Welcome from the Principal

Dr William McKeith Principal

Welcome to ISMS

In writing this message to the web site, we are aware of the risk of hyperbole, exaggeration in the pursuit of new students – selling the school to the tide of public interest.  At ISMS we don’t feel the need to do this. This is not arrogance or that destructive of motivation – pride. Rather, we encourage a visit, an observation, a tour, a Q&A with the Principal and the staff.

What we learn about a school is often touched by the cosmetic hand of the marketing department. At ISMS we don’t have such a department. We encourage you to meet other Montessori families; ask them about the difference that a Montessori life has made to their homes and to their child’s education.

A Montessori education is more than a list of schooling practices, more than a pedagogy; it is a philosophy of living that has survived and grown and is as relevant today as it was in the days of Maria Montessori.

We see the excited and surprised looks on the faces of people joining our tours. We listen to the questions and the reflections that follow a classroom observation. People are grateful, better informed, amazed at what they see.

Probably the most compelling finding from this experience is the importance of a culture that encourages risk taking and co-operative self-discovery. Some schools have it and many don’t. Some schools model it and many don’t.

Routinely, I am reminded of how amazingly competent our children are. How capable they are of accepting and responding to challenges that are thrown their way. We need to release our children and to assist and guide them towards the aim of becoming fully integrated and strong-willed human beings, able to make prudent and wise decisions and choices.

The ultimate goal is co-operation with others in an effort to forward civilisation in a unified and peaceful fashion. This is also the essence of what it means to be a disciplined human being with a fully developed will. Children need to learn to work by themselves, to set personal goals and to be the controller of their own force of will.

The challenge within our schools then is to grant freedom to our children. Within the bounds of clear, endorsed ethical standards, we need to develop school cultures that allow our children to fly, to accept responsibility, to grow individually as members of teams, co-operatively, in the acceptance and the group resolution of problems and issues. Children need to be challenged rather than scared, by the possibility of disorder and surprise.

We must respond to research that speaks persuasively of democratised and shared decision making that embraces the views and contributions of staff, students, families and wider communities. Effective risk taking requires trust and mutual obligation. Co-operation and respectful engagement with one another drive the effective new schools, just as these qualities drive productive work places anywhere in the world. Our schools, in this regard, are no different.

You are making a decision on one of the most important matters in the development of your family – your child’s Pre and Primary schooling, the establishment of fundamental principles, standards and expectation. We encourage you to take a look at the ISMS pathway to a healthy, nurturing and contemporary education.

Bill

Dr William McKeith AM, BA, DipEd, MA, MBA, EdD, FACE