Our Specialist Subjects

All of our students in Pre-Primary, Middle and Upper Primary attend weekly classes in:

  • Visual Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • French or Chinese
  • Physical Education
  • Positive Education (child safety with no tolerance for bullying)
  • Digital Technologies
  • Bush School
  • Practical Life (includes Home Economics)
  • Dreamtime (Library)

More information on each subject follows:

Artistic expression was considered by Dr Montessori to be one of the fundamental needs of humans. In particular, she encouraged children to draw. She felt that if children have fine motor control of the hand, learned through the exercises of practical life, combined with trained skills in perception, learned through the exercises of the senses, they would be able to create visual art works of a high quality.

Dr Montessori observed that during periods of creative drawing and design work, children concentrate ‘deeply and wholly’ with their ‘entire intellect at work’. She describes the process in the following way:

‘To confer the gift of drawing, we must create an eye that sees, a hand that obeys, a soul that feels; and in this task the whole of life must cooperate’.

Art appreciation is also an important aspect of Montessori early childhood settings. By looking at the art works of others, children learn that it is possible to create different and unique works while using knowledge, skill and techniques developed by others.

In Visual Arts at Blue Gum Montessori School, we teach students about using Visual Language and developing the ways they do so through Visual Skills, Techniques and Processes, and using Materials and Technologies.

  • Creating in Visual Arts.
  • Making representations of ideas and intended meanings.
  • Selecting visual effects through problem solving and making decisions.
  • Developing knowledge, skills and processes.
  • Applying techniques and processes using materials in 2D, 3D and 4D.

  • Responding to own art works.
  • Being audience members as they view, manipulate, reflect, analyse, enjoy, appreciate and evaluate their own and others’ visual art works.

Junior Primary – students make visual representations of their own image to explore and connect with their feelings. Students are provided with a variety of art media and introduced to selecting visual effects. Assessment task – Self Portrait (painting and collage art work).

Middle Primary – students make individual representations of trees symbolising their class names – Tingle, Wandoo, Lilly Pilly, Banksia or Karri. Students are provided with a variety of art media and introduced to selecting visual effects through problem solving and making discerning decisions as to what makes a pleasing art work. Assessment task – Tree of Life (mixed media art work).

Upper Primary – students make individual representations of the natural environment, closely observing the structure and form of leaves. Students are provided with a variety of media and introduced to selecting visual effects through problem solving and making discerning decisions as to what makes a pleasing art work. Students demonstrate increasing skill development and explore a variety of processes in making two dimensional art works. Assessment task – Leaf Litter (mixed media art work).

In Montessori early childhood settings, music is integrated into the environment and the curriculum. It is not treated as something separate taught only by music experts. It is a form of human expression open to everyone.

Children are introduced to four parallel series of music activities and exercises in each of the following areas:

  • Singing.
  • Music appreciation.
  • Drama.
  • Music literacy (pitch & notation) with the Montessori Bells & Tone Bars.
  • Rhythm (notation).
  • Playing of instruments.

The music materials in Montessori early childhood settings have the following features:

  • They are always available for the children to use when they choose (except for the percussion instruments).
  • They are prepared so children can use them independently.
  • They allow for repetition.
  • They are designed to lead to concentration, perseverance, success and confidence.
  • They are an integral and constant part of the environment.

At Blue Gum Montessori School, students from Junior, Middle and Upper Primary attend Performing Arts classes once per week, where they engage in active music making with a focus on singing, movement, dance, percussion playing and instrumental work. Classroom work is based on Montessori principles aimed at teaching music literacy and developing skills in performance and composition.

In Junior Primary, students are immersed in musical activities to develop listening skills, singing, pitch, beat, rhythm, tempo and the playing of various percussion instruments.

In Middle and Upper Primary, students continue to learn basic music principles and are introduced to reading and writing music and playing of musical instruments.

School assemblies often incorporate performances by multi-age groups.

At Blue Gum Montessori School, students learn their Chinese Language skills through the focus areas of greetings, numbers, introduction of themselves and their family members, likes and dislikes, sport activities, colours and foods.

They continued to learn in an environment which encourages communication in written and spoken Chinese through the use of number games, role play, presentations and grammar exercises. Useful conversational vocabulary and sentence patterns are revised, aimed to link all skill areas of the Chinses course for different age groups. Students of Upper Primary classes are provided opportunities to familiarise themselves with Chinese Stroke Order and develop logical thinking in the formation of characters. The course enables students to read Chinese characters and express themselves in sentences rather than words.

Students at Blue Gum Montessori School familiarise cultural practices though the celebration of Chinese festivals by learning what people wear and eat during the festival season.

BGMS offers a French program to all students with our students learning French once a week beginning in Pre-Primary. Students also have the opportunity to consolidate their learning by attending after-school French clubs. All classes are taught by native teachers to optimize children’s learning and to bring more authenticity in the language classroom.

In Junior Primary, French lessons are spent in teacher-student interactions which is most likely to occur in the mother tongue. As children develop their language skills further in Middle and Upper Primary classes where student-student interactions become more prevalent. In addition, the positive impact of language production and interaction on children’s learning are consolidated by task-based language learning which is seen as a way to create opportunities for oral interaction and second language production.

In the prepared environment, there are many structured and unstructured experiences to support the child in their language development. There range from specific lessons introducing the language they need to use to express, for example, what they enjoy or prefer.

According to Dr Montessori, early exposure to a target language during the sensitive period of a child’s life is crucial in developing the passion for learning languages. In the French class, oral production is the main component of language lessons until Middle Primary. As children get older, reading and writing skills are further developed.

Montessori French teachers make every effort to cater to the individual needs of children through negotiation. Whenever possible, children are encouraged to work independently and choose the task they wish to work on. However, language teachers are guided by governmental policies with regard to the implementation of languages programs. The French curriculum is regulated by the Government of Western Australian School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA).

The Montessori curriculum provides opportunities for students to gain an understanding of their personal development and health while providing opportunities for physical education and fitness.

Dr Montessori was a physician keenly interested in the health of the human body. She incorporated physical activity into her approach to education, devising gymnastic equipment, open-air games and outdoor adventure education for older children. The development of coordinated movement from birth is central to the Montessori approach. Dr Montessori also observed how children’s ability to self-regulate, a phenomenon she termed the will, develops gradually from infancy through the childhood years if children are supported to become physically and socially independent. The will is developed during early childhood, in the Montessori view, when children can choose purposeful activities they find interesting and which involve manipulations, and then are given the freedom to work with those activities for as long as they wish. Through such activity, in which the mind and the hand come under voluntary control, children learn how to make appropriate choices, how to accept the consequences of their actions and how to persevere, and how to work towards achievable goals and expectations.

Physical Education

Regular physical activity is an essential component of Montessori early childhood settings. Young children move constantly and need movement in order to learn. Montessori settings are prepared to allow children freedom of movement while, at the same time, activities are designed to enable children to develop control of their physical movement. Daily free play outdoors extends opportunities for regular physical activity.

Children also need activities that are challenging and require ‘maximum effort’, and these are provided in the setting, for example, as opportunities to move heavy objects in safe ways. These activities are extended to help children develop, strengthen and refine their movement further.

All children at Blue Gum Montessori School are involved in physical activities of a sporting nature from the day they join the school.

For the three year olds to five year olds the activities are available on the verandahs of their classrooms during the morning session – stepping stones, catching and throwing activities, mini trampoline, balancing activities, etc. This is referred to as a Perceptual Motor Program.

In the third term of each year, there is a sport carnival for the 3–6 year old children to demonstrate to their parents the physical skills they have learnt through the year and how they manage to work in teams.

From 6–12 years old the children have a twice weekly Physical Education lesson with the Physical Education Specialist introducing them to sports such as cricket, netball, athletics, Montessori soccer, football, T-ball and, above all, playing in a team and learning to win and lose with grace whilst also developing fundamental movement skills. A sport carnival for 6–12 year old children is also held in third term each year.

There are a variety of sporting programs held after school at Blue Gum.

Positive Education

Positive Education is a growing approach to education that draws on positive psychology’s emphasis of individual strengths and personal motivation to promote learning and improve well-being.

The focus is on learning specific skills that assist students to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness and encourage a healthy lifestyle. We want students to develop helpful, realistic thinking patterns, as well as social and emotional skills that nourish their relationships with themselves and others.

In Positive Education sessions, students learn to meditate, read and discuss books with messages around topics such as resilience and facing fears, role-play how to join in games and carry on conversations (in Junior Primary we call this ‘throwing the ball back and forth’). In Middle and Upper Primary students also engage in philosophical conversations and cognitive behaviour problem-solving discussions around friendship issues in order to focus on changing unhelpful thinking and encouraging each other to ‘do the right thing’. Child safety is a priority!

Discussions occur regularly around what constitutes bullying behaviour and how to deal with perpetrators should bullying occur. We don’t just take a ‘no tolerance to bullying’ approach, we aim to stop it happening in the first place. If it does occur, discussions and support take place for everyone involved.

Our Child Protection Curriculum is taught in all classrooms and is further backed up by child safety discussions in Positive Education.

As we live in the digital age, events change and students adapt to their environment.

“Educators need to be in the digital space to know what our kids are doing, so we can help them navigate their world.” – Kevin Honeycutt, METC 14

Blue Gum Montessori encourages;

  • Love of learning.
  • Concentration and persistence.
  • Independence and Responsibility.
  • Creative self-expression.

Junior Primary – At this age students are starting to discover the digital systems in their environment. They are also able to recognize and collect patterns and symbols using different data. They are aware of people sharing things online and strategies are modelled towards being safe online. They can also form their own opinion when creating and solving small solutions.

Middle Primary – Digital systems are now used with a purpose and they can also embody data representations. Students use these tools to express their creativity solving problems. They also start to make informed decisions based on the task. It is also common that during this process students engage in investigating, designing and evaluating when given a problem based task.

Upper Primary – At this age students learn about networks and how they function in different ways. They also learn new codes to program and develop a better understanding towards specific purposes. Within the process of creating, students justify and evaluate their tasks based on the process and the solution.

Blue Gum children are in a unique position to be able to reconnect with nature as the stunning Beeliar Wetlands are right on our doorstep. All adults know that children these days are spending far less time outdoors and too much time on screens. At Blue Gum, we don’t want our children to experience “nature deprivation.”

Bush schooling has its origins in Europe where it is called “Forest Schooling”. Children are spending their days outside learning and playing in the forests; taking very seriously the research that affirms that contact with nature is essential to wellness and good health.

Our children will take their lunches and walk over to the Beeliar Wetlands and partake in the afternoon program which includes:

  • Sessions with an Indigenous educator: Indigenous history, bush food knowledge, bush tools, dreamtime stories.
  • Flora and fauna identification.
  • Nature based art and creative activities.
  • Team building activities.
  • Building shelters.
  • Knot tying.

We aim to:

  • Increase our children’s ease in nature.
  • Build self-esteem and resilience.
  • Foster creativity and problem solving.
  • Improve teamwork and communication skills.
  • Help our children feel free and recognise beauty.

Connections to curriculum:

History and Social Studies

  • Learning about the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People maintain connections to their Country/Place.

Science

  • Learning about how living things have life cycles and about how living things depend on each other and the environment to survive.
  • Developing an understanding of the seasons and weather.

Maths

  • Recognising patterns in the environment (leaves, spider webs, etc.).
  • Calculating the age of trees.
  • Measuring natural materials using other natural materials.

The Arts

  • Making art with leaves, rocks, sticks.
  • Painting with natural materials.
  • Creating musical instruments with natural materials.
  • Listening to sounds in the environment.

English

  • Developing language to think through interests/problems/activities.
  • Social talk such as negotiation and planning.
  • Developing language specific to the natural world.

Practical life in the Montessori curriculum refers to purposeful activity which develops motor control and coordination, independence, concentration and a sense of responsibility. The exercises in Practical Life cover two main areas of development: care of self, and care of the environment. Practical life skills are of great interest to young children and form the basis of later abstract learning.

Over and above the cooking lessons that occur in the classrooms, small groups of children will be taken for cooking lessons. Our aim is to increase our students fine motor skills, their knowledge of healthy food and the feeling of responsibility and pride that children feel when they create meals and snacks.  

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Our library is a growing space and is accessed by all students at the school. Each class visits the library on a weekly basis and the library is open at lunch time twice a week, to allow the students to access books more frequently.

The students in Junior Primary may borrow two books, while the students in Middle and Upper Primary can choose three books to take home. We encourage parents to read to and with their child daily and aim to provide exciting and engaging reading material for the students to take home. The school celebrates Book Week each year with a variety of activities aiming to encourage reading for enjoyment.

At Blue Gum Montessori School, we believe in the importance of creating engaged, confident lifelong readers. This does not happen in isolation. It takes a school-wide reading culture with strong home-school partnerships to help foster literacy and reading. We also encourage families to join their local library and to engage in literacy activities offered, broadening their child’s exposure to books and types of literacy.