Frequently Asked Questions
On this page you will find important information on a wide variety of topics.
Accidents and Incidents If your child has an accident or incident at school, first-aid procedures will be followed. Staff members are trained in first-aid and CPR. An accident/incident report will be completed and a copy put in your file. You will receive a report any time your child has experienced head trauma, your child has a visible wound and any time an incident was witnessed that might have emotional repercussions. Staff have some concussion awareness training but parents are responsible for making the decision about any additional medical care following the report of a head injury. Parents are notified at the time of an accident/incident if there is a question as to whether the child should be picked up. In the case of an accident that requires your child to be taken to a doctor or hospital, the parent will be called immediately. If the parent or emergency contact person cannot be reached and the staff thinks medical care is necessary, the child's doctor will be called.
If a child requires any limitations to their day because of injury, parents are responsible for providing direct, specific instructions to the child’s guide. The school will take the most conservative approach in these cases and attempt not to be in a position of judgment about a child’s well-being. For example, we cannot have a child who recently suffered a concussion go out to the playground but not participate as there is always a chance that a stray ball or other activity would reinjure the child. Instead, we would have the student remain indoors with a quiet activity.
If the injury is truly life threatening, staff will call 911. A staff member will administer appropriate first aid measures. The staff will comfort and reassure the child and contact the appropriate medical facility and parent. In a medical emergency, we would have your child transported to Emanuel Hospital. If you prefer another hospital (for insurance purposes, etc.), you must secure an emergency release form from that hospital and submit it for our files, as well as the Emanuel form. However, be advised that the paramedic on the scene has the ultimate authority to decide where to transport a child in a life-threatening emergency.
Childpeace purchases student accident insurance and claim forms are available in the office. If your child needs to seek medical attention due to a school accident, ask for an insurance form to take with you.
The communal areas of the school should be cell phone-free and ear-bud free areas. Being fully present with your child and communicating with other parents while at school is a priority. Set aside your mobile devices until outside the school.
A complete calendar of the school year events, closures and holidays is available to families at the beginning of the school year. The weekly Buzz lists more detailed calendar events of the coming weeks. Visit our public google calendar for up-to-date event information.
Conference/Planning/Staff In-Service Days
In order to offer a consistently strong program, we offer staff training on a variety of subjects that pertain to the health, welfare and education of the whole school community, as well as continuing Montessori education. To ensure that all staff can participate, Childpeace has instituted an in-service program which necessitates some school closures. Check your school calendar for in-service dates and times. The dates for conferences are on the school calendar, and school is closed four days per year at CH, EL, and MMM (two days a year at the TC) to help accommodate the conferences. We encourage parents to have a formal, 30-minute conference with the Guide each fall and spring.
Weather Closure Days
In the event that we need to cancel school due to inclement weather, administrative staff will work to determine the impact of the closure on the overall calendar and experience of the students. In cases of extended closure, a decision may be made to extend the school year or add back other closure days.
All staff are mandatory reporters of child abuse. If any school employee has reasonable cause to believe that a student is suffering or has suffered from child abuse, Oregon law requires that the employee report the situation to Child Protective Services. The purpose of contacting the protective social services agency is to prevent further abuse, safeguard and enhance the welfare of the student, preserve family life when consistent with the protection of the student, and to stabilize the family. These reports are anonymous and rely on the judgment of the employee and do not go through any process of administrative approval.
In accordance with Oregon law, the school provides some educational components addressing abuse to every student at a few points during their elementary and middle school years. Parents will be notified when special activities are being held about this topic.
Families with a child enrolled become an integral part of our school community. When joined by a common set of beliefs and purposes, the school and its parents form a powerful team with far-reaching positive effects on children and the entire community. To be a successful community, the school needs and expects the cooperation of its parents, who must embrace the school's mission, share its core values and fully support its curriculum, faculty and staff. The enrollment of your child indicates the parents' willingness to abide by the following guidelines.
Parents are expected to support a school climate of trust and respect by communicating concerns openly and constructively to the faculty or staff member closest to the issue. The use of mass emails or conversations at casual social events to contact fellow parents about sensitive issues involving school policy, personnel or students is inappropriate and counterproductive.
Conflicts (parent-with-parent or parent-with-staff) are addressed in a calm and private manner, preferably in person or with a respectful note. Anger, frustration or criticism are expressed in person, not by phone or email. Meetings are held by appointment at a mutually convenient time.
Faculty, staff and parents are all expected to strive for high standards of etiquette and behavior. Commitments are honored, criticism is constructive and genial, and "thank yous" are free flowing.
Help us maintain the mutual trust and respect we all need to keep our community healthy by safeguarding the privacy of children, parents and staff. Passing on confidential, damaging or hurtful information is not acceptable. Keep staff and parent email addresses and phone numbers confidential. Use contact information for school-related business only.
When a parent agrees to perform a service for the school, the entire community is counting on that person to fulfill their promise. If it becomes clear that a parent cannot, they are expected to contact the Volunteer Coordinator right away to arrange for a replacement.
Along with the parental commitments to the school relationship, there are many commitments of our staff to children and families. Here we call out some of the expectations we have of ourselves as we work with families:
- Fulfill our mission to guide the development of the whole child through the principles of Montessori education.
- Each student and family will be treated with dignity and respect.
- Provide an environment that is physically and emotionally safe.
- Consistent, direct, respectful communication with families will be maintained.
- Staff continue to pursue their own growth through professional development and accreditation.
Communication between parents and staff is vital. The child benefits when a tone of thoughtful communication is taken by both the teacher and parent. There are several ways we can communicate with one another, and all parents are asked to make a solid effort at keeping the communication flowing. The key regular communication tasks for parents are:
- Check your child's communication file.
- Check the white board at the entry and the bulletin board postings.
- Read our weekly school-wide email communications, Coming Up at Childpeace and The Weekly Buzz.
- Read your guide's classroom letters.
- Become familiar with common school forms and use them when possible.
- Participate in school activities and parent education.
The point-person for communication about your child's school day is the classroom guide. Guides will return your calls if you send a note to them via your child or leave a note in the office with the best time to call and phone number. We ask that you not have a detailed conversation with staff when they should be available to the children. The other staff that work with a child throughout the day communicate their observations with the child’s classroom guide; this way, parents can have one point person at the school who is tracking the child’s school experience. The program director and Head of School observe in the classrooms, and read the progress reports and many guide-parent emails. This allows the whole system to be in dialogue with and available to the parents.
Upon enrollment, questionnaires are the first steps of communication about your child’s interests and abilities. (For TC and CH, this includes a parent questionnaire and the Ages and Stages Questionnaires. At EL and MMM, this includes records from your child’s previous school). Parents are encouraged to share notes and conversations with your child’s guide about new interests and abilities as they emerge. This makes it possible for the guide to introduce elements in the school day that relate to those interests. For example, hearing that a young child is fascinated by insects at home, the guide can introduce insect vocabulary cards, share true stories about insects, or go on an insect hunt outdoors. Guides check their email once a day, and can receive notes from you at arrival or dismissal. You can also expect to receive an occasional phone call or email from your guide, sharing what is going on at school with your child. Do not expect to have communication with the guides during their hours with the children.
Our formal parent-teacher conferences, held in the fall and the spring, are essential touch-points for communication. Parents are asked to complete a pre-conference questionnaire so that the guide has the parents’ notes and questions in mind as they plan the conference. Before the first grade level, the guide will prepare notes for the conference that help document the child’s development, interest and progress through the curriculum. These are shared in conversation with the parent at the conference. We give parents a written progress report that is part of the child’s permanent record at the end of the child’s last year in Children’s House and at every conference after that.
English as a Second Language
If a family does not have enough proficiency in English to feel comfortable with their school communications, we will find a translator for essential information and conversations. This includes sections of the parent handbook, twice/year progress conferences, and regular (at least monthly) check-ins with the child’s guide. Translation may be with the help of other parents, with foreign-language students at PSU, or via other community resources. The plan will be identified by the program director during the enrollment process.
Email is a great way to share information and questions with your child’s guide. All Guides check their email accounts daily, usually after the school day. If something is more urgent, call the school so we can get a message to the classroom.
When an issue that is important or sensitive to your child/family arises, a face-to-face meeting is much more effective at bringing all points of view together and moving toward a solution. Email can miscommunicate the emotional intent of the writer and unfortunate misunderstandings can result. We recommend sending the teacher a note outlining your concern so the teacher can prepare with a request for a time to meet.
Each TC and CH/TT classroom has a volunteer Parent Room Representative, who uses a classroom email list for key communications about class activities and social gatherings.
Two email communications, Coming Up at Childpeace and The Weekly Buzz, will be your primary source for knowing what is happening at school beyond your child’s classroom.
The communication files are exclusively for school and family-to-family information. If you would like to place a mass flier in the files, you must get permission from the Front Desk (and permission is granted for school and Montessori-related events only). Regularly check your child’s file, this is the only way we share Accident/Incident report forms.
Our website has a secure section for parents to log-in to download documents such as the school directory, parent handbooks and our emergency plan. You can also see class photos and videos of special events.
To communicate with someone in the office, you are welcome to email or call. Often we are available for walk-in conversations; schedule longer meetings ahead of time. If you don't know who to speak with, the front desk can head you in the right direction.
Our goal is to help all children meet their developmental potential. We are able to accommodate and support a wide range of learning styles. We are committed to providing a high-quality Montessori experience to as many unique children and families in our program as possible.
When difficulties arise in a child’s growth, progress or behavior in the school environment, we will engage a process for assessment referral and support. It is the role of the child’s guide and program directors to determine if our environment can adequately support the needs of the child. The guide and program directors must also consider the needs of the whole group as well as the individual child when making this assessment. Parents must be committed to engaging with the available tools and services and willing to fully support the efforts and judgment of the guide and staff working with the child.
When conflict arises from a parent not adhering to the Code of Conduct for Parents, the program directors will dialogue with the parent and determine if enrollment can continue.
We all have a stake in making sure that children stay healthy and avoid illness. In Oregon, all children attending school or childcare are required to have certain immunizations or an appropriate exemption.
Parents must provide a completed State Certificate of Immunization form signed and dated. If the child is not fully vaccinated, as per state requirements, due to medical reasons, the child's physician must submit a detailed, signed letter, on their letterhead, stating the child’s name, date of birth, medical condition that contraindicates vaccines, vaccines contraindicated, and approximate time until condition resolves. If the child is not vaccinated due to nonmedical reasons, the parent must receive required education from a health care practitioner or an online vaccine module at www.healthoregon.org/vaccineexemption, and complete and return a Vaccine Education Certificate to the school along with the Certificate of Immunization form.
Children not in compliance with OR statutes and rules related to immunization will be reported to the Multnomah County Health Dept. each year and may be excluded from school until they have met the requirements.
Head lice infestations have been an occasional problem in our school community, as in schools everywhere. Though lice are not known to cause infection, they can cause discomfort to the infected person and can be a nuisance for children in group settings. Lice do not indicate a lack of cleanliness or poor care of your child. They do not indicate social status or income. They should not be a cause for guilt, embarrassment or anger. They are simply an inconvenience that must be dealt with. If you discover your child has lice or nits, follow these steps:
- Call the school immediately. Let us know if you found mature lice or nits, and if you have started a treatment process. If a staff member discovers a case of lice, we will check any siblings at school and then call the parent to pick up (if necessary).
- Gather the information you need to take the next step. If you have never had experience with lice, you can investigate online, or ask us for detailed information. Learning to identify the eggs (nits) and adult (louse) form of lice is the best way for parents to help stop the spread to other students and family members. We have a packet of information in the office we can share with families about the lice removal, life cycle and treatment.
- Choose a treatment option. The Center's for Disease Control has useful information at their website, http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/. We also recommend contacting your child's pediatrician with any questions you may have. You must treat your child for lice before they can return to school.
- Check your child for lice daily, removing any remaining nits, and follow guidelines about re-treating diligently. Lice can survive treatment, so we believe the best way to eliminate them is with regular checking and nit/louse removal.
Attendance Policy Regarding Lice
If a mature louse or a large number of nits are found, we will contact you right away so you can pick up your child and start the treatment process. If a small number of nits are discovered, but no live lice are detected, your child can remain in school for the day with the understanding that treatment will happen before returning to school.
If a case of lice is reported by a parent or staff person, the office will post a health alert at the communication folders or white boards and also send out an alert by email to the families of the classroom, requesting that parents check their child at home as soon as they receive the message. We recommend daily checking for three weeks after your child has been exposed to lice. When an alert is posted, the community relies on each parent checking their child's head for at least 21 days. Catching a lice infestation early makes a big difference. Do not rely on classroom or school-wide checks. The office staff are happy to provide more detailed information for parents who are treating their child or want to educate themselves about prevention and treatment.
Do not send medicine to school for your child to keep and take independently. When your child requires prescription or over-the-counter medication to be given at school, send the medicine in the original container with the prescription or manufacturer’s label attached. Complete a Medicine Form at the communication files or front desk, noting specific directions for when it is to be taken, amount and your signature. This medicine must be checked in with the classroom staff. It is kept in a locked cupboard, and staff log each time they give the medicine. If a child requires immediate access to asthma or anaphylaxis treatment medications, the office and classroom staff must be notified. For younger children, these immediate medications will be stored in the classroom and carried by the staff when away from the building.
Children will not be permitted to carry and self-administer prescription pain medicines, psychiatric medicines or medicines used in the treatment of learning disorders. If these types of medicine are needed at school, they must be checked in with the staff or trip leader and a form must be completed to clarify a plan for administration.
Let the staff know if you have administered medication before school. This can be important information when assessing a child’s behavior during the morning.
With written parental permission, staff will administer over-the-counter medicines for specific, mild conditions such as headaches, pain from minor illness or injury, or minor allergic reactions. An email, paper note or telephone call will go to the parent to alert them that a medicine was given.