubtedly the best year. We were given an unbelieve amount of freedom and independence, getting to run school meetings, have meetings with the principal, organise fundraisers and best of all, we got to organise the Hot Dog Days.”

“Our teachers trusted us to make decisions, and knew they didn’t have to constantly tell us to do this, and do that, most of the time we’d just do it before they even asked. Our teachers also helped us to prepare for high school, running us through some textbooks, setting us homework so we could get a feel for it, and reminding us about how we couldn’t call the teachers by their first names.”

“It was especially good when old students came back to talk to us about high school, and they would always say the same things: I wish I’d done more VPM or geography cards, and they also told us to be prepared.

“The end of the year came around. We had more meetings, both with the principal, and with each other, trying to organise everything. The end of year concert, the school magazine, our speeches, our Graduate play, our Graduate song, and our gifts to the class.”

“We practiced our speeches time and time again, because they were the one big thing, it’s the one thing that everyone does at the end of their graduating year – they stand up in front of the whole school and speak about their great experiences here.”

“The end of year concert dawned, and we said our formal goodbyes to all the students, staff and parents that we’d come to know over the years.”

“We had graduating party after graduating party, until finally, it was all over. Then began the preparation for high school.”

“Francesca and I went to buy our separate uniforms together, we got our school books together and we talked about how different it would be: having bells, having a timetable, having a uniform and a locker and books, and how we wouldn’t be able to get up in class, you just had to sit there and listen to the teacher and copy down anything written on the whiteboard.”

“I was strangely pumped for high school. I was like, yes, this is going to be awesome. I’m going to get an awesome set of books and carry them around, I’m going to have a locker and I’m going to high school. The holiday’s leading up to high school were pretty exciting, pretty intense and then filled with nerves.”

“The first day. I’d already made one friend at Orientation Day, so I stuck to her. That’s how I got through. I just followed her around because she knew where she was going, and I didn’t. On Friday lunchtimes, she had choir and I had no one. After a few weeks, all of that changed and I had myself a group of people I could call my friends. Concerning schoolwork, the first few weeks, I was overly good. I spent ages on every piece of homework I got, making sure it was perfect, before I realised how much less effort was required of me.”

“My first day was different. I had met a few people prior to the orientation day, because the school set up a little “solo starters” meeting for all the kids that didn’t know anyone. I spent majority of my first week floating around some groups, getting to know most of the kids in the school. Lucky for me, the independence that Montessori had given me, allowed me the courage to talk to anyone and everyone and I ended up making a lot of friends.”

“There were a few things that were new and hard to adjust to in high school. One was the size of the school. This campus of Montessori had around about 150-200 kids when we graduated. When I was in year seven at Ruyton there were around 800 kids.”

“Yeah the size of the school was a massive change; with over 200 kids in year seven alone, it was now impossible to know everyone, and it was harder to have that warm and friendly environment that Montessori has. But with the independence that we had gained and the ability to talk to kids of all ages from the composite classes in Montessori, we were both able to slowly fit into the new high school life.”

“Another problem was learning without materials. With every other subject, it was easy enough to switch to textbooks (like geography, but I do miss the pin board maps in cycle three), even if it wasn’t enjoyable. But with maths it was different; I was so used to using materials to learn and understand why these things were happening. But this way there was no materials, there was only white board and your text book. Luckily though, the maths we started with was ridiculously easy and I could adjust to the textbook way of learning.”

“Other things little things helped like continuing to see old best friends. Janet and I would still meet up twice a week. Even though our afternoons were a lot more homework orientated, we still had time to discuss everything that was happening and how we were coping, and that make things easier.”

“Even though it was slow, I gradually adjusted, and even though I still disagreed with the policy of uniform and timetables altogether, most of the school population hated them as well, so it didn’t matter.”

“But the hardest thing about going to Montessori was when the simple question of ‘what primary school did you come from?’ is asked. When I’d answer Montessori, 99.99% of the time people would reply, “Montessorus? Isn’t that some kind of dinosaur?”

“It can get tiring sometimes, but you just have to deal with it, really. It’s harder when they want to hear about Montessori, because Montessori can’t be described in just a few words while meeting up in the corridor between classes. Montessori is something huge and substantial and I don’t tell them about it because I know I can’t do it justice in so few words.”

“When Janet and I got asked to write a speech about Montessori and transitioning from Montessori, we both got nervous because, like Janet said, the things that Montessori teaches you and the way it shapes who you are, is hard to describe.”

“Montessori is life-changing. I look around at the mainstream students sometimes and I wish they could see it. See the brilliance, the vibrancy, the freedom that Montessori offers. And while some parents might be put off Montessori by the fact that their children will have to adjust to high-school in a much larger way than the rest of the new students will, I think that Montessori sets you up and makes you a more individual and knowledgeable person than you could have ever been in a mainstream school.”


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