Policies & Procedures Guidelines

Language policy

The Language of Instruction is English

The first Additional Language is Afrikaans (chosen primarily because this is the standard practice at the High Schools into which most of the children will feed on completion of grade 7).

Second Additional Language is Xhosa.

Languages taught in the School reflect the learner-communities home languages, and policy may be adapted where necessary.

The Montessori Approach to teaching and learning additional languages is an experiential one, giving the children the knowledge and structures that a mother tongue speaker would find relevant.

Conversational and introductory additional language teaching begins in Cycle 1 of the Primary School.

Health & Hygiene

It remains the policy at Chameleons to disallow sick children to attend School. Alternative arrangements must be made for any child exhibiting any of the following symptoms:

Sore throat, bad cough, vomiting, diarrhoea, jaundice, chickenpox, measles, mumps, undiagnosed skin rash or fever (+ 37.5 0C ). ). In the case of a common cold, if the child is suffering from severe nasal excretions and if a fever is prevalent, it is also recommended that the child stay home.

For the sake of the other children"s health, it is important that you contact the School as soon as possible to inform us of your child's diagnosis.

The law states that no medication of any form may be brought or be dispensed at School. Any child requiring medication or on a course of antibiotics SHOULD STAY AT HOME UNTIL FULLY RECOVERED. It is also our policy that no vitamins or minerals will be administered at School.

Prior to the commencement of each academic year, a new Medical Information Form must be completed and submitted for all children.

We use a water purifier for all drinking water.

All bedding for children who have nap-time at School is washed on a weekly basis or as required.

All the floors are tiled, wooden or painted concrete, eliminating the possibility of infections.

The bathrooms are beautiful and well equipped for proper toilet etiquette no matter how small the child.

Illness at School

Should a child become ill during the School day, the following procedure is followed:

  • We would observe the child detailing symptoms in the Classroom Incident Log Book.
  • If necessary we confine the child to the sick bay under the watchful eye of a staff member.
  • The School will contact the parents so that arrangements can be made for them to go home.
HIV/AIDS Policy

Chameleon's Montessori School acknowledges the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and the possible implications it has for our School. Measures to ensure a safe School are of fundamental concern to the School and form a core aspect of this policy.

Non-discrimination

In terms of the fundamental human rights as detailed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, no pupil with HIV/AIDS may be unfairly discriminated against either directly or indirectly.

Disclosure
  1. No parent is compelled to disclose their child's HIV/AIDS status to the School. However, in order to act in the best interest of all members of the School community, voluntary disclosure by parents of pupils with HIV/AIDS is encouraged. This disclosure will be in the interest of the pupil with HIV/AIDS as the School may then keep this child's parents aware of any infectious/contagious viruses etc going around the School that may pose a health risk to their child.
  2. The School will strive towards ensuring confidentiality of this information and will maintain a non-discriminatory environment.
  3. Parents of a pupil with HIV/AIDS must obtain a medical opinion to assess whether the pupil, owing to his condition, poses a medically recognised health risk to others.

Application of Universal Precautions

Chameleon's Montessori School will apply Universal Precautions to all situations occurring at the School. The basis for the consistent application of Universal Precautions lies in the assumption that in all situations, all persons are treated as potentially infected with HIV/AIDS and all bodily fluids are treated as such.

Accordingly:

  • All bloods will be handled with extreme caution.
  • Skin exposed accidentally to blood will be washed immediately with running water and antiseptics.
  • All bleeding wounds, sores, grazes and the like will be cleaned immediately with running water and antiseptics.
  • All open wounds, sores, breaks in the skin, grazes and open lesions must at all times be covered completely and securely with a non-porous or waterproof dressing or plaster so that there is no risk of exposure to blood.
  • New latex gloves will be worn by the directresses whenever dealing with blood or body fluid.
  • Pupils will be taught that all open sores, wounds and grazes must be kept covered completely with waterproof dressings. They will be instructed never to touch the blood, open wounds, sores or grazes of others, nor to handle emergencies such as nosebleeds, cuts or scrapes of their friends. They will be taught to call for assistance from a staff member immediately.

Education

For older children, HIV/AIDS education with the aim of developing life-skills necessary for the prevention of the virus, will be facilitated. The younger children will be introduced to the basic first aid principles to avoid transmission of the virus.

Swine Flu policy

The following guidelines have been provided by the Western Cape Department of Health in relation to the Influenza A (HINI). We ask that all parents adhere to the following:

If your child presents any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or vomiting

We ask that you consult your doctor and keep your child at home.

The following precautions are to be taken by all children (both at school and at home) and parents are asked to assist their children with:

1. Catching their cough/sneezes:

  • Into a tissue and dispose of tissue in dustbin
  • Into both hands or the inside of the elbow (preferable)

2. Regular washing of hands thoroughly with soap and water after coughing.

Fire

All staff members are familiar with the School's fire drill procedure. These fire drills are held every second month to ensure that the children have a good understanding of the procedure. Each classroom is fitted with a hand-held fire extinguisher. In addition, Chameleon's Montessori regularly invites members of the local Fire Department to come and talk with the children.

Ambulance

Parents will be asked to indicate which ambulance service and Medical Aid they subscribe to on the Medical Information form.

Security



It is the responsibility of the Directress/Assistant in charge to ensure that the person collecting the child is authorised to do so.

Medical Emergencies

The staff members of Chameleon's Montessori are certified in Infant/Toddler/Child First Aid.
We deal with injuries in the following way:
  • The child is consoled, the wound is cleaned and/or bandaged
  • The accident is recorded in the Classroom Incident Log Book.
  • The Parents are telephoned if the injury is serious.
  • Paramedics are called immediately in the case of an extreme emergency & parents are telephoned directly thereafter.

School Hours & Punctuality

Dr Montessori stated that work has a beginning, middle and an end. It is not an overstatement to say that a child deprived of the proper beginning by being late to arrive is deprived of a most important part of his/her School day. It tends to make him/her feel like an "outsider" because work has started before he/she arrives. Although we understand that there is occasionally an unavoidable delay, please make every effort to get your child/children to School on time.

Parents late in picking up their child/children put an unnecessary strain on them, anxiously waiting to go home. This can also disrupt the afternoon routine of staff who may have personal commitments.

Exceptions to the listed School hours can only be accommodated by prior arrangement with the Directress. Unfortunately, we have had to institute a fine system which is levied against those who transgress the School's closing hours (refer to Fee Structure for details regarding these penalties).

Nitida Wine Farm

We are very privileged to enjoy such a spectacular environment in which to educate our children. It is imperative that all parents do their best to ensure that the School maintains its harmonious relationship with farm proprietors. It is a busy working farm and due caution must be exercised at all times while driving along the farm roads.

Kindly adhere strictly to the following:

  • The speed limit on the farm is strictly 20kms / hour.
  • Parking for parents and visitors to the School is provided for at the Nitida Café carpark ONLY (below the cellars). Parents collecting children in the afternoons are asked to please park in the carpark and walk up to the School building, about 50 meters.
  • Under no circumstances is parking by visitors to the School allowed in the Cellars carpark between 8am and 5pm.

In winter, parents are advised to keep "wellingtons" in the car as the terrain is rough and indicative of a farm environment.

Morning "Stop & Drop" facility at the Nitida Cellars

Parents using the "stop & drop" system at the Cellars must adhere strictly to the followings rules:

  • Vehicles are to enter the "stop & drop" area using the right hand access road only.
  • When in the "stop & drop" site, clear the access route immediately by stopping your vehicle (even if only for a minute) to the right allowing cars behind you to proceed.
  • No stopping in the exit access road (even if there are no cars behind you when you decide to do so) and no stopping along the grass verges.
Environmental Health Policy with regard to Vineyard Spraying

Chameleons Montessori strives to maintain the safest possible environment for all the children, staff and parents frequenting the premises.

After certain concerns were raised in the media regarding crops and insecticides, the school undertook extensive research and consulted with various experts regarding the possible side effects of exposure to the crop spraying in the surrounding vineyards, specifically with regard to the health of all those at Chameleons Montessori.

We also solicited the advice of various experts in the field. Research was done independently by the Western Cape Department of Health in consultation with the owners of Nitida Wine Estate and the Farm Manager of Bloemendal Wine Estate. The conclusion is as follows:

1. Nitida's entire farming process is audited by the IPW (Integrated Production of Wines in South Africa). This is a voluntary environmental sustainability scheme established by the South African wine industry. It provides us with a guarantee that grape production was undertaken with due consideration for the environment, and that the wine was produced in an environmentally responsible manner and is safe for the consumer.

IPW consists of a set of guidelines specifying good agricultural practices related to grape production, as well as a set of guidelines specifying good manufacturing practices related to wine production and packaging activities.

Compliance with the IPW guidelines is assessed on an annual basis through the completion of a self evaluation questionnaire and is independently audited on a spot check basis.

2. Nitida and Bloemendal do not spray with Organophosphates

3. Vineyard Spraying takes place approximately 8 times per year, for 2-3 days at a time.

4. No aerial spraying takes place on either Nitida or Bloemendal.

5. There is no conclusive evidence that the spraying of the vineyards has any direct effect on the children or staff's health or that it is the cause of allergies.

6. There is no reason for concern regarding the consumption of Municipal water on the farm.

7. However, like with any chemical, staff and children should not have any direct contact with the spray.

In spite of the above assurances, the school will be minimizing the children's and staff's exposure to the spray drift during the crop spraying season by implementing the following safety precautions:

  • The school has planted a row of fast growing trees to form a barrier along the boundaries of the school grounds adjacent to the vineyards.
  • The school is also in the process of installing a shade cloth barrier which can be erected during spraying.
  • Nitida and Bloemendal (the two adjacent vineyards to Chameleons) will inform the school via SMS of the days that they will be spraying. As the need for spraying is weather dependent, notice may however be given as late as the afternoon/ evening before.
  • The school will immediately follow up with an SMS and E-mail to all parents and staff to notify them of the spraying.
  • In the case where little notice is received from the farms, parents will be notified by email and SMS as soon as possible. In addition, a staff member will be present in the parking area of the effected campus to inform parents of the spraying.
  • Until such time as all environmental testing is complete and conclusive, the children will attend class at the other campus on the day of spraying. I.e. when spraying is taking place in the field adjacent to the Primary school, the Primary Schoolers will attend class at the Pre-school. Conversely, when spraying is taking place in the field adjacent to the Pre-school, the Pre-schoolers will attend class at the Primary School.
  • An internal procedure to manage this system of moving campuses has been put in place by the school to ensure that a minimum of disruption is experienced by the children and teachers.
  • Outdoor play equipment (e.g. climbing frames) will be hosed down after spraying before the children use them again.
  • Children will return to their respective campus 2 hours after spraying has finished.
  • In the case where the farms are treating the weeds between the vineyards with weed killer, no action is necessary on part of the school as there is no risk of exposure. However, children will remain indoors for the duration of the spraying as an additional precaution.

For more information, please refer to the following website: www.ipw.co.za (Integrated Production of Wines in South Africa)

Remedial & Therapy

In many cases Children with mild physical - or learning challenges do very well in a Montessori environment designed for differences in learning styles.

Children may have to be evaluated individually by a specialist to ensure that the School can successfully meet the child's needs and learning style.

Should it be found that an assessment is required by a specialist, the parent will be called in and advised by the Directress accordingly.

An assessment from the specialist must be submitted to the School by the parent once it has been done. This assessment will determine whether the child requires more specialised care and how Chameleon's Montessori can cater for this.

Parent / Directress Communication Procedure

The Child's Journal

Each child will be issued with a journal at the start of the new academic year. This journal will be given to the parent to cover with paper & plastic. Preschoolers & Toddler journals should have a photograph of the child on the cover.

This is used as a first step in the communication process. Any concerns the parent or teacher may have must be noted in the journal. It is advised that the Child's journal gets looked at by a parent each and every day so that the parent can immediately pick up any communications left for the parent by the teacher.

All communications made in the journal must be acknowledged with a signature and/or comment from the recipient.

Such communications can be regarding anything from who is collecting the child from School, to queries about homework or reminders from the School to bring special items to School.

In Toddlers and Pre-School, journals containing messages are to be placed in the journal basket situated in each classroom every morning by the parent.

Primary learners should pass any messages in their journals onto the Directress. The Directress will return the journal to the child once she has gone through the relevant messages and written an acknowledgement to the parent.

Verbal Communication Logs

Verbal communications can also be made between Parent and Teacher and/or vise versa. In which case these verbal communication will be recorded in the class Communication Log by the Directress.

The communication log is checked on a weekly basis by the Principal to ensure that all communication attempts are addressed in a satisfactory manner and time period.

Meeting with Directress &/or Principal

Should the parent or the Directress feel that the situation requires escalations as the communication methods above are insufficient, the parent / Directress should then request a meeting. Either party may request that he Principal be present at the meeting if they so wish.

Such meetings can be scheduled either early morning (at 8am) or after School.

The School Committee can potentially be brought in as a neutral body if this is required.

Discipline

The first step to achieving harmony in the classroom is the modelling of appropriate behaviour by the adults. If we approach and speak quietly to the child, the child will take their queue from us. If we take care to say "Please and Thank You" and not to interrupt children's conversations, this attitude will percolate through to the children's behaviour among themselves and towards us as well. The liberty of the child should have as its limit, the collective interest.

By focusing on the positive, the very best nature of a child is nurtured. Grace and Courtesy lessons allow the children the space to practice positive interaction, with the little ones for example: how to say "excuse me", how to say "No" with grace, and many other helpful life skills.

Any anti-social behaviour is redirected in a positive direction.

Time out is used if a child still struggles to stay within the boundaries of the class. This is time away from the negative situation and is not intended as a punishment. It gives the child an opportunity to rethink and start afresh.

A child who is focused on his/her work will become absorbed in their activities and self-discipline will naturally follow.

Serious behavioural challenges that are not resolved through these channels will be discussed with parents in an interview. An action plan will be discussed and implemented.

If the behaviour is still on-going and it is found that even after/during such an intervention plan, the staff and facilities of the School are unable to meet the requirements of the child, Chameleon's Montessori reserves the right to withdraw the child from the School and would advise the parent to seek an environment that is better suited to the needs of the child.

Primary School Disciplinary Policy

Chameleons Montessori adopts a pro-active policy for dealing with anti-social behaviour, based on a strong foundation of collaboration between children, parents, Directress' and the Principal. The approach taken by the school, to ensure that the best behaviour is brought out in all children, is a tiered one with each party involved playing a role.

Montessori Best Practice

Montessori best practice for ensuring the above would include:

  • Adults as role models
  • Objective observation of each child
  • Grace and courtesy lessons for modelling the appropriate behaviour
  • Regular group & one to one discussions
  • Role playing
  • Use of the peace table
  • Encouraging practical life activities

Code of Conduct

  • A Code of Conduct and School Rules are work shopped by children and Directress together.
  • On the child's first day of school, a discussion is held between the child and the teacher, outlining the Code of Conduct and School Rules, and what they stand for.
  • After the discussion the child is asked to sign the Code of Conduct, thereby agreeing to abide by each code. It is signed by Directress and Parents as well. Copies are kept in the child's journal and on file at the school.

Steps for Disciplinary Procedure

In the case where Montessori best practise principals have been in place and the child continues to transgress school rules, the following disciplinary procedure is followed:

Step 1

  • The child is given a warning for the misconduct – the code is reviewed with the child. If the child needs to verbally apologise to any child/Directress/parent, this is done after the discussion. This allows the child to calm down, acknowledge the misconduct and understand why the behaviour is unacceptable.
  • A consequence for the misconduct will be given. Examples of Consequences at School (Consequences should be directly related to the misconduct):
    • The child is removed from the situation and will either continue with their work/play elsewhere, or will be directed to a practical life activity.
    • If the misconduct occurs on an outing, the child may be obliged to miss a subsequent outing. Similarly, an in-house presentation by an outside speaker may be missed.
    • If the misconduct occurs in the swimming pool, the child will be asked to leave the pool.
  • The Directress informs the Parent(s) that day as to what took place – through a telephone call/face to face/journal.
  • If after the above the misconduct should occur again, Step 2 will be followed (see below).

Step 2

  • In place of the verbal apology, the chid is asked to write a letter of apology to the child/Directress/parent for their misconduct which must be signed by their parent(s) and brought back to school and given to the relevant party.
  • The Directress informs the Parent(s) that day as to what took place – through a telephone call/face to face/journal.
  • A written record is kept in the child's file throughout the procedure.
  • If after the above, the misconduct should occur again, Step 3 will be followed.

Step 3

  • A meeting is set up for parent, Directress and child to discuss the issue and agree upon an action plan. The action plan should be put in writing and signed by all parties. (Actions could include assessment by a psychologist or Play therapist).
  • If after the above, the misconduct should occur again, Step 4 will be followed.

Step 4

  • The child is sent home. A meeting is set up between parent, Directress and child, this time including the Principal. The action plan is revisited and discussed. Further actions are discussed and put into writing. (Including actions to be implemented at home).
  • In the case where no action is taken by the parent, and/or the child's misconduct continues, the school reserves the right to ask the parent to remove the child from the school.
  • All steps in the above procedure must be documented in the child's file.

Primary School Code of Conduct

  1. We may not disturb others while they are working.
  2. We should use our indoor voices in the classroom.
  3. We should not talk across the classroom.
  4. We should wait our turn to speak.
  5. We should respect other people's opinions, beliefs and feelings even when they differ from our own.
  6. We should respect our belongings and those of other people.
  7. We should keep our classroom as well as the outside environment tidy.
  8. We should put the equipment back in the right place when we finish using it.
  9. We should treat the staff as well as others with respect and kindness.
  10. We must wear the correct school uniform and keep our appearance neat.
  11. We should not destroy other people's work.
  12. We may not touch others inappropriately.
  13. We may not bring toys to school.
  14. We may not SWEAR or use inappropriate language!
  15. We may not hurt others physically or verbally.
  16. We should obey all the rules but have fun at our school
Classroom Observation

Allowing adults to observe in the classroom is a privilege but it is also something that can be quite stressful and invasive for the children.

You may observe behaviour or work patterns that appear out of the ordinary. Remember that you may be there for one portion of one day and should bear in mind that children change every day, responding in the way they know how to events that are taking place in their lives.

We ask that you respect that this is first and foremost the children's space and that you follow the Observation Guidelines as follows:

  • Avoid initiating interaction with the children as this may distract them. Please do not ask them about their work, and do not try to help them. If children ask you questions, try to keep your answers as brief as possible.
  • Allow the movement and activities of other children to be as free as possible by placing your chair at the edge of the work area. If you need to move your chair, please carry it in the way the children have been instructed with one hand grasping the front edge of the seat and one hand grasping the back of the chair keeping the chair upright.
  • Allow the class to be run uninterrupted as far as possible. Feel free to record whatever questions or observations you may have.
  • If you have any questions after your observation, the Directress will be happy to discuss these with you. Please do not leave without having any unresolved questions answered.
Parent Code of Conduct

Parents are to inform the School of changes to address, contact, medical and personal details in writing. Communication of such changes is critical to us being able to contact a parent quickly, particularly in an emergency.

Parents are to inform the School of changes to the child's enrolment profile in writing and giving the appropriate notice (where applicable) of such changes (ie. changes to extra-mural enrolments, optional lunch service etc.). Only upon such written notification can monthly accounts and attendance registers be amended accordingly.

Parents are to respond to concerns addressed by the Directress and/or Principal with regard to medical, remedial, therapy and/or anti-social behavioural issues that may arise with regard to the child.

Please make appointments to see staff members after School. Conversations during class hours are very disruptive to the children's routine. If an appointment cannot be kept, please inform the staff member in advance.

If you find School equipment in your Child's bag, please see that he/she returns it to the School. Our equipment is very expensive and difficult to replace, and often one tiny missing part destroys the purpose of the material completely.

Only appreciative language and conversations are permitted on the School premises.

Any grievances should be submitted to the Principal or Parent Committee in writing.

Parents should seek the consent of the principal should they wish to solicit business from any members of the school staff or school's parents.

Changes to these Policies & Procedure Guidelines can be amended and updated as and when required and a copy will be submitted to parents on an annual basis to ensure they are kept abreast of policy changes.

Procedure for amendment of Terms & Conditions of Enrolment

In the event that the Terms & Conditions of Enrolment of Chameleons Montessori need to be amended, the following procedure will be followed.
  • The Terms & Conditions of Enrolment document (including the proposed additions or amendments) will be presented to the Parent Teachers Association (PTA).
  • Additions or amendments to the Terms & Conditions shall be adopted by general resolution taken by the PTA. General resolutions shall require a 51% majority vote of quorum.
  • Quorum of the PTA requires that 9 or more members of the PTA are present.
  • Members of the PTA shall receive written notice (email shall be acceptable) of the date of the meeting at which the resolution is to be taken, at least 7 calendar days before the meeting. The notice of the meeting shall furthermore contain information of the proposed amendments or additions to the Terms & Conditions.
  • The requirement for the 7 days notice may only be dispensed with in the case of urgent matters.
  • The resolution should be documented and signed by the Chairman of the PTA, at which stage the additions or amendments become binding upon all of the parties concerned.
  • A reasonable notice period will be given before the changes become effective.
  • The revised Terms & Conditions of Enrolment will be communicated to parents and also sent to them via registered mail to their Domicilium Citandi Executandi on record.
  • The revised version of the Terms & Conditions of Enrolment will be published on the school's Website.
  • Any revised versions of the Terms & Conditions of Enrolment will supersede all previous versions.