Because parents are the child’s first and most influential teachers, they are an integral part of the child’s school experience. The school is an extension of the home.
Salem Montessori School seeks to involve parents in the following ways:
Observation of the Classroom
After the children have settled into the classroom routine, parents are invited to make an appointment to observe. Talking with the head teacher after the observation can help to answer questions and expand the parent’s understanding of the Montessori classroom.
Several parent education sessions are scheduled during the school year. These are designed to inform and enhance parent’s understanding of the Montessori approach. Topics may include Montessori philosophy, curriculum areas, discipline, and bringing the Montessori practices into the home. Parent discussion groups, facilitated by staff or trained professionals, may be formed at the request of the parents to address topics of interest. A Parent Bookshelf is located in the hallway. Books and videos about Montessori education are available for check-out, as well as books on parenting and child development. Books may be signed out and borrowed for two weeks.
Parents bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and talents to the school. We need and encourage your participation through such activities as:
- Assisting in the classroom for special projects
- Sharing talents or hobbies such as cooking, art, music, drama, storytelling, woodworking, gardening
- Sharing cultural and travel experiences
- Assisting in planning special events
- Making educational materials
- You will be asked to fill out a Parent Involvement Opportunities form so that we will know which skill, hobbies, or activities you would like to share.
To ensure your child’s experience is everything it needs to be, please review these policies and procedures.
Arrival: Arrival time is from 9:00 – 9:10 am.
Carpooling is strongly encouraged to reduce the number of vehicles.
Cars enter the Salem Fine Arts parking lot from Salem Avenue, proceed straight through the parking lot, and turn left under the covered driveway at the back of Home Moravian Church. As parking is limited, we have a drop-off line. Staff will assist children out of the cars, into the building, and, in small groups, walk up the stairs to the classrooms.
An elevator is available only for those with a physical handicap or other special circumstances.
Please keep safety your first priority. Children should never enter the building unattended and siblings should not be left alone in the car.
When children are being loaded and unloaded, the carpool line is a “cell phone-free zone”. Having drivers focused on the safety of the children is essential.
For our safety, the door will be locked at 9:10 a.m.. It is essential that your child arrive at school promptly. This is a courtesy to the teacher and class, as they begin the day in an orderly way. It is also helpful to the child, who feels more confident beginning the day with the rest of the class. Please tell the office ahead of time if you will arrive late because of an appointment. If you arrive after the door is locked, please call the office to have someone come down and let you in.
Pick-up time is from 11:50 to 12:00 for the Toddler Classes and 12:00-12:10 p.m. for the 3-6 year olds. Staff will bring the children to the seating area of the covered walkway. Drivers should pull up in the line, turn off the car, and wait on the sidewalk for the child, who will be walked to the driver by a staff member.
A parent may authorize another person to pick up his/her child by listing the person on the authorization form or sending in a signed and dated note on the day of the release.
It is important that your child be picked up on time, as it is distressing for the child to be left after the other children have been picked up. As the staff has other duties at noon, it is unfair to leave them waiting. If you know that you will be running late, please call the school office at 748-0800 to let them know, so that arrangements can be made for the care of your child. If the child is not picked up by 12:15, he/she will be taken to join the children staying for Lunch Bunch. Everyone runs late sometime, but if a parent is repeatedly late picking up, then late fees will apply.
Late Pick-up Fees are as follows:
- 5 minutes $3
- 10 minutes $6
- 15 minutes $9
- 30 minutes $12
The school will supply nutritious food for each day’s snack for all classes. Food will be chosen for good taste and good health. Each day’s snack will include a fruit or vegetable, a whole grain, and a vegetarian protein (cheese, nut butter, hummus). A typical snack might be apple slices, rice cakes, and peanut butter or a nut butter alternative. Careful consideration is given to those children with food allergies. As much as possible, we will purchase seasonal, organic produce.
Snack time will be a natural part of our Practical Life curriculum. Children will be involved (based on their developmental level) in preparing and serving snack. For an 18-month-old, that may mean helping the teacher peel a Mandarin orange. A five-year-old may slice the cheese or use the apple corer to section an apple. Children of all ages will be involved in setting the table and washing the dishes.
Children in the younger Toddler Class will have group snack – teachers and children eating snack together at the same time. Children in the older Toddler Class and the 3-6-year-old classes will have small group snack – children coming to the snack table during morning work time in groups of three or four.
Please send a filled water bottle for your child each day. These will be used in the classroom and on the playground. The bottles are sent home each day to be washed and refilled.
Please remember to clearly label all food containers and water bottles with your child’s name.
A tote bag, provided by the school, should be sent each day with your child. This will be used as the teachers’ primary communication system for notes, newsletters, notices of upcoming events, etc. Please check the bag daily. Bags will be hung on a hook inside the classroom for easy access. The school-issued tote bags are the perfect size for our hooks, so that there is room to hang them all. Please use this bag rather than backpacks, etc. which may take up more space.
A change of clothing, including socks and underwear, should be sent on the first day of school in a large, labeled Ziploc bag to be kept in the classroom in case of accidents. These should be exchanged several times during the year as needed to suit the weather and your growing child. Please label all clothing. Children wearing diapers should bring a week’s supply of labeled diapers at the beginning of each week. Wipes will be provided by the school.
Children should wear comfortable clothing appropriate for active, involved experiences. Outdoor play and art experiences are potentially messy, so older clothing is recommended. Although aprons are worn during painting and messy activities, there is always the possibility of stained clothing.
We encourage you to dress your child in clothing that the child can easily manipulate. This fosters their independence when going to the bathroom or changing clothes.
Tennis shoes (preferably with Velcro closures or slip-ons) worn with socks are recommended as the safest shoes for active play. Please no clogs, cowboy boots, or “flip-flops.”
Toys from home should be left at home or in the car. Explain to your child that there will be plenty of new things to do at school and toys from home often get lost or broken. Holding firm on this issue will help alleviate distractions in the classroom and the potential for stressful situations. Special items, such as objects found in nature, good books, and items of educational interest may be brought in and shown to the group at circle time.
To celebrate birthdays in the 3-6 classroom, we will use a lovely ceremony found in many Montessori classrooms. The parents of the birthday child are invited to come to the 9:00 or 11:00 group time to share a brief “life story” of their child with the class. Photographs displayed on a poster board or photo album pages can help illustrate a few highlights of each year of the child’s life. The “life story” may include developmental milestones, significant people in the child’s life, favorite vacations or events, humorous anecdotes, etc. Involving your child in choosing photographs and topics and designing the display can be a way to re-visit these family memories.
After the brief (five to ten minutes) presentation, the child will be invited to walk around the circle holding a globe. A lighted candle in the middle of the circle represents the sun. The child walks around the circle once for each of the years since his/her birth, marking the number of times the earth has gone around the sun in that time. The birthday child blows out the candle and the class sings “Happy Birthday” to him/her.
To celebrate birthdays in the Toddler classroom, parents of the birthday child are invited to come inside the classroom at 9:00 to share a brief “life story” of their child with the class. Photographs displayed on a poster board or photo album pages can help illustrate a few highlights of each year of the child’s life. The “life story” may include developmental milestones, significant people in the child’s life, favorite vacations or events, humorous anecdotes, etc. Involving your child in choosing photographs and topics and designing the display can be a way to re-visit these family memories. The class sings “Happy Birthday” to him/her.
These simple ceremonies are very satisfying and educational for the children. Other ways of celebrating (cake, favors, etc.) can be part of a birthday party outside of school. Please contact your child’s teacher to schedule your child’s school birthday celebration.
Birthday party invitations should be sent through the mail rather than passed out at school. A roster is available on the school’s website.
Lunch Bunch is from 12:00-1:00 each day. The fee is $8.00 per day. To let the school know that the child is staying for lunch, put a note on the outside of the lunch box or tote bag. The note and money will be intercepted by the business manager during morning drop-off. If the child is a frequent Lunch Bunch participant, payment can be made by the week or month. Payment can also be mailed to the school or given to the business manager. Please do not give payments to the teachers. Lunch Bunch pick-up will use the same procedure as the noon pick-up, beginning at 12:50. It is imperative that children are picked up by 1:00, as we must legally close at that time.
Please send a lunch box for your child, which includes a non-disposable container, the necessary eating utensils and a cloth napkin. Please send a cold pack in the lunchbox if the food needs to remain cold, or a thermos if the food needs to remain hot. As with snack, food should be well balanced and nutritious.
Lunchtime will be treated like other aspects of the Montessori program with an emphasis on grace, courtesy, and independence. Skills such as setting the table, and cleaning up will be reinforced. After lunch, the children will participate in a variety of activities, including walks, working in the garden or playing on the playground or in the classroom.
Our goal is to have a classroom that is a thriving community where children are treated with respect and dignity and want to treat others with the same respect and dignity. The teachers support the children’s emotional development by assisting them in using various strategies to deal with their feelings and solve social problems. Young children must be given the tools they need to live and communicate with the people around them. Teachers help by modeling and instructing children in appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
Reasons for dismissal include, but are not limited to:
- If there is an unsafe environment for the children or teachers because of the harmful behavior of a child.
- Disruption in the learning environment.
- It becomes apparent that a multi-age, open-ended classroom is not the most suitable environment for the child.
We adults think a lot about school success for the children we love. As we think about the cognitive and social skills that children need, we can sometimes overlook the practical skills that are the foundation for learning. Montessori knew that the independence a child gains through these skills leads to self-confidence and an “I can do it” attitude.
Soft, simple classroom slippers (Robeez, Soft Star and Acorn are popular brands)
- Velcro or slip-on closed-toed shoes – no shoestrings and no sandals!
- Comfy, pull-on clothing without snaps, buttons, or zippers (makes it easy for diapering or potty)
- Trash-free lunch box with multiple compartments
- Easy-open water bottle
- Labels for absolutely everything to clearly designate your child’s belongings
- Rain boots and rain jacket
Health and Medications
If your child is sick, please call or e-mail the school to let us know that he or she will be absent.
Children should be kept home for these reasons:
- Sick During the night
- Pink Eye
- Active Cold
- Contagious Disease
If your child has a contagious disease, please contact the school so that other parents may be informed.
Children should stay home if they are unable to go outside to play.
Teachers are unable to administer medications, with the exception of Epi-pens in the case of allergy emergencies. A form giving the staff permission to use an Epi-pen in the case of emergency should be filled out and kept in the child’s file if needed.
Our staff is trained in Basic First Aid and CPR, which is renewed every two years. The school head is also trained in Wilderness First Aid.
If your child becomes sick at school, you will be called to pick him/her up immediately. If you cannot be reached, the person designated on the emergency form will be contacted.
Preschool children should be toilet trained (or working on it) due to facility limitations. Clothing worn to school should be suitable for quick and easy bathroom visits. If your child is in the process of toilet training, please let the teacher know so that a plan can be worked out to encourage the process while the child is at school.
A potty chair is in the toddler room for those children who are toilet trained or in the process.
Parent Book Resources
We are often asked for suggestions for books about different issues regarding children. All of these books are available to borrow from our parent library, located in the hallway. Just ask! If you read an excellent book or online article, please let us know.
- Cherry, Clare. 1985. Parents, Please Don’t Sit On Your Kids. Carthage,ILL: Fearon Teacher Aids.
- Dreikurs, Rudolf. 1992. Children the Challenge. New York: Plume Book.
- Glenn, H. Stephen and Jane Nelson. 2000. Raising Self- Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World. New York: Prima Publishing.
- Gerber, Magda. 1998. Your Self-Confident Baby. New York:
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
- Kranowitz, Carol Stock and Larry B. Silver. 1998. The Out-of-Sync Child. New York: Perigree Books.
- Kurcinka, Mary Sheedy. 1998. Raising Your Spirited Child. New York: Harper Collins.
- MacKenzie, Robert J. 2003. Setting Limits in the Classroom.
New York: Prima Publishing.
- MacKenzie, Robert J. 2002. Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child. New York: Prima Publishing.
- Medina, John. 2010. Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five. Seattle: Pear Press.
- Nelson, Jane, Jane Lott and Stephen Glenn. 1999. Positive Discipline A to Z. New York: Prima Publishing.
- Nelson, Janet, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Duffy. 1998. Positive Discipline for Preschoolers. New York: Prima Publishing.
- Seldin, Tim. 2006. How To Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way. London: DK Publishers.
- Woititz, Hanet G. 1992, Healthy Parenting. New York: Simon and Schuster/Fireside.