The Montessori Center Parent Guide
Explore the Montessori Center's handbook online using the links or download the PDF of the entire handbook
The mission of The Montessori Center is to offer the Montessori philosophy and method of education to children from a wide range of socio-economic, cultural, and life style backgrounds. A flexible program, maintaining the highest standards of quality, is designed to serve the needs of today’s families. The Montessori Center, lead by the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori, strives to implement an authentic “children’s house”. It is recognized that Montessori is not simply a method of education, but a philosophy of life and human development. Inherent in this philosophy is a profound respect for the needs of the whole child. Holistic attention is centered upon the emotional, physical, social, moral, spiritual, personal, and intellectual growth of each child. The Montessori Center is committed to creating a warm, nurturing atmosphere of acceptance for all of our children and their families. The richly prepared Montessori environment will allow children to grow at their own pace, and to independently discover their uniquely individual strengths and potential. History & Incorporation
The Montessori Center was established in the fall of 1982 under the direction of Marianne Surges and the support of 12 committed families. In 1983 the desire for a warm home-like atmosphere led the school to it’s present location. Today the ambience of our historic home continues to fulfill our vision of a Montessori setting.
The Montessori Center is legally incorporated in the state of Indiana as a 501c3 not for profit organization
The Montessori Center teachers are certified by the American Montessori Society and trained at American Montessori Society approved teacher education programs. All standards and guidelines set forth by this organization are strictly adhered to. The Montessori Center has employed AMI (Association Montessori International) certified teachers as well as AMS certified teachers. Blended into the structure of the classroom is an environment compatible to both certifications.
YEAR AROUND CALENDAR While The Montessori Center has a year around calendar, the school does close for down time, parent conferences, and staff in-service. In order to plan for these closings, a calendar for the coming year is given to parents each spring.
ACADEMIC YEAR The academic year begins the day after Labor Day and ends the third week in May.
SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM The Summer Camp program is designed to celebrate summer. Mornings are spent in our beautiful, naturalized, outdoor environment. Weekly trips to Prairie Winds Farm, in-house field trips, and a special art program offer exciting new experiences to summer camp children.
INTERSESSION These optional sessions are offered to help parents with their child care needs when the school is closed between sessions.
The base of the program is an Extended Day, which meets from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
EXTENDED HOURS The Montessori Center is open from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Additional care before and after class may be contracted monthly or used on a drop-in, space available basis. Kindergarten/Third Year Program
The third year is a truly special experience for the five and six year old. Developmentally at this age, a child's academic skills are ready to blossom with the aid of the advanced Montessori materials. Having come up through the ranks, and now the oldest of a multi-age group, the kindergarten child very naturally assumes the active role of class leader and role model. As children assume this classroom role, leadership qualities are developed, as well as self-confidence and self-esteem strengthened.
Montessori is a three year prospectus in which the skills a child learns one year are built upon in the following years. The Montessori Center kindergarten/third year program is typically offered only to children with a Montessori pre-school background.
The Montessori Center admits students of any religion, race, color, national and ethnic origin, to all rights, privileges, programs and activities made available to students at the school.
Enrollment Priority Policy
Admission to The Montessori Center follows these priority guidelines:
The overall progress and welfare of the class needs to take precedence over an individual child. The Montessori Center reserves the right to ask a parent to withdraw a child from the school if it is in the opinion of the staff and administration, that it is not in the best interest of the child, or the class as a whole, to continue participation.
The Montessori Center tuition is yearly but may be broken down into monthly payments. Parents have the option of enrolling for the School Year only (10 month payment plan) or the School Year plus Summer Camp (12 month payment plan). In order to protect the financial stability of The Montessori Center, parents are responsible for the full yearly tuition of the program they have selected. Tuition is not adjusted for withdrawal, illness, absence, vacations or holiday breaks.
Delinquent tuition must be paid in full before a student will be admitted to a new School Year or Summer Camp Program.
Tuition is paid online through FACTS Tuition Management. Each family is assessed a $46 yearly fee by FACTS. Timely Pick Up and Late Pick Up Fees
In order to feel secure children need to know that their parents will consistently pick them up on time. If you discover you will be late, please call to let us know ahead of time. We can then inform your child of the situation and engage him in activities while she awaits your arrival. Some children become very anxious and worried when their parents are late. An explanation will ease a child’s mind.
The Montessori Center closes promptly at 5:30. Late fees of $1.00 per minute are assessed after 5:30. Late pick-ups for children scheduled to leave at 3:30 are $8.00 per hour.
In order to complete the registration process, the following non-refundable enrollment fees must accompany the enrollment application.
School Year Enrollment Fee: $100.00
Summer Program Enrollment Fee: $75.00
All children are assessed a material fee based upon their age. This fee is due each year at the beginning of the new school year
3 and 4 year olds: $40.00
Parental InvolvementParents' Role
Parents are invited to become actively involved in their child’s Montessori Center experience. We offer the opportunity for participation through parent education evenings, social events, classroom observations, conferences, and volunteer opportunities.
A Montessori experience is most successful when parents understand the philosophy and carry it through in the home whenever possible. Resource libraries of Montessori, as well as child development books, are available to all parents.
We invite and welcome parents to spend, as much time observing the classroom as their schedules will permit. Time spent in the classroom will provide valuable insight into the Montessori method and philosophy.
WHEN OBSERVING PLEASE FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES
A Montessori environment is very sensitive to disruptions. Please always enter quietly, and speak in a soft voice. If you arrive after 8:40, walk your child to the door and say good- by in the vestibule. Before leaving, remind your child to enter the school quietly so that he will not disturb his friends who may already be working. A staff member will help your child to settle into the morning.
Conferences may be requested at anytime by contacting the head of school or directresses. Formal conferences are held twice a year. Both parents are urged to participate.
Communication is the channel through which your child can best be served. Events and changes at home often explain a child’s behavior at school. Please keep the staff informed of happy positive events as well as upsetting occurrences.
Each child has a folder in the classroom for paper work. On Wednesdays school communication along with your child’s paper work will be sent home in this folder. If you pick your child up at 3:30, the folder will be handed to you at your car. If you have contracted after care hours, please locate the folder and take it with you when you come into the school to get your child. Please return the folders emptied of the contents on the following day.
The bulletin board in the hallway is used for messages from parents to staff. If your child has a change of schedule, will be on vacation, needs medication, etc., please write a note and either give it to a staff member or put it on the bulletin board yourself. A written note will insure that all staff members are informed. Fund Raising
The Montessori Center is a self-supporting, not-for-profit organization. In order to supplement the income from tuition a few quality fundraising projects have been carefully selected and planned. The goal is to raise money for the school in a fashion that does not over burden the already busy lives of our families. We need all of our families to actively participate in the following fundraisers:
GeneralAbsence & Illness
Please notify the school if your child is ill or if you know in advance that he will not be at school. The staff is challenged to keep all children as healthy as possible and to minimize the spread of illness and infections. When determining whether or not to send your child to school, please ask yourself if you would want your child exposed to the symptoms your child is now exhibiting.
State guidelines require that children be kept at home for the following common circumstances. Contact the office if you have questions about more specific diseases or illnesses.
The Montessori Center has a tradition of celebrating a child’s birthday that includes a little ceremony. Parents are welcomed to join us. To help us celebrate your child’s birthday, please send the following:
In order to be sensitive to the feelings of all the children, please do not send birthday invitations to school for distribution unless the entire class is invited. Clothing
Children’s clothing is often designed for fashion rather than easy manipulation. At The Montessori Center we are not fashion conscious. Children learn independence and self-respect through selfmastery. Therefore it is important that young children are not hampered by the impractical design of their clothing. We strongly recommend loose, practical, comfortable, clothing without fasteners.
The most important thing to check when choosing clothing for children, is how easily it can take be taken on and off. Belts, overalls, and jumpsuits can be disastrous when a child has to go to the bathroom quickly. Pants with an elastic waist are ideal.
Since children work with water, paint, markers, and other messy materials, as well as spend time in our beautiful outside environment, we recommend that you choose clothing that is sturdy and easily laundered.
To cut down on lost or mixed up clothing, all outerwear and shoes need to be clearly marked with your child’s name.
Depending upon the weather, children may change shoes 2-6 times a day. They need to be able to easily put on and take off their shoes with minimal assistance. Difficult shoes cause frustration and make children dependent upon adults to do what they could be doing on their own. Please do not send children to school in shoes they cannot tie, buckle or manipulate on their own. Velcro and slip on shoes work best until children have the fine motor skills and concentration necessary to tie and buckle.
Closings Due to Severe Weather
The Montessori Center follows the South Bend Community School Corporation’s decision to close schools in the event of severe weather.
Please Leave Toys at Home
Children are welcomed to bring educational items from home to share with the class. Please contact the directress ahead of time so that she can plan it into the day. Toys and other personal belongings need to stay at home. These items are easily lost and are frequently the cause of conflicts and power struggles. Driveway Procedures
We need your help to make our less than ideal driveway situation function efficiently. Please use the driveway only for fairly quick exits and entries. If you would like to leisurely drop your child off, or to spend time in the classroom, please park on Leer Street.
The following guidelines will limit traffic jams and assure safe, smooth exits and entries. Parents of children with an 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. schedule will use the following procedure. A staff member will take children from their cars from 8:20-8:40 and bring them to their car from 3:20-3:40. Please do not leave your car during these times because it will greatly hamper the flow of traffic.
Guidelines for LunchesThe Montessori Approach to Nutrition
Montessori is a holistic approach to child development. The goal is to do whatever is truly in a child’s best interest. Included is the very important area of nutrition. Children cannot truly thrive to the highest degree possible without a healthy diet of natural unprocessed foods.
Some young children have very small appetites and therefore it is even more important to make sure that the food they do eat is of the highest quality possible. Throughout the day in the classroom the snack area is set up with organic whole wheat bread, peanut butter, and fruit. Children help themselves whenever they are hungry. Other than different fruits set out each day, the “menu” does not vary. We wish to send the message that the food we offer is to satisfy hunger and nourish the body, not to offer entertainment or combat boredom.
Our goal is to teach children at an early age to take responsibility for the care and health of their bodies. Doing so will hopefully help them avoid poor health now and in later life. Guidelines for Nutritious Lunches
Given the growing body of evidence of the harmful effects of pesticides and herbicides, it is in your child’s best interest to offer organic foods whenever possible.
Nutritionists, as well as The American Cancer Association and The American Heart Association, recommend the following guidelines. Each day, please support our program by:
KEEP FOOD SAFE. Because we do not have refrigeration, it is important to be thoughtful about keeping the foods you pack safe. There are a variety of products on the market that can be frozen overnight and put into lunch boxes to keep food cool. "Regulation" Lunch Boxes
Please look for a lunch box that has the specifications below. If you have difficulty finding this “old school” lunch box, TMC stocks extras that can be purchased for $8.00.
Lunchtime is another opportunity for children to learn independence and gain confidence and selfrespect through self-mastery. Please assess your child’s fine motor skills and prepare lunches that can be successfully eaten with limited adult intervention.
Example: While some children may be capable of peeling oranges or hard boiled eggs, it is a time consuming task and they may not have time to finish the rest of their lunch.
Older children are often capable of packing their own lunches and will more readily eat foods they have fixed themselves. Some younger children may also be capable of helping and would love the opportunity to participate. Environmental Focus
"The children around us are the adults of the future who will ultimately decide the fate of our planet."
This generation of young children will suffer the consequences of the current environmental abuse. If children are taught respect for the earth and are enthused about protecting the earth, perhaps as adults they can help bring the environment back into balance.
REDUCE, RE-USE, RECYCLE: HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
We request that you carefully pack your child's lunch to provide a minimum of waste. The ideally packed lunch box, after uneaten fruits and vegetables are added to the school compost pile, would have nothing left over for the trash.
The following suggestions will help reduce the waste in your child’s lunch: