30 Years - A History Worth Celebrating...
Back in 1980 a young mother, wanting something more for her children’s education, organised a public meeting at the university to gather support for a Montessori preschool in Wollongong. After a couple of years of dedication and hard work, a handful of committed families established Illawarra Montessori Pre-school in 1983 – the first Montessori school in the Illawarra. These same families, looking to further their children’s Montessori education, went on to Elonera School, a then struggling child-centred alternative school and converted it to Montessori.
In 1987, Elonera Montessori School became the first Montessori Primary School in NSW outside of Sydney. In 1999, Elonera welcomed its first High School students and in 2001 the school moved from its original location in Gwynneville to its present site in Mount Ousley. More recently in 2011, Elonera received authorisation as an IB World School to offer the IB Diploma Program in Years 11 and 12.
From humble beginnings with 15 children and one teacher back in 1987, Elonera now has a dynamic community with over 150 students, their families and over 40 staff. In keeping with the founding traditions of the school, Elonera maintains a strong connection with families, through various committees, working bees and information sessions. As with all Montessori schools in this country, without the dedication and drive of concerned and committed parents, there would be no Elonera Montessori School.
Today, Elonera Montessori School offers a Parent Toddler Program, a Long Day Care Program, Stage 1 Children's House, Primary School, High School all the way to the HSC and International Baccalaureate Diploma, as well as onsite Before and After School Care, all in a nurturing Montessori environment. Our curriculum is designed to prepare students both for further learning and for life. We have a strongly held set of universal values, including self-respect, respect for others, honesty, integrity, empathy, compassion and sense of international understanding.
30th Anniversary Reunion and Fete through the eyes of Josy - our founding teacher...
What a wonderful evening it was! It may have rained outside, but inside the room, with photos and posters on the wall, albums on the tables, you could feel how we all belonged there.
It was so good to reminisce - to be so happy to reconnect.
The Fraternity Club was a great venue - the service wonderful and looking back over 30 years, we can be very proud of what has been achieved.
The Fete, the following day, was a great success - the atmosphere so joyful! Entertainment was great and very much enjoyed by all the children. We had the animal farm, many stalls with yummy food served by parents and children. There were so many items (home-made!) for sale, music, dancing, circus, face-painting, hair-decorating, plants, fairy floss and Dippin'Dots and you could even enjoy a tour through Elonera!
Everyone was so happy and friendly, in spite of the weather and a good time was had by all. Thank you to Alex for the smooth running of the Fete and it was a wonderful end to our 30th Celebration!
We took a chance and it paid off!
Despite extreme weather warnings and stallholders withdrawing at the eleventh hour, our fete was a success and a tribute to the persistence and support of the children and families of Elonera. Archie's lemonade stall, Lianha's body scrub, Kayla's, Laura's, Poppy's and Dylan's baked goods. Lettice's honey stall, Maira's and Gabby's face painting, Holly's, Viliame's and company's sausage sizzle and the Stage 3 Hair wraps were main attractions and really showed commitment, attention to detail and quality service.
Over the months of planning, the support of the teachers has been strong and they have at all times been excited, not just about our 30 year anniversary, but also to have the school community join together for a celebration. It was great to see so many teachers, past and present there and involved.
The fete committee have been extraordinary. Teamwork, communication and collaboration meant that what could have been chaotic was, in fact, quite a smooth and pleasant event and a memorable celebration, especially for the children. Each volunteer has been extraordinary for their creativity, organisation, efficiency and sheer hard work. This would not have happened without them and it has truly been fun! So many others have also helped in the setting up, chasing donations, manning stalls and and clearing up.
The weekend past has been very much about sharing history and about the family of Elonera. Past families have visited our school and looked truly proud of what it has become. Thanks to all who have played a part, no matter how apparently small, in creating an event which confirms that there is much more of the same spirit as we look to the future.
aside from the students, staff and parents - past and present - we would like to thank all local businesses for their generous contributions to our celebrations!