01 July 2016
Dear Parents and Staff, Past and Present,
I send this to you simply to say, thank you! If you read nothing else, please take away our gratitude to you, for you supporting us.
22 months ago we took over a centre that was tired and that every potential buyer passed on; we know because we have since met a lot of them. When we took on the centre, we had the intention of establishing a great Montessori centre for the Gold Coast. Our ambitious goal was to become a centre of excellence and to do so we needed to be rated as exceeding the standards of the Department of Education.
During this 22 months, we have witnessed beautiful moments of learning and development with the children, and we have parent feedback that I wish more people could hear.
As many of you would realise from the parent information evenings we have held, I am a big proponent of modeling the behaviour you want the children to have, so I can assure you that persistence is being modeled here. We have had so much happen in this 22 months that I barely believe it myself, and I was there. However, I truly believe that the challenges we have overcome in turning around the centre have only benefited the children, and their experience has been a rich and happy one.
So why on Earth am I telling you this?
The reason is we have just received our report from the Department of Education, and they have given us… (insert drumroll here)
An Overall Exceeding Grade
Many of you will probably just say that you would expect this result given what you see, and from what you hear your children talking about from their day, but for us it is a milestone filled with mixed emotions. It was not easy, has come at some cost, and on reflection, we think we have come a long way from our starting base to be able to achieve this.
I could go on and on about challenges, ridiculous hours, and sacrifices, but I won’t because this is not about me. I really want this to be about you because this would not have been achievable without you. I am grateful to you, because whether you pitched in or didn’t, whether your feedback was positive or negative, whether I had to let you go or you had to move on, or whether you are with us right now, it has all led this centre to be where it is today, and I am very grateful to you. I am grateful because it has all been feedback along the way. And that feedback helps us to improve. On the back of the staff toilet door is a sign, ‘Constant and Never-ending Improvement’, and let me tell you, that is hard. When the wind is blowing at your back, it is easy, but when it is a head wind, that is when it is hard to inch forward. Without your feedback, in whatever shape or form it comes, we would not be where we are today.
So that is why I am so grateful to you.
In this time I have had to make decisions that not everyone loves or even likes, including myself, but I have made them based on what was the best outcome for any particular person and the children in the centre, and that has been a challenge, especially on a shoestring budget. So my vain hope is that this can be realised, and that is why this milestone does mean a lot because it does come at a cost and it has and does affect many people. So there is something that I want you all to know, and that is beyond this rating just being an external validation, the important thing is that you are helping us to improve. And by doing so you contribute to change the future of the children in this centre, the future of the families they touch, and this flows into the education of the children into their school years. Montessori methods will go beyond school years and in doing so, we are all making real contributions to dramatic improvements in the future of our country and society.
This change of these lives is why I am here, this is why I get excited about what we do here, why I love showing people through this amazing environment, and why I place importance on the little things here because these ‘little things’ turn into big things down the road.
And that is why I have valued your feedback, your support, and your contributions to making this a reality.