Starry Garden Montessori School was established to provide an affordable, rich, and solid Montessori educational program for children in Heber Valley. Young children are especially able to joyfully learn in a safe and happy environment where there are varied and interesting things to learn about their world. We help children learn to:
- keep their environment and learning orderly
- treat themselves and others with respect and courtesy
- be in charge of their own learning, with guidance
- develop a framework of knowledge to make learning comfortable and rewarding all their lives
Our directors, Russ and Sandra Olsen have Utah Teacher Licenses in Elementary Education and have been teachers for 38 years. Russ and Sandra have been trained as Montessori teachers in Seattle and Alaska. All our teachers are continuously training in Montessori education.
Through careful observation and deep understanding of the way children learn, Maria Montessori forever changed the world of children. Philosophies about child education today are greatly influenced and show the evidence of her research and wisdom. Project-based learning, furniture and learning materials made for each child’s developmental needs, and guided learning leading children to self-discovery, all show her loving hand.
“The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behavior towards him. We have to help the child to act, will, and think for himself. This is the art of serving the spirit, an art which can be practiced to perfection only when working among children.”
Glenn Doman founded the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential. He and his team studied children and each stage of their development. In order to have a complete picture, they traveled to over 100 different countries around the world and closely observed thousands of babies and young children, ages newborn to six years old, while carefully recording their stages of development. They discovered that strengthening one area of the brain strengthens all areas of the brain. They also observed happiness is essential to teach young children successfully.
"You can teach your tiny child absolutely anything that you can present to him in an honest, factual, and joyous way."
LOVE AND LOGIC
A Loving Balanced Approach
We provide a loving, balanced approach that is neither permissive nor punitive.
- We discipline children by gently guiding them to think about their choices of behavior and helping them see the logic of fair and honest choices.
- We focus on helping children develop personal responsibility, self-control and good decision making skills.
- Unlike some approaches, we don’t use complicated reward or punishment systems only focused on short-term compliance.
- Instead, we focus on nurturing long-term relationships and reinforcing good character.
CURRICULUM AND DEVELOPMENTAL RECORDS
We follow Montessori principles to help each child grow in all six areas of development: Visual, Auditory, Tactile, Mobility, Language and Manual Competence. Each child is taught phonics, reading, writing, and math skills every day, at their level of interest and development. We help every child build good character traits by studying great people in history who developed good character traits, then helped the world become a better place. We are always teaching kindness, grace, and independence. The children learn Practical life skills, Sensorial activities, Mathematics, Languages, and Culture Studies.
When goals are mastered, we have for the children, they are recorded on Montessori online software, so we have a complete record of each child’s progress. We also record their reading progress and math progress.
For our elementary students, we follow the Montessori elementary program. They conference with a teacher every week about their work. Elementary students do many project-based learning activities and record their research and learning in their own Nature Journal. Their journals become treasures because of the beautiful artwork they have learned to create, as well as the labels, side bars, and articles they have typed.
We use Lucy Calkins Writer’s Workshop and IEW Excellence in Writing to help students develop wonderfully detailed writing skills and writing voice.
Every math concept has a Montessori hands-on project for children to become proficient. We have children daily work on IXL math to reinforce each math concept. They will also be able to practice IXL at home.
We use National Reading Vocabulary, a phonetically grouped frequency word list for our Spelling program. The younger children build words from the books they are learning to read, with plastic or wooden letters. These tests may be practiced and passed at home, as well as school. We study great literature, in simplified format from the English learning company Little Fox, and have thoughtful discussions about what we read. Learning to think compassionately, logically and fairly is very important to our elementary program.
For extended writing skill, we use the IEW Institute for Excellence in Writing. This course will help children:
- Become confident and skilled in writing and enjoy sharing their own writing
- Participate in deep group discussions about their own and others’ writing
- Learn how writing will give them a deeper knowledge in science, history, English, Spanish, and every subject
- Be taught and inspired by special guest writers, field trips, and exceptionally interesting experiences
- Gain greater understanding with great quotes and works from positive historical role models
- Learn to write in expressive detail to encourage clear, organized thinking and reasoning for greater strength in important life choices
- Learn to love listening to and writing poetry, as well as lyrical and other writing
- Learn to use art and musical composition to enhance their own writing
- Be astounded to realize they love to write!!
"Using the four language arts—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—IEW methods have been proven to be effective for students of all ages and levels of ability, including those who are gifted, have special needs, or are English language learners." IEW Taught in a simple, friendly manner, these skills are not difficult or scary!
Becoming an excellent writer will help your child will learn how to think logically and clearly and to recognize unclear thinking. Good writers have the power of the heart speaking from well-researched truths and wisdoms of the soul.
Extended morning starts at 7:30 a.m., or whatever you have arranged.
All other students start at 8:45 TO 9:00 a.m.
At 8:45, we have our early morning recess. It gives the children a chance to start the day with play and to socialize with friends and teachers. This time is important to help the child orient themselves with the group and feel safe and happy at school.
We are beginning our classes right on time, at 9:15 and we want every child to get the full banquet.
CUBBIES AND CLOTHES
Each child will have their own fabric cubby box, with their name on the front. Cubbies are only for school supplies and extra clothes. We found that putting lunches and water bottles in cubbies soils them and breaks the handles and structure of the cubby.
Cubbies will hold a change of clothes, their jackets and coats. Lunches for the 3-year-olds will be put in the refrigerator on the stage. Lunches for ages 4 and older will be put in cubbies on the boot shelf near the front door.
Lost hats will be kept in a cubby on the shelf closest to the front door. Lost gloves and socks will be kept in another cubby in the boot shelf by the door. Lost coats will be in a bin under the piano.
Please provide a change of clothing for your child, including underwear. They also need separate ziplock bags, each, of 4 pairs of socks and 4 pairs of underwear. During the cold days of winter, please provide 4 pairs of gloves. Place them in a zip lock labeled bag. Change of clothing in one bag, socks in a different bag, gloves in even another bag. Please put one pair of underwear in the change of clothing bag and have another bag of just 4 pairs of underwear. Please put your child’s name on each of the four bags.
If the clothes are soiled, we will put them in a zip lock bag for you to take home and wash. The state does not allow us to rinse soiled clothing. Please empty the cubbies every day, except extra clothing and art supplies they use every day.
Please provide rain boots, for wet weather, to stay at the school. They will be kept in the rain boot cubby.
You may choose to provide a rain suit that will hang above the rain boots. They can be purchased on Amazon for about $40. They work very well to keep the child’s clothes clean. They make a good windbreak in cool weather. They are loose enough that a sweater or light jacket can be worn underneath, or a jacket can be worn over. The rain suits are usually one-piece covering from head to ankle. However, it is fine to use more conventional cool weather wear for your child.
During very cold weather, snowsuits will be hung with the rain suits, but need to be taken home every day. Snow boots also need to be taken home every day.
Children should come to school dressed in clothing that is appropriate for a variety of activities, including outdoor play, activities performed on the floor, painting, working with clay, glue, and other art materials that might soil clothing. Please make sure that clothing is appropriate for the season. If a skirt is worn, shorts should be worn underneath it.
To prevent loss of personal items, such as expensive jewelry and toys, please avoid bringing them to school. Outdoor toys may be used during recess, but sharing toys can be a risk.
The first and last month of school are prorated, if they are not a full month. Other months are the full monthly payment. Payments are due on the 1st of the month. Payments are late after the 5th of the month. A $25 late fee will be charged if the payment is not given by the 5th of the month. Payments do not change if your child misses part of the month.
There are five options for tuition payments:
ACH- though my Quickbooks invoice
Check- delivered to the school
Exact Cash- delivered to the school
Venmo only to Russ at @Russell-Olsen-2
Credit Card- through my Quickbooks invoice: Parents will be charged a 3.6% fee, added to your invoice with this method.
Each child must have a completed registration form in our online records. They also need to have immunization records or an exemption form on file.
Concerning masks: To be a licensed child care facility, we must follow all rules of the state and county. Right now, it seems the state is allowing each family to decide if their child and parents will wear masks or not at school. If this changes, we will let you know.
If a child is injured or ill, we will fill out an incident report and give a copy to the parents to sign. Minor injuries will have a simple form.
If a child has symptoms that indicate that he or she has a contagious illness or disease, the child should not attend Starry Garden Montessori that day. If symptoms are present when the child is in attendance, Starry Garden Montessori will notify parents or a legal guardian to take the child home immediately. These symptoms may include the following:
· A child is too ill to participate in regular school activities.
· A child has a fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (including the period of 24 hours after the onset of the fever).
· A child is vomiting or has diarrhea at school or has had these symptoms within 24 hours.
· A child shows signs of a rash. (Please provide a doctor’s note if your physician says the rash is not contagious.)
· A child is diagnosed or shows signs of pink eye or strep throat. A child may return to school 24 hours after beginning antibiotic therapy.
· A child exhibits respiratory issues such as breathing hard or fast, wheezing, the need for breathing treatments more frequently than 3 times per day, or any combination of these symptoms.
· A child has an unclear mucous discharge from nose or eyes.
If a child needs to take a prescribed medicine while at SGMS, a parent or legal guardian must sign a release to indicate that SGMS has permission to dispense the prescription medication. The medicine will be dispensed to the child by an adult employee of SGMS as long as the medicine is in its original prescription container. (Please make sure to bring a dosage cup or measuring spoon.) For each child receiving medications at SGMS, parents or guardians must complete a medication release that contains the following:
(a) the name of the medication;
(b) the dosage
(c) the route of administration
(d) the times and dates to be administered
(e) the illness or condition being treated
(f) the parent or guardian signature
Medication records will be maintained for six weeks and include the following:
(a) the times, dates, and dosages of the medications given
(b) the signature or initials of the adult employee who administered the medication
(c) documentation of any errors in administration or adverse reactions.
Parents must check in all medication at the front desk, including prescription and nonprescription medication. Creams, cough drops, cough medicine, and asthma treatments are examples of medications that must be checked in at the front desk to be secured from children. All oral over-the-counter and all prescription medications must be in the original or pharmacy container, have the original label, include the child’s name, have child-proof caps, and have written instructions for administration provided by the parents or guardians. Medication stored in refrigerators must have a covered container with a tight fitting lid. The director will return unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications to the parents or guardians. The director will destroy out-of-date medications or return the medications to the parent or guardian.
We reserve the right to refuse to administer medications we feel unqualified to administer.
LUNCH AND SNACKS
Please provide your child’s lunch and two snacks for a full day. We encourage each child to eat their lunch. We teach the children to keep any leftover food in their lunch box to eat later, and so parents can see what their child didn’t eat. Remember, no lunch boxes can go in personal cubbies.
Each child needs to bring a clean water bottle every day. Labeled water bottles are kept in water bottle cubbies on the floor by the front door for age 5 and older children. Water bottles for younger children are kept in a cubby on the stage. We remind children to drink water often. On hot days, we have everyone get their water bottles and drink when they are going to recess and coming in from recess. Remember, no water bottles can go in personal cubbies.
We love to help celebrate birthdays and sing, “Happy Birthday to You”. However, because of different possible allergies, we ask parents, if you wish, to help us celebrate by having your child choose a book to give to the school or a fruit treat. We will read the story aloud and thank the birthday child for the gift to the school. Invitations to parties can be placed in the invited child’s cubby.
PARENT VISITS AND VOLUNTEERING
Parents are always welcome to visit or stay with their child to observe. If parents wish to volunteer, they may make arrangements with the Directors, Sandra and Russ. Parents are welcome to teach a short lesson about something they would like to share. The volunteer parent will be assisted by a teacher as they are teaching. We love our volunteers, as they add a rich dimension and teaching in small groups. We would very much appreciate having some of our volunteers on a weekly schedule, such as half a day every Tuesday morning.
CHECK-IN AND CHECK-OUT PROCEDURES
The check in and check out list will always be on the side table of the front desk. This helps us keep the children safe. Please sign your initials on the checkmark by your child’s name in the left column. Please sign your initials on the last checkmark by your child’s name. The checkmarks show the times your child is enrolled.
Parents should make drop-off a brief, routine procedure. (Please keep in mind that, if parents make drop-off a prolonged, sad event, it can be more difficult for their child.) Please remember to always use the key pad to lock the door after you leave. We always comfort and help engage a child in work, if needed. The number for the keypad lock will be given to parents the first day of school. Please don’t share it.
We practice Love and Logic, mentioned above. Your child will always be treated with respect and courtesy. If your child decides to not obey, after a teacher has kindly directed them towards better choices, they may be asked to sit on a “Think Time” chair near their group so they don’t miss the lesson. Each child is kindly taught that they make the decision when they are ready to leave the “Think Time” chair and join their friends. This gives responsibility for improving their behavior to the child. It helps them gain confidence to manage their own behavior.
POLICIES FOR GERM CONTROL
Personal hygiene items, such as combs, hair accessories, and toothbrushes may not be shared among children. Indoor activity equipment and materials will be cleaned and sanitized daily or more often as necessary. Hand washing will be stressed as a measure to help prevent the spread of germs. In the evening, the air is sanitized, for three hours, with a safe, professional air purifier.
The following hand washing policies will apply school-wide:
(a) All individuals will be taught to wash and scrub their hands for 20 seconds with liquid soap and warm, running water.
(b) The use of hand sanitizers will not replace hand washing, except during offsite activities as needed.
(c) Teachers will teach children proper hand washing techniques and oversee hand washing whenever possible.
(d) Teachers and children will wash their hands after using the toilet, before eating, upon returning from outdoor playtime, after wiping noses, after handling animals, and before and after food preparation.
(e) Only single-use towels from a covered dispenser may be used to dry hands.
You may want to practice our hand washing song with your child at home. We sing it twice, as we wash our hands created by a mom/nurse:
(Sung to the tune of Brother John)
Top and bottom, top and bottom, (wash top and palm of hands)
In between, In between, (wash between fingers)
Scratchy, scratchy, scratchy, (Clean nails on palm of other hand)
Rub your hands together
Rinse them well, now their clean.
CONCERNS AND CONFERENCES
Please feel free to come to the directors, Russ and Sandra, if you have any concerns about your child. We will always set up a conference, at your request or a teacher’s request. Frequent reports are available whenever a parent wants to know what their child has learned. We also love to share things we have observed about your child’s progress often, when you are there to drop them off or pick them up.
CHILD SAFETY All our teachers and directors have current fingerprinting background checks. Our full time teachers have passed Infant-Child CPR Certification. We follow the strict Boy Scouts of America Youth Protection policies and training.
HOLIDAYS AND TEACHER INSERVICE DAYS
We follow Wasatch County School District for school days, holidays and teacher in-service days. A Calendar is provided, for this school year, below.
IN THE EVENT OF ANOTHER SHUTDOWN
Hopefully, we will have a full school year with you or your child. If another Covid-19 Shutdown happens, we are prepared to go online. We will be a resource for you and your child. Some of their work can be continued from your home. We will have frequent contact with each family and will continue to track your children’s progress.
Part of our reading program is using Learning Dynamics books. The full set of over 50 books is only about $100. If you have the set, your child can read to you at home the same book passed off at school. We encourage parents of children 4 years old to 6 years old to buy this set. It is not required. However, in case of another shutdown, it would be wonderful for your child to continue progressing in reading. It is the best series for teaching reading we have found because the texts teach just a few new concepts as they get progressively more challenging.
SUPPLIES FOR STUDENTS
Our Nature Journals are very special. The children work very hard on them. Often, their work is breathtaking. If this is your child’s first year in Starry Garden and they are age 4 or older, I will order them a nature journal. It is a hardbound, high quality, 80-page sketch book. You can Venmo me the cost. We are teaching your child to be a confident artist. We will keep the Hardbound Spiral Sketchbooks on a shelf.
We also have parents pay us to buy a bucket of non-hardening clay in many colors. That way, we can have the fun of clay without worrying about spreading germs. The Clay Bucket will be labeled with your child’s name.
For the clay and the sketchbook, the cost is $11.00 each for a total of $22. You can Venmo that to me at @Sandra-Olsen-12
SUPPLIES LIST PARENTS BUY
Large Box of Crayons
Round-tipped Child Scissors
Separate Pencil Boxes to hold supplies, nothing in plastic or cardboard
Elmer’s Glue in a pencil box
Colored Fat Markers
Thank you for trusting us with your precious child. We know your child is center to your love and commitment in your life. We take our stewardship, as educators, most seriously. We will do all we possibly can for their safety, education, and joy at school.
Starry Garden Montessori School Calendar 2021-2022
August 24 First Day of School
September 6 Labor Day
October 11 - 15 Fall Break
October 18 Professional Development Day
November 24-26 Thanksgiving Vacation
Dec 20 – 31 Christmas & New Year Vacation
January 3-4 Professional Development Days
January 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February 21 Washington and Lincoln Day
March 14 -18 Spring Break
March 21 – 22 Professional Development Days
April 15 and 18 Easter Break
May 27 Half Day Last Day of School