Guiding Principles

All participants involved in the school – students, teachers and other staff members, parents or guardians (hereafter “school members”) – are included in this Code of Conduct whether they are on school property, on school buses or at school-authorized events or community events representing the Montessori Country School.

All members of the school community are always to be treated with respect and dignity .

Responsible citizenship involves appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community. Active and engaged citizens are aware of their rights, but more importantly, they accept responsibility for protecting their rights and the rights of others.

Members of the school community are expected to use non-violent means to resolve conflict. Physically aggressive behaviour is not a responsible way to interact with others

Members of the school community may not possess, use or threaten to use any object to injure another person or endanger their own safety or that of others.

Insults, disrespect, abusive language, swearing and other hurtful acts disrupt learning and teaching in a school community. Members of the school community have a responsibility to maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be addressed in a manner characterized by respect and civility.

Grace and Courtesy

At the Montessori Country School, we are committed to developing the whole child, intellectually, spiritually, physically and socially. It is this last area, social development, that we need a stronger focus to strengthen sensitive, respectful attitudes.

Let all school members, including staff, students and parents/guardians endeavor to reinforce the following areas in the children’s social interactions with others, through role-modeling of correct behaviour and by practicing the following:

  1. Greeting others, such as “Good morning”
  2. Saying “Thank you” when people do things for them
  3. Establishing eye contact when speaking
  4. Responding when spoken to, when name is called and complying with the request
  5. Holding the doors for others
  6. Making way in the halls for younger children and adults
  7. Waiting for turn in line
  8. Walking on the right in halls and quietly moving from one class to another
  9. Entering another classroom quietly when making a request of the teacher
  10. Respecting the environment and other people’s spaces
  11. Working to reach out and be inclusive of others

The Montessori Country School promotes responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment.

All students, parents/guardians, teachers and staff have the right to be safe, and feel safe in their school community. With this right comes the responsibility to be law-abiding citizens and to be accountable for actions that put at risk the safety of others or oneself.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Principal and Vice Principals take a leadership role in the daily operation of the school. The Principal and Vice Principals provide this leadership by:

  • Demonstrating care and commitment to academic excellence and a safe teaching and learning environment;
  • Reviewing these policies regularly with students, staff, parents or guardians, volunteers;
  • Holding everyone accountable for their behaviour and actions;
  • Establishing a process that clearly communicates the Code of Conduct to all members of the school community in a manner that ensures their commitment and support; providing opportunities for all staff to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to develop and maintain academic excellence and safe learning and teaching environments.

Teachers and school staff, under the leadership of the Principal and Vice Principals, maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour.

As role models, staff upholds these high standards when they:

  • Implement the Code of Conduct;
  • Nurture and challenge students to do their best and develop their self-worth;
  • Communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
  • Maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students;
  • Demonstrate respect for all students, staff and parents;
  • Prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship.

Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when a student:

  • Comes to school appropriately dressed, prepared, on time and ready to learn;
  • Shows respect for themselves, for others and for those in authority;
  • Refrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others;
  • Follows the established rules and takes responsibility for his own actions.

Parents/Guardians play an important role in the education of their children and have a responsibility to support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students.

Parents/Guardians fulfill this responsibility when they:

  • Act as a role model for their children;
  • Guide and support the whole child;
  • Show an active interest in their child’s school work and progress;
  • Communicate regularly with the school, particularly if there are any concerns;
  • Help their child be neat, appropriately dressed and prepared for school, following uniform policy for Casa through Middle School students;
  • Ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time;
  • Promptly report to the school their child’s absence or late arrival;
  • Become familiar with the Code of Conduct and school rules;
  • Encourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour;
  • Assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues;
  • Advise the school immediately in writing of any changes to contact information, including address, email address, phone contact, emergency contacts, and pick-up authorization;
  • Advise the school immediately in writing of any changes in health, specifically, allergies, medications doctor contact information and dietary requirements;
  • Advise the school immediately of any results of testing that may influence a child’s performance in school, including but not limited to hearing tests, vision tests, speech assessments, developmental assessments and psycho-educational assessments. The school should be given copies of any assessments which include school recommendations;
  • Advise the school immediately in the case of separation or divorce and provide documentation of any custody agreement.

Police and community members are essential partners in making our schools and communities safer.

Standards of Behaviour

Respect, Civility and Responsible Citizenship
All school members must:

  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity;
  • Respect differences in people, their ideas and opinions;
  • Treat one another with dignity and respect at all times, and especially when there is disagreement;
  • Respect and treat others fairly, regardless of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability;
  • Respect the rights of others;
  • Show proper care and regard for school property and the property of others;
  • Take appropriate measures to help those in need;
  • Respect persons who are in a position of authority;
  • Respect the need of others to work in an environment of learning and teaching.

Safety
All school members must:

  • Not be in possession of any weapon, including but not limited to firearms and knives;
  • Not use any object to threaten or intimidate another person;
  • Not cause injury with an object to any person;
  • Not inflict or encourage others to inflict bodily harm on another person;
  • Seek staff assistance, if necessary, to resolve conflict peacefully.

Factors to be Considered:
In selecting the most appropriate consequence, the following factors will be taken into account:

  • Nature of the offence;
  • Number of individuals involved;
  • Degree of harm caused to the victim and school community (both people and property);
  • Intent to cause harm;
  • Age of the individuals involved, as it pertains to the child’s ability to understand the nature and consequences of his/her actions;
  • History of offences;
  • Level of parental cooperation.

Consequences for Unacceptable Behaviour:
Disrespectful behaviour or general classroom disruption that interferes with the orderly educational process in the classroom or other areas will be dealt with in the following manner:

Step 1: The teacher redirects the student toward work that will engage him/her. The teacher records the incident.
Step 2: If misbehaviour continues (three occurrences), the teacher informs the Principal or Vice Principal and contacts the parents. An appropriate consequence is decided on and recorded.
Step 3: If misbehaviour continues, the student, the teacher, the parents and Principal/Vice Principal will meet. An appropriate consequence is decided on and recorded.
Step 4: In the case or repeated unacceptable behaviour, the parents may

  • Be asked to engage the services of a counselor (at their expense) who will suggest strategies for the teacher to follow, and/or
  • Be asked to withdraw the child from the school. Suggestions for a more appropriate learning environment will be discussed with the parent.

Consequences for Serious Misbehaviour:
In the following instances, the student will receive an in-school suspension. Conditions to return to regular classes will be decided in consultation with the Principal on behalf of the Board:

  • Swearing;
  • Destruction of school materials or property;
  • Fighting, punching, hitting, kicking or biting;
  • Stealing;
  • Other acts deemed serious by staff members;
  • Acts that jeopardize the personal safety of the child or the safety of others, including bullying and cyber bullying.

Consequences for Serious Offences:
In the following instances, police can be involved, and the student will be immediately suspended:

  • Possession of a weapon with the intent to cause bodily harm, or to threaten serious harm;
  • Physical assault causing bodily harm requiring professional medical treatment;
  • Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm;
  • Acts of vandalism causing extensive damage to school property or property located on school premise;
  • Activities engaged in by the student on or off school property that cause the student’s continued presence in the school to create an unacceptable risk to the physical or mental well-being of another person in the school.

An expulsion or conditions to return to school will be decided in consultation with the Board. Counseling, at the parents’ expense, may be required as a condition of returning to the school.

While we discuss consequences of misbehaviour above, it should be understood that Infant, Toddler, Preschool and Casa children are learning about correct behaviour and it is our responsibility, as adults, to model correct behaviour and to correct unacceptable behaviour so that children may come to a full understanding of what is and what is not acceptable. An Elementary student is expected to abide by the Code of Conduct and, while we will continue to correct unacceptable behaviour, Elementary students are held to a higher level of expectation and, therefore, are subject to the penalties mentioned above. Teachers, parents and Administration, working together, will ensure a safe and happy learning environment for all children at the Montessori Country School.

Suspensions, Expulsion and Withdrawal
Should a child’s influence be considered by the school to be harmful as a result of a breach of these rules or for any other reason, or if the child’s presence in the school is regarded as undesirable by the school, the Principal has the discretion to request of parents the immediate withdrawal of the child. This withdrawal may take the form of either a suspension or an expulsion:

(a) Suspension: where the Principal deems that a suspension is warranted, parents will be notified in writing of the suspension and the reasons therefore. The duration of the suspension of a child for breach of these rules or for any other reason will be deemed by the school to be a repudiation of the contract on the part of the parents who are thereby notified of such repudiation upon receipt of the notification of suspension and reasons thereof.

(b) Expulsion: the decision to expel a child will be solely at the discretion of the Principal who may, on behalf of the school:
(i) accept the repudiation of this contract by the parents as a result of the child’s conduct: or
(ii) unilaterally terminate this contract and thus the child’s education at The Montessori Country School.

NOTE: Parents should be aware that a general attitude of cooperation on the part of both child and parents is expected, and is essential to the smooth running of the child’s class and to the teacher’s ability to educate the child (socially, emotionally and academically).


Behaviour Guidance Policy

What is it?

This policy refers to adherence to the policies laid out in the Staff Binder having to do with the behaviour Guidance of the children of MCS. These policies reflect the school’s philosophy, goals and objectives and include, but are not limited to, the following documents:

• The Rules of the School
• The Code of Conduct
• Implementing the Code of Conduct: Procedures for Teachers
• Disciplinary Procedure for Inappropriate Conduct – Casa & Elementary
• Toddler Discipline Policy
• MCS Safety Policy
• Casa Recess Rules
• Elementary Lunch & Recess Rules
• MCS Abuse Policy
• MCS Employment Policy Handbook

These documents reflect the expected standards of the school and the guidelines we expect MCS staff to uphold and model.

Who is it for?

It is designed, first and foremost, to protect all the children. As well, it allows the staff, students and volunteers to know their roles and the school to ensure that everyone clearly understands what is expected of them.

Where can you find it?

All the documents pertaining to Behaviour Guidance are in the Staff Binders which are distributed to staff at the beginning of each school year. These binders and the documents they contain are revised yearly and, as such, should be reviewed regularly by staff.

Behaviour Guidance Overview Guidelines

Prohibited Practices:
(a) corporal punishment of the child;
(b) physical restraint of the child, such as confining the child to a high chair, car seat, stroller or other device for the purposes of discipline or in lieu of supervision, unless the physical restraint is for the purpose of preventing a child from hurting himself, herself or someone else, and is used only as a last resort and only until the risk of injury is no longer imminent;
(c) locking the exits of the child care centre or home child care premises for the purpose of confining the child, or confining the child in an area or room without adult supervision, unless such confinement occurs during an emergency and is required as part of the licensee’s emergency management policies and procedures;
(d) use of harsh or degrading measures or threats or use of derogatory language directed at or used in the presence of a child that would humiliate, shame or frighten the child or undermine his or her self-respect, dignity or self-worth;
(e) depriving the child of basic needs including food, drink, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing or bedding; or
(f) inflicting any bodily harm on children including making children eat or drink against their will.

Bullying Policy

The Montessori Country School believes that all children deserve a safe learning environment. It is our belief that bullying goes against our values and it will not be tolerated. It will be considered a Serious Misbehaviour or a Serious Offence and the consequences will follow our behavior protocols and may result in suspension, expulsion and/or withdrawal.

Definition

‘Bullying’ means aggressive and typically repeated behavior by a pupil where,
a. The behavior is intended by the pupil to have the effect of, or the pupil ought to know that the behavior* would be likely to have the effect of,
I. Causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation or harm to the individual’s property, or
II. Creating a negative environment at a school for another individual, and
b. The behavior occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the pupil and the individual based on factors such as size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstance, race, disability or the receipt of special education
*behavior includes the use of any physical, verbal, electronic, written or other means

‘Cyber Bullying’ includes:
a. Creating a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person;
b. Impersonating another person as the author of content or messages posted on the internet; and
c. Communicating material electronically to more than one individual or posting material on a website that may be accessed by one or more individuals

(From Bill 13, “Accepting Schools Act”, Ontario Ministry of Education, 2012)

Parent/Guardian & Staff Relationships

The intent of this policy is to identify the appropriate relationships permitted at the school between staff and parents/guardians.

At the Montessori Country School, we make every effort to ensure we build positive, trusting and, professional relationships with our families. This is the rapport we value within the school and thus, we do not condone personal relationships between our staff and clients outside of their professional duties at the school. This includes asking our staff for tutoring, babysitting or nanny services.

Should there be any friendships or relationships, these must stay outside of operating hours and off the school premises. These must not affect the employees, clients or the school in any negative manner as they relate to the services provided at the school. Any persons involved are to refrain from discussing anything about the school, its other clients and, all confidentialities are to be adhered to. MCS will have no choice but to take action with the parties concerned should any issues arise from these relationships; this includes the withdrawal of services provided to the family and/or, discipline for the staff member(s) involved.
At no time while a child is enrolled in the school, can a staff member babysit, tutor or nanny for any family. Staff is to be viewed and treated as professionals with clear and established boundaries. These boundaries also include giving out their personal contact information such as their cell phone numbers for use of discussing school matters. Staff can be reached through their work email addresses or, by calling the school directly.
Staff will not be permitted to transport children in their personal vehicles to and/or from school related events/excursions without receiving written consent from the parent/guardian as implied on event/excursion permission forms.

Out of respect to the quality of care being offered at the school and the wellbeing of the children, we ask that families do not put our staff in a position which could be detrimental to them or cause a strain on their professional relationship with you at the school.

Parent Issues and Concerns Policy and Procedures

The purpose of this policy is to provide a transparent process for parents/guardians, the school and staff to use when parents/guardians bring forward issues/concerns. It is designed to outline the channels of communication employed by the school to ensure that general inquires, questions or, concerns and issues, are addressed appropriately and, within a timely manner.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to take an active role in our child care centre and regularly discuss what their child(ren) are experiencing with our program. As supported by our program statement, we support positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents/guardians and staff, and foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents/guardians about the program and their children. Our staff are available to engage parents/guardians in conversations and support a positive experience during every interaction.

All issues and concerns raised by parents/guardians are taken seriously by the teachers, administrative staff, Vice Principals and, Principal. Every effort will be made to address and resolve issues and concerns to the satisfaction of all parties and as quickly as possible.

Issues/concerns may be brought forward verbally or in writing. Responses and outcomes will be provided verbally, or in writing upon request. The level of detail provided to the parent/guardian will respect and maintain the confidentiality of all parties involved.

An initial response to an issue or concern will be provided to parents/guardians within 1 – 2 business day(s). The person who raised the issue/concern will be kept informed throughout the resolution process.
Investigations of issues and concerns will be fair, impartial and respectful to parties involved.

Confidentiality

Every issue and concern will be treated confidentially and every effort will be made to protect the privacy of parents/guardians, children, staff, students and volunteers, except when information must be disclosed for legal reasons (e.g. to the Ministry of Education, College of Early Childhood Educators, law enforcement authorities or a Children’s Aid Society).

Conduct

Our school maintains high standards for positive interaction, communication and role-modeling for children. Harassment and discrimination will therefore not be tolerated from any party.
If at any point a parent/guardian, provider or staff feels uncomfortable, threatened, abused or belittled, they may immediately end the conversation and report the situation to the supervisor and/or licensee.

Concerns about the Suspected Abuse or Neglect of a Child

Everyone, including members of the public and professionals who work closely with children, is required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.

If a parent/guardian expresses concerns that a child is being abused or neglected, the parent will be advised to contact the local Children’s Aid Society (CAS) directly.

Persons who become aware of such concerns are also responsible for reporting this information to CAS as per the “Duty to Report” requirement under the Child and Family Services Act.

Escalation of Issues or Concerns: Where parents/guardians are not satisfied with the response or outcome of an issue or concern, they may escalate the issue or concern verbally or in writing to the Principal.

Issues/concerns related to compliance with requirements set out in the Child Care and Early Years Act., 2014 and Ontario Regulation 137/15 should be reported to the Ministry of Education’s Child Care Quality Assurance and Licensing Branch.

Issues/concerns may also be reported to other relevant regulatory bodies (e.g. local public health department, police department, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Labour, fire department, College of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario College of Teachers, College of Social Workers etc.) where appropriate.

Inclusion Policy

The Montessori Country School accepts and welcomes children and, their families of all abilities. Any family interested in having their child with any additional needs attend the program, will be given an equal opportunity for admission.

Our school is committed to providing developmentally appropriate early learning and development experiences and supports the full inclusion of children who have additional support needs of a physical, social or emotional nature.

We commit to participate in the process of planning for a successful inclusive environment that supports the children and families of MCS; using program strategies that best meet the needs of each child, their family and, their support network.

The administrative and teaching staff supports families by consulting with all professionals who are involved with them and their child

MCS recognizes the diversity of students and ensures developmentally appropriate practices that consider the unique needs of all children. We commit to making sure every child reaches their full potential and collaborate with our community partners to ensure a plan that best suits that specific child and family is put in place and followed for the duration the child attends MCS.

The indoor and outdoor environments are arranged to our best ability so that all children have the opportunity to make choices freely based on their abilities and interests. Staff will make every attempt to apply modifications as necessary to meet the needs of the children. Any adaptations will be reviewed with families and other professionals to ensure we properly support the child.

The Montessori program provides developmentally appropriate small and large group experiences for all children and encourages the socialization of every child with their peers.

The staff will collaborate with families and other professionals who have valuable knowledge and expertise to share with each other. The staff will also share our expertise with the families and other professionals with whom we have contact. This may be presented (but not limited to) through print material, workshops, parent/teacher interviews, information evenings, etc.

All MCS staff participate in regular professional development in current areas of child development, research, theory and inclusion practices.