02 Dec 2020

From the Principal

Dear ISMS families,

Welcome to the last newsletter of 2020.  What a year it has been!  I thank all ISMS families for their steadfast support of our school through a most unusual and difficult year.  Your steady and deep support and flexibility have helped our staff enormously to maintain with you as consistent as possible an education for the children.  Thank you.  The final day of the 2020 School year is next Thursday 10 December.  I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday and festive season.  School resumes in the new year on Wednesday 27 January.

Staff News

I know that the entire School community will join with staff and students in congratulating staff members Rebecca Khoury and Sam Laming who were married on Friday 20 November in a beautiful beach ceremony.  We wish them well for their future lives together.

I remind families that Deputy Principal – Academic, Catherine Harding, will take well-deserved long service leave for the duration of Term 1, after twenty years of steadfast service to ISMS.  We wish Catherine well for this time of refreshment. Orana Director from the beginning of next year is Adelaide Jones, who joins us from Montessori East School in Bondi where she has taught for the last four years.  Adelaide’s joining us will enable Catherine to concentrate upon her Deputy Principal duties and other teaching responsibilities upon her return from leave.

Irene Diamant, who has taught at ISMS for over two years now, will take on the role of Kiah Director from the beginning of 2021, replacing Loretta Burgess who returns to Melbourne and will take up a position at Melbourne Montessori School.  Irene has taught Kiah children regularly this year, so I’m sure they look forward to Irene being their permanent, full-time Director.

ISMS Holiday Care

I remind families that ISMS holiday care will operate from 11 – 22 January 2021, inclusive, the two weeks immediately prior to the children’s return to School for the new year.  Details regarding holiday care will be provided via email soon. 

Meet the Staff – Toni Lehtsalu

Shortly before the end of Term 3, Student Services Administrator, Toni Lehtsalu, joined our team, replacing Kristine Shields upon her return to New Zealand.  Toni is the first contact for most who contact the School, either by phone or in person, and is situated in the School Reception area.  Please take the opportunity to ‘meet’ Toni in today’s ‘Meet the Staff’ feature, following.

A Final Thank You

I reiterate my thanks to the entire ISMS community for their support throughout the year.  Your welcome of me when I joined the community just over six weeks ago has been warm, indeed.  In addition to our wonderfully supportive ISMS families, I thank the School Council President, Tara Taylor and the members of School Council for their mighty work through this year of uncertainty in steadily navigating our school strategically.  I thank our Parent Liaison representatives, who have worked hard behind the scenes to maintain a sense of parent community and connection.  The staff also deserve our profound thanks, for maintaining positivity, warmth and professionalism through an ever-changing landscape this year, and for admirably responding to the challenges of off-site learning for the children.  Finally, I thank the children, who in many ways have maintained a sense of normality for all of us in an abnormal year.  Their freshness, love of life, propensity for fun and laughter and their innate desire to learn have inspired us.  Thank you for entrusting your children to our care.  To those who will leave the nurture of the School at the end of this year, we wish you every success and happiness in your next adventure; and to those who will return after the holiday period, we look forward to a new and wonderful year together at ISMS in 2021.


Michael Dunn

Acting Principal

Meet the Staff

Toni Lehtsalu – Student Services Administrator

    1. Welcome to ISMS, Toni. When did you join us and where did you last work?

I started at ISMS on 7 September 2020, almost three months ago. I was previously at a branding agency as an Office Manager. As it was a start-up company, I was the only person in administration so I had many roles including managing the office, human resources, accounting, marketing and even IT. I’m very happy to focus on one role and have an administrational team to work with.


    2. Can you tell us a little of your history?

I have worked in various roles within childcare, interior design, education, architecture and branding. My last positions were more administrative, supporting both staff and customers/students which I have really enjoyed. During the shutdown early this year, I was working from home and realised that I was not enjoying my role as much and wanted to work in student administration again, helping students from enrolment to graduation. I resigned from my position as Office Manager and focused on looking for a role in education. When this position came up, I didn’t hesitate to apply.


    3. What is your role in the School and what are your main responsibilities?

As Student Services Administrator; my day starts with checking absences and confirming attendance rolls. Throughout the day I answer the phone, reply to enquiries and support staff and students where needed.


    4. What are your first impressions of the School?

When I came in for my interview, I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of the ISMS community. Everyone has been so friendly, from the daily morning greetings, to students walking past throughout the day and waving and saying hello. Everyone has also been very patient while I learn everyone’s name and class.


    5. What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on your work in the School?

I haven’t had a chance to meet all the students and parents yet.


    6. What are your hopes for 2021 at ISMS, from your perspective?

I’m looking at updating the intranet and ISMS app as well as streamlining some of the administrative processes.

Inner West Council: Have your say for safer and accessible pedestrian routes

Pedestrian safety around schools, especially during drop off/pick up time is important. @InnerWestCouncil is collecting insights from the community about where and what issues they experience. Students, parents, teachers, and other staff are invited to share their insights for safer and more accessible pedestrian routes across the Inner West. Your feedback will inform a plan for upgrades over the next 5-10 years. 


For more information and to have your say visit: https://yoursay.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/pedestriansafety.
Feedback closes 22 December 2020.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)


Over the last two weeks in these lessons we have discussed the importance of sleep, as this is when your body repairs itself, replenishes energy, and consolidates memories. 

I have asked the children to develop their own sleep routine to help them prepare their body and mind for sleep, so they can get to sleep soon after going to bed. They might be things like no electronic devices 30 minutes prior to bedtime, take a bath or shower, brush and floss their teeth, listen to calming music, reading, get into PJ’s, good night hug and kiss and lights out.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you an idea of what your child might have written up for their sleep routine. Other things to consider include: being consistent with the time of going to bed and getting up in the morning, having a cool, comfortable room (I have a fan on almost every night of the year), making the room as dark as possible, using the bed for sleeping (reading before bedtime), and having a quiet environment (I use a sleep machine for white noise to help block out louder noises). 

Children 5 – 9 years need 10 – 12 hours of sleep, 9 – 12 year-olds need 9 – 11 hours of sleep, and teenagers need 8 – 10 hours of sleep. As deep sleep happens in the early hours of the night, it’s important to get to bed early to allow for the most restorative sleep possible. Adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep.

We will finish off this year with a review of all the information we have learned, with a word search puzzle for Stage 2 and a crossword puzzle for Stage 3. Units on sleep, meditation, tapping, confidence and self-esteem, first aid, oral health, resilience, growth mindset and inclusion. Wow, that’s so much great stuff to have taken in along the way. Haven’t we all had to be resilient this year?


We finished off our pickleball unit with some games. I set up a couple nets outside on the playground by the big tree, so we could have ten teams playing doubles at the same time. The court is the size of a badminton court, but we only had space for half of that area on our courts. While a bit confusing at first with the rules, I feel the children really got into the game and had some fun.

To complete the year we will have a little fun with some scooter basketball this week and a games day of group dodgeball for Stages 2 and 3 in the final week. Stage 1 children will have an outdoor obstacle course to play on and maybe even design their own challenges.


Scott Stefl
Personal Development, Health, & Physical Education Director

SMTC: Upcoming 2021 AMI Montessori Courses