Family Handbook Age 3-Grade 6
- School & Classroom Calendars
- What Each Student Needs at School
- Absences and Tardiness
- Arrival and Dismissal
- Before and After-School Programs
- Celebrations / Events / Birthdays
- Classroom Observations
- Field Trips
- Food Policy and Lunch/Snack Program
- Ground Rules and Discipline Policy
- Medical Care
- Parent / Teacher Communication
- Parental Involvement / Volunteering
- Polk County School Board Bullying Policy
- Standardized Testing
- Uniform Policy
All classroom and school events are on our school calendars here.
Early Childhood Classroom Students – specific extra items needed for your child. While your supply fee covers all school supplies needed for the classroom, there are a few things that you will still need to prepare for the new school year. Please bring these items to your “Say Hello to Your Teachers” time slot, which is in the Early Childhood Calendar:
- PHOTOS – Please provide two recent photos of your child for their bin and work tag. The children have bins in the classroom to store their lunch boxes, shoes, and jackets. A photo is placed on each bin so that even the youngest can locate their bin. The second photo is for a work tag that will have their name on it and is used for when they need to leave their work out at the end of the day. The photos should be about wallet sized, so if you provide a regular 4×6 photo, please be sure it can be trimmed down and still show your child.
- NAP MAT – only for full-day 3 year olds. These can be purchased anywhere you wish, just make sure to buy the thinnest option so that they store easier. One option for purchase is on Amazon.
- ROLLEE POLLEE NAP SAC – Every full-day age 3 child must have a Rollee Pollee Nap Sac with the backpack for rest time. 4 year olds only need a Rollee Pollee Nap Sac if you want to require them to nap every day. These can be purchased directly from Rollee Pollee. We only allow the Nap Sac with backpack in blue, green or pink. We do not allow the “Pet Collection” Nap Sacs. The item numbers for the Nap Sacs that we allow are: Blue with backpack–Item #11921; Green with backpack–Item #11923; Pink with backpack–Item #11922
- LUNCH – Your child will need their own reusable fabric placemat packed in their lunchbox daily. You may make or purchase one. An option to purchase is at www.myfunkins.com. They should be no larger than 12″x 12″. Reusable containers/napkins/water bottles are also encouraged. Please provide your child with a spoon if you are packing yogurt or fruit. Please make sure all items have your child’s name on them. An option to purchase name levels is www.namebubbles.com (dishwasher, laundry, and freezer safe).
- EXTRA CHANGE OF CLOTHES – you will need to leave a complete change of uniform with your child’s teacher. This includes a uniform top with logo, uniform bottoms, underwear, and socks. Please write your child’s name on these items, and place inside a ziplock bag with your child’s name on it. These will remain in your child’s bin throughout the year to be used in the event a change of clothes (or partial change) is needed.
SUPPLY DONATION: Instead of asking parents to purchase a list of supplies for their child, we ask that you pay a fee per student. These funds go directly to your child’s teacher to use for the classroom for the 2017-2018 school year and include a subscription to Montessori Life magazine for your family. Click here to submit your supply donation before August 5th of each school year.
Please do not purchase a backpack for your child. Your child will be asked to leave it at home. The only exception to this is for students that ride the bus. This feature of our “safe school” policy eliminates hiding places for unwelcome items of both intentional and unintentional natures. The policy also saves money and space. All homework and educational items will be easy to carry without a backpack. Toys and electronics are not allowed at school. Unlabeled lunch boxes and clothing items that are left at school will be disposed of or given to charity.
School supplies are provided by LMS through the school supplies donation fund. The donations are used by the teachers for items needed in the classroom. You do not need to purchase pencils, scissors, paper, or other consumable items for your child. The student’s family is responsible for the cost of replacement of take home items along with the cost of any items that are broken in a destructive manner.
Students are not allowed to bring in toys, electronics, or games from home unless they are educational in nature and special permission has been granted by the teacher. Trading cards, pocket computers, compact disc players and portable radios are also prohibited on campus. We are not responsible for items that are brought into the school.
Weapons, play or real, are not permitted. LMS follows the NO TOLERANCE policy of Polk County Schools, which mandates suspension or expulsion from school if drugs or weapons are brought onto school property.
Recognizing the important link between home and school, we do encourage students to bring in objects of interest with an educational value related to ongoing projects in the classroom.
All official school communication will come to you through our Family Communication Google Email Group. We will automatically add your email once you are enrolled at the school. This email group will contain essential information so please check daily for updates.
If you would like to be included in our Family Connections Database, please complete the Family Database form at the beginning of every school year. This resource is a fantastic way to keep in touch with the Lakeland Montessori family community. Each school year this database is cleared. In years past there have been students who miss out on party invitations or other unofficial community gatherings if they haven’t added their information. It can be devastating to a child when they’re the only one not invited. Please sign up and encourage other parents to do the same. You don’t have to share ALL of your info…Only the info you’re comfortable sharing. This database will only be available to Lakeland Montessori Schoolhouse and Lakeland Montessori Middle School families. You only need to include the information that you want shared.
Lakeland Montessori partners with After School Programs, Inc. (ASP) to offer a before and after school programs to our families. For more information, and to sign up, visit their website. A representative of ASP will also be at Orientation each school year to register students and answer questions.
ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL
For the 2017-18 school year, the school parking lot will be completely closed for safety due to construction. All parking, arrivals and dismissals will take place in the church parking lot. For the safety of our children and our staff, and for the church to continue to allow us to use their parking lot during construction, all drivers and passengers are to remain in their vehicles between 8:00-8:30 a.m. and 2:30-3:05 p.m. All references to “school gate” below refer to the gate that is between the school and the church parking lot.
- The morning car line begins at 8:15 a.m. The official school start time is 8:30 a.m.
- If you are enrolled in before-care, you can park and walk your child into the before-care room anytime between 7:00-8:00 a.m.
- The morning car line begins at 8:15 a.m. No supervision is available before 8:15 a.m. unless your child is enrolled in before-care.
- For the entire first month of the 2017-18 school year we will have both Early Childhood Assistant Teachers, an Administrator, the Upper Elementary Assistant Teacher, and several Upper Elementary patrol students helping with morning arrival. For the first week of school, we will have cones in the parking lot to help establish the routines and lanes for the car-line.
- For the safety of our children and our staff, and for the church to continue to allow us to use their parking lot during construction, all drivers and passengers are to remain in their vehicles between 8:00-8:35 a.m. and 2:30-3:05 p.m.
- For children in K-6, an adult or Upper Elementary patrol will bring each student to and from the car into Ms. Laurie at the front office of the school. Ms. Laurie will help the children if they need assistance.
- For children ages 3 and 4, an adult will bring each student to and from the car into their classroom. If your child has difficulty separating, please put a bright pink piece of paper on your dashboard so that we can make sure to have one of the Early Childhood assistant teachers come to your car to help your child out of the car.
- Beginning October 3rd, every Tuesday will be classroom visit morning. Parents can park and walk their children through the front office into their classroom beginning at 8:15am until 8:45 am. On Tuesday morning visit days we will not have a car line.
- Except for Tuesday morning visit days, if you need to come inside, even if you are volunteering or need to drop something off to us, please come to the front office between 8:35 and 2:30 OR between 3:05 and 4:00.
- If your child is in the Early Childhood classrooms, and you would like to pick them up early, please pick them up at 12:30 p.m. in the school’s front office.
- If your child is in grades 1-6 and you would like to pick-up them up early, this must occur before 2:30. Students will not be released for early pickup after 2:30. Early pickup should be reserved for emergency situations. Non-emergency doctor, dentist and other appointments should be scheduled outside of school hours.
- If your child arrives after 9:00 a.m. please make sure to bring a lunch as we must provide the school we pickup lunches from requires this information by 9:00 a.m.
- Please contact our front office BEFORE 9:30 a.m. if you wish to change the transportation mode (bus to car, car to bus) for your child.
- Dismissal times are from 2:45 – 2:55 and from 2:55 – 3:05. Each family should have a colored form for their vehicle indicating which dismissal time they are assigned to. If you need one, please see Ms. Laurie at the front desk.
- At dismissal, an adult will bring your child to your car. If you need extra time to buckle your child in, please pull into a parking spot after your child is already in the car.
- We will only dismiss a student to the parents or people who are indicated on their emergency contact form.
ABSENCES AND TARDINESS
- The official school start time is 8:30 a.m.
- If your car has entered the arrival parking lot by 8:30 a.m. we will make sure that your child is accompanied from the school gate and not marked tardy. If your child has not entered the church parking lot by 8:30 a.m. please accompany your child to the front office to be signed in as tardy at the front desk.
Too many late arrivals or absences will require a conference with the Principal and the implementation of a plan of action to correct the situation. A habit of late arrivals and absences (more than 15 tardies and/or more than 15 absences per school year) could result in the student being asked to return to the appropriate district school.
LMS is responsible to see that students arrive on time and that absences are kept to a minimum. Florida’s mandatory attendance laws require this. On-time attendance is crucial to the Montessori classroom environment.
FOOD POLICY & BREAKFAST/LUNCH/SNACK PROGRAM
Our program incorporates practical life exercises that include training in a healthy lifestyle and diet. To support this aspect of your child’s education, and to ensure that all of our students eat nutritiously and healthfully during their school day, we ask that you abide by certain guidelines for snacks and other foods that are brought to school.
In a place where learning is the overriding goal, we want to make every effort to keep sugar to an absolute minimum, and we hope you’ll help us whenever you send food to school. Please observe our rule that: Soft drinks, gum, and candy are not allowed.
Option 1: Polk County School Lunch Program (K-8 students ONLY, PreK students must bring lunch from home)
The primary reason that we provide an option to purchase school lunch is for those students that need access to free and reduced lunch through the Polk County School Board. To purchase lunch, parents are required to set up an online lunch account at My School Bucks which will allow you to submit payments and check your child’s lunch balance. We do not accept payments for lunch accounts at the school. Please add to funds your child’s account here.
Option 2: Pack your child’s lunch
Children are encouraged to bring their own lunches from home. If you prefer to pack a lunch, please select healthy foods with proteins and complex carbohydrates. In addition to prohibiting soft drinks, gum, and candy, we discourage the use of many prepackaged lunches like “Lunchables” because they lack the necessary nutrition and fiber necessary to maintain good health.
Families are asked to participate in a rotating schedule for bringing healthy classroom snacks. We request that each student in all classes provide snack for their class approximately once per month (no more than one day per month). The snack must be pre-packaged and unopened. Bringing snack is not a requirement for grades K-6, however it greatly benefits the classroom community as students are provided with healthy nutrition during the morning work period – which aids in the success of their morning. Snack time also provides an opportunity for the students to contribute to their community and to share in practical life activities.
3-6 classrooms: 30 students
6-9 classroom: 30 students
9-12 classroom: 30 students
Please follow these healthy snack guidelines when bringing snack for your child’s class:
A store packaged pre-cut FRESH (not canned or dried) fruit or vegetable snack. Whole fruit may be sent as long as long as there is enough for each child to have their own whole piece of fruit.
In addition to the fresh fruit or vegetable item please consider providing a protein and/or whole grain item to complement the fresh fruit/vegetable. If the item is made with whole grains, at least one of the ingredients will have the word “whole” next to the type of grain and the majority of the time the package will state that it is made with whole grains. ALL optional items must have 3 grams or less of sugar per serving. Items with artificial sweeteners are not allowed.
- ALL FOOD MUST BE STORE PACKAGED. Items that do not meet the guidelines above will not be returned.
The following lists are by no means comprehensive; they are provided to give you an idea of the types of foods that we recommend.
GOOD CHOICE EXAMPLES FOR REQUIRED ITEMS:
Peppers: green, red, yellow, orange
Tomatoes: grape or cherry (6-9 and 9-12 class only)
Grapes (6-9 and 9-12 class only)
GOOD CHOICE EXAMPLES FOR OPTIONAL ITEMS:
Whole wheat bagels with cream cheese
Multi-grain Ritz crackers
Peanuts & other nuts: VERY IMPORTANT
Because some children have potentially dangerous allergies to peanuts and other nuts, do not bring any foods for snack containing peanuts or peanut byproducts (such as peanut oil), or foods that may contain peanuts or any other types of nuts. Labels on processed foods are generally very explicit about the inclusion of peanuts and nuts.
DISCLAIMER: Our facilities and activities are NOT peanut free.
Lakeland Montessori School’s community outreach and extended classroom activities include various field trips for educational, cultural, physical and humanitarian experiences. The following are an example of the places we may visit during the school year:
County Public Libraries, Museums and Parks
Recreational facilities of Polk County and its cities
Community services facilities of Polk County and its cities
Bok Tower Gardens
Polk County district schools and colleges
Fantasy of Flight
Restaurants for etiquette demonstrations
Publix supermarket and warehouses
Outside Polk County
Green Meadows Farm
Lowry Park Zoo
Seminole Indian properties
Walt Disney World
Some of the trips may require fees. Good manners, exceptional behavior and full compliance with our uniform code are mandatory for field trips. Each student represents our school. Exceptional behavior is expected on the bus and at our destination.
Some trips are invitational or limited by our host to students and teachers only. Other trips may include opportunities for parents (approved volunteers) to accompany us.
Families will receive email flyers concerning upcoming events and celebrations at the school as we will need parent participation for planning and implementation. As we are a small community and we will be teaching and modeling acceptance and respect of diversity, school celebrations and events will be planned so that they can include and be participated in by people regardless of their religious, cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds. LMS school policy is based on the First Amendment Center document “Religious Holidays in the Public Schools” located here. Celebrations and events such as the LMS annual Friendship Feast, the LMS Tea & Art show, International Peace Day, Multi-Cultural Festivals such as a festivals with Chinese cuisine, art, costume, etc. will be planned throughout the year with dates and times on our school Calendars.
In recognition of the day a child is born, we gather at group time and tell the child’s life story as they hold a globe and “orbit the sun” provided that we receive the Milestones Form with your child’s information before their birthday. You are welcome to join us for this activity. We are unable to accommodate birthday party type activities during classroom time.
Party Invitations-If you wish to invite children to a party, please use the Family Database in order to send the invitations. Inclusion on the Family Database is an optional family choice so may not include all student’s information.
Parents are encouraged to observe their child at work. Visits times begin in October and are every Tuesday from 8:15 – 8:45.
Teachers report formally to parents four times per year on the same dates as the other Polk County public schools. Parent conferences take place for all students during the first quarter of each school year. Additional parent-teacher conferences may be scheduled at any time at the request of either teacher or parent. Teachers are also readily available via email communication.
First quarter reports provide an opportunity to set goals for the remainder of the semester as well as to discuss academic, social, or emotional concerns that need to be addressed. The evaluations at the end of each quarter are also comprehensive reporting periods and are a record of the student’s progress through the three-year cycle of our Montessori curriculum.
LMS has taken the steps to make sure our students are prepared for the required standardized testing, which tests students on their annual progress. Formative and Summative assessments are administered to all students in grades K-8. Assessment scores indicate whether the student is on grade level for Reading and Mathematics and give comparative data on all our students. All Florida Department of Education FSA and FCAT tests are also administered to students in grades 3 through 8 during the State of FL DOE testing windows. In order for our school to remain open, all students must take the state required assessment tests.
Reading takes place at the school during all subjects and students will be evaluated for growth and comprehension often. In addition to an enriched academic advancement, it is important to remember that character education, community service, self-esteem, leadership training, time management, and organizational skills are essential life-long skills that are part of our program.
Montessori education is based on empowering the student to make appropriate decisions about behavior in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. There is no place for corporal punishment or emotional intimidation in a Montessori environment.
One goal of our school is for the children to be self-disciplined. There is a wide age span within the range of “normal” for the development of self-discipline. To encourage self-monitoring of behavior by our students, we control the environment instead of the child as much as possible. We want it to be easy for the children to behave appropriately.
Appropriate behavior is taught when children are not in a stressful situation. Then children can learn by role-playing acceptable alternatives to hitting, screaming, biting, scratching, name-calling, etc. These lessons are given individually and at group time throughout the year as needed. We use peer problem solving whenever possible when children have disagreements. Children who are out of control stay with a teacher or sit alone until they can control themselves. Whenever possible, children are allowed to experience the natural and/or logical consequences of their actions. For example, when you throw a puzzle, you pick it up and then find other work that can be handled more appropriately. For more serious situations such as biting, hitting, or refusal to cooperate – parents will be called to pick up their child.
In keeping with Montessori philosophy, we redirect the following behavior patterns:
- Unbecoming behavior (i.e. nose-picking)
- Behavior destructive to the environment (i.e. throwing work)
- Behavior destructive to others or their work (i.e. disturbing another’s work)
- Unproductive behavior (i.e. walking aimlessly through the room)
In a serious situation, such as a physical fight between children, the following steps are followed:
- Check that everyone is safe
- Remove those not involved
- Describe what is happening in a non-judgmental way
- State the appropriate ground rule
- Separate the child from the situation as gently as possible
- Preserve self-dignity
- A parent will be called to pick up the child.
Children may be required to sit at a table by themselves and work will be provided for them. They will lose their freedom of movement for a period of time according to their development. This could range from a short amount of time to an entire work period. If a child’s behavior (for example: temper tantrum) is disruptive to the classroom the child will be taken out of the classroom. Parents will be notified of these situations either by email, phone call, and/or incident report.
If the student repeatedly needs office support to deal with his or her behavior, the parent will be called to take the student home. There will be a conference with the parent before the student returns to the classroom.
If the situation cannot be rectified in a timely fashion, especially if the behavior presents a danger to other students or faculty members, our out of school suspension or dismissal procedures, consistent with the LMS Parent Contract and the Polk County Code of Student Conduct, will apply. The final step is that the student is reassigned to the appropriate district school.
Admission to LMS is by choice, not mandate. LMS does provide services for ESE students as required by Federal law and our philosophy is to give children a chance to improve. However, under the terms of our charter application with the Polk County school district, LMS is not obligated to retain any student who cannot progress to and maintain minimum standards of behavior appropriate to an integrated classroom environment.
Lakeland Montessori will also utilize the Polk County School Board Code of Conduct to handle discipline matters that occur at the charter school.
Lakeland Montessori uniforms promote school unity, establish a level playing field, increase safety, and reduce distraction during the school day. In order to retain and enhance the integrity of the dress code, the following expectations have been established:
- Uniforms are required every day. Specific exceptions are on your classroom’s calendar (such as Pajama Day).
- There are two authorized vendors: 1) Lands’ End School Uniform Catalogue - for all of our uniform items 2) Target Uniform Section online and in store – for bottoms only (Target labels must read “Cat & Jack”, “Cherokee Uniform”, “French Toast”, “@Class”, “Classroom”, or “School Colors”. Regular Target clothing is NOT acceptable). These vendors are the ONLY authorized vendors. Lands’ End is the preferred vendor as they carry higher quality, longer-lasting clothing. See the Authorized Vendor section below for specific ordering and contact information.
- Uniform Shirts – shirts and blouses may be short or long sleeved – with collar – of any solid color (no stripes, designs, multiple colors, or multi-color banding) and must be long enough to be able to be tucked in. Shirts must be tucked in at all times. Shirts with the old LMS logo may be worn indefinitely as long as they are free of holes, frays and stains. Jumpers MUST also have a logo.
- Uniform Shirts for cool days – On cool days, we prefer that students wear a long sleeved LMS logo uniform shirt. However, if absolutely necessary students may wear a plain, white turtleneck or plain white long or short sleeved shirt under their short-sleeved LMS uniform shirt. Plain is defined as plain white fabric that has no stripes, designs, multiple colors, multi-color banding, ribbing or other embellishments. The white shirts can be purchased from any vendor as long as they remain within the guidelines. Students will be asked to remove any shirts that are worn under their uniform shirts that do not follow these guidelines.
- Field Trip Shirt- on field trip days all students must wear a Chambray Blue (light blue) uniform polo shirt for safety purposes. Students will only be allowed to attend a field trip if they have a field trip shirt.
- Outer garments- All outer garments (Example: cardigan sweater, pull-over sweatshirts, and light jackets) that are worn inside the school must have a LMS logo. Authorized selections are listed on our Land’s End dress code list. Items with hoods are not allowed. Items worn only outside do not need a logo and do not have to follow any guidelines.
- Bottoms – ONLY bottoms from authorized vendors are permitted. Bottoms may be any Khaki UNIFORM shorts, skirts, skorts, slacks, or jumpers (no sweatpants). Jumpers MUST have a logo. All bottoms must be Khaki official uniform bottoms and no more than 2″ above the knee. Shorts must be worn underneath skirts and jumpers (purchasing skorts will eliminate the need for shorts). (Target labels must read “Cherokee uniform”, “French Toast”, “Cat & Jack”, “@Class”, “Classroom”, or “School Colors”)
- Preschoolers-Land’s End school uniforms start in size 2T and Target school uniforms start in size 3T. If you are in need of sizes smaller than 2T, please consult with the Director about appropriate items to be ordered before ordering. All items that are sent in as a change of clothes must be approved uniform items.
- Belts with a buckle must be worn if the bottom has belt loops and the student is in first grade or higher (any color or design is fine as long as there are no characters and the belt has a buckle).
- Tennis shoes or rubber-soled shoes must be worn with the uniform. All shoes must have closed toes and heels. Boots, crocs, and shoes with wheels are not allowed due to safety and storage concerns. Socks and stockings can be any color or style, however they must be free of holes and runs and tights/stockings must be footed.
- No makeup, visible tattoos or fake fingernails. Earrings must be small-no hoops. Fake tattoos will be removed if they are visible.
- Hair styles – no numbers, writing or designs, no unnatural color (green, blue, ….), no picks, hats, sweatbands, curlers or other head gear.
- ALL items must be free of frays and holes. In the event an item has a hole in it a parent will be called to bring a replacement or the student will be loaned an item for the day.
- If a family is in need of financial aid, Lakeland Montessori will purchase two uniform bottoms for each child. We will also provide free access to any donated shirts or bottoms we have on hand. Financial need is based upon qualifying for free lunch using the Polk County School Board Household Application for Free and Reduced Priced Meals. Please see the front office to obtain an application.
- STUDENTS FAILING TO WEAR ANY PART OF THE LAKELAND MONTESSORI SCHOOLHOUSE UNIFORM WILL RECEIVE A UNIFORM INFRACTION. Four uniform infractions will result in a parent conference being scheduled with the principal to discuss the best course of action. Parents new to the school after the school year begins will be given two weeks to obtain uniform items.
Authorized Vendor Information:
FOR BOTH VENDORS, PLEASE ORDER WITH PLENTY OF TIME TO RECEIVE ITEMS BEFORE THE START OF SCHOOL.
- Lands’ End School Uniform Catalogue – www.landsend.com. Items must be SCHOOL UNIFORM items. Our preferred school number is 900095167. Don’t forget to check the overstock section for special deals on uniform items! The quality of the shirts and other uniform items are excellent and the service is outstanding. Items are delivered to your doorstop with the logo completed. If you have any problems placing an order, or if you have questions about an existing order, please call 1-800-469-2222. Items can be returned by mail or any local Sears, Kmart, or Sears Essential store for a full refund.
- Target Uniform Bottoms – available online at Target.com and at your local store. Target labels must read “Cherokee Uniform”, “French Toast”, “@Class”, “Classroom”, or “School Colors”. Items that only say “Cherokee” are NOT acceptable.
Students in grades 1-5 will be asked to do occasional homework that relates to specific specific classroom projects.
Students in preschool and Kindergarten will not be given homework other than to read with a parent 20 minutes per night (Monday – Thursday) and turn in the reading log form every Friday. Let your child hear the sound of your voice as you read to them. Hold them close or put them on your lap. With older children, take turns reading to them and have them read to you. Whatever the subject matter, allow your nightly reading to be for pleasure. We suggest that you do not force children to read to you if they don’t want to or are not ready to do so. Let them know you value reading by doing it together every night. Even if your child cannot read the words himself/herself, hearing you read aloud stories like Gulliver’s Travels, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Magic Treehouse series, Amelia Bedelia, or the Biscuit series will light up a child’s imagination and motivation to read for themselves.
If your child has symptoms of sickness such as fever at or above 100.4, vomiting, or diarrhea we will contact you to pick up your child. In an emergency, we will call the numbers and persons listed on the student emergency card. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you call us with any email address or phone number changes throughout the year.
No medications of any kind (including cold, aspirin, and vitamin products) can be administered at school unless there is an Authorization for Medication form for the treatment on file. All medication must be transported to and from school by adults only and must be given directly to the School Secretary.