Montessori Preschool Parent Handbook

SECTION I – EARLY CHILDHOOD HISTORY

Background Information

Dearborn Public Schools, in cooperation with the Department of Elementary Education administers the Early Childhood Programs which includes Developmental Preschool, Little Scholars, Wee scholars, Montessori Preschool, Half-day Preschool, All Day Preschool, and Kids Club.  Since 1986 the Dearborn Public Schools has been committed to providing high-quality programs for young children.  Each program offers a unique approach to foster the educational needs of children in our community.  Over the years the programs have grown to serve hundreds of children at many different locations.  The program is ever expanding as parents realize the importance of quality programs for their children.

Philosophy

The philosophy of the Early Childhood program involves the education of the “whole” child. The emphasis is on constructive play as an effective learning tool. Studies indicate that play is considered the work of the child and it is through play that children’s learning and self-esteem are enhanced. Activities and experiences focus on each child’s growth and development socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.  Rooms are arranged in a variety of “interest centers” such as dramatic play/housekeeping, sand/water, blocks, writing, listening, manipulatives, science, art, books, and special activities.  These are the means through which children’s abilities are expanded and challenged.  For a portion of each class session children select their own activities from among these “centers”.  Also, during each class session children are involved in group activities such as circle time, story time, songs, snack, and outdoor play.  This variety gives the children experience and practice working independently, as part of a group with their peers, and with supportive adults in an environment that fosters a positive attitude toward learning.

State of Michigan Licensing

The Early Childhood Programs are licensed by the State of Michigan and must comply with all law established by the Child Day Care Licensing Rules and Regulations.  A copy of the Rules and Regulations are available for review.

 SECTION II – GENERAL INFORMATION

Admission

Admission to the program is made by:

  • Create an account on our ELEYO system at https://dearbornschools.ce.eleyo.com/
    • Choose Scholars Program on the Blue Tab and then choose the site where you  wish to enroll your child
    • Meet the minimum age requirement
    • Payment of a non-refundable registration fee.
    • Complete all of the forms on the ELEYO enrollment pages
    • Do not leave blanks in the system. If you cannot answer a question you should write NONE in a blank
    • Parents must provide a Health Appraisal each year
    • Parents must provide up to date Immunizations

ALL FORMS MUST BE TURNED IN TO THE PROGRAM BEFORE THE CHILD CAN ATTEND

Withdrawal

Any request to withdrawal a child for a program must be submitted in writing.  An Exit Form can be obtained from the child’s teacher and can be returned to the teacher or mailed to Dearborn Public Schools Early Childhood Programs Office which is located at the Administrative Service Center, 18700 Audette, Dearborn, MI 48124-4222.  The form must be submitted at least two (2) weeks before you withdraw your child from the program.

THERE WILL BE NO TUITION REFUNDS ISSUED IF THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT FOLLOWED.

Dismissal

The following are grounds for dismissal of a child from Dearborn Public Schools Early Childhood Programs:

  • The Parents or Guardians of the child allow their account to become delinquent.
  • Failure of the Parents or Guardians to honor the obligations in the Parent Contract or any rules/regulations published in handbooks provided by Dearborn Public Schools.
  • Failure to provide up-to-date health and immunization records in accordance with policies of Wayne County Health Department.
  • Failure to provide all completed forms prior to the first day of attendance.
  • Failure to attend the program for two (2) consecutive weeks without notification.
  • Fifth occurrence of Late Pick-up and/or Early Drop-off offense.
  • The program, in its sole discretion, determines that it is unable to meet the needs of the child.
  • The program, in its sole discretion, determines that the child’s actions (behavior) endanger the welfare of the other children or teachers in any way.

Re–enrollment

To re-enroll a child (provided there is space available) you must do the following:

  • Have a zero balance on all Early Childhood program accounts.
  • Have not been dismissed from any Early Childhood program.
  • Pay the registration fee. Registration fees are non-refundable and non-transferable from one school year to the next.
  • Complete a new registration packet,
  • In the event the program is full, your child’s name can be placed on a waiting list.

Waiting List

With payment of a non-refundable registration fee your child’s name will be placed on a waiting list. The child’s name will remain on the waiting list for the duration of the current school year.  Removal of name will take place only upon request of parent/guardian.

When an opening occurs the teacher will begin at the top of the waiting list and notify parents, in descending order, until vacancy is filled.  Should parents choose not to place their child in the program at the time of an opening the child’s name will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list.

Absences

Absences should be reported in advance by calling the center before the time your child is scheduled to arrive.

Drop Off and Pick Up Of Children

A parent or authorized person (see below) must walk a child to the main lobby. Teachers will greet the child in the lobby no earlier than 8:50 am and no later than 9:00 am. The adult must sign the child in. After 9:00 am  all children must be checked into the main office. A teacher will be informed, and come to have the child sign in. If a child must leave earlier that 3:55 pm , the adult must check into the main office. A teacher will bring the child to the office to be signed out by the adult. Children will be dismissed no later than 3:55 in the lobby. If the adult arrives after 3:55, the adult must check into the main office, and late charges will occur.

Classroom Visits

Under normal circumstances, parents are welcome visitors in the program at any time.  A variety of opportunities are available for parents to participate in their child’s preschool experience during the course of the school year. During class hours we ask that visits are limited to adults only. However, at this time we are not having visitors come to the classroom.

Discipline

Definition: Discipline involves positive guidance and teaching.

Goal: The goal of the Dearborn Public Schools Early Childhood programs in regard to discipline is to help the young child gain greater self-control under conditions which allow the child to view herself/himself as a worthwhile person.

Approaches: To help children constructively, adults may use one or more of the following approaches.

  • Plan ahead to prevent problems.
  • Model appropriate behavior.
  • Clearly and consistently state positive expectations for behavior.
  • Remind children of expectations.
  • Describe situations to encourage children’s evaluation of problems and solutions.
  • Change the environment.
  • Redirect the child to another activity.
  • Conference with the parents.

If a problem continues to occur, the child will be taken aside and spoken to privately.  The staff member will review the incident, the proper behavior, and help the child correct himself/herself in a positive manner. If the problem continues, the child will be directed to an area where he/she can sit and reflect upon the occurrences. The child is not separated from the group to embarrass him/her.  We have found this method allows the child time to reflect upon the situation and devise a successful solution for dealing with it.  By stressing cooperation and self-control with the children, we strive to help them work out their problems in an acceptable fashion. The staff members firmly believe that situations such as these are handled effectively if there is cooperation between the staff members and the parents.

Under NO circumstances will the adult use physical punishment or other negative methods that may hurt, frighten or humiliate the child.

Parent Information

Information regarding program activities, tuition, policies, and other announcements will be placed in the child’s backpack. It is your responsibility to check for information on a daily basis, as this is an important means of distributing information. We also have a DPS blog at https://iblog.dearbornschools.org/earlychildhood/  where you can find program updates and other useful information. Your child’s teacher should also have a DPS blog. Please subscribe to this blog to be kept up to date on classroom happenings.

Clothing

Children should wear simple, sturdy, and washable play clothes that do not restrict their participation in activities.  Avoid complicated fastenings and suspenders or belts, as the children must be able to take care of their own bathroom needs without the assistance of another person.  Children should wear shoes with non-slip soles as they are safer on tile floors and climbing equipment.  The children are taken outdoors to play and should be dressed according to the weather.

Items from Home

We ask that you leave your child’s toys at home or in your car. Guns, war toys, or other toys of destruction are strictly prohibited in school.

SECTION III – TUITION

Payment of Tuition

You registered through our ELEYO system. You will receive an email with your monthly statement on or about the 22nd of each month. You will also receive your monthly invoice through this system as well.

In an effort to be timely and reduce errors,

Payment for the month must be received by the 1st of the month.  A late fee will be assessed to your account one day after the due date. If the payment is not received within 8 to 10 days your child will not be allowed to attend until payment is received. You will be asked to put your account on AUTO PAY. Auto Pay takes the hassle out of remembering  your tuition payment and it is deducted directly our of your account or charged to your credit card the day the payment is due.

Tuition Credits

Tuition refunds will not be given for days that your child is absent.

Payment Arrangements

If you are unable to make your monthly payment because of extenuating circumstances, you can call the Early Childhood Supervisor to set up a payment arrangement.

Late Payment Fee

There will be a $25.00 late payment fee added to your account if the tuition is not paid in full by the due date. Any account that has become delinquent (10 days past the due date) may result in the dismissal of your child from the program. Once overdue tuition is paid, your child(ren) may re-enroll, space permitting, and  provided you pay the registration fees

Late Pick-Up/Early Drop-off Charges

Additional fees will be charged for children dropped off before or picked up after the program’s hours of operation.

 A late pick-up fee of $5.00 will be assessed for any child picked up 1 to 5 minutes after closing or the end of the scheduled session.  An additional $10.00 fee will be assessed if a child is picked up 6 to 10 minutes after closing or the end of the session for a total of $15.00 in late fees.  An additional $15.00 will be assessed for any child picked up 11 to 15 minutes after closing or the end of the session, for a total of $30.00 in late fees.  Each minute after the 15 minutes will be assessed a late fee of $1.00 per minute late.

For Example: If the session ends at 11:15 and you pick your child up at 11:30 you will be assessed $30.00: a late fee of $5.00 for the first five minutes, an additional fee of $10.00 for the next five minutes, and then $15.00 for the third five-minute period which totals $30.00 in late fees.

An early drop-off fee of $5.00 will be assessed for any child dropped off 1 to 5 minutes before the start of the session.  An additional $10.00 fee will be assessed if a child is dropped-off 6 to 10 minutes before the start of the session for a total of $15.00 in early fees.  An additional $15.00 will be assessed for any child dropped off 11 to 15 minutes before the start of the session, for a total of $30 in early fees.  Each minute before the 15 minutes will be assessed an early drop off fee of $1.00 per minute.

Upon the fourth Late/Early offense occurrence in the program, the fees will be doubled.  With the fifth Late/Early offense, the fees will be doubled and your child(ren) will be dropped from the program effective immediately.

Collection Agency Fees

All tuition and fees that remain unpaid after the program has ended will be forwarded to our collection agency.  If your account is sent to collections, you will be responsible for all fees accrued to your account by that agency as well as the unpaid balance due.

SECTION IV – PROGRAM POLICIES

Eligibility Requirements

Montessori preschool is an educational program for children who are three (3) or four (4) years old by September 1st.  Children must be toilet learned, which is defined as able to verbalize and attend to their own needs without assistance of another person.  Children cannot attend class wearing regular or “pull-up” diapers.

Hours of Operation:

Monday through Friday          Full day program 8:55 am to 3:55 pm

Calendar

The program begins in September and ends in June.  Vacations and program closings are governed by the Dearborn Public Schools calendar.

Holidays

The program will be closed on national holidays and other days observed by the Dearborn Public Schools Calendar.  The program will be closed on the following national holidays if they occur on a weekday:

News Year’s Eve                                Labor Day

New Year’s Day                                 Thanksgiving Day

Good Friday                                       Friday after Thanksgiving

Memorial Day                                     Christmas Eve

Independence Day                              Christmas Day

Preparing Your Child for the First Day

If your child has never been left with anyone other than parents, please make arrangements to expose him/her to other adults.  Otherwise, when you leave your child at school with a teacher that (s)he does not know well (s)he may be afraid and wonder if you are coming back.  There are several civic programs that you could enroll your child in during the summer for short periods.  This will get your child used to being left with others.  Examples of Civic Programs: Library Story Hour, Parks and Rec. activities, such as soccer, swim and / or dance lessons.

Curriculum

The Montessori Method is both a philosophy of child growth and a rationale for guiding such growth.  It is based on the child’s developmental needs for freedom within limits and a carefully prepared environment that guarantees exposure to materials and experiences which develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities.  It is designed to take full advantage of the self-motivation and unique ability of children to develop their own capabilities. The child needs adults to expose him/her to the possibilities in his/her life, but the child must direct his/her response to those possibilities.  Premises of Montessori education are:

  • Children are to be respected as different from adults, and as individuals who differ from each other.
  • The child possesses unusual sensitivity and mental skills for absorbing and learning from his/her environment that are unlike those of the adult both in quality and capacity.
  • The most important years of growth are the first six years of life when unconscious learning is gradually brought to the conscious level.
  • The child has a deep love and need for purposeful work. He/she works, however, not as an adult for profit and completion of a job, but for the sake of the activity itself.  It is this activity which accomplishes for him/her the most important goal: the development of self — mental, physical, psychological and social skills.  For the child it is the process of the activity rather than the end product.

Through this process the child will develop skills in mathematics, literacy, science, social studies and self help.

Sample Daily Schedule

Arrival Time

Beginning circle-

Attendance

Calendar

Weather

New presentation

Independent class work-

Free choice

Small group lessons

Individual lessons

Evaluations

Clean-up

Ending circle-

Silent walk

Various activities

Dismissal

Field Trips

If there is an excursion that the teacher feels would be very beneficial and worthwhile for the children, a field trip can be arranged by letting the parents know that class on that particular day will be conducted at the field trip location.  The parent must provide the transportation for their child both to the location and back.  The parent is also to remain at the location with the child.  Teachers are not to be involved in the forming of car pools on these occasions.

We have not discussed field trips at this time. If we do take field trips this year they will most likely be to destinations outdoors.

Progress Reports

On a regular basis, parents will receive a written report on the preschool child’s developmental progress.

Parent-Teacher Communication

Parent /Teacher communication is a vital component of your child’s educational experience.  Teachers encourage parents to share information which may affect a child’s functioning in preschool, such as a move to a new house, a change in parent’s work schedule, a person close to the child moves away, etc.   As the need arises throughout the school year parents are encouraged to ask questions and express concerns.  Teachers will share information with parents about such things as day to day happenings in the classroom, changes in routines or procedures, child rearing issues such as discipline, growth, and development issues.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-teacher conferences are held each year.  A parent-teacher conference provides the opportunity to compare notes on the child’s progress in the school environment.  A conference exchange best insures a child’s continued growth and development, and enables the teachers to provide each child with an optimal preschool experience.  In addition, teachers are available by appointment during the school year to meet with the parent to discuss specific concerns or questions.

Snacks

Snack time is a pleasant social and learning experience for preschool children.  All snacks should be wholesome and nutritious. While it is fun to help prepare snacks at home to share with our friends and those snacks are often the best and most nutritious, it is not always what we are most comfortable with right now. For this reason we will ask parents to provide a nutritious snack for their own child daily.

Lunch

You should pack a nutritious lunch for your child daily.

It is the responsibility of parents to notify the teachers of any food allergies, intolerance and/or dietary restrictions. 

Due to the severity of peanut allergies absolutely no products with nuts will be served.

Birthdays

We emphasize healthy eating practices and nutritious foods. We welcome nutritious treats sent to school in honor of your child’s special day. Private party invitations may not be distributed within the classroom.

The children are welcome to bring in a special treat on their birthday and it can be in addition to a regular snack. Due to the time and clean-up element and since we eat the birthday treat as a group, please bring something that is easy to serve to children without preparation like cupcakes or cookies.  We will be singing “Happy Birthday” before enjoying the treat, and the birthday child will take a “birthday walk” the appropriate number of times. While carrying our model of the earth, we will sing “The Earth goes Around the Sun.”

 SECTION V – HEALTH AND SAFETY

 Accidents/Injuries

Teachers are certified in CPR and Basic First Aid and in-serviced in universal precautions.  In the event of a minor injury, children will be given first aid, comforted, and parents will be notified.  In the event of a major injury, parents will be notified immediately.  Established emergency procedures for the school will be followed.

Confidentiality

All information regarding children and families will remain confidential.

Illness

For the protection of all children, your child will not be accepted into the program if he/she has any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100 degrees or above.
  • Intestinal problems with diarrhea or vomiting, within 24 hours of class time.
  • Any type of undiagnosed rash.
  • Any type of communicable disease (chicken pox, strep throat, influenza, measles, impetigo, head lice, pink eye, etc.)  This must be reported to the preschool teacher.
  • A child who has been exempted from a vaccination is considered susceptible to the disease or diseases for which the vaccination offers protection.  That child will be subject to exclusion from the school or program if an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease to which he or she is susceptible occurs.
  • Your child should stay home until he/she has been fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication

Medication

Prescription Medications that your child may need to take while at school will be administered only after the parent has filled out a medication permission form and signed it.  Prescription medication must have the pharmacy label indicating the physician’s name, child’s name, instructions, and name and strength of the medication, and will be given in accordance with those instructions.

Non-prescription Medications must be brought to school in the original container.  A medication permission form must be filled out and signed by the parent, and physician, indication the child’s name, instructional and name and strength of the medication.  The dosage can be less than, or equal to the label instructions.

A staff member will maintain a record as to time and amount of any medications given or applied.

Outdoor Play

Children are provided with the opportunity for outdoor play daily as long as they do not become overheated or excessively chilled.  Children will not be taken outdoors when the air temperature is 20 degrees F.  If temperatures exceed 82 degrees F, measures will be taken to keep the children cool.

Due to staffing requirements, there are no accommodations for a child to remain indoors during outdoor play time.

The school age programs may take advantage of the existing playground which may or may not comply with the State of Michigan Child Day Care Licensing Rules and Regulations.

Emergency Schools Closings

In the event of school closings, such as inclement weather, announcements are posted on Dearborn Public Schools cable channel or local radio, television stations, and the Dearborn Public Schools website.

 Crisis Management

The safety and well being of the children is a priority.  Therefore, a crisis management plan has been developed and implemented which protects the children from harm.  These policies include procedures for evacuation, lock down, seeking shelter and first aid as a response to the remote possibility of fire, disaster and emergencies.  In the event of a crisis, parents will be notified as soon as possible.  Crisis response drills will be conducted on a regular basis to familiarize children with the procedures.

A copy of the Crisis Management plan is available on site for review.

Pest Management Plan

Although the staff of Dearborn Public Schools Early Childhood programs make every effort to provide a safe, clean environment for the children there are times when it is necessary to utilize pest control methods.  Under Michigan Public Act 451, MCL 324.831C child care centers are required to provide advance notification of pesticide application.   Prior to treatment, notices will be posted and letters will be provided informing you of the reason for treatment, the type of treatment planned and the date the treatment is scheduled.  Please be assured that treatment will take place after the building has closed and no insecticide will be dispensed in any room unless the room will be unoccupied for more than 4 hours.  Additional information regarding the pest control methods used may be obtained from the National Pesticide Information Center npic@ace.orst.edu or by calling 1-800-858-7378.