Parents Handbook

Fire Drills/Lockdowns

 Monthly fire drills will consist of a quick vacancy of the school and a roll call. Regular fire drills are mandated by the Fire Department who visits the school regularly. They check exit lights, fire extinguishers, cleared doorways and our drill records. The days of our fire drills are an excellent time to review home procedures. In the event of a severe emergency such as a building fire, earthquake, etc., the attached Emergency Evacuation Plan would be followed.

Birthday Celebrations

Birthdays are a welcome event. We have a little ceremony to commemorate birthdays at our Montessori school that involves lighting a candle to represent the sun and placing it in the center of our group. At first we talk about how the baby grew in their Mommy’s tummy and eventually was born. Then the child carries the continent globe around the sun/candle. Each time they go around the sun we talk about what they could do at that age and what they want to do now they are older. Parents bring a birthday treat to share with the class. We also celebrate summer birthdays towards the end of June.

If your child is having a party at their house, but you are unable to invite the whole class, please be discreet when handing out your invitations. You are welcome to hand out invitations to the children after class has been dismissed. We realize birthdays are of the utmost importance at this age!

 

Cold Weather Policy

 School will be cancelled if weather conditions are extreme. For example: blizzards, heavy snowfall, freezing rain,or temperature of -35 or colder. We will notify parents by email should we deem it necessary to cancel classes due to the weather. With weather that isn’t within the extremes mentioned above, we leave it to the discretion of the parent as whether or not to bring their child to school. Safety is always a priority.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

If your child is having a party at their house, but you are unable to invite the whole class, please be discreet when handing out your invitations. You are welcome to hand out invitations to the children after class has been dismissed. We realize birthdays are of the utmost importance at this age!

 

Daily Activities

 A teacher will greet each child with a handshake at the door. Please say good-bye to your child at the door. Children will take off their jackets & boots, then put on their inside shoes at the boot-rack before greeting the teacher. Shaking hands is done in respect to the child and also indicates the transferring of responsibility for the child.

The start of the school day will begin with a short group time when the children will study the calendar, practice a grace and courtesy exercise (such as “walking feet”). We also enjoy songs and movement activities. After the children will be dismissed to their “work time.” This is when the children choose activities off of the shelves that they have had lessons with. The teachers will be working with the children giving individual or small group lessons. The children are free to choose their own activities providing they have had a lesson with them and they are using them with respect. The second group is held during the last half hour of the class. During this time we will sing songs, read stories, play games and study about our theme.

A teacher will say good-bye to each child with a handshake given at the door. As children leave please encourage your child to put on their coat and shoes as independently as possible. Parents can offer, “hurdle help” when needed. For example, you may help to get the zipper started and the child is able to carry out the rest.

We occasionally go outside at the end of the day. In this case you can go to the playground to pick up your child. One teacher does need to shake your child’s hand before they leave the playground and parents must sign in the attendance sheet.

 

 

Tuition

Tuition is a yearly fee. To make it convenient for families, tuition can either be paid in full at the beginning of the school year or by 10 monthly instalments due on the first of each month (all post-dated cheques have to be submitted in September). These 10 instalments are made either by post-dated cheques or e-transfer. We do accept cash payment, however, when using this method, we require two months tuition up front.
Payments do not vary on months with school holidays or professional days. The application fee is non-refundable. A receipt for tax purposes will be provided to you at the end of December for the months of September – December and another at the end of the school year for January – June. There is no reduction of fees for common illness, family vacations or unforeseen school closures due to the building structure. The school generally follows the public school calendar with regards to holidays and spring break. During the school year the school is closed for six professional development days and if the school is closed due to our cold weather policy. The professional development days are opportunities for staff to attend Montessori and Early Childhood workshops. All parents have to sign the registration package that acknowledges these conditions. A $50 service charge will be applied to all NSF cheques. There is a late charge of $35 for fees paid after the 3rd of the month. If monthly tuition payment has not been paid in full by the 15th of the month, your child will not be able to attend school. If your cheque gets returned NSF, we ask that you bring that tuition and bank fee in cash for that month.

Withdrawal Policy

One full calendar month’s notice is required in writing. Choosing this school for your child requires a level of commitment from parents. This school is committed to meeting the needs of your child.

Attendance

Please notify the school when your child will be absent due to illness or vacation. We appreciate that you call before or after class times. The answering machine is on during class times to avoid interruptions.

Arrival and Dismissal Routine

It is very important that the children arrive on time and be picked up promptly. Late arrivals and departures are confusing for the children and disruptive to the class. We do expect you to be at the school when the door opens for dismissal. After school the teachers need the time to prepare the environment for the next class. If late pick-ups continue a service charge of $5 will be applied for each five minutes the adult is late. We understand that occasional circumstances happen beyond our control.
The person dropping off and picking up your child must record the time and initial on the attendance form. This is a licensing requirement required for their safety. Thank you for your cooperation. ONLY those persons you authorize in writing may pick up your child from the class. If someone else comes to claim your child without authorization, the staff is put in an awkward position. If an emergency arises and plans change, please write a note stating who is picking up your child that morning. This policy is for your child’s protection and your peace of mind. We also will not dismiss a child to someone who has been drinking alcohol.

Clothing

Children bring a change of clothes incase of emergencies. These clothes stay at school in a clear plastic Ziploc with their name written on it.
During the year the children will be painting, color mixing and using water in different activities. To help your child be more independant we encourage parents to give the child the responsibility of selecting clothes when possible. At first it may require to limit their choices between only two appropriate outfits. It can be helpful to have your child make choices about clothing the night before so it is ready the night before, to avoid last minute stress.
We do go outside on occasion so please dress your child accordingly. Help your child by showing them their snow pants, hats and mittens as well as what is kept in their backpack. When we are getting the class ready to go outside there is not time for us to check every child’s backpack.

Indoor Shoes

These shoes stay at school on the boot rack. Please pick out a pair that can be put on easily and that have a harder bottom incase they step on something on the floor. Slip-ons and Velcro work great. Names should be written in permanent marker. Please keep in mind that outdoor shoes that are easy to put, make it quicker and faster for your child to get ready for outside.

Lost and Found

The school is not responsible for the children’s personal belongings. We hope nothing ever goes missing. We put belongings that are left in the classroom in the coat room.

Toys

Please keep toys at home. Frequently children will want to take toys to school. Please tell your child that it is a school rule that toys stay at home or in the car. We will also tell the children this during group time. If your child is persistent and a toy comes to the door, the teachers will explain the rule to them. If your child is going to someone’s home after class, please provide a backpack for personal belongings.

Show and Tell

Show and Tell will be on the same day you bring a snack to school. This is an excellent way of gaining self-confidence at an early age. We want children to observe our natural environment, ask questions and enter into stimulating conversations. The goal of Show and Tell is to get the children talking! Toys are not appropriate at this time. Here are some suggestions for Show and Tell.

  • Articles pertaining to the class theme
  • Items from nature – leaves, shells, rocks, flowers
  • Souvenirs from holidays
  • Cultural items – from another culture or country (inc. food)
  • Family pictures
  • Achievements: such as ribbons, badges or certificates
  • Books (please write name inside)
  • Snack items that the child wants to share
  • Homemade items made by the child
  • Relatives
Snacks – We try to implement a No Nuts Policy!

Some years we have had children with severe allergies to nuts. Please be aware of this when sending a snack for the group. We do not want to take chances on this matter.

Snack is brought by parents to be shared with the whole class. You will be notified which is your day to bring and what to bring according to fruit, vegetables, protein and crackers. For a protein, you can bring sandwich meat, cheese, pepperonis, etc.. Please write your name on your container!

When children start school we have a group snack so the children learn group manners and to make sure the children have the opportunity to eat. Eventually we set up a snack table so children can eat anytime during the work period whenever they are hungry. This is the process: They will get their nametag out, place it on a napkin on the table and go wash their hands. After they pick out their snack they will eat it, then clean up their space by returning their nametag to the basket and throw their napkin in the garbage . NOTE: We prefer the children do not bring juice or milk to class since there is always water available in the classroom.
If a child brings a special treat like cookies, rice crispy squares or birthday snack, we will eat them at group time. The child who has brought them will hand them out. If we get more than one special snack we will keep it in the fridge until the next class. If your child has dietary restrictions please bring a snack that we can store at school to give them when there is a special occasion like birthdays.

We do say a verse of thankfulness before we eat. “We fold our hands and politely say, thank you for our snack today. Bon appetite, let’s eat!”

Communication

Communication between school and parents is vital to the well being of your child. Please feel free to ask questions. The teachers greeting and dismissing are focused on the children so we are not able to engage in long conversations at the door. We would be pleased to give you a call or set up an appointment time where we can talk uninterrupted. If information needs to be given about whom your child is going home with please write this down on a piece of paper to give to the teacher. Otherwise information may be forgotten when given at this busy time. Positive comments should be shared with the child. Concerns or negative comments should not be made in front of the child. If your child has had a poor nights sleep or has been acting differently, please jot this down on a piece of paper so the teachers are aware of this. A divorce or death in the family does impact a child’s behavior. If the teacher is informed they can often help a child through the process. Any information about your child and family is kept in strict confidence.

Regular communication is carried out with the parents via newsletters and notes on the bulletin board or door outside the classroom. A great way to communicate after and before class is to send email directly to the teachers.

Children’s Work

Children will put their paper work in their files to take home daily. If your child does not bring home many papers it means they are involved in the many productive activities that do not end in a paper product. While we remind children to have their name written on their work, pictures without names end up in our recycle box.

Medications

According to regulations, “over the counter” drugs will not be given to any child by the staff. If your child is required by a physician to take a prescription medicine during the school day, the following procedure must be followed:

  • If you child is required to take prescription medication for an illness, we ask that you keep your child home until they have completed the required medication and are well enough to return to school.
  • If your child requires an inhaler for respiratory issues, please make sure the inhaler is in the original box with the prescription label on it clearly stating the child’s name, dosage amount and instructions to administer the inhaler.
  • Parents take the medication to the teacher and fill out a medication form.
  • Never leave medication in children’s tote bags.
  • Medicine will be stored in a locked box, except in the case of an Epipen. The key will be available to staff members only.
Accidents

Given the nature of children, accidents will happen. Hopefully they will be minor bumps and bruises. In the event of an accidental injury, the school will administer first aid. All staff are required to have valid child-safe first aid training. We will attempt to determine the severity of an injury and the parents will be notified. If necessary, emergency aid would be called. An accident report will be filled out and signed by the adult in charge. A copy will be kept in the child’s file and on the school’s records. Parents may request a copy.

Parent Involvement

We are very lucky to have a great group of supportive parents. If you have a special talent that you would like to share with the class, please let us know. In the past we have had parents plan and carry out a special activity or craft, talk about their jobs or culture. We can also use people behind the scenes for typesetting, sewing, cutting crafts, etc.. It is not a requirement to volunteer in the classroom although we occasionally have days when we ask for extra help. A sign-up sheet is posted for these times.

Professional Days

The school does close for five professional days during the school year. This time is used to inspire staff through workshops, conferences and observations. These days sometimes coincide with the public school board professional days.

Final Thought

Our main goal is to provide a great positive experience for your child and your family. We hope that you and your child will always look back fondly at your time at this school. We thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us!