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We are excited to announce that the MMS theme for 2023 is Rise.   Our Principal, Daniel Thomas, put into context the history, motivation, inspiration and the feeling behind this theme in an inspiring address to all staff at the beginning of the year. Please enjoy.

INTRODUCING…RISE 2023

The greatest joy a leader has is to become the one who helps others find the vision they are looking for.

To see those in their charge do more than they thought they were capable of.

To watch the group take care of each other. To see the team work together to solve unsolvable problems.

It is not a journey to rise in the ranks, it is the journey to help those around you rise.

THE HISTORY

Melbourne Montessori School (MMS) has undergone significant change and transformation over the course of its 49-year history. MMS has evolved from humble beginnings into a progressive independent School that is an inspiring place for children to learn and grow.

The first Montessori Cycle 1 classroom in Victoria was established in 1974 at the current Brighton campus.  The success of the three-year-old and four-year-old program generated demand for a Montessori primary class established in 1976 and a permanent home, for two primary classes, led to the purchase in 1979 of the current Caulfield campus. During the next twenty-six years, Caulfield Montessori School & Brighton Montessori School co-existed as separate entities.

In 2005, the schools merged to become Melbourne Montessori School with 250+ students across both campuses. MMS became an independent preschool and primary school for children from 3 to 12 years of age. A Montessori early childhood program, Parent & Toddler and Early Learners, was established in 2007, for children eighteen-months to three-years.

In late 2013, The Uniting Church offered MMS a unique and unexpected opportunity to purchase the Brighton campus, adjoining Church and grounds. The school moved quickly to capitalise on this unique opportunity as it supported the expansion of the school to accommodate over four hundred students in the preschool and primary years.

Demand from within the MMS community and other schools offering a primary Montessori stream for an extended pathway to secondary school lead to the establishment of the Melbourne Montessori Senior School in 2015 with sixteen founding students.  This was the first independent and dedicated Victorian Montessori Senior School.  The Senior School continued to grow, adding an additional level each year until 2020 when all six years were available.

THE MOTIVATION

I went for a run this morning at one of my favourite places, the Aqueduct Trail on the outskirts of Melbourne.  The Aqua, as it is known in the running community around the area, is a 10km loop track surrounded by trees, open spaces and a steady climb into the surrounding hills followed by a beautiful downhill descent.  This is the great part… the angle of the trail is a perfect downhill that lets you get up some really good speed with very little effort.  Just lean forward and let gravity do the work… the faster you go the lighter you have to be on your feet. On a really good day, like today, the air is cool, the ground firm but not hard, traction is good.  Then it’s like flying… I can hear the wind of my own passing, I dance from step to step light on my feet, arms outstretched, the ground rushes below me and rocks and branches flash into and out of my view. It’s exhilarating… on a really good day, like today, everything just clicks and you rise and it feels like you’re flying.

THE INSPIRATION

In the 1994 classic Forrest Gump, as he navigates his way through decades of American history, Forrest finds himself present at historical moments.  He stumbles into great success and does his best to maintain relationships with those he loves. The film is book ended by shots of a feather blowing in the wind, rising and falling, weightless and aloof, accompanied by Alan Silvestri’s now-iconic music. The feather travels all about the air, through the town, under a car, eventually landing beside Forrest’s dirty tennis shoe as he sits on a bus stop bench in Savannah.

Why frame the film this way? The feather can be seen as many things — a metaphor for the random nature of life; an icon of fatalism expressing the uncontrollable events of life which make us the way we are; the random essence of our existence and innocence being carried on the winds of destiny.

Forrest Gump’s emphasis is not specifically this notion of fate or destiny, but the way we as humans handle what is presented to us. Gump isn’t intelligent enough to be shy or talk himself out of opportunities, so he walks into every situation with the eagerness of a child and took ownership of his life. The philosophies he adopted from his mother, such as “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get,” speak to the film’s existentialist messages. Just as one never knows what is inside a piece of chocolate, you never know where a feather will land. We are all afloat in life, partly in command of our own decisions, and partly taking things as they come at the whim of circumstance.

THE FEELING

Billy Elliot is asked what it feels like when he is dancing:

I can’t really explain it
I haven’t got the words
It’s a feeling that you can’t control
I suppose its like forgetting,
Losing who you are,
And at the same time,
Something makes you whole,
It’s like that there’s music,
Playing in your ear,
And I’m listening, and I’m listening
And then I disappear

And then I feel a change
Like a fire deep inside
Something bursting me wide open
Impossible to hide

And suddenly I’m rising
Flying like a bird
Like electricity
Electricity
Sparks inside of me
And I’m free, I’m free.

THE GOAL

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Welcome to 2023. Like the Phoenix, a beautiful symbol of strength and resurgence we will emerge and give everyone the opportunity to discover their potential and RISE.  Each of us has the capabilities of tapping into our own potential developing our strengths and challenges so that we thrive without limitations. Higher, Greater and Stronger than ever before.  We will RISE to new exhilarating heights together! Moving forward and celebrating our successes.

Rise to the Challenge.

Daniel

 

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