Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

Guidelines for the Classroom

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 preschool 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.

Hours:

The half-day session runs from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The full-day session runs from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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 7:55-8:05 AM, as morning meeting will begin promptly at 8:05 AM.

7:00       Early Work – Free Choice (Morning Care)

 8:05      Morning Meeting

8:15        Morning Work

10:30     Group Gathering

 11:15      Outside Work

12:00     Morning dismissal

12:15       Lunch

12:45      Library Hour – Quiet rest/sleep time for those who need it

 2:30      Dismissal – 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.

Parent Involvement and Communication: Sunnybrook has an open-door policy.  Family members are welcome to visit at any time and involvement is strongly encouraged.  It benefits both the school and the families, and therefore, the children.  “School Community” helps everyone feel a part of Sunnybrook and is cherished.  Anyone wishing to volunteer in various capacities is welcome to speak with the Directress.

Parents have daily access to the staff, 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 staff at any time regarding their child’s experiences at school.

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.

Toilet Use:  We work with students who are developing 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:  Foods including 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:  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.

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.

Assessment and Developmental Screenings:  To provide children with individualized support and guidance that aligns with their interests and development, 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 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.

Ancillary Services:  Occasionally outside specialists or teachers from other programs will 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.

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).

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 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, or exchange of information with a health professional.  Families may have full access to their child’s records upon request. For information about student record confidentiality, visit https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html.

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 be suspended 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, staff will meet with the family 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 brainstorming reasonable goals and strategies to implement in the classroom and home, as applicable.  The plan will be amended as agreed upon by the team and implemented until the behavior subsides.

Discontinuation 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 child care 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.

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.

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, socioeconomic status, etc.  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.