The philosophy and pedagogy of Sunnybrook is based on the work of Dr. Maria Montessori. Children at Sunnybrook are viewed as being capable and intrinsically motivated learners. The early school years are a very special time in the life of the child and his/her family. This is a time of natural curiosity and enthusiasm when children make deep connections to the world around them.
During the day at Sunnybrook the children engage in activities that are developmentally appropriate, as well as multi-sensory and interdisciplinary. Activities include the use of didactic Montessori equipment, as well as movement, music and art activities.
The half-day session runs from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM
The full-day session runs from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Early care is available between 7:00-8:00 AM.
After care is available between 2:30-5:00 PM.
Please Note: New student start dates will be staggered to help children adjust to their new environment.
Calendar: Sunnybrook is in session for 36 weeks. We generally follow the White Mountains Regional School District calendar, with some variation. Sunnybrook closes for two full weeks during winter break and concludes prior to WMRSD closing. Refer to the school calendar for specifics. Additional copies can be found on our website.
Daily Schedule: The daily program typically follows the schedule below, with occasional changes due to field trips, visitors, or special events. Please arrive at school between 7:50-8:00 AM, as morning meeting will begin promptly at 8:05 AM.
7:00 Early Work – Free Choice (Morning Care)
8:00 Staggered Arrival (7:45–8:05)
8:05 Morning Meeting
8:25 Morning Work
10:30 Group Gathering
11:00 Outside Work
12:00 Morning dismissal for half day students
1:00 Library Hour – Quiet work time or Quiet rest/sleep time
2:30 Afternoon Dismissal for full day students
2:30 Late Work – Free Choice (After Care)
Parking: When dropping off or picking up students, please park in the parking spots in front of the play area, or along the side of the road. Please turn off vehicles to limit idling, except in cases of extreme heat or cold to maintain interior temperatures. During the winter months, park on the school side of the road only to avoid blocking traffic.
Building Security & Access: Access to the school is accessible through the rear door of the building through a door with a coded lock. All families receive a code to enter the school, which they should share only with those authorized to pick up and drop off children. A doorbell may be used to gain attention of a teacher for access if the code is forgotten.
Parent Involvement & Visitors: Sunnybrook has an open-door policy. Family members are welcome to visit at any time and involvement in the classroom by sharing special skills and opportunities with the students is encouraged. “School Community” helps everyone feel a part of Sunnybrook and is cherished.
We feel strongly that visitors bring special skills and opportunities that enhance your child’s learning. We welcome volunteers and visitors who join us to provide and enrich the students’ experiences and understandings. Visitors may read stories, present about a topic, play an instrument, introduce an art activity, teach a language, lead a cooking activity, provide a new experience, offer a scientific exploration, etc. Anyone wishing to volunteer in various capacities, or knows of someone who can enrich our experiences, is welcome to speak with the Directress.
Please Note: Volunteers and visitors are asked to sign in. Visitors and volunteers are not responsible for supervising Sunnybrook students. They are never left alone or unsupervised with any children except their own while at Sunnybrook.
Communication, Complaints, and Concerns: It is our goal to build a relationship with each family so that we can best support each child. Parents have daily access to the teachers, as well as monthly newsletters and the weekly blog. Events and workshops are scheduled throughout the year so that families can have time together as a community and learn more about what happens in the Sunnybrook classroom. Semi-annual conferences are scheduled, during which the lead teacher and families share observations, goals, and information about children. Families are encouraged to communicate with the teachers at any time regarding their child’s experiences at school and home.
It is crucial to maintain open communication to ensure that each child’s needs are met and that teachers are aware of any concerns or factors that might negatively impact a child. We ask that families always promptly bring any concerns or complaints to the Directress so that they can be properly addressed. The Directress is available for brief in person check-ins at morning drop off between 7:30-8:00 AM, or at 12 Noon pick up. She can always be contacted via e-mail, at [email protected], though it is only checked when not in the classroom with children. Lengthier communications can be scheduled as needed by speaking with the Directress. If there are ever concerns that you are uncomfortable bringing to the teachers, any board members may be contacted. Contact information for board members is available on the blog or the Board Member Profiles in the Back to School Packets.
Confidentiality: Sunnybrook Montessori School is very sensitive to the fact that information concerning you, your child, and your family is private and personal. Trust and confidentiality are essential to building trusting relationships. We are committed to maintaining privacy and protecting personal information, including student health, assessment, and evaluation records. Sunnybrook Montessori School will not disclose information except as required by law or when there is a threat to the health and safety of the individuals and families we serve. The family may give permission to share information by signing a permission form or waiver for purposes agreed on by the family and lead teacher, such as referral for outside screening and evaluation services, exchange of information with a health professional, or state licensing authorities. Families may have full access to their child’s records upon request at any time. For information about student record confidentiality, visit https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.
Independence, Self-Awareness, and Self-Regulation: The Montessori Philosophy encourages children to learn to do for themselves. When the children arrive at school they put their lunch boxes away, hang up their jackets and change from their street shoes to their slippers/indoor shoes. (Please include a pair of indoor shoes in your child’s bag the first day of school). Children are guided to be attuned to and attend to the needs of their bodies. If they are hungry, they may eat. If they are hot, they may remove outerwear. If they are frustrated, they may take some deep breaths or personal space.
Integration & Separation: Individual children have varying needs in integrating into the school environment and separating from families. There are varied reasons that children struggle to say goodbye to family members; development, temperament, first experience, inconsistent routine, fear of the unknown, influence of parental distress, unfamiliarity with the environment & people, shyness, strong attachment to family, significant life changes, slow to warm up, etc. We will work with you to help your child transition and feel comfortable in the environment. It typically takes two weeks, give or take, to integrate. Some initial tips:
1) Remain positive and confident for your child (no tears or distress from you) 2) create a consistent routine
3) Involve a teacher 4) Help them find something to look forward to at school 5) Don’t sneak out 6) Allow them to cry then call to check in. If separation anxiety continues beyond the first month, or begins later, we will discuss how to proceed according to individual needs.
Toilet Use: We work with students who have an awareness of their need to use the bathroom by giving reminders and providing guidance and assistance as necessary. We focus on teaching children how to meet their own needs by scaffolding their learning through initial direct assistance and demonstration, while guiding their understanding and practice until they are independent. Sunnybrook is not licensed or equipped for diaper changing.
Clothing/Personal Items: Please be sure that all your child’s personal belongings are marked clearly with the child’s name or initials. Families are asked to leave a full change of clothes at school. Sunnybrook children go outside to play, as well as paint and use glue daily – please consider this as you make selections regarding clothing.
Lunch and Snacks: Daily snack times are not on a schedule. Children may choose to eat any time during the morning and afternoon work periods. A lunch time is scheduled for afternoon students.
Morning children should bring a healthy snack. Afternoon children should bring a healthy lunch and snack. All day children should bring two healthy snacks and a healthy lunch.
State guidelines recommend a nutritious lunch that includes; protein, vegetable or fruit or both, and a healthy drink. Some families may choose to include a healthy dessert, but this is optional.
Please note: Candy, gum, chips, carbonated drinks and sugary snacks should be kept home.
We enjoy the celebration of birthdays and several holidays throughout the year. We encourage families to consider healthy options when sending celebratory snacks so that families can retain management of children’s exposure to, and consumption of, sweet treats.
Because of the severe nature of some nut allergies, nut items must be clearly labeled to protect the children if you are notified of a nut allergy in the class.
A cloth napkin should be sent daily for your child to use as a placemat for his/her food. Please include any needed utensils. The Montessori philosophy encourages us to be stewards of the earth, so we strongly encourage the use of reusable lunch and drink containers.
Unfortunately, we are unable to refrigerate or heat up lunch items. Please place foods that need to be kept cool in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack, and those that need to stay warm in an insulated thermos.
Recess: We will typically go outside, except in cases of foul weather, including heavy rain and temperatures below 5°F as measured by the school thermometer. Please send your child with weather appropriate clothing.
Sharing: Natural items and books may be brought in to share with the class. Toys should remain at home.
Birthdays: Birthdays are always a time of great excitement and healthy birthday treats are welcome. We do ask that birthday party invitations not be distributed at school unless you have invited everyone in the whole class – this will avoid many hurt feelings. Children may enjoy donating a special book to the school as part of their birthday celebration.
Illness: Please keep your child at home if he/she exhibits symptoms of contagious diseases including colds and fevers (100 degrees or higher). With vomiting and diarrhea children should remain at home for 24 hours from the last episode of illness. Please contact the staff if your child will not be attending school due to illness.
Please notify the staff at Sunnybrook if your child contracts a contagious disease (Ex. chicken pox, mumps, measles, scarlet fever, strep throat, conjunctivitis, etc.) Conditions such as lice and scabies should also be reported to staff members. Your child may return to school when he/she is no longer contagious or medical personnel have given their approval.
Medication Administration & Storage: Medications may be administered by staff if a medication administration form has been filled out by a parent/guardian and the medication is provided in the original container with the original prescription label containing the prescription. For non-prescription items, such as Tylenol, lip balm, etc., they must be provided in the original container with written permission from a parent/guardian. Epi-pens and emergency Benadryl will be stored in a high cupboard in the classroom or the outside backpack for quick teacher access. Refrigerated medications will be kept in the refrigerator. All other medications will be kept in the kitchen in a high cupboard to prevent child access.
Notification of Absence: We request that you notify the staff if your child will be absent from school for any reason, including vacation, appointments, or illness.
School Closing: In the event of extreme weather conditions or other factors that may make it impossible to operate, such as loss of power, Sunnybrook may close. We will be closed if SAU 36 closes for inclement weather. If SAU 36 has a one-hour delay, we will open for morning care at 8 AM, and school at 9 AM. If SAU 36 has a two-hour delay, we will open at 9 AM for morning care, and school at 10 AM. Closing information may be found on the SAU 36 website (http://www.sau36.org/) or on the WMUR News school closings list (http://www.wmur.com/). Make up days will be at the discretion of the Directress.
*If you would like to be placed on a call list for closing and delay notifications, please inform the Directress.
Tuition: Sunnybrook charges a yearly tuition for preschool and a yearly fee for before and/or after school care. Families are responsible for the full amount regardless of absences or missed time. See the Tuition Fee Schedule for details. There are three options available for payment:
1) Pay the full amount by September 1st with a $100 deposit due before July 1st.
2) Enroll in a nine-payment plan with a $100 deposit due before July 1st, then payments due on the first of each month September to May.
3) Enroll in the ten-payment plan, with the first payment due before July 1st, then payments due on the first of each month September to May.
Forms: Per state regulations we must maintain records on all children enrolled. A current Health Form, Immunization Record (or exemption), and Childcare Registration & Emergency Information Form must be on file for a child to attend school, per licensing regulations. Health forms are good for one year from the date of the last exam. Upon expiration, a new form needs to be submitted, usually around the child’s birthday. We also require an Enrollment and Tuition Agreement, Evacuation and Medical Treatment & Child ID Form, and a Permission form. In addition, we request an Electronic Communication form, Student Information Form, and Rest Information Form (for full day students).
Inclusion Policy: The diversity of the society in which we live, and the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are, is valued and celebrated at Sunnybrook. Sunnybrook Montessori School strives to be a high-quality inclusive setting, where all children, regardless of ability, race, gender, belief system, and socioeconomic status are provided with equal access and opportunities to reach his or her full potential. Sunnybrook is sensitive to family values, culture, identity, and home language. Sunnybrook provides reasonable modifications and supports to meet individual needs. Sunnybrook staff is highly supported and encouraged in their professional development, as continuing education is crucial to providing high quality early care for all children.
Sunnybrook adheres to the definition of inclusion developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), outlined below.
Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential. The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports.
For more information on inclusion, please visit: http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/DEC_NAEYC_ECSummary_A.pdf
Nondiscrimination Policy: Sunnybrook Montessori School does not discriminate in the admission or treatment of students based on gender, race, color, religion, economic status, family make up, academic ability, disability, ethnicity, or national origin. All students are afforded equal rights and privileges, and are provided equal access to Sunnybrook Montessori School’s programs, activities and educational practices.
Assessment and Developmental Screenings: To provide children with individualized support and guidance that aligns with their interests and development, and to inform planning or overall program improvement, teachers routinely observe and assess children’s progress and development in all areas (social & emotional, physical, cognitive, speech & language, approaches to learning, health, and self-help) throughout each day. A variety of assessment methods are used to record observations, including checklists, audio recordings, rating scales, and written narratives. This information is used to set individual goals, guide curriculum, and introduce appropriate materials and activities to further development and learning. The online assessment platform, Teaching Strategies Gold, is used to create a portfolio used to track development of full-time students. Observations and developmental progress are shared with families during bi-annual parent teacher conferences and informal conversations.
Developmental screenings, such as the ASQ- SE & ASQ-3, are distributed each fall to families and/or completed by Sunnybrook teachers for all children, which can help families and teachers recognize if a child is developing typically or may need extra support. If a screening indicates a possible area of concern, Sunnybrook teachers will work with families, as desired, to pursue further testing and potential services.
When teachers suspect a delay in physical, speech & language, cognitive, or social/emotional development they will document observations and share them with you. If a delay is suspected, the teacher will provide information about next steps to take and resources to provide your child with a diagnostic evaluation.
Discipline and Guidance: At Sunnybrook we implement Positive Discipline, which involves setting kind yet firm expectations, understanding and addressing the meaning behind behavior, redirection, consistency, and using logical and natural consequences. Kindness and inclusion are modeled, explicitly expected of all, and addressed regularly through activities, stories, role playing, and conversations.
Documentation of Extreme Challenging Behavior: Incidences of extreme challenging behavior shall be documented in writing and a copy provided to the family, per NH Child Care Licensing Rules. A child may need to leave the school for the remainder of the day if a persistent extreme challenging behavior poses a serious safety risk for the child or others in the program.
Individualized Behavior Plans: Occasionally a child struggles with appropriate social and emotional skill development, which may lead to persistent inappropriate behavior. If students consistently exhibit unkind or dangerous behaviors, the teacher will meet with the family, and any other outside support personnel needed, to participate in the development of an individualized behavior plan. This will involve the collaborative sharing of concerns and observations, considering the purpose behind the behavior, and determining reasonable goals and strategies to implement in the classroom and home, as applicable. The plan will include positive behavior support strategies targeted toward the child’s needs and will be implemented until the behavior subsides or the plan is amended as agreed upon by the team.
If families have concerns about their child’s behavior, either at home or school, we will work with you to find strategies and methods of skill development and will seek or refer outside guidance if needed.
If teachers consistently observe behaviors that are atypical, families may be asked to schedule an outside assessment/evaluation with the child’s physician and/or the local school district to determine if there are developmental factors or individual needs that play a role in a child’s behavior.
Ancillary Services: Occasionally outside specialists or teachers from other programs visit the classroom to work with or observe a child or the classroom. If a specialist comes to work with one specific child, this will be discussed and permission will be obtained from the child’s family prior to the visit.
Discontinuation and Denial of Enrollment: Sunnybrook Montessori School may discontinue the enrollment of a child based on non-payment of tuition or lack of consistent attendance. A student is withdrawn if tuition is more than thirty (30) days past due unless other arrangements have been made in writing, including the signature of the parent(s), Directress, and two members of the Board of Directors.
Expulsion and suspension may be used as a last resort for children exhibiting persistent and extreme challenging behaviors, after following the guidelines for documentation and resolution set out in the Child Care Licensing Rules of the State of New Hampshire. Should expulsion be determined necessary, families shall be given no less than a 2-week notice to find alternate care and shall be provided childcare resource and referral information. An exception to this policy may be made if a serious safety risk exists for the child or others in the program.
Sunnybrook Montessori School reserves the right, with Board input, to deny or discontinue enrollment at any time during the school year if the actions of a family member do not allow for a positive and constructive relationship with the school, if the educational philosophies of a family and the school differ fundamentally, or if any threatening, bullying, or dangerous behaviors by family members put any students, families, or teachers of Sunnybrook at risk.
Student Withdrawal: If a family finds that they need to withdraw their child from Sunnybrook, they may submit a withdrawal form to the Directress. The withdrawal will take effect two weeks from the date the signed form is submitted. The family is responsible for the account balance calculated through the last day of enrollment.
Emergency Procedures: Emergency procedures for various emergency situations have been established and reviewed by staff. The students and staff will participate in monthly fire drills, as well as other emergency drills, such as shelter in place, reverse evacuation, drop and cover, etc. If there is an emergency that requires the building to be evacuated, we will gather on the playground. If there is an emergency that requires evacuation of the building and surrounding area, the emergency evacuation location is Weeks Memorial Library, and the alternate location is Colonel Town Community Center. In case of such an emergency, every effort will be made to contact families at the earliest time possible. For the safety of all, parents should wait to collect their children until notified by staff that it is safe to do so.