This will be my child’s first time in any kind of child care setting. I know she’s going to cry when I leave her at the school – what will happen?
Parents and children are both likely to feel anxious about this new beginning, and the teachers at Children’s House are experienced in helping everyone settle into this new environment.
At the beginning of the school year, the school staggers the start dates of new and younger students. This way, the teachers can give them lots of support as they explore the school.
Also, by the time new children come to school, returning children have already been back for a few days and they are always happy to show new students around.
At the beginning of each school day, the teachers greet each child warmly and individually, and they will certainly comfort children who are feeling anxious and upset. The teachers take special care in monitoring new students and helping them adjust to the school; they will work with children and their parents individually to make the transition to nursery school as smooth and comfortable as possible.
How do you keep your tuition fees so affordable? Don’t your low fees mean that your programs aren’t given very much money?
Children’s House believes in keeping its programs financially accessible – this is in keeping with Maria Montessori’s belief that children benefit from being part of a diverse community.
We keep our tuition fees affordable by setting them in accordance with Manitoba Child Care regulations; in return, we receive an operating grant from Manitoba Child Care that helps to pay for the maintenance and improvement of our programs and materials.
How can I keep up with what’s happening at the school? Drop-off and pick-up times are just too rushed for me to stop and chat.
There are several ways that you can keep up to date with events at the school
- read our monthly newsletter, distributed by email. It has information about upcoming events and notes on what’s been happening in the school’s programs, for example, the music classes and Kindergarten classes
- check the calendar that’s posted just inside the Pacific Ave. entrance – all important school dates are listed there
- watch for email notices about upcoming events
- email or phone the school and ask for information about your child’s progress or about general program information
- come to our monthly Board meetings to learn about financial and policy aspects of the school’s operation and to take part in discussions that can range from fundraising activities to property maintenance and emergency preparedness.
The teachers are always busy – what’s the best way of talking to one of them specifically about how my child is doing?
Send an email to the school either to the attention of our Coordinator or to the attention of any one of the teachers. You can ask for a reply by email or to set up a meeting. Communication between the parents and the teachers is important, and we will be happy to discuss your child’s activities with you at any time.
I’m happy I chose Children’s House, but I don’t really understand the difference between a daycare, a nursery school, and a Montessori school.
Daycares and nursery schools are both licensed by the provincial Child Care Branch and must meet high standards of care. Daycares are licensed to provide longer hours of childcare and they are not required to provide programming. Nursery schools are licensed for shorter hours because they offer a more structured form of early childhood education.
A Montessori nursery school bases its curriculum on the Montessori approach to education, which is built on independence, self-motivation, and respect. All of our teachers have Montessori training and all have professional credentials either as licensed teachers or as certified early childhood educators.
How does the Kindergarten program fit with the nursery program? Is it also licensed by Child Care Branch?
The Kindergarten Program falls under Manitoba Education; we follow the Manitoba curriculum and our program is reviewed regularly by the department.
In the Kindergarten Program, children are taught by certified teachers, and the children use Montessori materials and approaches to complete the provincial curriculum requirements.
My child is ready for Kindergarten and I don’t know whether to keep him at Children’s House for Kindergarten or put him in the public school that he’ll go to for Grade One. What should I be thinking about?
It is important to think about your child’s sense of confidence and accomplishment. At Children’s House, the Kindergarten children are leaders within the school –nursery school students look up to the Kindergarten class, and the Kindergarten children in turn develop strong mentoring skills as they help younger children with their activities. They also gain a lot of academic confidence as they build on their nursery years to achieve success in the Kindergarten program.
Parents have found some useful ways of resolving this question. One that works well for children with late-year birthdays is to enrol them in the Kindergarten program at Children’s House in the year that they turn five and then enrol them in the public school Kindergarten the following year.
Alternatively, some families have decided to put their children in both Kindergarten programs in the same year. This affords children an easier transition from Children’s House to the public school system and gives them more confidence in their new schools.
I see that sometimes Children’s House is referred to as St. Mary’s Montessori School. Is there a religious connection?
The reference to St. Mary’s is geographical rather than religious. When the school opened in 1967, it was located in St. Mary’s Parochial School on the corner of Hargrave St. and St. Mary’s Avenue. After fire destroyed that building, the school moved temporarily to St. Boniface before purchasing and moving into its current building.
In keeping with Montessori’s belief in the value of a diverse community, Children’s House is a strongly secular school. We teach children about various cultures, and we respect the many traditions that our families bring to the school.
My child has never been around other children very much, and I think he’s going to be exposed to a lot of germs and illnesses – what will the school do to make sure he doesn’t get sick?
The school can’t guarantee that your child won’t get sick. We can, however, take as many precautions as we can to minimize the risk. Children are taught good hygiene practices (for example, washing hands before snack time and after using the bathroom), and we alert parents whenever an illness makes its way into the school. When this happens, parents sometimes decide to keep their child out of school for a few days.
We also rely on parents to keep their children at home when they are sick, and if your child comes down with an illness during the day, we will call you to come and take your child home.
The school has a lunch program but only a few children are allowed into it – why?
There are a few reasons for the school limiting enrolment in the lunch program:
- the children that are allowed to stay for lunch are at the school for full days because they are enrolled half days in the Kindergarten program and half days in the nursery program
- the lunch program children are also five years old; because they are over four years old, we are licensed to provide extended hours programming for them
- by maintaining because we need to keep a student-teacher ratio of 10:1, if we expanded the lunch program by even one child, the cost to the school would double and fees for the lunch program would be prohibitive for some families.
I’ve read that Children’s House is a parent-run school – what does that mean?
It means that the school’s Board of Directors is composed of parents elected by the parent body at the spring general parents’ meeting. The Board is responsible for setting the broad financial and policy directions of the school and for supporting the staff as requested in the delivery of the school’s programs.
In this way, the school is directly accountable to the parents, and parents have many opportunities to learn about the school and participate in decision-making. By sitting on the Board, or by joining a Board committee, or simply coming to Board meetings to take part in discussions, parents can contribute to the well-being of the school.