Parent Handbook

Mt. Tahoma Montessori School is open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Daily schedules are posted in each class.

School starts promptly. Please respect your child by being on time. Your child may miss important presentations or lessons when arriving late. Many children feel uncomfortable coming into the classroom after activities have begun. If you arrive after the beginning of class time, please say your good-byes at the door allowing your child to enter quietly.

The school will release your child only to an authorized adult. Please inform the office in writing anytime an adult other than yourself will be picking up your child. Anyone new will be asked to show proper identification before the child will be released.

Sign-in sheets are located on clipboards under the awning outside the extended care room. Please sign your child in and out by noting the time and sign using your full name as required by law.

All children must be picked up by 5:30 p.m. Any child picked up after 5:30 p.m. will be charged $1 per minute.

Safety Tips

  • Never leave children alone in a car.
  • Always turn off your engine and lock your car when parking.
  • Only adults may open the gate.
  • All children must have a proper seating arrangement in the vehicle according to state law.

If you need to stop in the office, speak to your child’s teacher, drop your child off early, or pick your child up early, please park your car in a parking spot. PLEASE DO NOT BLOCK DRIVEWAY.

Shuttle

  1. Enter the parking lot from the north driveway.
  2. Pull forward to the far end of the parking lot (south).
  3. Wait in your car. A Mt. Tahoma staff person will come help your child in or out of the vehicle.
  4. Exit through the south driveway.

Extended Care

Please park your car in a parking spot. You may then walk your child to the designated classroom or walk to the designated classroom to pick up your child. Do not forget to sign your child in and out on the sign-in sheet with a full name.

Nap Time

Full day students have the opportunity to rest and/or nap according to their biological needs. You and your child’s teacher may assess the specific needs of your child.

Nap Items: Label all items with child’s name.

  • Crib-sized blanket
  • Fitted crib sheet
  • Pillow case in which to store items

Toilet Learning

Children at the end of the process of toilet learning will need cloth underwear and several changes of clothing. No diapers or pull-ups, please. Your child’s teachers are willing to work with you and your child during the last stages of this important growth step.

Celebrations

Our environment is a place of tranquility for your child. The anticipation of holiday events can be stressful for young children. We choose to have quiet recognition of holidays. We examine holidays from a cultural standpoint. We do not practice any specific religious beliefs; however we do encourage building values such as honesty, integrity, respect, independence, and responsibility. We also encourage families to come and share their traditions with us.

Your child’s birthday is recognized in several ways.

  • A ceremony honoring the passage of time and growth. Pictures from home can be used noting birth and each year of life.
  • A paper crown noting the special occasion.
  • If you wish to send edible treats, please consult your child’s teacher before the event to check for food allergies.

If you are planning a party in recognition of your child’s birthday, please use the School Directory to mail the invitations and thank you notes.

Snow Closure or Other Emergencies

We follow the Federal Way School District. If Federal Way Schools are closed, we are closed. If Federal Way Schools are 2 hours late, we will open for all classes at 11:00 a.m. for full day and half-day afternoon classes.

  • Turn T.V. to a local news station for closure information.
  • Information will be placed on the voicemail of the Main Office phone – 253-839-7864.

Office Notifications

Notify the school office for the following reasons:

  • Your child will be out of school
  • Your child is to leave with someone unknown to his teacher and/or not on your child’s emergency contact sheet.
  • Your child has contracted a contagious disease*.

Illness

Keep your child home if these symptoms are present: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, unexplained rashes, bad congestion or a runny nose, listlessness, weeping eyes or just not feeling well. A child showing symptoms of illness will be isolated and you will be contacted to pick up your child.

Children may not return to school until temperature is normal for 24 hours, per King County Health Department Regulations.

Please notify the school when your child contracts a contagious disease* (mumps, chicken pox, measles, head lice, impetigo, pink eye, etc.) so that other parents can be notified. *We must report contagious diseases to King County Health Department.

Medication

Any medication; oral or topical, prescription or non-prescription to be given to a child while at school must be authorized by signing a Authorization Medication Form. All medication will be given to your child’s teacher. All medication will be stored in a locked box and refrigerated, as needed.

Any medications brought by parents for their children must include:

  • Original container
  • Child’s name
  • Date (if prescription medicine)
  • Directions to administer the medication
  • Name of physician prescribing medicationMEDICAL EMERGENCYIf a child should require emergency treatment, child will be attended to first (staff are trained in first aid and CPR), call to hospital or 911 will be made, and then parents will be contacted. If parents cannot be reached, staff will call emergency contacts. Please see Health Care Policy for further information.

Nutrition

Good nutrition is encouraged. A selection of fruits or vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates are recommended for snacks and lunches.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your child. Food consumed at breakfast greatly affects your child’s ability to focus and fully participate in the activities of the day. A nutritious, protein filled breakfast might include eggs, meats, whole wheat bread, cheese or whole grain cereal. Breakfast is the fuel that propels learning in the morning.

Snacks are provided by parent volunteers or by the school. We encourage the consumption of water at snack time and throughout the day. Each class sends home a monthly snack calendar with snack suggestions and your child’s scheduled snack day. DO NOT SEND CANDY. LIMIT SWEETS TO BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS.

Lunches

A protein filled lunch with whole grain breads and fruits or vegetables will supply the needed energy to fuel your child for the rest of the day. PLEASE DO NOT SEND POP. LIMIT SWEET DESSERTS. Please provide an ice pack to avoid food spoilage. Uneaten food will be sent home, enabling you to see what foods and amounts your child is consuming. Teachers will share any changes in eating habits and are good resources for lunch ideas!

Dress Code

  • All clothing must be child manageable, respecting the child’s quest for independence.
  • We discourage sensation motifs on children’s clothing. Character/cartoon images can create a distraction, putting the focus on attire rather than people.
  • Weather appropriate outer-wear. All children go outdoors in inclement weather. Slip-on rubber boots are an excellent choice for most of the school year.
  • No tie shoes please, until your child can independently manage to tie his own shoes.
  • Indoor shoes; canvas (for washability) rubber soled (for safety). (Aqua socks or Crocs work well)
  • Label all clothing with child’s name, including outerwear, footwear, and extra clothing.
  • No umbrellas.

Communication

We usually rely on e-mail for our outgoing communication purposes. Please make sure we have an up-to-date e-mail address on file with us. If you do not use e-mail, please let us know so we can get you paper copies.

Observations

All parents are encouraged to complete an observation each October. Mt. Tahoma Montessori School has an open door policy. You are always welcome to visit your child’s classroom. We encourage you to arrange an observation appointment with your child’s teacher to avoid having too many adults in the classroom which can be intimidating and distracting for the children. A formal classroom observation is required before attending your first parent-teacher conference. Additional observations are always welcome.

Guidelines for your classroom observation:

  • Let your child know in advance that you will be visiting his class to watch how he does his work.
  • On the day of your observation, take your child to class and go to the office to pick up an Observation Guideline.
  • Enter the classroom silently after class has begun.
  • Sit in the chair provided.
  • Allow your child to go about her work without interruption. If a child, including your own, comes to you speak to them briefly and quietly, then encourage the child to return to his/her work. Your work is to be a silent watcher.
  • Take notes about what you see. You will be given information to help you direct your observation. Bring your notes to your parent/ teacher conference.

Conferences

Two oral parent-teacher conferences are scheduled each school year. One in October and one in March. You are encouraged to speak to your child’s teacher whenever you have a question or concern.

Evaluations

A written report describing the year’s growth and progress for your child will be sent home at the end of the school year. The Primary level Montessori evaluation shares subjective dialog compiled from teacher observations of your child. The three-year cycle of your child’s Montessori experience is recorded in increasing levels of detail noting changing growth. The development of the whole child is our primary focus. Evaluation is based on the Foundation Blocks for Learning.

Foundation Blocks for Learning

Order, Concentration, Coordination, and Independence are attributes of personal growth. These Foundation Blocks pave the way for all future academic achievement.

  • When a child has a good sense of ORDER, she is able to organize her time, materials, and her mind so that she may analyze what to do, how to do it, and ultimately she can move into accomplishing the task.
  • When a child can CONCENTRATE, he is able to focus on a particular task or work for an extended length of time. The need to focus or concentrate is vital to engage the mind and body in the more abstract work of academic endeavors.
  • When a child has the COORDINATION necessary to handle writing tools, and the ability of controlling her body movements, she may be ready to do the work of written communication.
  • When a child has gained INDEPENDENCE, he is empowered to be a person with a strong sense of self-worth. The ability to make decisions, to see what one needs, and to be internally motivated are powerful tools for self-growth and fulfillment.

Rights and Responsibilities

All children have the right to be safe.

Mt. Tahoma Montessori School is dedicated to teaching peace and nonviolence. We use a litany that states, “This is a place of peace. A place everyone can feel safe. A place of non-violence and no weapons.” We utilize verbal conflict resolution, working from a standpoint of respect; for ourselves, of others, and for the environment.

All children have the right to work undisturbed.

Montessori teachers are trained to guide the child towards independence. The class environment is carefully arranged to promote independent work. A climate of respecting another person’s right to concentrate indicates redirecting the disturbing child gently toward his or her own work choices. “Watchers” may silently stand observing. Social interaction is encouraged and involves children who are mutually interacting.

Weapons Policy

We have a strict no weapons policy. Guns, knives, or anything that we deem could be used as a weapon is prohibited from school grounds. If a child is to bring any such item to school he or she will be sent home immediately and will be suspended from school until a formal evaluation can be performed by a medical professional to determine the nature of the child’s intent.

Discipline

Positive discipline and redirection are the techniques used by the Mt. Tahoma Staff. Most situations are resolved with no further action.

When a continuing disharmonious behavioral situation needs further action the following steps will be taken:

  1. The director will be called in to observe and give guidance for resolution of disharmonious behavioral situations. The parents will be notified and asked to work as a team with the teacher and director to assist the child.
  2. Continuing disharmonious behavior may result in the director asking the parent to temporarily remove the child while the parents, teacher, and director discuss a course of action that will aid the child in functioning peacefully and cooperatively.
  3. Unresolved behavior challenges may necessitate outside professional evaluation.
  4. If no resolution is reached, the director may request the child’s withdrawal from school.

Conflict Resolution

Mt. Tahoma Montessori School Administration strongly discourages gossip and encourages the immediate and direct approach to resolving situations.

  • Parents with concerns or questions regarding their child need to go directly to their child’s teacher.
  • If the concern persists the parent may contact the administrators and set up a conference.
  • Parent, teacher, and administrators will work together to bring a resolution of the concern.
  • If no resolution can be reached the enrollment contract may be terminated.

Teacher and Professional Development

Mt. Tahoma Montessori School encourages and promotes continued professional growth and development for all staff. All staff are trained in first-aid, CPR, HIV, and are required by law to report any sign of child abuse or neglect to CPS. Head Teachers hold Montessori certifications and participate in STARS education program, sponsored by DSHS.

To assure excellence and quality for our children the school provides teachers:

  • Funding for memberships in professional organizations.
  • In-service training within our school environment.
  • Paid release time to attend professional conferences.
  • Paid release time to observe other school environments.

Accreditation and Membership

Mt. Tahoma Montessori School is staffed with certified teachers that earned their certifications from training programs approved and accredited by Montessori Accreditation Commission for Teacher Education (MACTE) which is recognized by the Federal Bureau of Education. Mt. Tahoma Montessori School is licensed by the Department of Early Learning.

Mt. Tahoma Montessori School is a member of the following professional organizations:

  • Pacific Northwest Montessori Association (PNMA)
  • Washington Federation of Independent Schools (WFIS)
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA)

How We are Going to Succeed

Our goal is for your child to:

  • Joyfully embrace life.
  • Be responsible for actions and make good choices.
  • Be confident – by succeeding at meaningful goals.
  • Be a life long learner.
  • To have integrity and contribute to society.

Mt. Tahoma Montessori is a partnership of parents, dedicated Montessori Teachers and assistants working in a positive environment for the well-being of your children.

The Mission of Involving Parents

It is our firm belief that you are the most important person in your child’s life. The more you know about what happens with your child at school, the more you know about your child’s development. The more you are involved with your child, the greater opportunity for your child to become a well-rounded and fulfilled adult.

We involve you in all aspects of your child’s nurturing at Mt. Tahoma Montessori School. We are a demanding school because your child deserves an involved parent. We look to share this mission with like-minded parents. The success of your child is built on the effective partnering between home and school.

How you can help your child succeed:

  • By being an involved parent in school activities and programs.
  • By attending all Parent Information Classes.
  • By visiting the classroom and observing your child in October and attending parent/teacher conferences twice each year.
  • By completing a minimum of 30 hours of service time each year.
  • By following all of the precepts of the Parent Handbook so that your child may take full advantage of the educational opportunities.
  • By contributing time, talent or money to the Spring Fair fundraiser and any other fundraising projects.
  • By promptly paying all fees and tuition.

Parent Volunteers

Volunteer service time is a source of providing necessary support and services. Your involvement gives you connection with the community that is guiding and nurturing your child. You gain the opportunity of getting to know your child’s friends, their families, and the staff.

Each family is required to give a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer time per year.

Purchasing Needs*

  • Food Items – snack, food prep, etc.
  • Office Supplies – copy paper, pens, paper clips, etc.
  • Costco/Sam’s Club – paper towels, cups, Ziploc bags, etc.

Classroom Volunteer

  • Recess
  • Washing Dishes
  • Substitute Assistant Teacher (may become a paid position after volunteer hours are fulfilled)
  • Help with Special Projects
  • Help Make Classroom Materials

Special Talents

  • Carpentry
  • Sewing
  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Computer/Technology
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing

Parent Support

  • Spring Fair
  • Book Fair
  • Other fundraising projects

Year Long Commitments (fulfills volunteer obligations for year)

  • Spring Fair Coordinator
  • Recess Duty 1 time per week
  • Class Laundry 1 time per week

*If you purchase items for the school, every $25 spent equals 1 hour of volunteer time. Purchases must be pre-approved.An individual Parent Volunteer Sheet is kept in a binder by the sign-in sheets. You are responsible for recording your volunteer hours on the log sheet. You will be billed for any unfulfilled hours on your last statement for the school year. You may buy out your unfulfilled volunteer commitment at $25 per hour.

Spring Fair

This is a fundraising carnival-like event that usually includes raffle and is planned and presented by the parents to raise funds for play yard improvements and maintenance. All parents are required and expected to participate.

  • Participating in planning and preparing for Spring Fair counts toward Volunteer Hours.
  • Working the day of Spring Fair counts toward Volunteer Hours.