Te ara o te aroha
–The way of love in the Garden Room–
At Little Sweethearts Montessori our focus is your child. Rather than teaching facts and lessons children aged 3-6 years can choose their own activities in an environment that is set up to make the most of their need for independence and freedom of choice. Our Montessori curriculum offers your child the ability to create, to dream and develop a life-long love of learning through practical life activities, exploring the senses, the natural world, language, mathematics, the arts, social & physical skills in an environment that they love.
“Children thrive as they grow in self-confidence, independence, self-regulation and awareness of the needs of those around them.”
Dr Maria Montessori
Activities of Everyday Living
Activities of Everyday Living are the most important areas of learning for your child. The aim of these activities is to help develop your child’s independence, co-ordination, self-confidence, sense of order and intellect. Using Practical Life materials helps a child develop self-discipline and their ability to concentrate through answering a child’s inner desire to do things for themselves. By working on activities that they see you do, such as a dressing frame that helps them to learn to zip zips or a scaled down version of a dustpan and brush, they delight in looking after themselves and their environment.
Living In Love
At Little Sweethearts Montessori your child will learn appropriate greetings and become aware of cultural differences. Your child will also begin to move quietly about the classroom, wait patiently, push in a chair and learn how important it is not to disturb their friends who are working. Emphasis is placed on the importance of working together and showing consideration for each other. Sharing is also a natural consequence as we follow the Montessori philosophy of providing only one set of each piece of Montessori equipment.
The Sensorial materials are at the heart of our Montessori Environment. These materials are the foundation for numeracy and have been carefully created to refine a child’s senses through concrete experiences which are a springboard for individual creativity and imagination.
The Natural World
To help your child explore theirs and the wider world, the Cultural Area of the classroom introduces Geography, Botany, History and the Sciences through globes, puzzle maps and artifacts from other countries. Special land and water forms open a child’s eyes to geographical features, and science materials provide opportunities for experiments with magnets, light and air. Classification cards are used for naming and matching or identifying anything from leaves to insects, broadening your child’s knowledge of the world around them.
The Outdoor Classroom
A range of age appropriate activities in the garden will help develop your child’s gross motor movements, and social skills are also developed as they take turns with equipment in the sandpit and around the garden. As an extension of the classroom, your child will have contact with nature through watering, planting, and looking at insects.
Your child will have many opportunities to gain a physical impression of size and quantity through censorial materials, counting rhymes and songs before they manipulate numbers working with the number rods and spindle box, through to addition, subtraction, and decimals.
Art and craft materials are freely available to enable your child to express themselves creatively. It is our policy not to display a child’s artwork to avoid competition or comparison between the children. Dr Montessori observed that competition was an ineffective tool to motivate children to learn. Children do this best when working at their own pace competing only against themselves.
Building up your child’s vocabulary is an essential part of language activities and a child’s language development is encouraged through picture cards, conversation, rhymes, books, and songs. Your child will then build up their knowledge of letter sounds phonetically using Sandpaper Letters. The reading program proceeds through three levels of pink, blue and green and their writing skills develop hand in hand with metal insets so that they learn through sight and sound.
Our Garden Room Guide
Your Child’s First Day
Before your child joins us at Little Sweethearts Montessori they will be invited to come along for a morning or afternoon introductory visit, usually lasting an hour. Please feel free to stay and settle your child, but we find that most children will engage quickly within the classroom with the help of the Directresses. With regards to welcome and goodbye times, the toilet and other classroom routines the Directresses will introduce these to your child and ensure that they feel secure and safe within the environment. We aim to work in close partnership with you to ensure that the transition is as happy as possible for both you and your child. If you have any concerns regarding your child settling into the program, please speak to us. Our Settling in Policy can be found in the Policy Handbook in the Parents Area.
When your child arrives at Little Sweethearts Montessori please encourage them to place their bag on a peg for the session. This is where they will keep their belongings. We will provide a heart-shaped name tag to be placed above a hook. You can help your child develop independence and responsibility by encouraging them to walk into school, choose a peg, hang up their own bag and remove and put on their own shoes.
Your Child’s Progress
At Little Sweethearts Montessori the Directress will follow your child’s development closely, direct them effectively within the class and work in partnership with you. The Directress will also complete observations, present activities and fill in records for your child. These are kept in your child’s Individual Profile Book, which records the activities your child is working with at Little Sweethearts Montessori. This forms the basis for the Directresses work with your child. These individual profile books are available to be viewed at any time, just ask one of the Directresses.
Each day offers your child new experiences and opportunities to learn and develop skills. At Little Sweethearts Montessori we feel it is important to maintain open communication about your child’s needs at school and at home so please feel free to discuss any concerns or questions regarding your child’s progress with us. If you would like to talk about your child on a more formal basis, a suitable appointment may be made. We hold Parent/Teacher interviews on a regular basis through the year.
We also use EDUCA, a secure web-based profile to share your child’s journey online and give you a chance to provide feedback on their development. You will be asked to give permission for your child’s information to be loaded, and only people you give permission to will be able to see their profile.
What Your Child Needs to Bring
Your child’s time at Little Sweethearts Montessori can be very busy and clothes do get dirty. Children are encouraged to toilet themselves so please do not send your child to school in dungarees or other clothes with difficult fastenings. A complete change of clothes must be provided in your child’s school bag, all clearly named. Please provide indoor and outdoor shoes, (please avoid laces or hard to do up buckles). Gumboots are a good choice for outdoors, slippers or soft shoes for indoor use and a sunhat and sunscreen in summer.
Snacks and Lunch
We provide a healthy morning tea which can be eaten at any time during the session. Your child will be shown how to wash their hands, prepare a snack and tidy up after they have eaten. Please provide a substantial lunch if they are spending the whole day with us. We encourage healthy eating with a sugar free and nut free policy. Please do not include sugary foods such as dairy food, chocolate, or biscuits in their snack box. We do support home baking. We have a Nut Free Policy because we often have children enrolled with us who have mild to severe peanut allergies, so please do not send any food containing nuts. Please notify us in writing if your child has any known allergies.
A fridge is provided in the class for perishable food and drinks that require refrigeration. Please clearly name any such items and place in the allocated container which will be transferred to the fridge at the beginning of the session. Filtered drinking water will always be provided but if you wish your child to bring along milk or another special drink then please let us know.
Food Served at the school
There will be times that children will be included in the preparation of food as a curriculum related activity, or food may be provided to share for special events. Children with known allergies will be suitably supervised, and we keep a record of all food served during the service’s hours of operation (other than that provided by parents for their own children). Please refer to our Nutrition Policy for more information.
How You Can Help Your Child
At Little Sweethearts Montessori the Directresses are thoroughly trained to use the apparatus, but please do not feel excluded. You are your child’s first and most important educator and no-one knows your child as well as you do. How your child responds to language and songs, their likes, and dislikes and how they play are all vital pieces of information that the Directress needs to know to help your child make the most of their learning experiences. To enable you to follow through with some activities at home, you are welcome to arrange a time to come along and observe your child’s session.
At Little Sweethearts Montessori your child will be given many opportunities to make their own choices. You can back this up in many ways at home by letting your child choose their own clothes or helping with simple household tasks. Working together to make the most of your child’s potential is essential and will also minimize frustration for both you and your child as they begin to practice skills, they are learning at school with you at home.
Children show the need for quiet time and a quiet area is provided for your child to sit and read. If your child requires a rest as part of Montessori program, children can rest on a mattress, in a quiet space or in our sleep room. This is to give each child their independence and freedom of choice on the length of their rest in the Montessori environment. It is important that we support your child’s established sleep routines so please inform the Directress of the routine you use at home and if they have a special blanket or cuddly. Please update us as your child’s needs change.
Your child’s birthday is a special celebration and if you would like to mark the occasion please let us know. At Little Sweethearts we will celebrate with a Montessori Birthday Walk for their fifth Birthday and promote a healthy treat to celebrate.
On occasion a child may take a piece of equipment home that belongs to the school, please don’t be alarmed if this happens. As some of the Montessori materials are expensive and difficult to replace, please return these items as soon as possible.
Please check our information board which is updated daily with school notices. Our Parent Area is where you will find the IPAD to sign in your child, Attendance Sheets to verify attendance, the Parent Diary, our latest ERO review, current self-review and all forms and policies. Each family has a named pocket for parent communication, newsletters, and bills, so please check this on a regular basis.
We are open to receive your child from 7.30 – 5.15 each day and operate during the school terms. we are closed on public holidays.
Little Sweethearts Montessori is licensed so it is possible to receive a Work and Income childcare subsidy, which is based on parents’ income. Application forms are available on request.
These are issued regularly and contain important information regarding school events and other notices. If you would like to contribute in any way please let us know.
During the school year the children will be taken on trips away from the school for a morning or afternoon. This is a great opportunity to widen your child’s horizon and for you to help out. Before embarking on the trip you will be given plenty of notice and we will rely on your participation as parents in order for adult/child ratios to be met. We require written consent for your child to attend such a trip, for full details please ask to read our Excursion Policy.
Session Times & Fees
Our morning and afternoon sessions run on a three hourly work cycle so it is important that your child is there to begin the session. To allow for car parking at the school please also keep to the start and finish times to ease congestion. Please refer to the Charges Schedule for Session Times and Fees.
Our fees are payable fortnightly in advance. The preferred method is via automatic payment. A monthly statement will be emailed to you or put in your child’s named pocket at school. Fees are calculated across 52 weeks of the year, with statutory holidays calculated into the fee for ease of regular payments and administration. If your child is booked on a day that falls on a statutory holiday, normal fees will be charged.
These are held on a regular basis throughout the school year and offer the perfect opportunity to share thoughts and ideas. Our aim is to support one another and work in partnership at Little Sweethearts Montessori with evenings discussing Montessori at home and in the classroom and learning about the materials through formal and more informal get-togethers. Love Parenting is a course which is run twice a year and information is available from the Office.
ECE Attestation Form
The 20 Hours ECE subsidy is available for three to five-year-old children who are enrolled and attending a licensed early childhood education service. The maximum ECE Subsidy that can be claimed for each child is 20 hours per week across all services that the child is enrolled in. On enrollment, for your child to receive up to 20 hours of the subsidy, an ECE Attestation Form must be completed and handed back to the office. It is very important that you advise us of any changes to your childcare arrangements.
If you have more than one child enrolled at LSM we offer a sibling discount as follows: 15% discount for the second sibling and 25% discount for the 3rd and subsequent siblings. The discount is applied after any WINZ or other entitlements and are applied to the youngest child and adjusted when the older sibling leaves for school.
To confirm the hours your child attends school and in case of an emergency, please ensure that you sign your child in and out on the IPAD every time they attend. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter as it is a safety issue as well as a requirement of the Ministry of Education.
Changes to Bookings and Details
If you would like to make a change to your child’s bookings, book a holiday or makeup session or let us know about other changes to your details, then please find the appropriate form in the Parent Area. Casual attendance is permitted at the discretion of management.
At Little Sweethearts Montessori we encourage children who attend to use the toilet. However, please speak to us regarding toilet training should your child need support in this area at school.
You will be asked to indicate the immunisation status of your child on the Enrollment Form. If there is an incident of an infectious disease which may infect a non-immunised child, parents of the non-immunised child will be informed and asked to collect their child as soon as possible. We will follow the guidelines of the Local Health Board when handling such an incident.
When a child is enrolled in Early Childhood Education, they are allocated a national student number. You will need to provide a copy of an official identity verification document (birth certificate or passport) so that we can confirm your child’s official name to register them in our system.
Collection of Children
If anyone who is not your child’s parent/guardian will be collecting your child from school, please let us know and write it on a Change of Details Form as we will not let your child leave the school premises without this notification. If you are unable to let the school know in writing please telephone us before your child is collected. Children under 16 years of age are not permitted to collect children or sign in and out on the IPAD.
If you are delayed to pick-up your child, please call and let us know. If your child is consistently picked up later than their booked time you will be charged a late pick up fee of $10 per ten minutes. Thank you for your co-operation.
Little Sweethearts Montessori is committed to the protection of children and the prevention of child abuse. The family’s primary role is seen as caring and protecting the child and we recognize that this should be valued and upheld. We ensure that all our staff have been safety checked and have been Police Vetted.
Please let us know if you have any custody arrangements or people who are not able to pick up your child. We will need to see a copy of the legal documents to hold on file along with identification
Accidents are dealt with quickly, efficiently and in a calm manner, and details of the accident and the action taken are recorded in the Incident Register and if it is not a serious accident, the child’s parents are informed when they collect the child. A staff member with a current first aid certificate will always be present.
You will be asked to give general permission on your enrollment form for the use of non-prescription medicines such as arnica cream and antiseptic liquid that are not ingested, but used for ‘first aid’ treatment or minor injuries and provided by the service.
If your child requires medicine to treat a specific symptom or condition while they are at school please inform the Directress who will provide a Medicine Sheet in order for you to record the details. We are only permitted to give medicine with your written permission so for children’s safety at school please do not leave any medicine in your child’s school bag but hand it to the Directress. Any medicine that we have permission to administer during school hours must be stored in our First Aid cabinet during the session.
Please become familiar with our Sick Child Policy. Any children who are not well are advised not to attend the school until they return to full health. If a child is suffering from an infectious disease they are not permitted to attend the school until they are fully recovered. If your child becomes ill while at school we will contact you in order for them to be collected.
Absence You are still required to pay normal fees when your child does not attend due to illness, holiday etc. If space allows, a make-up session may be requested to replace an absence due to illness. A Holiday Request form is available for parents to notify the school if their child will be away for one week or more due to holidays. If notified in advance, a discount of half fees applies if the child will be away on holiday at least one week but not more than two weeks. Absences of longer than two weeks will be judged on an individual basis.
ICT and Social Media
Little Sweethearts Montessori has a Facebook page to promote the Montessori philosophy in our community. Our intention is not to run a blog style record of the daily activity within our preschools, so you have our assurance that we will not be posting easily identifiable images or footage of your children through this site. It is our policy that permission must be granted before any photograph or image relating to a child or person at the service is posted. www.facebook.com/LSM.Tauranga If you take images of your child at LSM or an LSM event, we ask that you do not place these images on social media if children other than your own are visible. Please refer to our ICT and Social Media Policy for more information.
We encourage sun safe practices, particularly during the summer. Please provide a hat for your child, apply sunscreen before your child comes to school, and dress your child in clothing that covers the back and shoulders.
Please name all items that your child brings to school, as any unnamed items will be gathered into the lost property basket which we ask you to check on a regular basis. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity at the end of each year.
When you enroll your child you will receive a complimentary uniform gift of two t-shirts and one sun hat. Your child will also receive a gift of two t-shirts for every subsequent birthday while they remain enrolled. The hats are to remain at school clearly named. We request that your child wears their school uniform when attending Little Sweethearts Montessori. Additional t-shirts, hats and sweatshirts can be purchased.
Notice of Leaving
Four weeks notice in writing is required if your child is withdrawing from the school.
Love ❤ Laugh ❤ Grow ❤ Montessori