Many of you will already know Melinda Kan, but here you can learn a few new things about what inspires her.
This year I have been honoured to be invited to become part of the Leadership team. I have been passionate about building our commitment to Montessori’s principles through parent education sessions. These sessions inform parents and provide staff with an opportunity for reflection, sharing and team building.
I have been at MMS for more than 25 years. During that time, I have been a Cycle One Guide and Co-ordinator, a Cycle Two Guide and Coordinator, Acting Principal with a team of teachers, and I have led parent discussion groups and participated in a parent choir group. Both my children are MMS alumni. I completed Early Childhood training in Bundoora and 6-12 Montessori training in Sydney.
How long have you been at MMS?
A long time!
Where were you beforehand?
Initially, I trained as a secondary Art and Craft teacher and majored in garment construction and textiles. I worked in high schools but realised that I had always been interested in observing younger children. I was happy to discover Montessori and love working with the children and staff at MMS.
What do you love about working at MMS?
I love the friendships that I have made, the dedication of the staff, and the joy of the children. I love nurturing the children’s self-construction and I especially love when the children complain about the school holidays starting. I feel the same!
What inspires you as a Montessori educator?
Each year, I’m inspired by the journey, the difficulties that are overcome, the relationships that grow, the interest and independence demonstrated by the children, and the sense of community supporting each individual. Montessori training prepares you to offer each child the world. I’m inspired by the simplicity of the lessons that stimulate genuine reactions from the children and seeing a child follow their interest and grow in confidence.
What is your most memorable teaching moment?
Two moments instantly come to mind. The first is travelling on the bus to an excursion and sitting with Alana who pointed out to me all the geometric solids she could see in the real world. The second was when Neve told me she had seen an “imperfect flower” at the park on the weekend. Those moments are proof that the simple lessons we offer open a child’s eyes to the world around them and enable them to observe, name and appreciate the world. The confidence that comes from that is why I love Montessori education.
What’s your most memorable moment as a school student?
As a high school student, I thought it would be ‘really cool’ if all the subjects were interconnected in some way…no wonder I love Maria Montessori’s idea of Cosmic Education.
What are five interesting things that we may not know about you?
- My sister and I rode trail bikes when we were in our early teens. I like the feeling of moving forward and small adventures.
- I started painting classes this year. It’s important to try new things and get out of your comfort zone.
- I love dancing! I did African dancing for 10 years. Do the things you enjoy as often as you can.
- In the late ‘80s I worked in the fashion industry for designer, Kara Baker, a Melbourne icon. She taught me grace and humility and to not fear mistakes.
- I did a lot of drama in high school and played Magenta in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Drama built my confidence to handle all sorts of situations in life.
What does your weekend look like?
Shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog and yoga. Music in some form or another—hopefully some singing or dancing, appreciating nature, either in the bush or at the beach, and eating some nice food with my husband. I also spend some time reflecting on observations, reading lessons and planning for the week ahead. I also visit my parents or father-in-law and catch up with my sister, daughter or friends. As much as I can squeeze in!
What is your favourite Maria Montessori quote?
“Real collaboration only comes from those who do not feel overpowered and can contribute freely. Only when we are free is it possible to make choices.”