Dear Salem Montessori School Parents,

The beginning of school is just a month away. Carpets are being cleaned, mulch is being added to the playground, and new learning materials are being ordered – all in happy anticipation of your arrival.  The teachers return on Monday, August 18th to set up the classrooms for your children and to make exciting plans for the school year. I know that you are ready to make preparations too, so pull out your calendar and notepad!

Parent Orientation – On Thursday, August 21 at 7:00 pm we will have orientation for parents who are new to the school or have children entering a new classroom.  There will be a brief overview of general policies and procedures, then a time in the classrooms with the teachers to learn specifics about that class.  If you fall into this “new” category and are unable to attend, please let me know.  This event is for adults only.

Forms – The forms that are attached here (medical, transportation, etc.) are due in the office by Thursday, August 21.  They can be turned in at the Parent Orientation or mailed.  Children will not be allowed to begin school without these forms on file.  If you are not able to get the medical form filled out by your doctor’s office by that time, please let us know.

Home Visits – Families who have not previously attended SMS (including those who participated in the Infant/Parent Class) will be offered an informal home visit from the child’s/children’s teacher/s.  These visits will take place from August 20 to 22.  We have found that these visits, on the child’s “home turf” are an excellent way to ease the transition to a new school.  I will contact new families during the first week of August to set up a day and time.

School Supplies – Rather than purchase school supplies, each family is required to purchase a $15 Target gift card per child (or add a $15 school supply fee to the September tuition). This helps us purchase supplies as we need them, without having to store 70 boxes of markers and Kleenex.

What to Bring – Each child will need a pair of classroom slippers to leave at school.  Ideal slippers cover the whole foot (not backless) and should be as plain and simple as possible (no furry fabric or “bobble heads.”).  Styles such as the Robeez and Acorn brands work well, as do those modeled after ballet slippers.  Each child will need a change of clothes (including underwear, for those who use the toilet) to leave at school. Label each clothing item and place in a labeled Ziploc bag.  If your child is in diapers, please bring a two-week supply. The school will supply all children (including returning students) with a school tote bag for carrying the child’s water bottle and sending home any necessary items.  These bags fit our hooks, so we ask that children use these bags, rather than backpacks.  Tote bags will be distributed at Parent Orientation and during Orientation Week. Each child will need to bring a reusable water bottle filled with water each day, to be used on the playground.  It can be tricky to find one that doesn’t leak and that children can open and close themselves, so you will want to give it a “trial run.”

School Clothes – Clothing for school should be, above all, comfortable.  It should also be easy to get on and off (i.e. elastic waist, few buttons) and suitable for mess. “Dress for Mess” is our motto. We want children to feel that they can garden, paint, and play in the mud without worrying about their clothes.  Ideal shoes for safe, comfortable play aresneakers worn with socks.  Crocs and sandals get filled with mulch on the playground.  Cowboy boots are dangerous on climbing equipment. Sneakers should close with Velcro – no tie shoes, please (unless your child can tie them independently).  Shoelaces come untied often and, unless the child can tie them by him/herself, he/she must be dependent on a teacher coming to the rescue.  The long skirts for girls are popular right now, but can be hazardous for active girls when they run and climb.

Weather Gear – Our school has an “outdoors in all kinds of weather” policy.  Unless it is stormy, below freezing, or in any way dangerous to be outdoors, we will go out and enjoy the variety of weather conditions.  Our motto is “There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothes.”  On days that rain is predicted, please send a rain jacket for your child. Cold weather requires warm jackets, hats, and mittens. No umbrellas, please.  All of this outerwear should be name-labeled.

Orientation Week – During the first week of August, you will receive an orientation schedule for your child’s class.  Please note that children attend in small groups for an hour and fifteen minutes sessions that week.  Parents of the Transitional Toddler and older Toddler classes should plan to stay at school while these children are in class – you will stay in the classroom for part of the time.  Parents of 3-6 year old children will walk the children to the classroom at either9:00 or 10:45, but will drive through the car line for pick up at 10:15 or 12:00, depending on your assigned session.  We understand that separating from parents can be difficult for some children, especially those new to the school or to a class.  Please know that we are experienced with this and will work patiently with you and your child to make the transition as smooth as possible. At Parent Orientation, teachers will talk about how to successfully deal with separation.

Parent/Family Events –There will be two events at the beginning of the school year to help us build community.  New parents will receive invitations to attend the New Parent Coffee, hosted by the Parent Council.  The entire school community will gather on Salem Square on Sunday, September 7 at 5:00pm for a potluck picnic (more details to follow).

We are eager to begin this new school year with your child and look forward to a year filled with new discoveries, friendships, and adventures.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

With best regards,

Karen Wilson

Beginning of school
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