Welcome to Guardian Angel Montessori. We hope that you will work with us to make your child’s stay here as comfortable, enjoyable and as much fun as possible! Play is the work of the child. We use a combination of Montessori teaching methods (modelling/ self-correcting equipment) with a play-based approach in order to offer your child a variety of rich opportunities to enhance their skills for learning. Learning to play with others, share, problem solve, and negotiate are key social skills that are required to play and enhance your child’s early social skills.
Guardian Angels offers a small informal setting where each child is treated uniquely, and their right to learn is valued through play. Children are in school long enough, we focus on them now, as fun 3 and 4 year olds rather than emphasising what they may become. “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” – Stacia Tauscher.
We offer a creative Montessori education and have the child’s interests and needs as our upmost priority. We wish to meet the educational needs of the pre-school child in the areas of:
Children’s physical, social, cognitive and emotional needs through the Montessori Method using a varied and balance curriculum using emerging interests and age appropriate plans.
Parents’/carers’ needs in the community are met with quality and accessible Montessori sessions providing for ECCE age children and children around those ages also.
All our staff at Guardian Angel are qualified in Montessori with first aid and with relevant experience.
Louise Furlong: Manager/ Montessori teacher qualified in Montessori education, Bachelors Level 8 in Childcare studies, Children First, First Aid Responder, Hanen and Inclusion coordinator for the service.
Emily Reynolds: Emily has a Level 6 in Childcare studies, diploma in Special Needs, First Aid Responder, Hanen and Children First.
Sarah Carr: Sarah has a level 6 in Childcare Studies, First Aid and Childrens First.
Phil Rice: Phil is a cover worker who fills in on busy days or when a member of staff is sick.
You can request to see the staff folder of all our academic achievements as well as continual professional development meetings throughout the year, which is located in the hall.
At Guardian Angel, we operate on an informal open door policy. If you wish to inquire about your child’s behavior or development, do not hesitate to ask a teacher/key worker.
WHO WE ARE
Guardian Angel Montessori caters for children between the ages of 2.8 years–5.5 years. We have created a warm, friendly and happy child orientated environment for your child to learn and grow in. Situated in a quiet estate off the Sligo Rd, the purpose built class room allows your child the freedom and safety to learn in a stimulating Montessori environment. We have an outdoor area where we are continually striving to change to suit the child’s needs and ensure it is seen as an extension of the classroom area.
We are regulated by Tulsa and DES and can accommodate 19 children : 2 teachers in the Montessori class. We have inspections to ensure that the quality of the service is kept at the excellent level we strive to achieve. We engage with St Nicholas Montessori Ireland to ensure we are providing a quality Montessori service. In 2016 we completed our Healthy Ireland Smart Start Programme to become a recognised Healthy Ireland Preschool which we include in the curriculum throughout the year.
Morning Montessori session: 9.00am-12.00pm
Afternoon Montessori session 12.30pm- 3.30pm
Montessori does not open until 9am/12.30pm Montessori finishes at 12/3.30 and you are expected to be there to collect your child on time.
If you will be late a phone call or text would be appreciated so we can reassure your child. If you are late we will call the parents mobile numbers as provided on your child’s report card, if there is no answer the nominated emergency contact person will be called. A late fee of €5 per 10 minutes will be requested if you are late more than once.
Please pack your child with an adequate healthy lunch, please be aware of portion sizes as it is only to be considered a snack. We have a strict no junk food, sweets, popcorn, biscuits, cakes or fizzy drinks policy, with the exception of a party. Food that is deemed undesirable in the lunchbox will be returned home. Some days we will include food with our theme and provide food that may be new and interesting i.e making fruit kebab’s, smoothies etc Please let us know of any allergies your child may have. Please pack your child’s lunch and drink into one box with their name on it. No homebaked goods for birthdays etc due to allergies in the service.
A fee of €60 is required when booking your child into the school which is refundable in the October your child starts. The school will be closed for all bank holidays. The Montessori school is open for 183 days to accommodate the ECCE year, a calendar of our open days is available if you have not received it. We only accommodate ECCE age children and a fee option is not available. If your child is going to be absent, please call or text the school to let us know.
The ECCE is a scheme designed to give children access to a free Pre-School Year of appropriate program-based activities in the 2 years before they start primary school. Participation in a pre-school program provides children with their first formal experience of early learning, the starting-point of their educational and social development outside the home. Children who avail of pre-school are more likely to be ready for school and a formal learning and social environment.
ECCE is a free preschool year provided for children who are born between the eligible ages of the start year. From September 2020, children who are 2.8 months before September of that year are entitled to avail of their ECCE class
ECCE children pay a refundable €60 deposit before the child starts with the service and is refunded when the first ECCE payment has been processed. This is due to the high demand of places wanted. Any additional extra costs such as outings, parties etc are not mandatory and the parent does not have to pay but please note your child will not be able to attend outings etc although the service will still be open as required in the ECCE policies. A calendar for ECCE is provided at the start of the year outlining the days ECCE provides.
The relevant authorities will be notified immediately if any suspected outbreak of communicable disease in the service. Health authority guidelines indicate that not all illness require an exclusion period. Many illnesses are infectious before full diagnosis can be made. Guardian Angel Montessori cannot be held responsible for your child becoming ill through lack of diagnosis. These illnesses require your child to be excluded from service until contagious period has passed-
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Stomach Bug/ vomiting within 24 hours
- Diarrhoea- not to attend while your child has diarrhoea
- Whopping cough
- Glandular fever
- In contact with anyone who has the Covid-19 virus within the last 2 weeks
- Hand, foot and mouth
- Slapped cheek- after the rash appears it is no longer contagious
- Headlice- children must be treated before returning to the service
- Cryptosporidium- 48 hours free from vomiting and diarrhoea
- Thread worms
- Chicken pox with oozing spots- once scabbed over they can re-join.
- Due to covid we cannot administer anti-febrile medication and you will be asked to collect your child immediately if they have a temperature.
- Please ensure that you sign the parent’s policy on medicine administration. We will fill out a medicine administration diary where another member of staff will be present as it is administered, and the parent must also sign off on collection of the child. If your child needs regular medication please disclose it on their report card. Any medication brought into the service must be labelled with your child’s name, name of medication, dose needed and at what time. Medication will be stored away from children and sent home daily with your child. A parent or caregiver must sign a medication book every time it is administered in Montessori.
Staff are asked not to attend Montessori while they have any contagious diseases or been in contact with anyone who has the covid-19 and return to work only when the contagious period has passed.
In the event of your child becoming ill with a pain, vomiting/ diarrhea etc , the parent will be notified and your child should be collected immediately. If an emergency arises we will also call your doctor/ ambulance.
If your child is unnecessarily contrary or overly tired suggesting that they are not well enough to be in the service you will be contacted to collect them.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE OUTBREAK
At Guardian Angel it is our aim to minimise the spread of infection for staff and children through the implementation of controls which reduce the transmission and spread of germs. We aim to promote and maintain the health of children and staff through the control of infectious illnesses.
Aims- We aim to control infection by providing on- going infection control training for staff (handwashing, food hygiene, cleaning). Exclusion guidelines as recommended by the Preschool Environmental Health Officer apply in the case of all suspected infectious conditions. Staff will document and record any contagious illnesses within the service. Staff will ensure they continually disinfect items, toys and surfaces to help prevent the infection of Covid 19 within the service and we will be vigilant in monitoring symptoms should your child present any relating to Covid-19.
Parents will be informed should staff, children or visitors to the service report the presence of any contagious condition to the service.
Guardian Angels must be made aware of any allergies your child has. We will do our best to ensure your child does not come in contact with their allergen. You will be asked to sign an allergy form which states what must be done in the event your child has a reaction. If your child requires any medicine such as an epi-pen or antihistamine it must be left in the service with your child’s name on it and a long shelf life. All staff will be made aware of allergies and reminders will be left on the fridge of the children with allergies. We ask that parents do not send in any baked goods under the allergens act implemented by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland in December 2014 which includes childcare settings.
All new admissions are dealt with on an individual basis to ensure that the unique needs of each child and their parents/carers can be met. Every effort is made to admit children with specific needs providing that the individual children’s needs can be met within the service. To help your child make a smooth transition from home to preschool we assign a key worker to each child. The key worker is responsible for your child and communicating between you and other staff members. A key worker keeps records through observations of the child’s developmental, social and physical progress. Try to speak to your child’s key worker regularly either through a planned meeting or impromptu chat at the door. We will always be happy to help or give advice but home time may not be the best time to do so as it can be very busy.
We will make every effort to ensure that the service is accessible to all children irrespective of their or their parents’ gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, sexual orientation, age, ability, disability or social circumstances. Children who are learning English as a second language are welcome and through the Montessori method we will help them to integrate into the class and become more familiar with hearing and speaking English. We welcome new cultures and encourage parents to bring part of their culture into school so your child may feel at home for example books in your native language, photos etc. A list of words in the language you speak would benefit us when we are helping your child to integrate. If your child is seeing any additional therapies such as speech therapy, occupational therapy or a social worker, please let us know.
Guardian Angel refuse the right of admission to the facility if the environment does not meet the best needs of the child.
CHILDREN PROTECTIN POLICY STATEMENT
It is the policy of Guardian Angel Montessori to safeguard the welfare of all children by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm. We do this by giving parents and workers information on what we do and what you expect from us, ensuring that our staff are carefully selected and letting parents and children know how to voice their concerns if there is anything they are not happy with. If we feel a child has been exposed to a physical/ emotional danger or acts of a sexual nature we will make a referral to the duty social worker. We have a duty to care to all children and will safeguard them while in the care of Guardian Angel Montessori with all staff taking the role of mandated persons.
RELEASING YOUR CHILD
Guardian Angels policy on releasing a child is to his or her parents or someone else the parents designate. If someone other than the parent is to pick the child up, please notify the school ahead of time. A verbal notice or text is acceptable on that day if this person is on the child’s enrollment form as a nominated emergency contact number.
Please inform your emergency contacts that if we do not know them and the child is too young to recognize them that we will ask for identification. This is simply a procedure taken for the child’s protection and not meant to be offensive towards anyone.
PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW IN THE EVENT OF A CHILD NOT BEING COLLECTED
In the event of a child not being collected at his/her usual time, the child will be kept at the school and phone calls will be made to the child’s parents / carers and / or the relatives / friends listed on the enrolment form. A late fee applies when a child is late being collected starting from €5 for 10 minutes. The hours of close are 12pm and 3.30pm sharp.
BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT POLICY
We aim to work with the children to enable them to develop self-discipline and self-esteem in an environment of mutual respect and encouragement. Rules governing the conduct of the school and the behaviour of the children will be discussed and agreed within the school and explained to all new-comers, both children and adults.
All adults in the school will ensure that the rules are applied consistently, so that children have the security of knowing what to expect and can build up useful habits of behaviour.
- Our positive behaviour policy ensures that it is age appropriate and developmentally appropriate and supporting the child is his or her behaviour. The behaviour management procedures match with the practices within the service provided the policy is based on current best practise. For example, correcting the behaviour not the child.
We shift our focus away from dealing with behaviour as a problem towards supporting children’s social and emotional development, including offering children interpersonal skill and mediation strategies we can really influence the child’s confidence and sense of self.
We encourage children to make decisions and exchange viewpoints with them. By allowing the child the opportunity to resolve their own feelings may help the child to understand that others have different thoughts, feelings and perspectives than their own.
The Montessori method focuses on developing the “whole” child, meaning the child’s needs are met, socially, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and morally. Allowing children the opportunity to pursue their own ideas in play will inevitably encounter obstacles, i.e. conflict. Conflict situations are opportunities for children to develop social problem solving skills and helping their cognitive development. We must enable the child to resolve their own conflicts rather than punish them for immature social skills.
By using observations and encouraging the child to develop their social skills we can help them to be aware of other children’s feelings and help their problem solving when conflict arises. Your child’s key worker will assess the situation through observation and talking to your child as an equal.
Using High Scopes 6 steps for resolving conflict we hope to help the children:
Parents must work in partnership with the service to address any issues regarding their child such as disruptive behaviour between children and staff, developmental problems, conflict issues. We would hope that working closely together, & with co-operation between staff & parents, that all problems can be resolved. Mayo County Childcare Committee along with other governing bodies such as Early intervention and Western Care may be asked for assistance with regarding a referral if it is deemed your child may need additional help.
THE MONTESSORI METHOD
The Montessori Method of education is a unique method which places emphasis in educating the whole child, covering all aspects of their development- intellectual, social, physical, emotional and spiritual.
Our nurturing environment ensures that each child
- Develops at his/her own pace
- Reaches his/her full potential
- Receives individual attention, love and security
- Is able to flourish through self discipline and self discovery
- Experiences a happy, calm, safe environment where learning is fun
The most significant differences between Montessori and mainstream education are the concepts of individuality and freedom, the prepared environment and the role of the teacher
- One to One individualized teaching
- A non-competitive environment
- Early detection of learning difficulties and gifted children
- Montessori children gain a head start in Reading, Writing and Mathematics
- Montessori children continue to show positive social and behaviour development in all areas
- Children achieve self-discipline, independence, confidence and virtues of patience
- Montessori children are awakened spiritually through the love and care of nature
- Children learn to respect everyone and everything around them and gain a holistic perspective of the world they live in
- The Montessori environment encourages order, responsibility and kindles in them the spirit for life- long learning
Montessori children: 2 pictures for your child’s coat hook and family wall,(a headshot for the coat hook and a family photo), change of clothes (for inevitable accidents!) to be placed in a zip lock bag which will be kept in the service for the term. Any clothes that are sent home wet are to be replaced so there is always a change of clothes here. Every piece of clothing & painting clothes (t-shirt or apron) must also have your child’s name on it. Sun cream is needed for sunny days which can be left in the school if you wish, but children must arrive with cream applied on sunny days. Dress appropriately for the weather as we try to get outside every day. Wellies and wet gear are needed for outside and to be left in the school. Please note if your child’s shoe size increases throughout the year their wellies will need to be replaced also. When wet gear is sent home please wash at 30c with no fabric softener and air dry. Lunches need to be placed into a bag/box that contains the drink and food with the child’s name on both as they will be stored in the fridge.
All belongings must be labelled as we cannot be held responsible for any items that go missing.
TOILET TRAINING POLICY
Parents must provide a spare change of clothes for any accidents (see requirements policy). The potty training child will be brought to the toilet at regular intervals. Good hygiene practices are always followed at the school and the children are shown how to use the toilet and how to wash their hands each time they use the toilet. ‘Accidents’ will be dealt with calmly, sympathetically and in a way which does not make the child feel they have done anything wrong. A child who is not fully potty trained will require pull ups. Please do not hesitate to ask for advice or support on potty training your child. We have used methods such as sticker charts and timed visuals to help with great success in the past with other children.
We believe every child develops at their own pace and may not be potty trained when they come to the school. We use toilet times and sticker charts to encourage toilet times. Children are never made feel embarrassed if they have an accident. They are changed quickly with the spare clothes the parents have left here for them. Staff wear gloves and if needed a disposable apron. The pull up is disposed of in a plastic bag into the wheelie bin outside (or underwear is placed in a bag and put in their school bag),never into the classroom bin. The staff and child’s hands are washed together to encourage personal hygiene. We will work together with the parent to help them potty train their child with tips and a solid routine to help them become more independent.
INJURIES & INCIDENTS
Any injuries that may occur on the school premises shall be dealt with immediately and calmly, if the accident requires further attention we will call you to pick up your child. All accidents are filled out in our accident report book which must be signed when you pick up your child, your child’s safety is our priority and will always ensure they are in a safe and protected environment. In the event further medical treatment is needed such an ambulance they will also be called to help treat your child.
Incidents between other children or members of staff will be recorded and you will be informed of them, you will be asked to sign the incident book and it will be kept in confidentiality. We will work with the parents to help resolve any issues that may occur.
PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT & CURRICULUM PLANNING
The best laid out lessons are sometimes the spontaneous ones that stem from the interest of the child but also if a parent/ grandparent etc participates in class. It gives the child a great sense of belonging and community which are key themes in the curriculum framework that we follow- Aistear. If you feel you have any resources or talents that could lead your child and their class to new learning and opportunities please volunteer to help. If you wish, you can give us the information and we can devise a lesson plan but all help and participation is greatly appreciated by staff and children alike. For example, if your profession is something you could share i.e., garda, dentist, builder etc or perhaps you have a skill that would interest the children. Using your child’s emerging interests and observations from your key worker, we hope to plan a curriculum that will keep the children fascinated, interested and challenged.
At Guardian Angel Montessori our educational ethos is based on the emergent curriculum, a modern educational philosophy that focuses on creating meaningful learning experiences, through being responsive to the children’s needs and interests. It is a flexible, style of education that is child-led and driven by observation and reflections of the teachers.
We also do regular learning records/observations of your child which will be sent home to share. These will document your child’s learning throughout the year.
AISTEAR & SIOLTA
Following the new curriculum framework in Ireland for all children from the ages of 0-6 we incorporate Aistear into our curriculum planning. Aistear is the Irish word for ‘journey’ and it will help ensure that your child will be given the best opportunity to develop as a confident and competent learner. Aistear uses 4 themes that connect and overlap with each other to outline children’s learning and development:
- Well-being Identity and Belonging
- Communication 4. Exploring and Thinking
Síolta is the Irish word for ‘seeds’. It is the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education in Ireland. It is a quality assurance process which addresses all aspects of practice in our centre. Síolta promotes continuous quality improvement and planning. It supports us in providing quality early education to the children in our care.
Using Síolta helps us to recognize elements of our work that are successful, as well as identifying areas which need attention and improvement. There are 16 standards of quality that we must meet.
You will see these linked back in our scrapbook where you will find more information on Aistear.
Your child will be assigned a key worker and this key worker will be in charge of your child’s learning story once a term. These will be printed and sent home in your child’s scrapbook. We like to try and focus on the positive, so the child has something to be proud of and discuss with you at home. A photo is usually included. You will be asked to sign the observation that you have read the observation and any comments you may have. This is a record of your child’s learning throughout the year and a lovely keepsake of their time at Guardian Angel Montessori.