We are delighted you have enrolled your child at Montessori Country Day. Our school strives to create a personalized, positive educational environment to fulfill the potential in each child through the philosophy defined by Dr. Maria Montessori.
This handbook has been prepared to acquaint families with our school and our philosophy. It explains the policies, practices and regulations of our school.
The table of contents on the right side of this page includes links to each section. (If you’re reading this page on mobile, the table of contents will be an index at the end of this page.)
School Contact Information
Address: 1521 Haywood Road, Hendersonville, NC 28791
Office Phone and Fax: (828) 697-1011
Director: Maggie Whitmire
- Cell Phone: (828) 273-0032
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The office staff and teachers are often busy with students and sometimes unable to answer the phone. If you have an emergency and we don’t answer your call, please hang up and redial the number. All staff have been advised that if the phone rings a second time immediately after a hang-up, the caller must reach us promptly.
If the phone is busy and you must reach us immediately, call Maggie’s cell (828-273-0032).
Notices via Email and Whiteboard
Notices of interest, upcoming events and monthly newsletters will be emailed to all parents. Please keep us updated on current email addresses so you will receive these updates, notes and reminders.
Reminders will also be displayed on the whiteboard in the hallway. For some events and programs, we will send flyers home through your child’s box. Notices will be sent and posted well in advance, so please open emails and refer to the board regularly.
You can also read the monthly newsletters on the website.
At Montessori Country Day, we strive to foster a welcoming feeling to families with ongoing communication between children, families and teachers. Teachers recognize that parents are the primary educators and will help families understand the Montessori Method and the materials.
Families are invited and encouraged to visit MCD prior to and throughout enrollment. We enjoy parents volunteering, having lunch with us or sharing a special interest or expertise.
We schedule two Parent/Teacher conferences each year. This is an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress and goals. Always feel free to voice any concerns and approvals to your child’s teacher. Please also feel free to schedule an appointment with the director.
In order to meet the constantly changing needs of each individual child, please let us know about any significant changes that may affect your child’s sense of security, level of attachment and general well-being.
Classroom Teacher Communication
We always want to hear from parents. Face-to-face meetings and phone calls are Montessori Country Day’s way of keeping our relationship open, friendly, clear and respectful.
When children are in our classrooms, they are the focus of our teachers. This means teachers cannot give you their full attention or an appropriate response while children are in attendance. Please do not stand in the door at pick-up or drop-off time to communicate with teachers.
Instead, we recommend you request a phone call (or meeting for more in-depth conversations). Here are the best ways to communicate with your child’s teacher:
- Leave a note on the whiteboard. The whiteboard is a communication hub for MCD. You can write down a call request and let us know when an out-of-the-ordinary authorized adult will be picking up your child. (Please note that this person must be on your Departure List, so if it is someone new, you’ll need to authorize their addition in writing in advance.)
- Stop by the office to talk with Maggie or Laurie. They may be able to answer your question or pass information on to the teacher. If not, they can arrange for the teacher to call you as soon as possible.
- Call the office (828-697-1011) and request that the teacher call you when possible.
- Email Maggie (email@example.com) or Laurie (firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to include your phone number, and they will be happy to have the teacher call you at a mutually convenient time. (Email is a powerful communication tool for our school-home partnerships, and we welcome its use for notifications, changes in schedule, and the like. For concerns or issues, we recommend an in-person discussion that allows for collaborative dialogue.)
You’ll also hear from our teachers on a regular basis. When time permits, teachers send home written reports about individual children and general classroom activities weekly for the Primary Classrooms and daily for the Toddler and Pre-Primary Classrooms.
Communicating with Other Parents
Protecting your privacy is incredibly important to us. We do not share your phone number or email address with other parents.
You are welcome to exchange contact information with another parent by leaving a note for them with us or in their child’s cubby. Birthday invitations may be given to the teacher to ensure that parents receive them promptly.
THE MCD COMMUNITY
Montessori Country Day strives to develop appropriate patterns of polite behavior as well as seeking to instill basic universal values within the core of the child’s personality. These values include self-respect, acceptance of the uniqueness and dignity of each person we meet, kindness, peacefulness, compassion, empathy, honor, individual responsibility and courage to speak from our hearts.
We hope to attract a diverse student body representing many ethnic backgrounds, religions, abilities, disabilities and learning styles.
MCD accepts children ages twelve months and walking (or fifteen months) through six years old during the school year. Our summer camp welcomes children ages twelve months and walking (or fifteen months) through eight years old.
Montessori classes are organized by developmentally-appropriate age groups, forming communities in which younger children are naturally inspired by older children. In turn, the older children learn to teach and lead, establishing their self-esteem.
Classroom ages have some overlap because children move up based on their age as of August 31.
- Toddlers: 12 months and walking (or 15 months) through 35 months
- Pre-primary: 2 years by August 31 through 47 months
- Primary: 3 years by August 31 through 6 years
Montessori Country Day has passionate Montessori-certified teachers in all of our primary classrooms. We also have dedicated toddler teachers that have many years of experience and may have Montessori certification, college degree or both. All of the teachers undergo continual early education classes each year.
Teachers are selected not just for their professional abilities, but for their genuine concern, respect and joy with children.
Montessori Country Day is committed to providing our children the social, emotional, and intellectual needs in accordance with the Montessori philosophy.
At MCD, having respect for the child includes a positive, optimistic attitude about children, a cooperative spirit, a nurturing of independence, recognition of unique individuality, finding the right activities and listening and observing in order to follow the child.
Teachers avoid pride and anger, speaking ill of the children, sarcasm, teasing and over-reacting to misbehavior. We are sensitive to children’s desire to be held and touched. When making presentations, the child’s interest level is considered so that a teacher will stop before the child tires.
Teachers strive to develop a complete Montessori program by providing a safe, clean, inviting environment and initiating change in order to provide new stimulation.
HELLOS, GOODBYES, AND THE DAY IN BETWEEN
Montessori Country Day is open Monday-Friday between the hours of 7:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Classes are held from 8:45-2:30 for toddlers and pre-primary students and 8:45-2:45 for primary students. We offer extended care from 7:15-8:30 and 3:00-5:29. We will not open prior to 7:15 and will close promptly at 5:30.
Children may attend 2, 3, 4 or 5 days per week with the following schedule options:
- Early Morning Care: 7:15-8:30
- Morning Program: 8:45-1:00 (12:30 for Toddlers and Pre-Primary)*
- Full Day: 8:45-2:45 (2:30 for Toddlers and Pre-Primary)
- Extended Day: 3:00-5:29
*Morning Program is offered 5 days a week for pre-primary and primary; 3 or 5 days a week for toddlers.
You’ll find additional details about tuition and adding extra hours below.
In the Classrooms & Programs section of the website, you can read a detailed description of a typical day.
For your child’s safety, we require you bring your child into the building each morning and get him/her settled. You must closely supervise your children in the parking lot, hallways and elsewhere in the school and playground. Please stay together when you arrive and depart.
We practice hand washing consistently throughout the day and we ask that your child wash his/her hands in the hallway upon arrival to school. This cuts down on germs that may be brought into school and helps develop good health practices.
Classrooms open at 8:30 and school begins at 8:45. (If you have signed up for Early Morning Care, you can arrive as early as 7:15.)
The Pre-Primary and Primary Classes have morning circle promptly at 8:45. When children have arrived and settled in time for circle, they tend to be more comfortable at school because they’ve started the day off with their peers and teachers.
- Always use your key card to enter the building. Please do NOT hold the door open for anyone else! (You’ll find an explanation for this under Safety below.) If you’ve lost your card, ring the doorbell and sign in on the clipboard.
- Children wash hands in the hallway, or if needed, use the restroom and wash hands in the multi-purpose room.
- Parent/guardian puts lunch in the fridge. (Label permanently with child’s name and add the current date each day. Masking tape is provided near the fridge.)
- Go together to the classroom and greet the teachers.
- Children and adults say good-bye.
Helping Children and Families Manage Separations
The separations that happen when children begin coming to school, as well as the daily separations that occur once they are settled and secure, are important parts of the day. They contribute significantly to the quality of our families’ experiences.
There are many ways to help children express their feelings about separation and cope with their emotions. The key to working with young children as they enter school is to communicate that it is OK to feel sad, frightened, or angry. In legitimizing these feelings, you build self-confidence and trust.
Encouraging expressions of emotion, through both words and actions, is an investment in children’s growth. Child psychologist Erna Furman said, “The child who really copes well allows himself to miss the absent loved one, to feel sad, lonely and perhaps, angry, and to express his feelings age-appropriately.”
If your child has a difficult time transitioning to the school environment, here are a few ways to help:
- Arrive at 8:30 to ensure your child will get individual attention from the teacher, an opportunity to choose the activity that helps him/her readjust to school and a chance to reestablish rapport with peers and the teachers who care for them. This also allows an opportunity for parents to share pertinent information about their child with the teacher. We have deliberately planned the time from 8:30-8:45 to be less structured in order to make the transition easier.
- Arrive and depart at the same time each day. This routine helps them anticipate their day. In scheduling our daily program, we have found that a predictable routine promotes a child’s smooth transition from home to school.
- Use specific terms like “after recess” or “after nap” to help children understand when you will return. Separating can be difficult for young children because they have little sense of time and a few hours can feel like a long time. Using vague words like “soon” can contribute to the uncertainty.
- Establish a routine for drop-off to make the separation less stressful. It could include placing your child’s things in the cubby, greeting the teachers, and a special good-bye with kisses, hugs, high fives and/or waves through the window.
- Leave promptly in a calm and present manner. Prolonging the departure after the established routine can cause undue distress for both parent and child.
Leaving a distressed child is upsetting for families. Parting with a loved one is not usually a pleasant experience, even for adults, and it is normal for a child to be briefly distressed. Getting over the distress soon after a parent leaves does not mean the feeling wasn’t genuine at the time.
Teachers will comfort your child and engage them in stimulating activities immediately upon you departure. Rest assured that if a child is not consolable, we will contact you to work together to find solutions that will work in your child’s best interest.
If You Arrive Late…
The pre-primary and primary classes start their mornings with a circle time at 8:45. This circle time is an important beginning of our children’s school experience. This is a time to greet our friends and learn about the new activities or lessons for the day.
Teachers have prepared routines, lessons, individual time with each child and group lessons. This doesn’t allow for lengthy separations without being disrespectful to the children who arrived at the start of the school day.
We understand that your family has its own schedules and routines. We allow children to arrive to school late with the understanding that latecomers will not disrupt the learning environment in our classrooms.
With this being understood beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, all pre-primary and primary children arriving after 8:45 will be greeted by Ms. Maggie or Ms. Laurie in the office. We will walk your child to their classroom. This way all children arriving late can have our assistance with the separation from parents and transition to the classroom.
Children are released only to persons for whom the staff has written permission from the parents or guardians. As a precaution, we may ask for photo ID when a person is unfamiliar to us.
We want departures to be positive and unrushed, and our pick-up times include a 15-minute grace period. Since we are legally responsible for your child while on school ground, we are unable to “clock out” your child until you and your child are safely on your way.
The Toddler and Pre-Primary Classrooms are dismissed at 2:30. Please arrive promptly to pick up your child, chat with teachers and gather belongings. Toddler and Pre-Primary students and parents must depart by 2:45. If you are still here at 2:46, a late fee will apply.
This timing will also help you avoid parking lot congestion. If you’re in the lot after 2:45, please yield to the car rider line. This means you may need to hang out in your parking spot until car rider line is finished.
Families with children in both the Toddler/Pre-Primary and Primary classes should come inside to pick up everyone at 2:30.
The Primary Classrooms car line is from 2:45-3:00. A teacher walks students to cars. With permission, teachers will also buckle children in their car seats. Please help us keep the process moving by staying in your car. Children love to be big kids in car line! At 3:01, you are considered late.
For the Extended Day Program, please arrive by or before 5:25 to pick up your child and gather belongings. At the day’s end, one teacher is with children and the other is cleaning. Please be prompt so our teachers can leave at 5:30 to go home to their own families. If you are still here at 5:31, a late fee will apply.
If your child is not picked up on time, even with prior notice, the following late fees apply. Late fees are paid directly to the teacher who has been detained.
- FIRST LATE PICK-UP: If within five minutes, we will waive the first time. After five minutes, $5.00 for each five-minute interval thereafter.
- SECOND LATE PICK UP: $10.00 for the first five minutes and $5.00 for each five-minute interval thereafter.
- THIRD LATE PICK-UP: $20.00 for the first five minutes and $5.00 for each five-minute interval thereafter.
When a parent is late, anxiety is felt by everyone—the parent, the teacher and most importantly, the child. If you have an emergency, please call so we can make alternate arrangements if necessary.
If you are unable to pay the late fee immediately, a note will be placed in your child’s cubby with the teacher’s name and the fee. Please understand that we take late arrivals seriously, and we will begin charging a late fee of $5.00 per day if our notices are ignored.
TUITION, DISCOUNTS, AND ADDITIONAL HOURS
Our tuition schedule is calculated on an annual school year basis, which can be made in one payment or divided into ten equal installments due the 1st of each month. Annual school year tuition may be made by automatic bank deposit or an annual payment. Montessori Country Day does offer a summer camp with the same times and schedules as the school year.
When you enroll your child at MCD, we ask for a full year’s commitment. If for some reason you need to withdraw your child, MCD requires a two-month notice. Without prior notification, you are responsible for two month’s tuition payments upon withdrawal. This policy will be waived if Maggie can fill you child’s place in the classroom with a new student.
Early Morning Care and Extended Day do not require an annual commitment.
MCD does not make any allowance for absences or vacations. Payment installments that are not paid within ten calendar days after the due date will be assessed a $25.00 late fee.
We accept subsidized payments form the Department of Social Services. Families who use this service are responsible for the difference in our tuition and the reimbursement rate.
You’ll find a table with rates for each of the schedule options on the Tuition Form. All tuition and fees are non-refundable.
Families opting for the annual payment will receive a 5% discount, payable by August 1st. Families pay full tuition for their first child and receive a 5% discount for siblings. Discounts are for full day tuition only.
The materials fee is equal to one month’s (full day) tuition per school year with a $700 cap. This fee may be divided into four payments with the first payment due June 1. Half of the materials fee must be paid by July 1 to ensure your child’s placement in the upcoming school year. Materials fee will be prorated for children who are accepted after the school year begins.
If your child needs to be here earlier or later than his/her scheduled program, there is an additional charge of $10.00/day for Early Morning Care and $20.00/day for Extended Day Care. All fees are payable on the day of service and hours will not be prorated. Please contact the director or the early morning or after school teachers to ensure we will be adequately staffed to accommodate additional children.
If you expect your child to regularly require early arrival or extended care hours, you can sign up for our morning care or extended day programs.
Children enrolled in school less than five days a week may not switch attendance days from week to week, whether due to an absence, school closing or any other reason. Teachers are scheduled according to the number of children here each day.
There are times when it may be possible due to another child’s absence so communicate with the director or your child’s teacher when an additional day is necessary. Children who attend school on a day they are not scheduled will be billed extra for that day at the $7.50 per hour rate.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Families receive two key cards. The key card system allows and documents access to authorized individuals. You are required to scan your card at arrival and departure for our records.
Please understand that using your key card every day is very important. Key cards can be put on your key chain or they will swipe through your wallet. Parents that consistently do not use their card will be charged $15 and given a new card.
To ensure the security of the school, do not open the door for anyone who is not in your immediate family. We sometimes see parents hold the door open for another parent or visitor. In this case, do not be polite!
Our staff MUST open the door to anyone who does not have a key card. There are no exceptions—you should never hold the door for someone else.
We need to be aware of everyone entering our school at all times. Current parents who may have forgotten or lost their key cards, salespeople and even prospective parents must use the doorbell to ensure the safety of our school. Please allow our staff to open the door.
If you have lost your key card, be sure to sign-in on the clipboard after a staff person lets you in. The fee for a replacement card is $15.
Please return the cards when your child graduates or withdraws from the school.
Parking Lot Safety
Children and adults must stay together when they walk through the parking lot. Hold hands whenever possible. Cars speed and U-turn in our parking lot, and drivers are not always watchful.
The best way to be alerted of any school closings is to sign up for text alerts from www.wlos.com. You’ll find details about notifications below.
It is our goal to keep our families and staff as safe as possible when inclement weather arrives. Our decision to open school on time, open on a delayed schedule or close for the day is a very tough decision. We take into account the current conditions, forecast, school announcements for Henderson County, and the need to have enough staff on site to provide care for the children. The county schools do have the issue of buses, and they need to be more conservative than MCD.
For school closings or delays before the children arrive at school, we try to make a decision by or before 7:00 a.m. Since the weather can and does change often, we usually do not make any announcements the evening before school.
We use WLOS to notify you of closings and delays. You can get notifications in three ways:
- Register for mobile text alerts at wlos.com/weather/text-alerts. Look under “Private Schools” for “Montessori Country Day – Hendersonville” to sign up. (The sign-up form works best on a desktop or tablet.) Parents and staff members all agree that the WLOS text alerts are the most convenient, reliable way to receive notice of a closing or delay.
- Watch WLOS-TV (Channel 13) where our information will be part of the ticker on the bottom of the screen.
- Go to http://www.WLOS.com and click on the “School Closings” link. Refresh your browser frequently to receive the most up-to-date information.
Please know that we will make every effort to make decisions concerning inclement weather as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of all involved.
The staff at MCD has a commitment to confidentiality. Information about your child or your family will not be shared with other families or visitors to the school.
If you would like to contact the family of another student at the school, you can leave a note in the child’s box or ask Maggie or Laurie to pass on your contact information to the other family.
Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect
North Carolina law requires early childhood professionals to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. If employees of MCD become aware, or suspect, that a student has suffered or faces a threat of suffering, and physical or mental wound, injury, disability or condition that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of a child, they will immediately notify the MCD Director to report to the Department of Social Services or report suspected abuse or neglect personally.
Montessori Country Day will devote every effort to prevent abuse and neglect of children:
- All new staff will be fingerprinted and references checked. We hire all staff on a probationary period, and orient new staff to MCD policies.
- We review the approved and prohibited disciplinary techniques on a yearly basis.
- All staff are fingerprinted every three years.
- Parents and volunteers are directly supervised by the teaching staff.
- Teachers are supervised on a close and consistent basis with ongoing training on positive behavior guidelines.
- We maintain small group sizes and small teacher to student ratios.
EMERGENCY DRILLS AND MANAGEMENT
Maintaining a healthy and safe environment for our students, staff and parents is our # 1 goal. Montessori Country Day is required to comply and practice fire drills and emergency management plans. The goal of practicing the drills is to help our children feel safe and to know what to do should an emergency arise. All of our staff are certified in CPR and First Aid. We are sharing this information with you so you may discuss the drills with your children. Below is a brief description of the drills.
This drill is to practice how to exit the school in a quick and orderly manner. This is typically a fire drill. When hearing the fire alarm each class follows an exit route to the back fence on the playground. The children wait quietly while teachers account for all children in attendance for the day. We practice fire drills once a month. No one can enter the building during an evacuation.
We do not practice for this as a drill but wanted families to know our procedure if there is an occurrence happening outside of school that may harm the children. A stray vicious animal, fire or police at a local business, an accident nearby are some examples. We make sure all children are inside and if appropriate continue with their learning. The blinds to each room are closed so that the children are not distracted by anything that may be happening outside. Parents may enter school using their key cards.
MCD practices this drill to be prepared in the event of a weather emergency or a chemical incident. After hearing an air horn and/or an announcement teachers gather all children in the multi-purpose room or classroom #4, depending on if we are having a weather drill or chemical drill.
We practice Shelter-In-Place or Lockdown once every three months. In the case of a true emergency, families will be notified by a staff person or an announcement on WLOS the best way to reunite with your children. If there is a chemical incident, the classroom is sealed by the teachers. The staff will have emergency diapers, wipes, food, water, emergency phone numbers, phone and lots of songs, stories and activities to keep the children occupied.
MCD practices this drill to be prepared if there is a threat of violence or serious incident that could jeopardize the safety of our children and staff. After hearing an air horn and/or an announcement, teachers will be sure all doors are closed (locked) and gather children in the safe place in their classroom. The teachers console and help the children to be quiet while hiding in their safe place.
We have drills for Shelter-In-Place or Lockdown once every three months. In a true emergency, families will be notified by a staff person or an announcement on WLOS the best way to reunite with your children. In the safe place, teachers have emergency supplies and phone numbers.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
When a Child Must Stay Home
A child should be kept home if an illness prevents him/her from being able to participate in our program. This would include a child who has:
- Fever: A temperature of 101 (100 under the arm) and behavior changes or other signs of illness until the child is fever free for 24 hours.
- Diarrhea: Two or more watery bowel movements or loose bowel movements that occur more often than normal, until the child is diarrhea free for 24 hours, or is treated by the doctor and returns with a doctor’s note.
- Vomiting: The child has vomited in the last 12 hours. Child may return when she/he has been vomit-free for 24 hours.
- Rash: A rash with fever or behavior changes, until determined OK by the doctor.
- Pink Eye: Pink or red eye with white or yellow drainage, until 24 hours after treatment has been started or a note from the doctor stating that it is not contagious.
- Strep Throat: Until 24 hours after treatment has started and fever has been gone for 24 hours.
- Scabies or lice
- Impetigo: Until 24 hours after treatment
- Pertussis: Until five days after appropriate antibiotic treatment.
- Hepatitis A: Until one week after onset of illness or jaundice.
- Signs of Severe Illness: Unusual sleepiness, severe coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, persistent crying. A doctor should see this child.
- Any other condition for which a physician or other health professional issues a written order that the child be separated from other children.
If your child has any of these symptoms while at school, we will notify you to pick him/her up as soon as possible.
Teachers will be attentive to symptoms of illness throughout the day. If a child’s condition is suspected to be contagious or the child is not feeling well, the child will be made comfortable in the office away from other children but where he or she can be supervised by a Ms. Maggie or Ms. Laurie. The parent or guardian will be notified immediately to pick up their child within an hour. If we are unable to contact the parent, an emergency contact will be notified.
Medications and Ointments
If a child has a mild illness or a non-contagious illness that requires prescription medication, it is important to follow the procedures below:
- If at all possible, please ask your physician if a dose schedule can be arranged that does not include the hours your child is in our care.
- The first dose of medication should be given at home to insure that your child does not have an adverse reaction.
- All medications must be in the original container.
- A parent or legal guardian must complete and sign a Permission to Administer Medication Form (pdf). The form must include:
- The child’s first and last name;
- Name of medication;
- Expiration date;
- Physician’s name;
- Specific dosage instructions;
- Exact times and dates of administration;
- Parent/guardian’s signature; and
- Date signed.
- Medications for reoccurring medical conditions (such as asthma, severe allergy and seizures) will be discussed with our Health Consultant. Please fill out a Permission to Administer Medication for Chronic Medical Conditions and Allergic Reactions.
Diaper rash creams, sunscreens and bug sprays are treated as medications and a Permission to Administer Topical Ointment form must be completed as above.
Please ask a teacher for assistance with forms and give all medication directly to your child’s teacher or the director. Medications are stored, locked, and dispensed by director, Maggie, or assistant director, Laurie. In the absence of the director/assistant director, they will delegate this responsibility to one specific teacher.
MCD will only dispense prescription medications with the exception of sunscreen and diaper creams. Please do not send medications in drinks or store them in diaper bags or cubbies. We all want our children healthy and safe.
To keep our center neat and sanitary, staff and outside cleaning services are responsible for the following duties on a rotating basis:
- All tables & chairs are cleaned and sanitized after activities, snack and lunch
- Diaper table is cleaned and sanitized after each use
- Floors are swept and mopped each day
- Carpets are vacuumed
- Toilets are cleaned and sanitized
- Sinks are cleaned and sanitized
- Drinking fountain is cleaned and sanitized
- Toys are cleaned and sanitized when exposed to mouths and germs
- Sheets and blankets are washed at least once a week
- Trashcans and diaper pails, door knobs, shelves, cubbies, windowsills, baseboards and tops of dividers in bathrooms are cleaned & sanitized
- Microwaves and refrigerators are cleaned at least once a week
Everything in the school is cleaned more frequently if needed. Carpets are shampooed every six months.
Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Environment
Children shall be in a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment.
Smoking and the use of any product containing, made or derived from tobacco, including e-cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah, are not permitted on the premises of our school, or during any off-premise activities.
All teachers and parents are asked to keep smoking materials locked in their vehicles (or locked in our kitchen) when entering the school building or attending off-premise activities.
In an effort to provide comprehensive services to children and families our school works cooperatively with other agencies in the community. In order to protect privacy, no information about a child will be shared with any agency unless parents have given written permission. The need for consultative referrals can be discussed with the director or your child’s teacher
- Henderson County Speech and Hearing Therapists will test and provide on-site therapy as needed.
- Henderson County Health Center provides health education and health nursing services.
- MCD can access a variety of agencies to screen and evaluate preschool children for developmental delays and behavioral concerns.
OVERVIEW OF OUR NEW SAFETY PRACTICES IN REGARD TO THE PANDEMIC
A flu pandemic occurs when a new flu virus that is different from seasonal flu viruses emerges and spreads quickly between people, causing illness worldwide. Pandemic flu can be more severe, casing more deaths than seasonal flu. A pandemic could therefore impact normal operation of our school. MCD will follow the mandates of our state and follow the guidelines and requirements from the Centers for Disease Control, Health and Human Services, North Carolina Division of Early Childhood, and our local Health Department.
Our school is operated for well children and staff only. Children should be fully able to participate in all activities, including outdoor play.
Our teachers at Montessori Country Day strive to keep your child healthy and to prevent the spread of illness. Your child’s health is a matter of importance to all of us. We understand that colds and allergies occur throughout the year and allow children to attend school if they can fully participate in the scheduled program of activities.
I am so pleased how our MCD parents and staff have adjusted smoothly to the changes to our daily routines and safety protocols. I understand that we all have had a number of disruptions in our homes and work life. I hope that during this challenging time our school and teachers have provided comfort and normalcy to our families. The foundation of our school community is built on families who along with me recognize and support the important work of our teachers who create loving environments that protect children from the stress in our world right now.
Our teachers give so much of themselves every day, and they have our full support always. In an attempt to keep them and all the children healthy during this pandemic I ask that parents keep their children home the first two days of a cold. I realize children will have colds throughout the year but since a runny nose is a symptom of COVID-19, and doesn’t always present with fever and respiratory symptoms, we ask that you keep your child home for two days. This will aid in determining if they are experiencing allergies or to see if more symptoms develop. If your child develops another symptom such as fever or diarrhea please contact your health care provider. Your child will be excluded for ten days or a negative COVID test. After two days and no other symptoms the child may return to school if they no longer have a runny nose or they are responsible enough to wear a mask and take care of their cold without a teacher’s assistance.
MCD also will exclude children for 2 days with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If the child develops a fever or another COVID-19 symptom the child will be excluded for 10 days or a COVID negative test.
If your child has any symptoms of illness keep them home and contact your health care provider. We appreciate your calling us when your child is ill. Although we always protect the confidentiality of our families we will be monitoring absences.
If your child becomes ill while at school we expect parents to pick up their child as soon as possible, not longer than 30 minutes. Ill children will be kept separate from well children and staff contact will be limited as much as reasonably possible, while ensuring the safety and supervision of the child until their family arrives. Once a parent has picked up their child the room and classroom are cleaned and sanitized.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Muscle or body aches
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Congestion or runny nose
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
Isolation: Keep children with signs of illness home and away from others who are well.
Children with signs of illness are required by the Interim Health Guidance for Child Care Settings to be excluded from school if they:
*Show any of the following COVID-19 symptoms: fever, chills, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new cough, or new loss of taste or smell
*Have tested positive for COVID-19
Quarantine: Keep children who have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others in case they become ill.
*When a child screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms at entrance or develops COVID-19 symptoms during the day, both the sick child and any family/household members, including siblings, will be sent home.
*During self-quarantine, people who have been exposed should monitor for any new symptoms of COVID-19 and contact their health care provider if symptoms appear.
Montessori Country Day will always consider the health and safety of our children and staff our first priority. We are committed to providing a high quality and safe learning environment. We are continuously monitoring the latest development in and around our community following the requirements and recommendations of NC Division of Early Childhood, Health Department and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As more information becomes available, we are adapting and making changes to our safety measure and protocols.
While our school is a bit different this year, the joy of learning and being together will help us all to adapt to the new ways of being together safely. Montessori Country Day does not expect that young children will distance themselves from other children or adults while at school. Young children learn by engaging with their environment, which includes the other people in it. However, MCD will adhere to the following strategies for limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities:
FACE COVERINGS Staff: Will wear a mask throughout the day whether inside or outside, when physical distancing of six feet is not possible.
Parents: Must wear a face covering while on the school campus.
Children: Children under 5 years old are not required to wear face coverings. If your child does wear a face covering please send a sandwich plastic container for your child to place their mask in during meals and nap. We will send home masks and the container home daily to be cleaned and sanitized.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
Families must complete the screening app, (http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RTR2H9N) each morning before your child enters the building. Completing the questions honestly is vital to the health and safety of your family, our school and our community.
For Early Morning Arrival all parents should use the school parking lot. Please pull up as far as you can and when you are first in line you may park. If someone is already at your entrance please wait at the designated waiting spots.
We have our usual Early Morning start time of 7:15.
Ms. Maria’s: Parents may escort their child by entering through toddler gate and to the classroom door.
Pre-Primary & Primary classes: Parents escort their child to the main entrance. If a teacher is not in the lobby, please ring the bell.
Primary students arrival time is 8:30-8:45.
Ms. Michelle & Ms. Faith classes: Enter at the main entrance.
Ms. Megan class: Parents will enter the parking lot at 1515 Haywood Rd. Pull around the parking lot till they are facing Haywood Rd.
Car #1 can go to the classroom gate and to the classroom door. Car #2 can park and parent and child wait at the designated wait spot.
Toddler class arrival time is 8:45-9:00. Escort your child through the toddler gate to the classroom door.
Pre-Primary class arrival time is 8:45-9:00, Escort your child to the main entrance.
We will continue to use the Pick Up Line method for afternoon departures. Our extended day students will use this method until 5:00. After 5:00, weather permitting, children will be dismissed from the playground.
While school is a bit different this year the joy of learning and being together will help us all to adapt to the new ways of being together safely. Montessori Country Day does not expect that young children will distance themselves from other children or adults while at school. Young children learn by engaging with their environment, which includes the other people in it. However, MCD will employ the following strategies for limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our communities:
- At arrival children place their lunchboxes on a wire shelf. All lunchboxes are sanitized before being placed in the refrigerator.
- Each day children and staff have their temperature taken by a touchless thermometer. Staff often take students temperature again before or after lunch.
- Teachers will make a visual inspection of the children for signs of illness which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
- Children are taught and reminded of proper hand washing hygiene. We practice frequent hand washing by teaching a child-friendly song or counting to 20 and using paper towels to dry hands, thoroughly.
- Hand sanitizer is out of the reach of children, but near all entry doors, classrooms, and other high traffic areas.
- Children will remain in their classroom groups throughout the day. We will keep the same teachers with each group throughout the day to the greatest extent possible. Extended Day teachers will be in the same classroom each day with the same students. In case of a teacher’s absence, we have designated substitutes.
- Playground time is staggered by classrooms. The play equipment is disinfected between each group of children.
- At this time we are refraining from using the sandbox and water play outdoors and any indoor sensory bins, water and sand that typically is shared. Materials that cannot be sanitized will not be used.
- Individual snacks prepared for the children are prepared by an adult in the commercial kitchen following food service guidelines.
- On top of our regular daily cleaning, high use areas/objects (doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, tables) will be disinfected regularly in the morning, throughout the day and then again at the end of the school day.
- At naptime, children’s naptime cots will be spaced out as much as possible, with alternating head to toe arrangement to reduce the distance between children.
If you are new to Montessori Country Day, we also recommend that you review the general descriptions about our classrooms on our website:
- Our Curriculum
- Toddler Classroom
- Pre-Primary Classroom
- Primary Classrooms
- Outdoor Play
- Extracurricular Activities
Here are a few classroom-related policies for you to be aware of and understand:
Our goal is to help children gain the understanding and independence to attain an inner discipline. Most of the limits and social courtesies set at Montessori Country Day are common everyday situations. We hope that the positive approach to discipline we utilize will help the children deal with not only classroom situations that may arise, but also situations that they may face outside of the school setting.
To help foster self-discipline in the classroom we establish clear consistent limits, for example: “When we are inside we walk.” The limits are established by giving a clear explanation for why a limit exists. “We need to walk in the classroom so that no one is hurt by falling or getting bumped.” Explaining the rationale behind a limit is very important and helps the children remember the limits and the purpose at other times.
These limits are introduced at the beginning of school and are reinforced in group lessons or at circle throughout the year. Some other situations may require discussion and roleplaying. The children are encouraged to practice conflict resolution skills when difficulties arise.
Giving children consistent limits and social graces fosters a healthy understanding of their own rights as well as those of others. This leads to the respect of other children, adults and the belongings of others.
MCD values positive reinforcement, redirection and modeling as effective methods of behavior management. When children receive positive, non-violent and understanding interactions from adults and others, they develop good self-concepts, problem solving abilities, and self discipline.
Montessori Country Day believes in natural and logical consequences as opposed to punishment. Conflict resolution and respect for the environment are also important aspects of our approach. It is one of our ultimate goals that our children do the right thing, not because they will be punished if they don’t, but because they don’t want to adversely affect the people and world around them.
For more detail, please review our Discipline and Behavior Management Policy (pdf) from the enrollment forms.
See also Peace Education under Curriculum.
What to Wear
Spills, paint, dirt, glue and other minor accidents are a natural part of a child’s life. Your child should wear practical and comfortable clothing for school. Cowboy boots, flip flops and clogs can be difficult for running and playing on the playground. For your child’s safety, please save these fun shoes for home.
In the cold months, please leave a hat and set of mittens in your child’s cubby. Our weather changes quickly so layering a sweater or jacket over a t-shirt will help your child stay comfortable.
The warm months require shorts, short sleeves and sun hats. Families can apply sunscreen in the morning and with written permission teachers may reapply later in the day if necessary.
A change of clothes, appropriate to the season and clearly marked with the child’s name, is required to be in their cubby. (Please bring three changes of clothes for toddlers and pre-primary students.)
Some of our classes are going “shoe free” to cut cuts down on dirt and germs. Thus, we need socks. Please be sure your child has several labeled pairs of socks to wear in the classroom.
Outside Every Day (Almost)
North Carolina Child Care regulations require that children who attend licensed child care centers go outdoors daily, weather permitting. Living in the Asheville/Hendersonville area we are fortunate that the weather is typically mild.
Best practices for child care programs indicate that children should be allowed to go outside for at least an hour of active play. The fresh air and the movement is something that each child needs daily for general well-being and healthy development.
We strive to have an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon in our outdoor learning area.
North Carolina requires that all children in our care rest each day. The toddlers and pre-primary students will nap each day in their classrooms. The primary students will either nap or rest quietly on their cot. Each student will have a beach towel “blanket.”
Nappers will listen to a story and be encouraged to sleep with classical music, rocking, and pats on the back. Children that have rested may look at books or work with quiet activities while respecting the need for sleep of their classmates.
Toys and treasures sometimes come to visit us. They are better kept at home as they may become lost or damaged. However, we encourage children to share books, science specimens, pictures from vacations and other items of educational interest to the class. If your child has a special nap buddy or blanket, we understand their importance in your child’s rest time. As always, please label everything with your child’s name.
Lost Montessori Materials
Sometimes children love school so much they want to take part of it home with them. You may discover tiny cubes, beads, puzzle pieces or other items in your child’s pockets. Please return the items to the school. Teachers will thank the child and help them return the materials to the work in which they belong.
For toddlers, we ask you to send a morning snack and sippy cup of water to the classroom each day. Our youngest students do best with familiar foods, and we offer them water throughout the day to keep them hydrated.
We serve our pre-primary and primary students a daily morning snack. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to try new foods and practice grace and courtesy.
Montessori Country Day sometimes provides the snacks, and sometimes we ask families to participate. A snack calendar will be sent home at the beginning of the month indicating when and what snack you are responsible for providing. All food must come from a commercially-approved source such as a grocery store, bakery or pre-packaged for retail sale.
Children in our Extended Day program will eat an afternoon snack they bring from home.
North Carolina licensing laws require that children have nutritious lunches, and they insist on particular foods and quantities. I ask all parents to sign a “Nutrition Opt Out” form, which allows parents to make choices based on their knowledge of the quantities their child consumes and allows for some flexibility based on their child’s food preferences. We require that parents follow these nutritional guidelines:
- Milk, milk alternative, 100% juice or water
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
Please do not send sugar beverages, flavored milk, soda, cookies, Jell-O, chips, or other foods that contain no nutritional value and distract the children from eating the more wholesome parts of their lunches.
Please be sure your child’s lunchbox is large enough! All items should fit into the lunch box. Be sure to include child-sized utensil, a napkin, and a washcloth (or extra cloth napkin) to use as a placemat.
Each day, please date the lunch box with masking tape. (We provide a roll near the refrigerators if you need to do this after arrival.)
We can reheat food at lunch time. For Pre-Primary and Primary students, place the “heat-up” food containers in the bins provided at the bottom of the fridge. Be sure they’re labeled with your child’s name and the current date.
If your family would like to opt-out of these celebrations, please let Maggie know. She and your child’s teacher will arrange alternate activities as needed.
Holidays and Special Events
Our school curriculum includes exposing the children to various holidays and traditions. We share information and discuss ways people celebrate New Year’s, The Four Seasons, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and others that help educate our students and encourage tolerance. Please let us know if you have a special cultural or religious background you would be willing to share with us.
During the December holidays, the school adopts an agency or families. We feel this is an opportunity for children to learn to give graciously and help those less fortunate.
Parents may join us for our special celebration on their child’s birthday and opt to bring treats to share with the class. Treats must be commercially produced. We suggest small muffins, cupcakes, mini ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cups, yogurt, fruit, etc. for sharing on their special day.
Before your child’s birthday, we ask that you send pictures of your child as a newborn, and each year of his/her life with brief descriptions of your child’s milestones. Click here for a sample to fill in. The pictures can be individual pics or put together on a small poster board to add to each year.
Our celebration of life is a beautiful Montessori ceremony that celebrates the child’s life. A candle is used to represent the sun and a globe is used to represent the earth. The child carries the earth and walks around the sun once for each year of life. After each circle around the sun, the children sing the Celebration of Life song and the birthday child shares a photo as the teacher shares a milestone from that year in his/her life.
Montessori Country Day has a tradition of the birthday children presenting a book to their class with their name and date inscribed. We will read the book to the class as the children are enjoying their birthday treats. Book donations are a great way to encourage the love of books and the opportunity to teach your child about the joy of giving. The donated books will live on our shelves for years.
The celebration of life is a very special occasion to honor your child’s life. We thank you for helping make your child’s celebration a meaningful and memorable event.
The international Day of Peace is observed around the world each year on September 21st. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nation resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.
Montessori Country Day participates in “Sing Peace Around the World”. This historical event first took place on September 21, 2009, when the Montessori world came together to celebrate peace.
The song, Light a Candle for Peace, starts on September 21 in New Zealand at 11:00 am precisely, and is continuously sung for 24 hours by children around the world until it reaches the Hawaiian Islands. Our children decorate their classrooms and the playground with paper cranes, and create pinwheels which are used to make a peace symbol on the playground. Everyone gathers around the peace symbol and sings Light a Candle for Peace continuously for our five-minute time slot.
Along with the actual celebration, we will be collecting coins for Only Hope WNC. Only Hope WNC is a non-profit program to aid the close to 300 homeless students in Henderson County. This is our effort to aid our neighbors. Coin jars will be in each classroom so parents and children can contribute what we can.
We ask that families are supportive and respectful of all our guidelines, as you are the most influential role models for your children. When the children see you respect the school, the teachers, and procedures, they learn that this is a safe place and they can trust our care.
If you need clarification of a procedure or policy, please contact the Director, Maggie, or the Assistant Director, Laurie. We are happy to discuss your questions or concerns privately. This direct approach avoids confusion and alleviates stress, minimizing the chances of transferring anxiety to your child.
We are all here for the same reason: to guide and nurture the children.