- Speak to the party involved (another parent or guardian, or staff member.) Resolve the problem if possible.
- Speak to the Head of School and ask for assistance to solve the problem.
- If the parent feels the grievance constitutes a violation of licensing rules, then, as a final resort – call the State of Wisconsin, Department of Children and Families.
Toad Hill Children’s House 2015-2017 Policy and Procedure Handbook for Parents This handbook contains information about the philosophy and policies of Toad Hill Montessori. Reading it thoroughly will give you a better understanding of your child’s school. Toad Hill Montessori does not discriminate in the admission, retention and dismissal of children on the basis of sex, race, color, class, national or ethnic origin, or the marital status, religious beliefs, sexual preference, political persuasion of parents or disabling conditions. All children will be considered for enrollment based on space available and licensing requirements. Educational Philosophy The educational philosophy of Toad Hill Montessori is rooted in the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori. She discovered that children possess an active love of learning and an eagerness to explore their environment. By working with a child’s natural inclinations towards discovery, a learning environment can be created which will foster independence, self discipline and motivation. Children attending Toad Hill Montessori will have opportunities to develop creative, social, intellectual, cognitive, and large and small motor skills, all within a Montessori environment. Dr. Montessori believed learning is more an individual than a group activity. In a Montessori classroom each child works without being pushed ahead or held back by the needs of the others in the classroom. Cooperation rather than competition is encouraged. In the classroom children interact continuously, choosing to work on their own or with a friend. The older children help the younger ones. The younger ones observe with fascination the work they will soon be able to do. A child goes through stages of development when certain types of knowledge are more easily acquired. Dr. Montessori referred to these as “sensitive periods”, a term finding a new life in the recent research on brain development. This research is another validation of Dr. Montessori’s work. Moving freely allows children to learn with all their senses. “Nothing can be in the intellect which is not first in the senses.” Sensory-motor activities help build the neural connections in the child’s growing brain. Between infancy and 3.5 years, children are especially responsive to order and routine in their environment. They are also very receptive to language. During the latter part of this period they love to repeat exercises, easily learning to carry out complicated tasks. From 3-6 years, children are very aware of written language and numbers. If they are given proper preparation through a concrete, sensorial approach they are often able to learn to read, write and successfully complete mathematical operations. Toad Hill Montessori programs are based on these goals: Children should discover their inherent love of order Experience the profound concentration they are capable of Enjoy work firmly grounded in reality Expand their independence with the self-confidence found through accomplishment Learn to share and appreciate each other Listen willingly and experience the strength and support of community Find real joy in their work One aspect of Montessori Education that’s recently come to the forefront is Peace Education. The essentials of education for peace are built into the Montessori curriculum at every level. Perhaps having lived in an era buffeted by wars caused Dr. Montessori to become a tireless worker for peace. She was proposed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in 1949 and 1950, and 1952. Dr. Montessori’s curriculum was designed to help develop a respect for our planet and its inhabitants. By learning to respect and care for themselves and the environment of their classroom, the children are learning to take care of the larger world. The Montessori classroom is designed with respect for children. Furniture and equipment are sized for them. Classroom materials are designed to encourage the children in their drive for discovery. The materials are arranged in such a way that children can follow the logical transition from one activity to another. A Montessori classroom invites children into an environment carefully designed to stimulate sensory perception, foster readiness for reading and writing and help the child gain self-reliance in learning. The Montessori Method of education has been in practice since 1906 in many parts of the world. Montessori is not a static or closed system of education. It is as much an attitude about education and children as it is a specific method. Areas of Our Classrooms Practical Life The first experiences your child will have at Toad Hill Montessori will be in the Practical Life area of the classroom. This area is full of activities that your child is already familiar with, such as pouring, sorting, and simple domestic tasks. By offering these activities to new students we are able to ease the transition from home to school, and they begin to take ownership of their house. Sensorial Sensorial activities heighten your child’s senses of touch, sight, taste, smell and sound, using materials designed according to Dr. Montessori’s careful observations of children. Art and Music Art supplies are freely available in our classroom. Music sessions include performing, dancing, singing and experimenting while learning about a variety of cultures. Literacy Writing often comes before reading in a Montessori classroom with children building up their first words phonetically using letters of the Large Moveable Alphabet. After this, reading is accomplished with great ease. Mathematics By handling number rods, counting out beads, counting spindles into boxes and arranging colored counters in patterns, children gain a physical impression of size and quantity long before they begin to manipulate numbers. This provides a solid foundation for the abstract. Library Spaces Our library spaces feature new titles and old favorites. In addition to story books, we offer a rotating selection of non- fiction books. These reflect other areas of the classroom, including: science, nature, the arts, cultural subjects and more. Cultural Subjects Your child will be introduced to botany, geography, history, science and the many cultures of the world as they handle and examine artifacts from around the world – a Japanese fan, chopsticks, a Ecuadorian textiles, or a drum from Cyprus. Outdoor Classroom Montessori believed strongly that children should be in touch with the substance of their world. Activities in the Outdoor Classroom allow children to develop gross motor skills as they climb trees, garden, and scrub during the warmer months, and shovel, climb and build in the snow during winter. The children also learn about the natural word as they observe nature including our cherry, apple, and pear trees, flower gardens, and visiting birds, insects and small animals. Field Trips to Hiestand Park and additional Outings Toad Hill Montessori backs to Hiestand park which offers a playground, soccer field, and trails. Social skills form as they take turns on equipment and work together to create a peaceful environment. Gross motor skills develop through hikes in the woods, and playing ball and parachute games. Our Staff Rebecca Katzenmeyer, Head of School Rebecca Katzenmeyer has been the Head of School since 2005. Miss Beckie received her Montessori Certification in 2004 from the Montessori Center International of London, a training center founded by Dr. Montessori herself. (For information on the Training Center please visit http://www.montessori.ac.uk.) This training is in addition to Graduate coursework in Early Childhood Education at the Colorado University of Denver, and Undergraduate work at Beloit College. The Head of School is responsible for overseeing all Toad Hill Montessori Staff, Classroom Assistants, students, classroom operations, communication with parents, and all administrative duties in accordance with all Toad Hill Montessori policies and procedures, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and the City of Madison. She works closely with these agencies and the Montessori Staff, Classroom Assistants and Volunteers. Montessori Staff The Montessori staff guide the children through presentations of materials, answering questions and serving as resources in the classroom. They help children progress from one activity to the next while monitoring their development. The Montessori Staff supervise children participating in classroom activities, carefully prepare the environment, and work closely with the Head of School and Classroom Assistants to carry out daily activities. The Montessori staff is trained to assist each child, allowing choices among activities and ability levels. There is freedom with limits in the Montessori classroom. Children are allowed to work freely as long as they do not disturb others. Classroom Assistants Classroom Assistants support the Montessori Staff and the Head of School by assisting children with snacks, meals, stories, field trips, outdoor play time, rest, Before and After School programming, and cleaning and classroom maintenance. Additional Emergency Volunteers and Substitutes Parents may serve as Emergency Volunteers and Substitutes , and are selected on the basis of their awareness of children and the principles of child development. All Emergency Volunteers must complete training and orientation with the Directress. General Information Toad Hill Montessori was opened to serve the East Madison community with a Montessori program dedicated to providing high quality education for children 2 to 6 years of age for our School Year and 2 to 12 years of age for our Summer Programs. The school is staffed with a qualified Head of School, a Montessori Staff, and Assistants who have been hired for their specific abilities and skills. The center’s license, a book of WI regulations, “Your Guide to Licensed Child Care,” and any notices of rule violations are posted in the south entry way. Programs The Traditional School Year runs September to mid June and our Summer Program runs mid June to August, both with a maximum licensed capacity of 27 per group, between the hours of 7:15 am and 5:00 pm . School Year Programs are open to children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, and are offered on a 4 or 5 day schedule. . A 3, 4, or 5 day schedule is offered during the summer. Please refer to the Application for current tuition rates. Before School Care- 7:15-8:00 am Families who need to begin their day early may enroll in the Before School Program. Students arrive between 7:15 am and 7:30 am, and meet in the lower level classroom. Montessori Work Period- 8:00- 12:30 pm Children arrive between 8:00 am. and 8:30 am and begin their day by choosing activities on their own, based on their interests, abilities, and lessons previously given by the Montessori Directress. This program is attended by all enrolled children, and the emphasis is on individual activities and learning. Children may move to various classroom spaces inside and outside using a tag system monitored by staff. Children bring a lunch from home Monday through Thursday and an assigned food from home to be shared for Community Lunch on Fridays. Children are dismissed from this program and are expected to be picked up at 12:30 pm. Extended Day with Rest and Enrichment- 8:00 am -3:00 pm After finishing the Montessori Work Period and lunch, children enrolled in our Extended Day program will have an opportunity for quiet rest followed by Enrichment Classes. A light sleeping bag and mat are provided for Rest. Children may bring a small blanket or stuffed animal to hold during rest. These items must fit inside the provided bins, and are to be used only during the rest period. Children who do not fall asleep after 30 minutes will join awake children in the Montessori Classroom until Enrichment classes begin. Our Enrichment programs offer children opportunities to increase their social awareness in a casual, group focused atmosphere. Enrichment programming is offered in Art, Music, Spanish, Yoga and Special Subjects as part of our Extended Day Curriculum. Children are dismissed from this program and are expected to be picked up at 3:00 pm. 4K and Kindergarten-Mondays 8:00 am -12:30 pm; and Tuesdays through Fridays 8:00 am to 3:00 pm The 4K program is open to all children who are 4 years old on or before September 1 of the current school year; and the Kindergarten Program is open to all children who are 5 years old on or before September 1 of the current school year. A light sleeping bag is provided for both the 4K and the Kindergarten rest period. The first part of the program is spent resting their bodies and listening to peaceful music, followed by Kindergarten Literacy time. This is a special time for our older children to practice listening skills by being read aloud chapter books,or listening to audiobooks before returning to individual work. The last part of the day includes Enrichment programming in Art, Music, Spanish, Yoga and Special Subjects. Children are dismissed from this program and are expected to be picked up at 12:30 pm on Mondays and at 3:00pm Tuesdays through Fridays. After School Programs Mondays 12:30 pm-5:00 pm; and Tuesdays through Fridays 3:15 pm -5:00 pm Our After School Program takes place in the Outdoor Classroom or in the Lower Level Classroom. After School is a time for craft projects, games, coloring sheets, songs and activities led by the Montessori Directress or Assistant Staff. When children are inside parents must come down to the Lower Level Classroom to sign out children. All children must be signed out before 5:00 pm Arrival Staff will escort children from their vehicles to the school through the garden gate on the West side of the building. Please initial your child’s arrival time on the attendance log on the clipboard during drop off. If you are dropping off outside of your scheduled time, you must sign the clipboard hanging in the South entry way. The attendance will be checked by staff, and a phone call or e-mail is required if your child will not be attending for any reason. Please call or e-mail at least 30 minutes before your child's scheduled start time. Students are expected to arrive between 7:15 and 7:30 for Before School Care or between 8:00 and 8:30 am for all other sessions. If a child who is scheduled to arrive does not arrive within 15 minutes of the specified arrival time, and we have not been notified in advance of the child's absence, staff will attempt to contact the parent or guardian to determine the child's whereabouts. Dismissal and Lateness Dismissal from the Montessori Work Period and Lunch is 12:30, from the Extended Day with rest at 3:00 pm; from 4K or Kindergarten at 12:30 pm Mondays and 3:00 pm Tuesdays through Fridays; and from After School before 5:00 pm. If for any reason you wish to pick up your child earlier or must pick up later, please call the school so the staff is advised of the unusual circumstances. Children are often distressed by the late pickups. Please make every effort to be prompt. Please let a staff person know that you are leaving with your child. There is a late pick up fee of $10.00 for every 15 minutes or portion there of that your child is at Toad Hill Montessori after scheduled pickup time. If your child's name is highlighted, you are late and will be charged accordingly. Parents may authorize others to pick up their children in writing on their enrollment forms and emergency cards, by a written notice left on the Attendance Clipboard, a text to 608-217-9533 or a phone call. You must include the name of the person who will pick up your child, the time the child will be picked up and a number where the person can be reached. They must bring a picture I.D. that will be checked by a staff member. Law enforcement will be contacted if parents or guardians attempt to pick up a child while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if a child is not picked up and no emergency contact person can be reached. Fees and Necessary Forms All fees and tuition rates are listed on the Toad Hill Montessori Application Form. Upon acceptance into the program you will be given a set of forms that are required by the State of Wisconsin to be kept on file. Your child will not be allowed to attend programs until all necessary forms are completed. Immunization Record Form A complete Immunization record is due within 30 days of acceptance to any program, and must be updated as new immunizations are administered. Health Report A signed Health Report is due within 90 days of acceptance to any program. All Health Reports must be current within 2 years. All other forms must be on file on or before your child's first day of attendance. Application Fee There is one time, non-refundable, $100 Application Fee, which is due along with the completed application. Material Fees There are annual, non-refundable Material Fees for both the School Year and Summer Program. Material Fees are due along with first tuition payments of each program, typically September and June. School Year Tuition and Contracts Regular School Year tuition is calculated as part of a September to mid June academic year and accounts for all school closings including, In-Service days, Winter Vacation, Spring Break and all Holidays and and School Closings comparable with local area school districts. Fees are prorated into 9.5 monthly payments from September through June, as outlined in our School Year Contracts. School Year Tuition is prepaid and due by the 1st of every month. A 3% discount will be offered for School Year tuition paid in full a year in advance. Summer Tuition and Contracts Summer tuition is calculated based on a weekly enrollment schedule to allow maximum flexibility for families and summer staffing. Tuition is totaled for the entire summer and fees are prorated into 3 payment due throughout the summer from June through August, as outlined in our Summer Program Contracts. Summer Tuition is prepaid on the dates indicated on Summer Contracts. Late Payment / Returned Check Fees Payments received more than 5 days after the expected date will be assessed a late fee of $10. The late fee increases to $20 if tuition is not paid within 15 days of the expected payment date. Payments more than 30 days in arrears may include withholding of service. Any parent submitting a tuition check returned by the bank for any reason, including insufficient funds (bounced check) shall be charged a fee of $35 per check that does not clear. No additional late fee shall be applied; assuming proper payment is made promptly within 5 days notice. If your family is having difficulty making a payment by the due date, please contact the Directress to set up an alternate payment plan. Tuition is not refunded for absences (illness or family vacations) or for unscheduled closings of school (i.e. snow days.) Non-Participation Fee Participation in the school community in some form is required of all families. Typically families will sign-up to bring in snacks and do laundry for 1-3 weeks during the school year. Other families choose to come and share a special project with the children, lead a special activity, or read stories to the children. In lieu of participation a $100 Non-Participation Fee can be made. This fee will be added to the June 1st payment if a family has not participated in the school community. School Policies Enrollment Children may be enrolled at Toad Hill Montessori as openings arise. If we are filled to capacity a waiting list will be started. Preference is given to siblings of children who have attended or are attending, Full Time Students, and to children of optimal enrollment age. The Montessori curriculum was designed as a 3+ year program. Children who attend the complete program will benefit more than children who only attend for less than 3 years. This policy provides for continuity of enrollment, which enhances each child’s experience at Toad Hill Montessori. Probation/Termination For all children there is a six-week probationary period. We have this policy to ensure we can adequately serve the needs of all the children. During this time we look to identify children who are experiencing problems in the program. In the case of a child whose needs appear to not be met, we seek to make changes. Areas considered: The physical environment, interactions with adults and children, appropriate learning materials to fit the child’s perceived needs, schedule of the day and additional resources (information, training or materials) for the staff. As we consider these changes, a parent/directress conference is arranged. If this process extends beyond, or arises after the original six-week probation period a parent/directress conference will be held. If it is determined the program does not meet the needs of the child, the probation period may be extended or a final day of enrollment will be determined with every effort made to give the parents time (up to 30 days) to find an alternative arrangement. A child may be withdrawn from the school for reasons such as, but not limited to: Staff termination of Contract: When, in the opinion of the Directress and staff, the needs of the center dictate that a child be dismissed, the center reserves the right of dismissal. Dismissal will occur only after written notice has been provided to the parent. The center reserves the right for dismissal for failure to promptly pay tuition. The center reserves the right of dismissal for failure to submit required health and enrollment information. The center reserves the right of dismissal for failure to follow center policies and inappropriate behavior. The center reserves the right of dismissal for chronic lateness, that is defined as; failure to drop-off or pick-up within the designated arrival and departure times and more than three episodes of lateness in any one-month period. This constitutes grounds to ask a family to withdraw from the program. Parent Termination of Contract: Parents must provide written notice of intent to withdraw a child at least one month in advance of last date of attendance. Parents are financially obligated for 30 days from the date written notice is provided, whether or not the child continues to attend. Mutual Decision Between School and Parent Termination of Contract: The child’s enrollment will be terminated when the center and the parents mutually agree that placement is inappropriate. Parents are responsible for any outstanding balance they may have prior to the agreed upon termination. Parents will be responsible for tuition only up to the final day of enrollment. Any disagreement between the school and parents over the termination of a child’s enrollment prior to the end of the contracted time can be appealed in writing to the Directress Grievance Procedure If a parent has a grievance, the following steps should be taken: