Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Admission Policy at MVMS?
- When are Parent/Teacher Conferences?
- How does the school handle confidentiality?
- Why are Health Forms required for my child?
- What do I do if my child is sick?
- Can I observe at the school?
- As a parent, how can I get involved?
- What if I have something to share with the children?
- What is the difference between the programs you offer?
- How will I know if school is closed?
- What is the policy on Holidays and Vacations?
- What are Workshop Days?
- Do you have a newsletter?
- What is the Open House?
- What should my child wear to school?
- What is the Peaceful Environment Policy?
- What is the Phase In Period?
- Do you have Show and Tell?
- Is snack provided?
- Why isn't my child bringing work home?
- What is the Arrival and Dismissal procedure?
- What is the policy on transportation permission?
- Are there any recognition of birthdays?
- I have material at home that pertains to the Unit you're studying. Can my child bring it in?
The Merrimack Valley Montessori School does not discriminate because of race, religion or national origin. Children who are 2 years 9 months on September first may be enrolled. Enrollment preferences are given to children who are re-enrolling and children who have or have had siblings in the school. Applications for admission of new children are accepted beginning the first of October for the following September. The balances of ages and genders in each class is important to classroom harmony. Therefore, an appropriate balance will be maintained when enrolling new children. Final placement of children in classes is done at the discretion of the teachers and administrators.
It is our policy to set aside time during the year to hold parent/teacher conferences for all students. Since the specific dates vary from year to year, further information regarding the exact dates and times will be sent home to you. If a conference becomes necessary at another time, we will arrange those meetings individually. It is important at all times to maintain good communication between parents and teachers. If something is confusing or your child comes home upset about something please do not hesitate to call the teacher at school or email to [email protected].
All records and reports on children are confidential. Any information concerning children’s behavior, progress, problems and home situations will be considered privileged information by the staff at the school.
The State of New Hampshire requires health forms with current immunization information for all children enrolled in school. State inspectors examine our records periodically to ensure that health records are available. Please make certain that we have your child’s completed immunization records by the first of September. The state requires various other forms including state emergency/registration forms. While it may seem as if there is great duplication in information, it is a requirement that we must follow.
If children are ill, they should not attend school. If your child has a fever, they must stay home for 24 hours after the fever has subsided. We do not have the facilities to care for ill children and do not want other children exposed to contagious diseases. If your child has a contagious disease, please notify the school in order that we might alert other parents. It is not necessary to notify the school for a one or two day absence. If your child will be out of school for several days or has a problem of which we should be aware, please call and let us know.
The door to our school is always open and parents are welcome to come in at any time. Please speak with your child's teacher about appropriate times to visit. We encourage parents to observe a class in progress at some point during the year in order to understand how the class functions. If you would like to observe, let us know ahead of time in order that we may avoid having several observers at the same time. We also offer a 'Watching Wednesdays Program' through which you can sign up to visit on a Wednesday morning or afternoon. You will receive more information about this in October.
At MVMS we consider parent education and involvement an important part of what we as educators do. Through our newsletters and parent meetings we will give you information on child development, Montessori philosophy, and other information that you, as parents, may find helpful. Parents can become involved in our day to day activities in any number of ways. Often parents share talents, hobbies, or professions with our children. Moms and Dads can help out in the classroom with a special activity or project, plan and help out at parties, or in any other way that you might think would be interesting or helpful. Throughout the year we schedule meetings and events that will be both informative and enjoyable for parents. Our Parent Volunteer Organization sponsors occasional family fundraisers that provides extra entertainment such as a story tellers and puppet theaters for the children. The PVO meets throughout the school year and welcomes all parents to become involved.
Children enjoy visitors in their classroom, especially those with interesting things to show and tell them. If you have a hobby or interest, play a musical instrument, do crafts, have an occupation that would be of interest to children, or have movies of your travels, please consider sharing with your child and his/her classmates. Coming into the class to 'help' is also a good way to observe your own child. Adults who are busy in the environment become part of the group rather than observers and sometimes this helps you to get a better picture of your child's typical school behavior.
Three Day - A three day program is offered to children three years of age. A child turning four before September 30th would be enrolled in the five day program. This program is available for one year only. A three day student automatically attends five days his or her second year. A child may switch to a five day program at any time during the year. Three day children attend Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Five Day - This program is set up for children to attend five half days. Since the length of the sessions is under three hours a day, most children adjust easily and do well attending five days. For children ages four, five and six, five day attendance is appropriate. Three year old children are also eligible to attend five days.
Step Up - This MVMS program is designed to transition 4 year old children to full days in the classroom. Children attend their regular half-day Montessori class on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and attend full days on Mondays and Fridays.
Five Day/Full Day - Children enrolled in this program attend MVMS five full days. The hours are from 8:45am to 3:00pm. This program is limited to children who have already attended MVMS for one year and enrollment is at the discretion of the director.
Kindergarten - Our kindergarten program is offered to those children who turn 5 by September 30th of that school year. Kindergarteners attend full days, 8:45am to 3:00pm Monday through Friday.
Our school follows Salem Public School closings and delays for inclement weather. This includes early closings. School closings and delayed openings are announced on TV Channel 9 and local Salem cable and the Salem School District web site. We also offer a texting service if you choose to to receive texts regarding closings or delays. In the event of a delayed opening, we will schedule our day as follows:
Delayed Openings: All morning classes are cancelled, afternoon classes begin at regular time. Full Day students and afternoon students attend the afternoon session. Lunch should be eaten at home.
If a storm starts in the morning and Salem closes school early the afternoon parents will be called/texted by staff with that information. We ask that on snowy days that you let us know where you can be reached (if it differs from our contact information) in the event that school closes early. Should we have to cancel a school day or session for any other reason someone will call you with that information.
The Merrimack Valley Montessori School does not promise to meet all needs of every family when it comes to holidays and vacations. On occasion the times of classes or schedules may be changed to accommodate special programs or occasions. Since we serve families from many different communities with other children in many different school systems, our vacation and holiday schedule may or may not correspond with those of the school systems in surrounding towns.
The yearly calendar shows a number of 'workshop' days. We feel strongly that the work on the shelves should be kept fresh and exciting and should reflect the interests of the children in the classroom that year. Every month, the staff removes all the work, washes everything and re-sets every tray, incorporating seasonal and unit studies that are appropriate. If there is a vacation at the end of the month, the workshop day is scheduled during that vacation. Otherwise, we close the school for one day toward the end of the month to put out all the new work.
We provide newsletters every month to make families aware of school activities and special events, as well as information that may be of interest from child development research and Montessori philosophy.Any changes in the program, details about field trips and holiday parties, as well as policy decisions, will be included in the newsletter . A monthly snack calendar, which includes all special dates and the class snack schedule, will be sent home in your child's school bag. The newsletter, snack calendar, and website are our best way of communicating necessary information to all parents/guardians and it is, therefore, very important that parents take the time to read these sources. The newsletter arrives by email and is posted on the website MVMS.org at the beginning of each month and parents are advised to look for it.
All children, with their parents, will be invited to an Beginning of School Open House during the first week of September. The exact date and times will be sent to you mid summer. The MVMS student list, September's newsletter and other necessary forms will be available that day. Open House gives new children a chance to become familiar with their teachers, the surroundings, and some of the children before the first day of school. It also gives returning students a chance to reacquaint themselves with the environment and the other children.
Children should be dressed in comfortable clothing suitable for sitting on the floor. Fancy dresses and shiny shoes may look lovely, but can be ruined at the art easel or even be a danger on the playground equipment. Rubber soled shoes must be worn if children want to use the climbing frames. Practical clothes that the children can manage on their own build a sense of self-confidence and independence. Parents should remember that many of our children have newly acquired toileting skills and belts, buckles, and zippers are impediments to a quick trip to the bathroom. Pants with elastic are much preferred.
At MVMS we try very hard to provide a peaceful, happy environment which promotes respect for others, as well as ourselves. We teach the children to solve problems peacefully using words and compromise rather than physical action. Since certain toys and television programs promote violent and aggressive solutions to problems, we ask parents to help us by not sending children to school in clothing, accessories, or with toys, which encourage the children to engage in aggressive behavior or violent play.
At the beginning of each school year, we phase-in the children, beginning the day after the Open House. The first few weeks of school are very important to children and staff alike, as we want to minimize nervousness and establish our ground rules and procedures effectively. New children come in first, a few at a time, so that the staff has plenty of opportunities to give them the extra attention they need. Returning students are then phased-in over the following week so that the numbers increase slowly around the new students. We find this to be an effective way to ease children into the school setting. Although our returnees are often impatient with the extra few days waiting(!), parents remember how comforting this phase-in was for their child's first few days at MVMS.
Show and Tell is a time when children bring an item from home to display and talk about at circle time. It is popular with the children and is a way of connecting what children learn at home to their school and peers. Selecting an appropriate item is often a little difficult for some of our younger children. We try to avoid it turning into a "look-what-I've-got-that-you-haven't" session and, therefore, we generally discourage toys. The idea we try to establish is that the item should teach the class something they don't already know. If your child is eager to bring something in, please give him or her help with choosing something suitable. If you have any questions, talk with any of the teachers.
Parents provide snack once a month for the class. We prefer non-sugary snack since some of the children are sensitive to refined sugars, and many parents prefer more nutritious food. The school provides all paper goods and water. If, however, you send in a snack that requires small dishes or spoons please check and make sure that we have those available. Snack ideas are included in the back of the handbook and a snack calendar will be sent home every month. Some children have very restrictive diets or acute food allergies. If this is the case, please make us aware of that. We are authorized to keep allergy medication in the school and to administer it as required. If your child's diet is highly restrictive, we may ask that you send in something for your child that we can keep on hand in the event the provided snack is not appropriate. We also ask that parents providing home-baked snacks, which we encourage, to label them if peanut butter or peanut products are among the ingredients. We are not a peanut free school but choose instead to help children learn to cope with their allergies (with close guidance).
Maria Montessori felt that, at this period of a child's development, the process of learning is more important to the child than the product that might result. Although some children may bring papers home, a good deal of work is done which has no paper as its product. If teachers and parents equate work with paper production, children may begin to feel that if they have no paper they have done no work. In most instances that is simply not the case.
It is very important to have a system that allows us to bring children into school and dismiss them later in an orderly, safe fashion. Therefore, during arrival and dismissal times, a teacher will come to your car and escort your child to and from the school. Parents should remain in their cars. The morning class arrives between 8:40 and 8:50am and is picked up between 11:25 and 11:35am. The afternoon children arrive between 12:10 and 12:20pm and are picked up between 2:55 and 3:05pm. Please try to observe these times as closely as possible to minimize the disruption caused by late arrivals. If you are late arriving, and we are already inside, please walk your child into school, sign him/her in, and let one of the staff know that your child has arrived. Children should never be allowed to walk into school by themselves. If you are detained when picking up, please try to call the school so that we can explain the situation to your child.
The driveway is a one-way system. When picking up, please keep the line moving so cars do not back up onto the main road. If you wish to speak to a staff member, fasten seatbelts, or look at papers, pull up into a parking space so that parents behind you can leave.
Parents are asked to complete a drivers form at the beginning of the school year, listing all drivers that have your permission to pick up your child. Please help us protect your child by keeping us informed of all transportation arrangements. You may notify us of any changes with a note or a phone call. We cannot allow your child to leave even with a relative or friend unless that person is on the list or we have been informed. Please tell any new person picking up how the system works (when to arrive, how the pick-up/drop-off line works, etc.) Often parents arrange carpools to share the transportation burden. A complete student list will be available to assist you in finding parents who live in your area. The school should be provided with a carpool list, with details of days, children, and drivers, in order to avoid confusion at dismissal time.
Birthdays are special for children and we like to help make the day special at school. During circle time, he/she will have a "Birthday Walk". The child carries a globe around a representation of the Sun one revolution for each year of her/his life. During the walk, we tell the class about the child's life and important events up until that time. To help us with this, we ask you to fill out a birthday questionnaire at the beginning of the year to give us some interesting facts about your child's life. We will schedule your snack day to coordinate with the Birthday as closely as possible. We do one Birthday Walk per day/class. When we have children in the same class with birthdays on the same day, we usually do the walk for the youngest child first and then the older child on the following day. Birthday snacks may be cupcakes, etc. Children with summer birthdays have a special celebration day during the final week of school.
Throughout the course of the year we will be doing special units with the classes. The monthly newsletter and website will keep you aware of the unit for the month. If your child has books or items of interest which would enhance the unit please encourage her/him to bring those things to school to share with the class.