Parents Handbook

Fire Drills/Lockdowns

Monthly fire drills consist of a quick vacancy of the school and a roll call. One of the staff members will ring the fire alarm and the other staff members will make sure that the children gather together in an orderly manner lining up by the door. The staff member that reang the alarm will make a quick sweep of the building making sure everyone is accounted for. Once all the children are in line, staff and children exit the building and walk over to the designated muster point. A roll call is then performed. When a child hears their name called, they will raise their hand and in a loud voice say “here” thus indicating to the staff that they are present. When all names have been called, a head count is done comparing numbers with the attendance sheet to account for all the children. Regular fire drills are mandated by the Fire Department. On a yearly inspection, the fire marshall checks all exit lights, ermergency lights, fire extinguishers, cleared doorways and our drill records. The day 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.

Birthday Celebrations

Birthdays are a welcome event. We have a little ceremony to commemorate birthdays at our Montessori school that involves a candle to represent the sun that is placed in the center of the Seasons scroll. At first we talk about how the baby grew in their Mommy’s uterus and eventually was born. The child then carries the continent globe around the Seasons scroll. Each time they go around the Seasons scroll, we talk about what they could do at that age and what they want to do now they are older. Parents bring photos of their child from birth to current age as well as a birthday treat to share with the class. We also celebrate summer birthdays towards the end of June. We realize birthdays are of the utmost importance at this age, so if your child is having a party at their house, you are welcome to hand out invitations after class has been dismissed.

 

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.

 

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 play area to pick up your child. One teacher does need to shake your child’s hand before they leave the play area and parents must sign out 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. These 10 instalments are made either by Automatic Withdrawal or e-transfer. If there happens to be an Insufficient Funds notification regarding payment, all future tuition amounts will have to be paid in cash.
Payments do not vary on months with school holidays or professional days. There is no reduction of fees for common illness, family vacations or unforeseen school closures due to the building structure. Application and Supply Fees are non-refundable. A receipt for tax purposes will be emailed to you by the end of February for the current school year. The school generally follows the public school calendar with regards to holidays and Spring break. During the year, the school is closed for six professional development days and if weather is hazardous. See 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.

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 arrival/dismissal. After school the teachers need the time to prepare the environment for the next class or clean up at days end. A late fee for pickup greater than 5 minutes past the arranged time will be: $15.00 for every 15 minutes or portion thereof.

The person dropping off and picking up your child must record the time and initial on the attendance form. This is a licensing requirement essential 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, your child will not be released to him or her. This puts the staff 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, smoking marijuana or under the influence of drugs.

Clothing

At Red Deer Montessori, we want our students to have the opportunity to focus on who they are, what their work is all about, what is happening with them as individuals and the learning that is the focus of the classroom. Red Deer Montessori places emphasis on the inner development of the child’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing therefore, we seek to limit undo focus on external appearances. Betiwyn Holcombe, a Montessori expert, best expresses the School’s dress code focus, “A child who wants to shine needs to focus on shining from their mind not from what he or she puts on their body”.  To this end, we have made the decision to adopt school dress attire that will minimize the distractions coming into the classroom. It is most important that we keep in mind that the images from outside the classroom detract from the learning that should be going on inside the classroom. For example, we endeavor to teach about the meaning of a true hero. This would be someone who has gone out of their way to help or consider someone else before themselves. We have many in our society and we think of them as such. Fictional characters or flashy neon colors and lights detract from this learning at a very young age. Helping us work together to this end builds a strong Montessori community. *All clothing, including shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes must be free from logos, lettering, graphics, sparkles, sheen, decorative accents, etc. Super hero & Character, Halloween, Easter, Christmas, movie, cartoon and television characters (Spiderman, Batman, Lightning McQueen, Mickey/Minnie Mouse, etc, costumes or “costume-like”, ballet leotards, capes, princess crowns, feather boas, play uniforms, fluffy tulle skirts, party dresses, glitter dresses, camouflage outfits etc).  These types of clothing encourage distractibility and silly behavior. Children often compete with one another and even engage in “put-downs” with regards to the character printed on their clothing. For these reasons Red Deer Montessori has adopted this “No Character or Superhero” clothing policy with the aim of making your child’s school experience as pleasant, positive and successful as possible. Please help your chld to learn the dress code so that they can make appropriate choices when dressing for school. Applicable clothing consists of play clothes that promote freedom of movement and freedom from worry about spills, splatters, and dirt and are easy to clean. Some of the projects that your child will be doing can and will get quite messy at times. Clothing should also be simple enough for yuour child to get in and out of easily, with little or no help. Belts are discouraged because they can hinder your child’s ability to use the bathroom quickly and can lead to embarrassing accidents. Clothing with fasteners that chldren can handle themselves builds confidence. Children who are not totally toilet reliable should wear clothing that is extremely simple for them to get off or on. Loose fitting, elastic waist pants or shorts are best for children who are still having “accidents”. Children also must wear socks in their shoes at all times. Red Deer Montessori recommends shirts/tops that are short sleeves as this helps to minimize wet sleeves when washing hands, doing dishes or other water works. Red Deer Montessori’s philosophy follows what Maria Montessori indicated. We teach what is real. We use our imaginations to imagine what is real. Red Deer Montessori does not promote or participate in acvtivities such as Halloween Easter, or during Christmas the aspect of santa claus. No clothing, headgear or accessories pertaining to these are allowed. Lunch boxes & backpacks also fall under this regulation. 

Change of Clothing: During the year children will be painting, color mixing and using water in a variety of activities. Each child is required to have a complete set of extra clothes in their cubby at all times. These extra clothes ae sent to school in a large Ziploc bag that is clearly labeled with their name. In the event that these extra clothes are used/soiled, parents are expected to replace them the following day. The school does not provide extra clothes for children.

Outdoor Clothing: 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. Please label all your child’s outdoor clothing.

Hats: Hats are permitted while playing or working in the outdoor play area. All children will be asked to remove their hats upon entering the school building. Hats fall under the same category as clothing, so no cartoon or television or movie characters.

Inside Shoes

Shoes must be of a solid color with no pictures, graphics, characters, logos, lettering, sparkles or decorative accents or flashing lights when you pound them on the floor. They must be closed toe, securely fastened, non-marking, harder bottom soles in case they step on something. Please pick out a pair that can be put on easily (slip-ons and/or Velcro work great). These shoes stay at school on the shoe rck. Shoes must be labeled with your child’s name using a permanent marker. Also please keep in mind that outdoor shoes that are easy to put on, make it quicker for your chld to get ready to go outside. Thong sandals or flip-flops can be dangerous and are unsuitable for school. Children must wear socks at all times in their shoes while at school.

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.s All articles of clothing not claimed within two weeks of the school’s year-end, will be donated to one of the local thrift stores.

Toys, Jewellery, Hair, Makeup

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. Please discourage your child from wearing jewellery or makeup to school. These become a distraction taking the focus off productive work. Jewellery is often misplaced or lost and can cause the child great distress when the loss is discovered. Simple hairstyles like ponytails, braids or pigtails are least distracting. Hair bands and barrettes should be avoided, as they become distractions because they like to fall off. Please refrain from scented hair products and perfumes for allergy reasons.

Show and Tell

Show and Tell is scheduled throughout the school year. 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 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 go wash their hands, get their nametag out and place it on the table. After they pick out their snack they will eat it, then clean up their space by returning their nametag to the basket, wash their dishes and table then hang their cloth on the drying rack. 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. 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 emailed newsletters and notes on the bulletin board. A great way to communicate after and before class is to send email directly to the teachers.

Children’s Work

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 Incident Report will be filled out and signed by the adult in charge. The parent will also be required to sign the Incident Report, which will be kept in the child’s file.

Parent Involvement

We are very blessed 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 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. Each volunteer is required to have a Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Search before they can be in the class. 

Professional Days & Holidays

The school does close for six 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.

Holidays: Red Deer Montessori’s philosophy follows that of Maria Montessori. Maria Montessori taught about things that are real and that we can use our imagination for things that are real. For example: We can use our imaginatiin that we are a doctor or an astronaut. One of the main reasons why fantasy is not a part of the Montessori curriculum is because it disorients young children. This might be difficult for us as adults to understand, but research has shown that most children before the age of five are unable to differentiate between real and fictitious characters and situations. “How is it possible for the child’s imagination to be developed by that which is in truth the fruit of the adult’s imagination? We alone imagine, not they; they merely believe.” -Maria Montessori

Red Deer Montessori therefore does not promote or participate in activities such as halloween, Easter or at Christmas, santa claus. No clothing, headgear or accessories pertaining to these days are allowed.

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!