Montessori education

Handbook

WELCOME to OKANAGAN MONTESSORI PRESCHOOL and KINDERGARTEN. We look forward with you and your child to a happy and fun year of 'LEARNING for LIFE.'

Okanagan Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten is licensed by the Ministry of Health. It is privately owned by Riteful Holdings Limited and operated by qualified, experienced staff. The school is funded by student fees and the Province of British Columbia through the child care funding program.


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CONTACT INFORMATION :

This class is 3 hours per day running Monday through Friday. This provides a total of 15 hours of instruction per week. This traditional Montessori program is intended for students and parents who have a focus on acquiring academic skills in reading, mathematics and geography. In addition to our fabulous Montessori program, this option provides your child with yoga and music classes as well as the enriched phonics program.


CONTACT INFORMATION :

Phone Numbers: 250 878-0014 or 250 878-7485 Fax: 250 869-0029.

email:[email protected]. Website: okmontessori.com.

Managers and teaching staff hold Early Childhood Educator diplomas and Licenses to practice as well as Montessori teaching certificates. Teaching assistants hold ECE assistant certification and have received practical Montessori training.

All staff has first aid training including CPR which is updated every 3 years.

Your child’s safety and social well-being and educational development are our top 3 priorities. Our aim is to nurture your child’s development socially, aesthetically, intellectually, emotionally and physically in a setting that reflects the philosophy and teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori.

We offer a carefully prepared environment in five curriculum areas: art/practical life, sensorial, cultural (includes science and social studies), language/reading and mathematics.

We encourage children to learn from each of the five areas. We encourage children to care for themselves, others and the classroom environment in a respectful way.

We believe that these elements foster self-reliance, positive self-concepts and purposeful, focused learning.

We believe that the parent is the child’s first and most important teacher. Parents and teachers together can create excellence in education.

Thank you for choosing a Montessori education for your child.

AGES for ATTENDANCE: Children aged 3, 4 and 5 years may attend. Children must turn 3 on or before December 31st of the year they begin attending. Kindergarten children attend along with preschoolers and are not separated. Kindergarten children are provided with more challenging work.

SCHOOL DAY PROCEDURES: We begin each day with a positive attitude. Prior to each class, your child will be met with a welcoming handshake, a greeting and a smile. We dismiss your child with a goodbye song, handshake and a farewell.

CLASS TIMES: Morning classes run from 8:45-11:45 a.m. and 12:15-3:15 p.m. (3 hours in duration) Monday-Friday, September-June. Classes begin with gradual entry and are scheduled to provide a smooth entry into school. During gradual entry, class times begin with one hour and gradually move into longer times. There are no afternoon classes at this site.

Gradual entry schedules apply to all children and schedules are mailed out to all parents in early summer. Field trips, special events and concert days are written up in our monthly newsletters. Other than regular class times all other attendance is optional but strongly recommended. Statutory Mondays, Christmas Break, Spring Break and Easter long weekend are school holidays. There are a few non-instructional days each year for professional days and parent-teacher conferences.

ARRIVAL/DISMISSAL: Doors open 5 minutes prior to class. We attempt to maintain prompt dismissal times. Please let us know if there will be an adjustment for arrival or dismissal for any reason and we will do our best to accommodate this (i.e. dental/doctor appointments, lessons). All parents and authorized designates must sign the attendance book upon arrival and at dismissal. This is compulsory. Please use pen and write your initials and the times. This must be done every day attended. If you are detained due to an emergency, please phone us and we will hold your child until you or your designate arrives. Your child will be kept safe and reassured.

EMERGENCY CONTACTS: If we do not hear from you and you are detained, your emergency contacts will be phoned. We will not release your child to anyone who is not authorized to pick up your child. People new to the staff are asked to show photo identification for security purposes.

HEALTH IMMUNIZATIONS: Licensing requires a record of your child’s immunizations for our file. If your child is not fully immunized, please write a note explaining that you have chosen not to immunize your child and that you are a conscientious objector. You may be asked to keep your child out of preschool if a communicable disease is present.

HEALTH: Please inform the school if your child has any chronic or ongoing health concerns. If your child exhibits symptoms of illness such as: vomiting, elevated temperature, discharge from eyes or ears, deep persistent cough, severe cold, rash, nosebleeds or injuries we will inform you immediately. If your child displays these symptoms at home please keep them home until they are fully recovered.

FIRST AID: Teachers are trained to give basic first aid and update their CPR and Child Safe every 3 years. We always inform parents if their child has had a fall, scrape, nosebleed or other health problem during class.

TOILET TRAINING: All children attending preschool must be 100% toilet trained. Diapers, pull-ups or training pants are not acceptable. Some children do experience temporary lapses in toilet training during the school year. However they can usually get back on track quite quickly. If children are unable to stay dry through the preschool day, it is best to consult teachers for suggestions or talk to your family doctor. Wet or soiled clothing will be returned to parents. A teacher will reassure your child and change them into dry clothing as quickly as possible. Spare clothes are provided by parents. Children that are not toilet-trained are not permitted to attend our school.

MEDICATIONS: If your child is on temporary or permanent medication, please inform the school. We can administer oral medications with your permission. Medications are kept in a locked box and any medication administered is recorded. All medications must be labelled in its original container. If your child is on medication at home, please let us know if there are any restrictions on his or her normal activity level, snack or water needs.

ALLERGIES: Please inform the staff of any allergy that your child has or develops during the school year. These include allergies to foods, medicines, insects or the environment. The school keeps a record of allergies for safety purposes.

COMMUNICABLE DISEASES: If your child displays symptoms of a communicable disease please keep him or her home for a period designated by your physician or public health nurse. Please inform the preschool of any communicable diseases your child has during the school year. Health professionals determine the nature of all communicable diseases and the school always complies with their determinations. If there is an outbreak of a communicable disease in the school then all families will be informed by notice on the parent information board.

FAMILY EVENTS: If there are changes happening in your family which could affect your child’s emotional health such as a move, a new baby, an adoption, a death, a separation or divorce, new pets, extended family moving in, change in daycare or an accident please inform the school. Your information will be kept private and confidential. If there is a change in a legal custody agreement, a copy of the agreement must be kept on file.

SEPARATION ANXIETY: This feeling of anxiety can happen to both children and parents. Please read the First Day Transitions article (available in late August) for suggestions or consult teachers about how to best help your child transition without excess anxiety. Most parents and children have some initial anxiety about entering pre-school, we have a few suggestions that may help.

  1. Rehearse coming to the school prior to actually attending as this increases familiarity with coming to school.
  2. Display a positive attitude about school to your child and he will usually have the same attitude.
  3. Plan to get to know others in our Montessori community.
  4. Keep your goodbye to your child very short. Feel free to ask a teacher for a lap for your child to sit on or a hand to hold until your child is feeling more settled. Our goal is for your child to enter the classroom independently.
  5. Be sure to tell your child you will be back to pick them up and give them something else to look forward to after school. i.e. walking the dog, going shopping, baking cookies, going to a friend’s house, etc. If you will not be picking up, be clear about who is picking up and why and what will happen after that. i.e. today Granny will pick you up and take you out for lunch.
  6. Many children feel they need a blanket or a stuffy ‘buddy’ to accompany them. This is o.k. initially and can be left tucked away in the slipper basket.
  7. Many children come to school with a neighbour or friend from the community instead of a parent. This is often the best way for some children to adjust to preschool.

Teachers are happy to reassure children about their circumstances if they forget. If a child displays long-term or extreme separation anxiety it is important that the parents and teachers conference about the most effective way to assuage any fears or concerns. Most children can overcome separation anxiety with the support of parents and teachers. Teachers realize that coming to preschool is a very big step in your child’s life experience and together we strive for success.

FIRE AND EMERGENCY PROCEDURES: The school is required to have monthly fire drills. Teachers explain what a fire drill is. We ring a small bell as a cue. Children are asked to proceed quietly and quickly out of one of two fire exits. We walk to a meeting area. (Beside the blue house at the rear of the school or in the yard next door BUILDING HEALTHY FAMILIES SOCIETY house). Teachers call the roll. We proceed back to the building. We also discuss fire prevention and fire safety behaviour as well as the role of fire fighters in our community. The school is equipped with fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and sprinklers.

In the event of a fire or other emergency where we could not re-enter the school, the children would be walked to a safe area. If we could not re-enter our school children would be walked next door to the house:1. Building Healthy Families directly east of the school.2. In the event of an area emergency (i.e. gas explosion) we would transport the children in the safest manner possible to CNC on Gordon Drive.

In the event of a city wide emergency children would be transported to Orchard Park Shopping Centre Food Court located on Springfield Road.

Our second option during a community evacuation would be to gather at the Capitol News Centre, Kelowna, B.C. In cases of serious emergencies (i.e. earthquake) life over limb takes precedence. Children would be transported in the safest manner possible. Teachers would take emergency first aid, records and food supplies with them. Teachers would then call parents by cellular phone to contact them as to their child’s location.

Teachers would remain with children until all of them were collected by their parents or an authorized designate. Teachers would follow the instructions of the police and firefighters at all times.

SPARE CLOTHES: Accidents happen! Please provide your child with a spare set of underpants, socks, T-shirt and stretch type pants. Please label with your child’s name and put in large zip-loc plastic bag. These clothes remain at school all year in your child’s personal basket.

‘INDOOR’ Shoes: Each child is asked to bring a pair of running shoes to school for the year. These are kept in your child’s personal basket. Children wear these shoes in school. No laces please. Velcro or zippers are preferred.

BIRTHDAYS: We celebrate birthdays with your permission. Each child receives a crown and a card. Parents are invited to attend. We usually celebrate during the last 20 minutes of class time. Times are flexible. Parents are invited to bring baby and toddler photos of the preschool child for discussion. We also have a special ‘Montessori’ birthday walk for your child.

Children with summer birthdays receive a special day in June to celebrate with classmates. If you wish to invite classmates to a birthday party outside of school, please use the child file system for invitation distribution or use the class directory to call.

FIELD TRIPS: Field trips are optional. Field trips are arranged to compliment a theme or as a fun break from routine. We ask that you drive your child to and from field trip sites. We ask that you pay field trip costs. We ask that you read and sign field trip consent forms. Consent forms will be available to parents 1 week in advance of the trip. If you drive another child from our class to and from the field trip we ask that provide an approved child restraint system in your vehicle for that child and that you carry 2 million dollars auto insurance. Field trips are explained in the monthly newsletter. Field trips we have taken in the past include: MacMillan Pumpkin Patch, city museums, parks and sometimes we are invited to student’s homes and yard for back yard parties.

There is no school on field trip days.

SHOW AND TELL: Show and tell is optional. Show and tell occurs from October to May. There is no show and tell in September,March December or June.

Show and tell is designed to help your child develop speaking skills in front of the group. Show and tell is a fun way of sharing aspects of each child’s life such as: hobbies, personal achievements, travel, family events, collections, nature, books, art, music, sports and culture. Topics are designated monthly and a schedule is attached to the newsletter. We do not allow toys, guns, swords, knives, arrows or action figures.

We do encourage things from nature, photographs, postcards, books, crafts, certificates, badges, hobby items such as sports equipment, musical instruments, things made by your child, cultural items such as costumes or masks or art. There is a ‘treasure chest’ for safe storage of show and tell items. If you need special storage simply notify a teacher.

SPECIAL EVENTS: We attempt to schedule the following special times each year. Parents may be asked to assist in which case we will post a sign-up time for volunteers. We reserve the right to change times and dates with reasonable notice.

ANNUAL EVENTS:

  • PHOTO DAY (Autumn): Class and individual.
  • HALLOWEEN PARTY
  • CHRISTMAS CONCERT/DRAMA
  • EASTER FUN DAY
  • YEAR END FUN EVENT
  • GOOD-BYE CEREMONY

MUSIC: We have a special music program developed for our children.

We utilize a music teacher. The children receive music instruction once per week. The children learn a large repertoire of songs. We use instruments and movement to add to our songs. Children learn music as part of our curriculum and for concert performances.

PARENT VOLUNTEERS: All parent volunteers who come to class on a Regular basis are asked to pay for a criminal record check ($25.00). All parents must go through a short training session prior to beginning. Volunteer task possibilities are listed on the registration form. Volunteering is optional. There are no duty days. This school is not a parent participation model. If you would like to share a skill or talent with us or would like to work with the children please speak to a teacher.

VISITORS: If you have extended family who would like to see our school we would be pleased to show them around after school. Sometimes ECE students, Montessori teachers, or substitute teachers will be in the school. We will Inform you if this is happening.

TAKE HOMES: Work goes home on Thursdays. The file box is available in the hallway. We ask that you check for consent forms, newsletters and other work. Your child’s file is tabbed with his or her first name. Montessori has somewhat less art and paper style work than other preschools so the volume ranges quite a bit. Know that your child has been actively engaged in lessons whether or not there is a large or a small quantity of paper projects in his or her file.

PROGRESS REPORTS: Teachers spend many hours recording, writing and presenting reports. We present reports on all curriculum, special projects thematic information, socialization and development. Reports are anecdotal. Reports are accompanied by work samples in journals and scrapbooks. Report conferences are strongly recommended. Appointments are 20 minutes. Conferences are at the school on non-instructional days and early evenings. Conferences are offered in November and May. Reports are sent home one week prior to the conference.

CLASSROOM TOURS: These are given by appointment after school. Please allow 30 minutes. Tours should be child-free if possible to allow time for teachers and parents to fully discuss the school without interruption. Visits for students entering our school can be arranged.

In-CLASS OBSERVATIONS: These are allowed by appointment only for a maximum of 30 minutes at a mutually convenient time at the discretion of the manager. There are no one-way observation windows available.

FORMS: To join our school the following forms are required:

  1. Registration form/Fee Schedule
  2. Student Health form
  3. Emergency permission card
  4. Copy of an immunization record or a conscientious objector’s note
  5. Proof of age (passport, birth or adoption certificate)
  6. 2 small photos of your child. Colour or black and white.

PAYMENTS: Parents are requested to pay by cheque only. We do not accept debit cards, credit cards and we prefer not to take cash or money orders. Parents may pay an annual sum once or use 10 monthly payments. A registration fee accompanies all student registrations and is non-refundable for any reason. Registration fees are separate and do not form a deposit on any monthly fees. Registration fees help pay for consumables and the music program. One month of fees are taken for with drawls in lieu of 30 days written notice. All cheques are made payable to Okanagan Montessori.

If you have an NSF payment please add $25.00 to cover the bank service charge.

If you have a second NSF payment please add $35.00 to cover the service charge.

Receipts are available for payments. All cheques should be dated for the first of each school month beginning September 1st. We issue receipts for income tax claims in February.

WITHDRAWALS: If you choose to leave our program, please provide one month’s written notice. All remaining cheques will be returned to you or shredded at your request. We expect that all of your child’s belongings be picked up promptly.

SNACKS: Please send a snack with your child to school each day. We have a refrigerator where snacks are kept. Please keep all snacks nut-free. We encourage small, cut-up servings of fruit, vegetables, cheese and plain crackers. Please supply your child with 2 types of food per preschool day such as: cheese and fruit or crackers and vegetables to provide sufficient nutrition during class time. Please steer clear of fruit leather, dips, meat, chips, jello, pudding, jam, yogurt tubes or granola. If snack is forgotten teachers can serve crackers, packaged cheese such as babybel or cheeses strings and non-hazardous fruits such as apples and oranges as a substitute. Children may eat solo or with others. Snack time is monitored by teachers but children have the freedom to decide when they wish to eat at the snack table. If children do not want to eat snack frequently we will consult with parents to find out more. Please let us know if your child has food sensitivities, allergies or dietary needs that pertain to your culture or other dietary choices. Cooking is not part of our program.

DRINKING WATER: Disposable cups are provided by the school for water. Canadian Springs bottled water is provided at all times. We do not allow juices in our school.

DAYCARE: Our school is not licensed to provide daycare. We cannot recommend daycares to parents. Please contact Kelowna Child Care Society to receive referrals on group and family day care.

CLASS DIRECTORIES: Each parent is provided with a class directory. This directory is provided for car pooling, play dates and is distributed within the school and is not intended for any other purpose.

PHOTOS: We have class photos in late September. All photos are digital. Photos are delivered to the school 3-4 weeks after they are taken. Individual photos are optional.

FACEBOOK: We have a private facebook page for posting photos of children during class time. If you do not wish to have your child photographed please inform staff.

NEWSLETTERS: Newsletters are distributed monthly and cover information such as special events, birthdays, themes, non-instructional dates, holidays and show and tell schedules.

GOOD-BYE CEREMONY: We enjoy marking the completion of the preschool year by inviting parents and extended family to attend our good-bye ceremony. We honour our children with crowns, certificates, a personal poem and a flower. We show our DVD and honour our volunteers. This occurs in the 3rd week of June.

SCHOOL CONTACT: 250 878-7485 or 250-878-0014 can be called. Our fax is 250-869-0029 and our website is: www.okmontessori.com and our emails are:

PARENT ORIENTATION: We ask all parents to visit us near the end of August to hear about how our school operates, ask questions and allow children to visit the classroom. Parents drop off fees at this time and any paper work. Parent orientation invitations are mailed to you with the date, time and location.

OUTDOOR TIME: The playground is located beside the classroom. There is direct access from the playground to the classroom. We spend 15 minutes per day on the playground weather permitting. We have use of a large indoor play space one day per week most weeks at the discretion of the church. Large and small equipment is available as well as running space.

LATE PICK-UP: Parents need to inform staff if early or late pick-up will be occurring. Staff attempts to be as flexible as possible with these circumstances. For late pick-ups we will reassure your child and keep them safe until your arrival.

Children can only be at the preschool for a maximum of 4 hours from time of arrival until pick-up in emergency cases. If you cannot come send an approved designate.

PICK-UP of A CHILD by an INTOXICATED PARENT or ADULT:

This is strictly prohibited for the safety and security of your child. Intoxication means either by alcohol or drugs or both. Parents and guardians need to know that if staff members believe that a pickup person is intoxicated by either their appearance or actions or appearance and actions then they will ask that person verbally not to take the child out of the school. An emergency contact will be called. If an emergency contact cannot be reached or the pickup parent or adult refuses to comply with the request not to take the child out of the school and does take the child out of the school then the following will occur: 911 RCMP will be called immediately. A description of the vehicle including the license plate number will be given as well as the name of the adult and child along with the direction the vehicle appeared to be travelling in. The Ministry of Children and Families would be notified as well.

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT: Our schools have a long history of attracting caring, responsible parents, families and caregivers. However, the staff members have been trained to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. The staff members do not determine whether or not a child has been abused or neglected. Staff must comply with licensing regulations if suspicion of abuse and neglect is noted or if a disclosure of abuse or neglect is made by a child to a teacher. Licensing officers are obligated by provincial law to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect for the safety and security of each child. All noted suspicions of child abuse and neglect are strictly confidential. For more information on child abuse and neglect please refer to the booklet on child abuse and neglect by request available through the manager.

SUMMARY of our DISCIPLINE POLICY: Our discipline policy is under separate cover. It is available to all parents. Our policy prohibits poking, pushing, hitting, holding, spanking, rough play, teasing, bullying, shaking, use of profane or insulting language. No form of ignoring or social exclusion will be tolerated. Please read the discipline policy before your child attends school. All minor and serious incidents are recorded. The discipline policy is available from a teacher at the Parent orientation meeting or at the beginning of your child’s entrance into our schools.

MONTESSORI CLASSROOM AREAS: We have 5 classroom areas: 1. Art/Practical life, 2. Sensorial 3. Cultural 4. Language/Reading 5. Mathematics. Teachers give both solo and group lessons to children in our fully equipped classroom. Children have the ability to form independent choices about the work they choose to do. Children know what they need to do and are sensitive to different tasks at different times in their development. Teachers also invite children to learn new lessons all year. Teachers observe and record children’s work on a daily basis and also keep track of social issues. Our motto is ‘LEARNING for LIFE.’ Our aim is to encourage respect, independence, a strong work ethic as well as appreciation of our own work and other people and their work.

Our learning goals are: Respect and self-care. The development of social graces and courtesy. The care and respect of our classroom and playground. Respect for all parents and teachers and classmates. We encourage children to develop strong academic and social skills. Fine motor coordination, listening and discussion skills, creativity and learning how to concentrate on work fully help us become great students. We also love to sing, play, make music and games, do drama, learn poetry, appreciate art, learn about other cultures and science as well as our own families, friends and community. WE HAVE FUN!

Please note that in Montessori classrooms 3, 4, and 5 year olds attend together; there are no 3 year old classes or 4 year old classes as in other programs.

Although sometimes children under three years old attend just prior to when turn they turn 3 this is strictly up to the parents and the manager. Sometimes children of this age may attend on a modified schedule.

Sometimes siblings and cousins attend together as do friends and neighbours.

To learn more about Dr. Montessori’s method please ask a teacher.

MONTESSORI MINI-HISTORY: Dr. Maria Montessori was the first female medical doctor ever in Italy. She was a surgeon and specialized in the care of mothers and children. She was a university professor at the University of Rome as well as a school inspector for the government of Italy. She founded CASA de BAMBINI /The Children’s House in 1907 in San Lorenzo, Rome, Italy. She devoted her entire adult life to designing the didactic equipment now known as Montessori equipment, observing children and lecturing and training thousands of teachers. She wrote extensively and spearheaded schools on 6 continents over 4 decades. She created a unique pedagogy and philosophy that is growing and entering its second century. People of all cultural and life backgrounds attend Montessori in big cities and small communities alike. The program extends from infancy to adolescence. To find out more, check titles at Chapters.ca or go online to Maria Montessori.

SMOKING: We have zero tolerance for smoking and it is prohibited in the classroom and on the grounds.

DRUG USE: We have zero tolerance for drug use and drugs are prohibited.

FIRE INSPECTIONS: Our school is inspected annually by the Kelowna Fire Department.

IDLE FREE ZONE: Help us protect our environment. We ask that drop and pick up persons do not allow cars to idle in the parking lot.

THANK YOU for choosing OKANAGAN MONTESSORI PRESCHOOL & KINDERGARTEN!