THE GARDEN MONTESSORI SCHOOL
PARENT HANDBOOK  

 Welcome to Garden Montessori School.   Please keep this handbook as a reference and to answer questions that may arise during your child's enrollment at Garden School.   We will send home monthly letters to keep you informed about what is going on at school, but this handbook should help answer questions that come up during the year
LICENSING 
Garden Montessori School is a corporation, licensed by the State of California to serve 24 children ages 3-6.  By choice we keep our class size between 18 and 19.  Our State license number is 070211452.  Our Federal Tax number is 94-3216965. 
PROGRAM
The day is divided into different sections.  The following is a typical daily schedule which may vary due to initial phase-in, inclement weather, or special projects:
Schedule of the day:
Morning Class begins at 8:55 and ends at 11:25.  Afternoon Class begins at 12:00 and ends at 2:30.  The scheduled times for the afternoon class is in parentheses.
Arrival time is between 8:55 and 9:05, (12:00 and 12:10).
The children play outside on the playground until 9:20, (12:25).  This time permits the children to begin socializing and talk of the important things that have happened to them since they have last seen their friends. 
Continuation of the Schedule of the Day:
At 9:20, (12:25), the children come into the classroom for first circle.  They enter the classroom by greeting a teacher at the door, hanging up jackets and siting at circle.  At early circle we bring the group together by singing a song of greeting which involves all of the children and their names.  Finished work and work in progress is distributed and any sharing for the day also takes place at this time.  Teachers present new materials which are being brought into the classroom and there are discussions pertaining to the current curriculum topic.  We discuss problems and tell each other our experiences and concerns.
At 9:45, (12:40), the work period begins.  This period is designed by the classic Montessori methodology which involves the child's choice of the Montessori materials in a prepared environment with trained Montessori teachers.  The child may choose from the areas of Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Cultural, Science or Art.  The outside deck is always open for the children to paint, water plants, or participate in any activity that has been placed outside.
The work period ends at 11:10, (2:15).  At this time the child is asked to end their work.  If he/she has not finished, they attach their name card to the work and continue it the following day.  Closing circle begins at 11:10, (2:15).  A story is read, and we sing and do dramatic play until the children are dismissed.
Consistency and routine are an important part of our program.  It helps children to feel safe, secure and to fully benefit from their experience at school.  The different phases of the schedule are equally important.  Therefore, it is vital to adhere to the schedule, ensure your child arrives promptly, and is present for his/her entire school day.  A child can feel embarrassed if they come into a group late and it can affect how they feel about themselves for the rest of the day at school.
TEACHER QUALIFICATIONS:
Troy and Karine are fully accredited and well qualified as preschool teachers.  They share the Montessori educational philosophy and work together as a team.  They are skilled professionals chosen for the special gifts brought to this important work.  An intuitive love and understanding of children is highest on the list of prerequisites to be a preschool teacher. Please see Teachers to view their qualifications.
ADMISSIONS:
Enrollment is open to children ages 3-6 who are fully toilet trained and physically and emotionally able to function in the school environment.
The Montessori program is best viewed as a two to three year commitment.  For this reason, enrollment preference is given to younger children, transferring Montessori students, and siblings of former and current students. Admissions are based on availability of space and determination of staff that a child will benefit from the environment.  Garden School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national and ethnic origin in its admissions or other policies of its program.  Consideration may be given to age and gender in balancing the classes.
Prior to applying for admission to Garden Montessori, the parents must observe the classroom while the class is in session.
All children are placed on the waiting list upon completion of the application and payment of the registration fee. Children will be accepted into the program to balance the group by age and ratio of boys and girls.  New children may enter the regular program in September and during the year if space becomes available. 

Entrance tests are not given to children attending Garden Montessori School.  We are interested in the parent's evaluation of their child and their goals and desires for their child in our program.  Pertinent information which may have been obtained from specialists is important to us as it may help us better meet the needs of the child.
Re-enrollments: In order to reserve a place for the following year, parents are asked to submit a completed application and a $95 registration fee by February 1.  Returning children will be given priority for enrollment, followed by siblings of currently enrolled children and siblings of previously enrolled children.  On February 1, enrollment will be open to the public to fill any remaining openings.
ORIENTATION:
Phase-Ins:  In order to orient our new students to the classroom the following schedule applies.  During phase-in the children are gradually introduced to the classroom.  The personalized attention this affords each child with the teacher, other children, and classroom routine  ensures the smooth beginning of a successful year.  You will receive a letter in August with your child’s schedule.
The first school day is attended by the child with at least one parent.  (Please leave younger and older children at home.  This is a special time for your child.)  Please plan this visit to say "hello",  meet the teachers,  some of the other children and introduce your child to the classroom before they come alone the following day.  Please plan to stay a maximum of 15 minutes and show your child something they can do the next day.  Even returning children can feel apprehensive on the first day with new friends.  Come any time between 9:30 and 11:00 for the morning class and between 12:00 and 1:30 for the afternoon class.
On the second, third and fourth days of school a 40 minute class time will be assigned to your child.  This allows the child to come with only one third of the class and helps them gain assurance.  The child is to come by themselves on these days.  Sometimes separations are difficult but it is best if the child comes alone.  Parents are always welcome at Garden School, but on the first days it is best if apprehensive parents wait outside out of the child's view.  (There are plenty of windows to peek through.)
PROBATION:
All children enter Garden School on a probationary basis.  The health and safety of all children and staff members requires the withdrawal of any child whose behavior is determined to endanger him/herself, other children, or staff members.  A child may also be dismissed if it is found that the child's needs are not being met by the program.
WITHDRAWALS AND REFUNDS:
If it is determined by either the parents or Garden School that the placement of the child in Garden School is not in the best interests of the child or the school, a conference will be scheduled to discuss appropriate action.  If it is decided that the child be removed from the school, the registration fee will be forfeited and tuition will be prorated for the days attended by the child.
Toilet training:  Garden School is not licensed for infants and toddlers.  All children must be "potty trained" to attend school.  If a registration fee is paid in the Spring for a child that is not competent in using the toilet independently by September, the fee will be refunded and the child will not be accepted into the program.  In September children do have accidents and parents are encouraged to send a change of clothes in a plastic bag with the child's name on it.  If a child continues to have numerous accidents, they will be asked to withdraw until they are more reliable.  The registration fee will be forfeited and tuition will be prorated for the days attended by the child.  The parent has the choice of paying tuition while the child is not in school to hold their place, or go on the waiting list and wait for an opening when the child has become completely toilet trained.
TUITION/FEES/PAYMENT:
Garden School tuition is an annual fee of 91/2 payments plus a $95 registration fee.  The first tuition payment is due August 1, 2017 and is 1/2 of the monthly tuition. This payment confirms that your child will be attending Garden School and is not refundable.  The other 9 payments are due on the first day of each month, September through May. Equal tuition is charged for all months even though some months have more scheduled holidays.  Full tuition is due for each month even if children are away for vacation, sickness or holidays not observed by Garden School.  All tuition payments are due on the 1st of each month and considered late if received after the 5th day of the month.  Tuition payments may be mailed or dropped off at Garden School. Checks should be made out to Garden Montessori School, Inc.  Your tuition is our only source of income, please pay on time.
The $95 non-refundable registration fee is due upon enrollment. The enrollment options are as follows:
5 days a week - $550 month  
4 days a week - $490 month  
3 days a week - $425 month  
PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
Parents are required to complete the following forms upon enrolling their child at Garden School:
                        Tuition Contract and $95 non-refundable registration fee
                        Child's Health History  (LIC702)
                        Notice of Parent's Rights  (LIC995)
                        Personal Rights  (LIC613)
                        Physician's Report  (LIC701- Including Immunization History)                                             
                        Identification and Emergency Information  (LIC700)
                        Consent for Medical Treatment  (LIC627)
                        Parent's Handbook  (Sign and return last page)
 
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE PROCEDURES:
Sign In/Sign Out:
State law mandates that all children be signed in and out by their caretakers or parents. Please sign your full last name, initials are not sufficient.
Drop off is between 8:55 and 9:05 (12:00 to 12:10 for the afternoon class).  Drive into the circular driveway on Verona Avenue and stop at the steps.  (The driveway is wide enough for two cars.  Please double up so we can keep traffic off Verona Avenue.)  Please have your child's safety seat unlatched.  The teacher will open the car door to hand you the sign-in/out sheet and to let your child out of the car.  Sign your full signature.  If you are later than 9:05, (12:10) please park your car and walk your child into the classroom.  Make sure that the teacher knows that your child has arrived, then sign your child in on the sign in sheet.  If teachers are outside, the door will be locked.  Please ring the doorbell and a teacher will admit your child.  It is often hurried during drop off and verbal messages to teachers can be forgotten, please send a note for important messages.
Pick up is between 11:20 and 11:30 (2:25 and 2:35 for the afternoon class).  Drive into the circular driveway on Verona Avenue and stop at the steps.  When the car has come to a complete stop, the teacher will open the car door and hand you the sign-in/out sheet.  When it is safe for the child to exit, the teacher will call the child's name.  The child will then proceed to the car.  When the door is shut, please park or pull forward to the end of the driveway to properly fasten your child's safety seat.  If you arrive after 11:35 (2:40), park your car and come into the classroom to get your child.
Late Pick Up:  Promptness at pick-up time is expected.  A grace period of 5 minutes will be given and a  $10 late fee will be charged at 11:35 (2:40).  This fee should be paid in cash or check directly to the teachers and is not a part of your tuition.  Once the children leave, the teachers are busy with cleanup and preparing for the next class They cannot give attention to the child left and they need to discuss concerns which cannot be discussed in front of the child. 
RELEASES:
For your child's security, parents are responsible for notifying the school if someone other than the parents or individual listed on the emergency form is to take the child from the school.  Children will not be released to anyone unless a phone call or note is given to the school.  This person should be recognizable to the child.  Garden School may check an I.D. with a photo to verify the person's identity.
If you want someone whose name is not listed on your emergency form to pick your child up from school, follow one of these procedures:
            Option #1:  You may bring or send a note, personally signed with your full signature and dated authorizing  Garden School to release your child into the care of the designated person.
            Option #2:  You may call the school (837-8964) and verbally authorize the release of your child to the designated person.
BIRTHDAYS:
At Garden School, a candle is lit to represent the sun and the child carries the globe around the sun to represent the passage of each year.  Children are invited to bring in pictures, one from each year of life, beginning at birth and a healthy snack for their birthday celebration.  The teacher tells the story of the child's life during each year and the children sing a birthday song.  Pretzels shaped into the age of the child, muffins with the appropriate number of raisins on top, etc all make fun birthday snacks.  Gooey cupcakes and other sweets are not appropriate for school, save these kinds of treats for birthday parties. (Please keep birthday parties separate from school.  Feelings do get hurt if children find out that they have not been invited to a party.  All party invitations should be sent through the mail and not distributed at school.  Whenever possible, please arrange parties for the weekend.  Parties before and after school often are very disruptive to the children's concentration at school on "party days".)
CALENDAR:
Garden School follows the San Ramon Valley School District holiday schedule.  Children who miss days for vacations, sickness or holidays not observed by Garden School cannot "make up" those days by attending days they are not regularly scheduled. 
CLOTHING AND SHOES:
Children will be more comfortable when dressed in practical, layered clothing which allows for freedom of movement and that is suitable for art projects, etc.  Fasteners, zippers and buttons should be easily manageable for the child.  We emphasize and try to facilitate independence for the children.  This starts with self care and grace in movement.  Clothing and shoes should be chosen with this in mind.  Belts are difficult for children who wait until the last minute to get to the bathroom, overalls can be difficult unless they practice....  Please label all jackets and sweatshirts !!!  Children should come to school in non-skid, closed toe shoes which are safe and comfortable for play.  Cowboy boots are not allowed.  They are unstable, noisy and leave black marks on the floor.  Jellies and party shoes are not appropriate for school.  They are unstable indoors and out and they often do not fit well enough to allow graceful movement.
COMPLAINT PROCEDURE:
If a parent has a complaint that has not been resolved with the teachers, please address the issue to Jaye at 838-9653.  A parent has the right to call or write to the Bay Area District Child Care  at 5850 Shellmound Street, Suite 315, Emeryville, California 94608.
CHILD ABUSE:
We at Garden School are mandated by the Child Abuse Reporting Law (Penal Code 11166) to report any incidence of child abuse.  We are required to report within 36 hours or subject to a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
DISCIPLINE:
The staff at Garden School relies greatly on the order of natural and logical consequences relating to behavior, consistency in reinforcing the playground and classroom rules, and constructive redirection to maintain discipline within the school.  We believe that children find security and direction where there is consistent adult guidance and discipline.  Children explore, observe, feel, interact and learn through the process of being involved with people and things in their world.  All behaviors, even disruptive behaviors, are learned.  Teachers, in their role of caring for children, model and teach appropriate behavior.  Children need to know what we expect from them before they can follow the natural order of the classroom.
We, therefore, expect teachers to use constructive and preventative methods of discipline and to maintain an atmosphere of love, acceptance and order.  This atmosphere is one in which children respect themselves, their peers and their teachers.  The teachers plan ahead for possible areas of conflict.  A teacher will redirect a child by distracting the child's attention from the disruptive behavior by directing the child to some other activity which is acceptable.  The teacher will make sure that the child understands what will happen if he/she persists in the unacceptable behavior.  This will be done using words that the child can understand with the teacher sitting or kneeling at the child's  level.  The outcome must be appropriate to the behavior being corrected.  Our goal is to work in partnership with parents to create an environment in which the child's self-esteem and skills for expression and conflict resolution are enhanced.  No time outs will be given, but the child might be asked to hold the teacher's hand and stroll through the classroom in order to calm the child.  When the child has calmed and ready to go back to work, the teacher will help the child find something constructive to do.
DISMISSALS:
All children enter on a probationary basis.  The health and safety of all children and staff members requires the withdrawal of any child who's behavior is determined to endanger him/herself, other children or staff members.  A child may also be dismissed if it is found that the child's needs are not being met with the program.  The Garden Montessori School reserves the right to dismiss any child whose tuition payments are delinquent for more than thirty days.
DISASTERS:
Given the East Bay experiences with both fires and earthquakes, we take the idea of fires and earthquakes very seriously.  Classroom teachers hold monthly fire and earthquake drills so that your child will know exactly what to do and how to respond in an emergency situation.   You will find emergency information and policies posted in clear view in each classroom.  In the event of an evacuation, our school will go to the designated emergency site which is the San Ramon Valley High School on Hartz Avenue. 
Each Fall we ask parents to provide a bottle of water or can of food to put into our emergency supply.  Our unused supplies from the previous year are donated to the Contra Costa Food Bank so we know our supplies are always fresh.
FIELD TRIPS:
From time to time, appropriate field trips are taken.  Parent permission in writing is required.  Parents will be asked to drive on field trips.  Please let us know if you are interested.
HEALTH:
All children entering the program must have valid proof of the required immunizations before they will be allowed to attend (Physician's Report-License #701).  Enrolled children must show proof of updated immunizations each September.  If immunizations are being given in a sequence other than the one recommended by the Health Department, a doctor's note of explanation is required.  Immunization information may be obtained from the Health Department or the child's physician.  (A form is available for the parent or guardian to sign in the event immunizations are against one's personal or religious beliefs.  The waiver must be signed to remain in compliance with the law.)
Allergies:It is important to list all allergies on the emergency or medical consent forms.  Advise the school immediately of any new information to be added to the forms.  Children experiencing severe allergy reactions which inhibit their ability to comfortably cope within the school setting, are asked to remain at home.
Illnesses:Children with fever, sore throat, active colds, vomiting, diarrhea or undiagnosed skin rashes should be kept at home.  If your child has a communicable or highly contagious disease (chicken pox, "pinkeye", head lice, impetigo), please notify the school immediately.  If your child becomes ill at school, we will request that you, or your designated emergency contact, take your child from school.  DO NOT send medication with your child.  A child must stay home for 24 hours after a fever breaks. 
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness is by frequent hand washing and the proper use and disposal of used tissues.  Children are expected to wash their hands when soiled, before eating, after blowing their noses and after using the toilet.  Children are expected to know how to use the toilet and how to wipe themselves.  Reinforcement of these life skills at home and school will help the child gain independence. 
Positive routine is important at bed time to insure a restful night with adequate sleep for young children.  Children who stay up late and rise early for an active day will be fatigued at school and not get the most out of their environment.  
INSPECTION OF FACILITIES:
Parents are allowed to visit the facility without advanced notice at any time during the normal hours of operation.  However, when the parents' behavior poses a threat to the health and safety of the children, then entrance is denied.  Respectful behavior is expected by everyone.  We ask that parents make an appointment to visit the classroom to avoid having more than one visitor at a time. Please call in advance if possible.
The Department of Licensing shall have the authority to interview clients, including children or staff, and to inspect and audit clients or facility records without prior consent.  The Department of Licensing shall have the authority to observe the physical condition of the client, including conditions which could indicate abuse, neglect, or inappropriate placement, and to have a licensed medical professional physician examine the clients.
The state of California requires that several health forms and medical releases be on file with the school for each child.  Therefore, all forms that are issued upon acceptance of your child at the school must be returned to the school by the first day of your child's attendance. 
LOST & FOUND:
If an item is lost, please contact one of the teachers.  Clothing that is not claimed will be placed in the supply shelf for children who need to change clothes during class time. Please label all articles of clothing, books and artifacts your child brings to school.
OBSERVATIONS & CONFERENCES:
Conferences will be scheduled in November, and in May.  Additional conferences can be scheduled at any time if requested by a teacher or parent.  There will be no school on conference days.  Our goal is to work in partnership, with parents to create an environment in which the child's self-esteem and skills for expression and conflict resolution are enhanced.  Parents are encouraged to come visit the classroom at any time.  A call to schedule a visit is appreciated because it will prevent more than one visitor at a time, but parents are always welcome.
PARENT  PARTICIPATION:
Parents will be asked to drive on field trips and to help in the classroom.  Please let us know if you are interested. In spring we have volunteer parents helping the children with gardening and outside activities.
There will be a Parents' Meeting in the Fall to acquaint parents with other parents, the teachers, and the school. Additional functions to include parents will be scheduled throughout the year.
SNACKS:
Each parent will be asked to contribute $25 a year to the "pantry fund". This money will be used to buy supplies for the children to prepare their own snacks. Typical menus include hummus and cucumber sandwiches, fruit kabobs, tuna sandwiches, etc. Snack provides the children with the opportunity to prepare their own food and to practice grace and courtesy in eating.


Garden Montessori School, Preschool, Danville, Ca.