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Treetops Articles 2013 – 2015

Treetops Tournament of Minds Article – Echo News

September 2015 (as published in the Darlington Review September)

May 2015 (as published in the Darlington Review May)

April 2015 (as published in the Darlington Review April)

March 2015 (as published in the Darlington Review March)

There are many positives to being a small school; the community you are embraced by when you first enrol at Treetops, the unique friendships formed in classroom situations that sometimes seem more like family than peer groups, the ability to really centre a child’s education around that child as an individual. Of course, there are down-sides also; the various ways the school is expected to show compliance in regards to curriculum and safety during a year is onerous on schools even much larger than ours and often causes our staff to work over and above their normal duties to ensure we are ticking all the right boxes.

However, that pressure really is negated when you see students at Treetops participate in all the exciting lessons they have been a part of this last fortnight. This fortnight Children’s House students have learnt about blood by mixing up cheerios and marshmallows, they have celebrated Harmony Day and diversity and conducted practical experiments using eggs to highlight that all of us are, essentially, the same on the inside. Our Karri students in the Upper Primary have been through a culinary spectacular in preparation to celebrate Harmony Day with gastronomical delights. High School students tested Newton’s 1st Law with the inventive use of a Slip & Slide and our Lower Primary class have really enjoyed the new system of buddying up with our Upper Primary students for reading.

Our year tens have had the first taste of the different academic demands of Tuart (Year 10 – 12), with History and Biology tests within the same week. In true Treetops’ style, the tests were accompanied by a discussion about the validity of such an assessment tool in terms of judging actual student achievement, which led to a discussion about the way in which teachers use a range of assessment strategies. Jarrah students (Middle School) have enjoyed a variety of lessons over the past few weeks. Year 7 and 8 students looked at pond water under a microscope. They have also been doing cooking as part of Design and Technology (and enjoying eating their “assignments”). Year 9s have started work on a mapping unit on Drinking Water, learning how to calculate gradients and measure catchment areas. All Jarrah students have enjoyed the oral presentations, particularly the way one student used Minecraft to explain the features of a Cyclopedia map from the 1820’s. We may be a small school, but there seems to be no limit to the thoughtful energy our teachers invest in creating such meaningful learning opportunities.

Our Sugar Gums Playgroup has been running at capacity this term so we are planning an extra session on a Tuesday morning. Sugar Gums Playgroup at Treetops provides a fun, safe, caring and stimulating environment for children aged from eighteen months to around three years. Playgroup sessions are run by leaders who have experience in a Montessori school and this learning facilitated environment makes our Playgroup unique. Spaces are very limited so if you have an eighteen month old who would like to attend, please get in touch.

We wish everyone a safe and happy hoppy Easter break.

February 2015 (as published in the Darlington Review February)

2015 has started in style at Treetops with our Community Shindig held on the second week of school. The Shindig was a family social event that rounded off a week of engagement where parents were invited into classrooms to learn about their children’s learning environment. Local band, Blue Manna, had our community up and dancing, our Parents and Friends Committee ensured everyone was fed and refreshed and our students organised White Elephant stalls for a spot of shopping (and class fundraising!) Thank you to everyone involved and to our neighbours, who allowed us to fill our little part of the Hills with some rocking great tunes well into the evening.

By the time this Darlington Review is published, all our classes will have been back in full swing for some weeks. We are pleased that many of our classes are at capacity and we are planning for expansion in Semester 2. Our multi-age group Children’s House is full, however  we currently have some siblings and younger students on our wait list turning 3 this year, so we are considering a stand-alone 3 year old program for the second half of 2015. If you have a little person turning 3 on or before June 2015 and they are ready for a morning program, please contact us in the office for a tour.

Equally, our Sugar Gums Playgroup sessions are also currently full. We are now planning a fourth morning session time on a Tuesday from Term 2 and onwards. Sugar Gums Playgroup is a safe, fun, caring and stimulating environment where children spend quality time with their parents (or grandparents!) Playgroup sessions are run by leaders who have experience in a Montessori environment. If you would like to apply for one of these limited places, please contact communications@treetops.wa.edu.au or download the Sugar Gums Application form via our school website: http://www.treetops.wa.edu.au/education/early-years/

We wish all our Darlington neighbours a very happy and successful beginning to the school year.

January 2015 (as published in the Darlington Review January)

Treetops would like to extend our very warm welcome to all Darlingtonites and locals to come along to our ‘Community Shindig’ at sundown on February 13th 2015.

The event is part of our Engagement Week at Treetops, where new staff, students, families and current Treetopians spend time in classrooms and with each other building our community spirit and settling into the new school year.

We are extremely excited to be welcoming back local band, ‘Blue Manna’. These guys had us on our feet, tapping our toes and breaking a few dance moves when they played for us at our 25 Year Celebrations last year and we are really looking forward to having them at Treetops for the evening.

Our newly reinvigorated Parents and Friends Committee will be serving up a smashing sausage sizzle and refreshments will be available to purchase and you are welcome to bring a picnic. The school green will be open for picnics at 5.30pm and the band kicks off at 7.00pm.

To keep the evening affordable for families (possibly to entice everyone to purchase an extra sausage sizzle) tickets for adults are only $10. Even better, children are free! In keeping with our family friendly experience, this is an alcohol free event. Regardless, we expect there to be loads of dancing. In fact, if you aren’t dancing, we fully expect this is only because you are partaking of a sausage sizzle!

Everyone is welcome. Please pass on our invitation to your neighbours and friends. If you cannot attend but are direct neighbours with us, please rest assured that the event will be winding down by 9pm to allow you a quiet end to your evening at home.

For any queries or to pre purchase your tickets, please contact our lovely Receptionist, Kate on 9299 6725

We hope to see you here!

Jay-Lee Crisp Crow

Communications and Admissions

December 2014 (as published in the Darlington Review December)

November 2014 (as published in the Darlington Review November)

February 2014 (as published in the Darlington Review February)

School tours with our Principal run at Treetops once a week, on a Wednesday morning. We have a wonderfully diverse range of families come to visit our school, from families attending Playgroup to young adults preparing for their IB Diploma. The most asked question this year has been regarding the International Baccalaureate and how it suits the Montessori philosophy.

Schools using the Montessori philosophy have been successfully educating students for more than 100 years, thriving in almost every country in the world. Education trends have come and gone, but the Montessori tenets have endured – because it works. Developments in neuroscience and education research have shown what Montessori parents have long known; a Montessori based education provides the ideal setting for students to learn.

At Treetops, we apply the Montessori philosophy and integrate both the Australian and Montessori National Curriculum. We also embrace the IB Learner Profile throughout the school and in our secondary, utilise the IB framework. By doing this, we have created an environment that places the child at the heart of education. Treetops students are encouraged to feel positive about themselves, are involved with the community and have no ceiling on achievement. By combining Montessori and the IB we have an education that fosters curiosity, confidence and character.

IB diplomas are very highly regarded around the globe. The New York Times printed an article by educational psychologist Howard Gardner stating that the IB helps students: ”think critically, synthesize knowledge, reflect on their own thought processes and get their feet wet in interdisciplinary thinking.” IB is a persuasive complement to Montessori due to their promotion of global perspectives, integration of international and social focus and encouragement of individual enquiry. IB’s stated mission, “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect” matches what Montessori schools have been teaching for over a century.

Treetops has been offering co-educational Montessori education for over 20 years. We will be continuing with the successful IBDP program in Year 11 and 12 and in 2014 will move towards MYP (Middle Years Program) candidacy. A growing awareness in the hills community of the excellent opportunities offered by the International Baccalaureate and how well it suits an early childhood and primary Montessori education has meant a surge in interest at our school.

We believe that no other academic setting prepares students for ongoing life-long learning success better than a Montessori and IB education.

December 2013 Zelie Bullen (as published in the Darlington Review December)

November 2013 (as published in the Darlington Review November)

As we look forward to 2014 and our 25th anniversary, we cannot help but look back at what was such an exciting transitional year for our school.

In October our Principal, Scott Taprell, a highly qualified educator with 20 years  experience in IB schools around the world, announced that Treetops would work towards candidacy for the IBMYP (IB Middle Years Program) for October 2014. This move forward coincides with a school wide roll out for changes in class structure and a move towards a combined Australian National Curriculum with the Montessori National Curriculum to fit within the IB framework. With these new decisions also comes a respect and nurturing of what Treetops is really exceptional at – putting the children’s education at the heart of all decisions.

The theme for this term is Water Wise and Sustainability. Our two Children’s Houses will explore this theme looking at the Water Cycle, spend lots of learning time outside in the natural environment, look at water conservation, what happens to stormwater and drainage. Experiments are planned involving lots of water and some exciting art and craft projects are already underway.

In mid October we welcome Zelie Bullen back to Treetops. Zelie was one of the original students at Treetops back when it was the Beenong School, and is now the stunt rider and trainer for movies including Racing Stripes, War Horse and many others. Zelie is in WA performing in Circus Joseph Ashton and brought the circus’ home school students along with their tutor to tour the school and answer Karri students questions as the class begins the research for a history of Treetops and the schools that preceded it.

Our Darlington Arts Festival subcommittee are in full flight with preparations for the upcoming DAF. We have a nice, roomy stall this year offering delicious coffees and cakes, along with lots of art activities for the children, a raffle and face painting. All our teachers will be in attendance throughout the weekend to answer questions or just to have a chat. Pop in to see us if you have a query or would like more information about our school. Our students are performing at 1pm on the Saturday so please give them lots of encouragement!

Our High School and Middle School children have lots to look forward to this term with fundraising, camp and an interschool sports day. Our Year 10 students have begun their preparation for the two years of IB Diploma this term and are quickly adapting to the new schedule.

We continue to run Playgroup every day in the mornings this term and also offer our free Parents Group every Wednesday morning at 9.30am at the Pines Oval Playground. Attendance is casual so just pop in for a cuppa and a chat with other parents and children under 18 months old. Many of our Playgroup students are beginning the transition into one of the Children’s Houses in Term 1 of next year, so if you have a child aged 18 months to 3 years and would like to come along to Playgroup in 2014, please contact our Administrator in the school office on 9299 6725 or administrator@treetops.wa.edu.au

October 2013 (as published in the Darlington Review October)

Changes in the air at Treetops

Exciting changes have been happening at Treetops. With the arrival 6 months ago of our new Principal, Scott Taprell, the school has been looking towards 2014 with renewed enthusiasm.

The past two terms have seen the school implement a new Physical Education program across the school, improved opportunities in our thriving Arts department and a new Music specialist that works in all classes from our Children’s House to the High School. In Term 3 we welcomed Japanese as a new language at Treetops to which the students responded wholeheartedly. Our High School students have been involved in friendly sport game days between a variety of schools and more recently, the annual adolescent program River Cruise. At the end of September our Year 10’s put together their annual exhibition. Our new Library has created many occasions for student learning with Treetops being involved in Book Week, Indigenous Book Swap and our first Book Fair.

Due to increased enrolments in the 3 – 6 year old classes, we have created a second Children’s House, ensuring that we now have space for new enrolments for 2014 and with our Playgroup sessions running with an almost full house 5 mornings per week, we have trialled a free Parents Group for those families with children under 18 months old. Term 3 also saw the creation of the Treetops Parents and Friends Committee. This dedicated and vibrant group of parents have entered into the task of fundraising, community development and school improvement with passion and a keen sense of fun, already participating in various festivals and ‘fun-raising’ events on behalf of the school including Tree Planting Day and the Men of the Trees Festival. Currently they are working on raising the funds to create a Food Forrest at Treetops and will host a Music Night in October.

Treetops new website is on the cusp of being launched and you can also keep in touch with us via our new Facebook online community. As part of our online presence you will also notice our new logo!

We hope to see many of you at the upcoming Darlington Arts Festival, where our high school students have volunteered to assist and where our P&F will also hold our annual stall. At the stall you will be able to find our incredible Montessori and IB teaching staff available to chat with you about any queries you may have regarding the way the International Baccalaureate is presented at Treetops and how it fits with the Montessori philosophy.

If you would like to see Treetops for yourself, from our Playgroup, Children’s Houses, Primary School through to our IB Program in the High School, call us to book a tour with our Principal through administrator@treetops.wa.edu.au or 9299 6725