Policies & Procedures

Admissions Policy

It is our intention to make Clarendon Montessori School  accessible to children and families from all sections of the local community. In order to accomplish this, we will:

  • Ensure that the existence of the nursery is widely known in all local communities. We will place notices advertising the nursery in places where all sections of the community can see them.
  • Arrange our waiting list in order of date of birth.
  • Keep a place vacant, if this is financially viable, in order to accommodate emergency admissions.
  • Describe the nursery and its practises in terms which make it clear that it welcomes both fathers and mothers, other family members  and other carers, including child-minders, and people from all cultural, ethnic religious and social groups, both able bodied and less abled bodied.
  • Monitor the gender and ethnic background of children joining the group to ensure that no accidental discrimination is taking place.
  • Make our equal opportunities policy widely known.
  • Be flexible about attendance patterns so as to accommodate the needs of individual children and families.

Montessori teaching is based on the needs of the child above all others; for this reason, admissions are accepted on the needs of the individual child above all other concerns. As our nursery follows the Montessori method, children whose parents who are genuinely interested in the Montessori form of education will be accepted immediately, assuming places are available.

Settling In

We want our children to feel safe and happy in the absence of their parents, to recognise other adults as a source of authority, help and friendship and to be able to share with their parents afterwards the new learning experiences enjoyed in the nursery.

In order to accomplish this, we will:

  • Arrange for the child to visit the nursery. These visits will take place the term before the child is due to start. Make clear to families from the outset that they will be supported in the nursery for as long as it takes to settle their child there.
  • Reassure parents whose child seem to be taking a long time to settle into the Nursery.
  • Introduce new families into the group on a staggered basis, for example two new children each day for a week rather than ten new children all at once.

We believe that children settle best when they have a key person to relate to. Research shows that a key person approach benefits the child, the parents, the staff and the setting. By providing secure relationships in which children thrive, parents have confidence, staff members are committed and the setting is a happy and dedicated place to attend or work.

Children cannot play or learn successfully if they are anxious and unhappy. Our settling procedures aim to assist parents to help their children to feel comfortable in the nursery. They will then benefit from what it has to offer, and  be confident that their parents will return at the end of the session.

Equal Opportunities 

We will ensure that the service we provide is fully inclusive in meeting the needs of all children, particularly those that arise from their ethnic heritage, social and economic background, and gender ability of disability. Our setting is committed to anti-discrimination practice to promote equality of opportunity and to also value diversity for all children and families. We aim to:

  • Provide a secure and accessible environment in which all our children can flourish and in which all contributions are considered and valued.
  • Include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity.
  • Provide positive non-stereotyping information about gender roles, diverse ethnic and cultural groups and less able bodied people.
  • Improve our knowledge and understanding of issues of anti-discrimination practice, promoting equality and valuing diversity
  • Make an inclusion a thread that runs through all of the activities of the setting.

Safeguarding Children

We intend to create in our nursery an environment in which children are safe from abuse and in which any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to. In order to achieve this we will:

Exclude known abusers

    • All applicants who work within the nursery, whether voluntary or paid, will be required to complete a police Disclosure and Barring check.
    • Seek and supply training
    • We will seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the group to ensure that they recognise the symptoms of possible physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.
    • Prevent abuse by means of good practice
    • Adults will not be left alone for long periods with individual children or with small groups.
    • Adults who have not been registered as “fit” persons will not take children unaccompanied to the toilet.
    • Children will be encouraged to develop a sense of autonomy and independence through adult support in making choices and in finding names for their own feelings and acceptable ways to express them. This will enable children to have the self-confidence and the vocabulary to resist inappropriate approaches.
    • The layout of the classroom will permit constant supervision of all children.
    • Respond appropriately to suspicions of abuse
    • Changes in children’s behaviour/appearance will be investigated.
    • Parents will normally be the first point of reference, though suspicions will also be referred as appropriate to the Social Services Department.
    • All such suspicions and investigations will be kept confidential, shared only with those who need to know. The people most commonly involved will be the member of staff, designated child protection staff and the Directress.

Keep Records

    • Whenever worrying changes are observed in a child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance, a specific and confidential record will be set up, quite separate from the usual on-going records of children’s progress and development. The record will include, in addition to the name, address and age of the child: timed and dated observations, describing objectively the child’s behaviour/appearance, without comment or interpretation; where possible, the exact words spoken by the child; the dated name and signature of the recorder. Such records will be kept in a separate file and will not be accessible to people in the nursery other than the staff and the Directress.
    • Liaise with other bodies
    • The nursery operates in accordance with local authority guidelines. Confidential records kept on children about whom the nursery is anxious, will be shared with the (Senco)special educational needs officer within the area if the nursery feels that adequate explanations for changes in the child’s condition have not been provided.
    • If a report on a child is to be made to the authorities, the child’s parents will be informed at the same time as the report is made, except in exceptional cases.
    • The nursery will maintain on-going contact with the registered Senco officer

Support Families

    • The nursery will take every step in its power to build up trusting and supportive relationships between families and staff and volunteers in the group.
    • Where abuse at home is suspected, the nursery will continue to welcome the child and family while investigations proceed.
    • Confidential records kept on a child will be shared with the child’s parents if requested.
    • With the proviso that the care and safety of the child must always be paramount, the nursery will do all in its power to support and work with the child’s family.
    • If a child is not collected at the appointed time the following steps are taken:
  • Parents/carer is telephoned at home/mobile/work
  • Emergency numbers are contacted.

In the unlikely event that there is still no response, the child is kept on the premises while other avenues are explored. The child is always left with two members of staff. If the child is not collected after an hour and a half after collection time and no contact has been made with parents, the Directress should be contacted immediately.

A Missing Child

Children’s safety is maintained as the highest priority at all times both on and off the premises. In the unlikely event of a child going missing, our missing child procedure is followed.

  • As soon as it is noticed that the child is missing the key person/staff will alert the Directress.
  • The key worker/ Directress will carry out a thorough search of the building and garden.
  • The register is checked to ensure no other child has also gone astray.
  • Doors and gates are checked to see if there has been a breach of security whereby a child could wander out.
  • If the child is not found the parent is contacted and the missing child is reported to the police
  • The school Directress talks to the staff to find out when and where the child was last seen and records this.

 

Hertfordshire Children, Schools and family Services

Tel: 01438 737500 or 0300 1234043.

 

Herts Safeguarding Children’s Board

HSCB Office, Room 127 County Hall Hertford Herts SG13 8DF

Tel: 01992 588757

Special Needs

Clarendon Montessori School has regard to the DfES Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2015), and provides a welcoming and inclusive environment with appropriate learning opportunities for all children. Children with special needs, like all other children, are admitted to the school after consultation between parents, the school Directress and the future key worker, following a visit and a risk assessment. Our system of observation and record-keeping, which operates in conjunction with parents, enables us to monitor children’s needs and progress on an individual basis. Our key person system ensures that each teacher is especially responsible for six children at a time, so each child receives plenty of adult time and attention. We work in liaison with agencies outside the school, including therapists, health visitors, psychologists, social workers, paediatricians and other specialists, to meet the children’s specific needs. Our staff attend, training on special needs arranged by the local authority and other professional bodies. We endeavour to have equipment, posters and books that depict SEN in a positive manner.

Health & Safety

Risk Assessment

The setting believes that the health and safety of children is of paramount importance. We make our setting a safe and healthy place for children, parents, staff and volunteers by assessing and minimising the hazards and risks to enable the children to thrive in a healthy and safe environment. Our risk assessment process is on-going and covers adults, children and includes

Checking for and noting hazards and risks indoors and outside of our premises.

Assessing the level the level of risk and who may be affected.

Decide which areas need attention.

Developing an action plan that specifies the action required the time scale for action, the person responsible for the action and any funding required.

We maintain written records concerning health and safety issues. Risk assessment is checked on a daily and weekly basis.

Fire Safety

We ensure our premises present no risk of fire by ensuring the highest possible standard of fire precautions. When caring for young children our overriding consideration at all times must be to safeguard your child. Our emergency evacuation procedures are approved by the Fire Safety Officer and are clearly displayed in the premises. We regularly practice fire drills twice a term or when new members join the school.

Food Hygiene

We maintain the highest possible food hygiene standards with regard to the purchase, storage, preparation and serving of food. All members of staff have Food Hygiene Certificates. All surfaces are clean and non-porous, food preparation areas are clean before use as well as after use. When children take part in cookery activities they are supervised at all times. Children are taught to understand the importance of hand washing and simple hygiene rules.

 Promoting Health & Hygiene

 Administering Medicines

While it is not our policy to administer medicines, it is possible for a child’s GP to prescribe medicines that can be taken at home in the morning and evening. In the event of a child receiving medication during the day, parents are allowed to enter the premises to administer medication to their child. Members of staff are fully trained in administering Inhalers, epi-pen and to ensure that the correct procedure is carried out.

 Allergies

We provide care for healthy children and promote health through identifying allergies, and preventing contact with the allergenic substance and through preventing cross infection of viruses and bacterial infections.

 First Aid

In our setting staff are able to take action to apply first aid treatment in the event of an accident involving a child or adult. At least one member of staff with current first aid training is on the premises at any one time. The first aid qualification includes first aid training for infants and young children.

 Hygiene

We promote a healthy lifestyle and a high standard of hygiene in our day to day work with children and adults. We regularly seek information from the Environmental Health Department and the Health Authority to ensure that we keep up-to-date with the latest recommendations. Our daily routines encourage the children to learn about personal hygiene and the environment they live in.

 Food & Drink

We promote healthy eating and in this setting we regard snack and meal times as an important part of each day. Eating represents a social time for children and adults and helps children to learn about healthy eating. At snack times, we aim to provide nutritious food, which meets the children’s individual dietary needs.

 No Smoking Policy

We have a No Smoking policy at Clarendon Montessori School and neither staff, students or visitors are allowed to smoke either indoors or in the garden. If staff are smokers, they can use their breaks to smoke, but must not return to the premises smelling of smoke.

Animals on Site Policy

Animals are from time to time allowed onto the premises. The animals are always kept with the safety of the children in mind – animals who could pose a threat to children are not allowed onto the premises. We do however encourage animals for educational purposes to visit the school, and a risk assessment is done prior to animals visiting.

Behaviour Management Policy

At Clarendon Montessori School we believe that children and adults flourish in an environment in which everyone knows what is expected of them and where children are free to develop their play and learning without fear of being hurt or hindered by anyone else. We aim to work towards a situation in which children can develop their self-discipline and self-esteem in an atmosphere of mutual respect and encouragement.

Ground rules governing the conduct of the class and the behaviour of the children will be discussed and agreed within the school and explained to all newcomers, both children and adults. All directions and corrections will be given to children in a positive way, and we will ensure that ground rules are applied consistently.

Interactions Between Adults

We believe that we adults, act as role models for children and therefore it is important to have positive interactions between adults in their surrounding environment.

  • We must have mutual respect between, Teachers/teachers, Teachers/other professionals, Teachers/parents, Carers/carers
  • Regardless of background, gender, marital status, creed and race.
  • All parents/carers are informed of our policy at their child’s trial day and the policy book is available at the entrance for the parents/carers to consult at any time.
  • All staff, volunteers and students are made aware of our policies and procedures and are consistent when putting these into practice.
  • All staff are informed of any changes of a child, i.e. moving house, medication, or if we see something that is out of character.
  • Adults support each other and if personal problems affect how we cope with our work, we try to share our difficulties, whilst still respecting confidentiality.
  • Any parents/carers/staff who have any concerns, please share them. It is easier to deal with a problem early on and it there is still a problem after a discussion with key person, team or principal, please refer to our complaints policy.

Employment

We aim to ensure that all who wish to work in our school have an equal chance to do so. Staff are appointed on their ability and we do not discriminate against any employee on the grounds of sex, marital status, age, race, creed or colour. We actively welcome a racial and social mix of both staff and children within the school. Commitment to implementing our Equal Opportunities Policy will form part of the jobs description for all staff. We believe that staff need to be good role models, demonstrating co-operation and respect for everyone who comes into the setting and ensuring that everyone is treated fairly.

Student Placement Policy

We recognise that the quality and variety of work which goes on in a school makes it an ideal place for students on placement from school and college childcare courses as well as those on Diploma teaching practice or tutor fieldworker courses. Students are welcomed into Clarendon Montessori School on the following conditions:-

  • The needs of the children are paramount. Students will not be admitted in numbers which hinder the essential work of the school.
  • Students must be confirmed by their tutor as being engaged in a bona fide childcare course which provides necessary background understanding of children’s development and learning.
  • Students required to conduct child studies must obtain written permission from the parents of the child to be studied.
  • Any information gained by the students about children, families or other adults in the school must remain confidential.
  • Unless registered as a fit person with a clean Disclosure and Barring check, students will not have unrestricted access to children.

 Complaints Policy and Procedures

Here at Clarendon Montessori School we always strive to maintain the highest quality early years education and childcare. We aim to provide a warm and caring environment where every child/family feels welcome and safe. We believe that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs, wishes and concerns. Our intention is to work in partnership with parents and the local community and we welcome suggestions on how to improve at any time. Unfortunately, on some occasions you may feel unhappy with us, and should this arise please feel free to discuss your concerns with

1) Your child’s key worker

2) The school Directress

We will meet with you and hold discussions trying to resolve your concerns. If the problem is not resolved within a few weeks, the parent should put the concern or complaint in writing and request a meeting with the Directress. Both parties should have someone present if required and an agreed written record of the discussion should be made. Most complaints should be resolved informally at this stage, but if the matter is still not sorted out to the parent’s satisfaction, the parent should again contact the Directress. If school and parent cannot reach agreement, it might be helpful to invite an external mediator, to listen to both sides and offer advice. This could be someone from the Early Years Childcare Service. These discussions will be kept confidential.

If you feel your complaint has not been dealt with correctly you have the right to contact:

Ofsted. Piccadilly Gate Store Street Manchester M1 2WD

Or you can fill in an online complaints form at htt://live.ofsted.gov.uk/online complaints

Tel 03001231231           Email: – enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk

 Parents as Partners

Parents are the child’s first educator. We respect and value our parents and we aim to have an open, honest and supportive relationship with the families of our nursery.

We seek parent’s support and involvement – we value any contributions made and parents are invited to demonstrate their various skills and talents to support children’s learning whilst at the same time get an insight into their child’s day at school. We encourage visitors from our local community, and seek to go out into the community whenever possible. We welcome and celebrate families’ diverse backgrounds and enjoy the celebrations of cultural and religious festivals.

Communication

Your child’s key worker will keep you informed of your child’s progress through informal and formal chats. We have an open door policy, and generally encourage parents to have a brief chat with the child’s key person every morning. Parents can reach the school by phone or email at any time, and this is encouraged if parents are working and do not always drop off and pick up their child. We hold Coffee mornings and this is an opportunity for parents to socialise with other parents.

We hold Parent meetings twice a year, where we explain how we work within the Early Years Foundation Stage whilst still using the Montessori philosophy and materials; this is an opportunity for parents to get an update on children’s progress and development.

 Information

 A newsletter is issued each term and our notice board in the entrance holds a wealth of information. There is also a section of the notice board dedicated to parent’s adverts. Children’s progress files, key worker record keeping, observations and other information is available to parents at all times. Parents are always consulted and permission sought if Clarendon Montessori School feel that a child needs additional support at any one time

Transitions

We aim for a smooth transition between home and nursery, and work closely with parents and carers to achieve this. At the time the child is ready to leave us; we encourage parents to share information, such as the record keeping and child’s progress files, with the child’s next school.

Festivals

We aim to show respectful awareness of all the major events in the lives of the children and families in the school, and in our society as a whole, and to welcome the diversity of backgrounds from which we all come.

We acknowledge all the festivals which are celebrated by the families involved in the school. Children and families, who celebrate festivals at home which are unfamiliar to the rest of the school, will be invited to share their festival with the rest of the group, if they wish to do so. Children will be encouraged to find out about a range of different festivals, together with the stories, celebrations and special food and clothing they involve, as part of the curriculum. Our aim is to show respectful awareness of all major events in the lives of the children and families in the nursery, and in our society as a whole, and to welcome the diversity of backgrounds from which they come. In order to achieve this, without indoctrination in any faith, children will be encouraged to welcome a range of different festivals, together with stories, celebrations and certain food and clothing they involve, as part of the diversity of life.

Activities

All children will be respected and their individuality and potential recognised, valued and nurtured. Activities and the use of equipment will offer children opportunities to develop in an environment free from prejudice and discrimination. Appropriate opportunities will be given to children to explore, acknowledge and value similarities and differences between themselves and others.

Resources

Resources will be chosen to give children a balanced view of the world and an appreciation of the rich diversity of our multi-racial society. Materials will be selected to help children to develop their self-respect and to respect other people by avoiding stereotypes and derogatory pictures and messages about any group of people.

 Records

Our records are regarded as confidential on the basis of sensitivity of information with regard to children’s  and employment records. There are record keeping systems in place that meet legal requirements; means of storing and sharing that information takes place within the framework of the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.