2021-09 (September) Newsletter

“As we observe children, we see the vitality of their spirit, the maximum effort put forth in all they do, the intuition, attention and focus they bring to all life’s events, and the sheer joy they experience in living.”

Maria Montessori

Calendar of Events

The above calendar information is from a “Google Calendar” and can be added to any Google Account.

Principal’s Message

Amanda Kershaw

Maria Montessori Education Centre is a vibrant community made up of wonderful children, parents, school staff, and families. We come together to help our children discover their natural desire to learn. Through their own process of self-discovery, children are encouraged to discover freedom, responsibility, and independence so that they can reach their full potential covering all social, emotional, and academic areas while incorporating the skills needed for life.

Since our doors opened in 2007, we have been privileged to educate many students to do their very best. We are proud to offer a pure and authentic Montessori Program recognized by CCMA (Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators). We believe that Montessori education is a gift that can unlock a child’s potential, independence, and drive to excel. Our first commitment at MMEC is to implement the Montessori program with fidelity.  As an accredited private school, we also supplement our program to meet Alberta Education standards.

We look forward to another safe, high quality year of Montessori education at Maria Montessori Education Centre. We feel proud of the way that our parents, staff, and students overcame the adversity of the pandemic in 2020-21; we are confident that our knowledge, skills, flexibility, and expertise as a community will continue to support the wellbeing of our students in 2021-22 and beyond.

Thank you for checking your child’s health each morning prior to attending school. We also appreciate your diligence in keeping children home when they are unwell.

We look forward to welcoming your family back on September 7th!

Message from the Board of Directors

Dear MMEC Families,

On behalf of the Board and myself, it is my humble pleasure to welcome you all to our 2021/2022 school year. I trust that you had an enjoyable summer and are eager for your children to start the new school year. Despite developments worldwide and locally, we start the year with optimism and an eagerness to bring some normalcy to the children’s experiences. Our staff and administration have worked diligently over the summer and the past few days to ensure that our community is a welcoming, safe and nurturing place for our students.

While the Montessori method was developed over 100 years ago, its relevance continues, now maybe more than ever. The academic outcomes are a by-product of a method that was founded on peace education. Dr. Montessori believed that through purposeful activity, respectful environments and development of the whole person, children would grow to possess the behaviours, skills and knowledge to become harmonious contributing members of society. This is what we strive for each day at MMEC.

As last year, moving through this pandemic requires us to work collaboratively as a community while respecting the differing comfort levels and perspectives of our diverse community. We may not always agree on the best path forward, but please keep in mind that we will always have the welfare of our students and staff in the forefront of our minds. Should you need to reach me for any reason, please contact me via the school office or email at servejit@mmec.ca

Board Composition

Servejit Massey – President and Chair
Catharina Undhiem – Secretary/Treasurer
Chad McCormick – Director
Kate MacLellan – Director
Robert Lassu – Director
Jenson Tan – Director
Frida Ismail – Director

Sincere regards,

Servejit
President/ Board Chair

Family Handbook and COVID-19 Addendum

The MMEC Family Handbook and COVID-19 Addendum have been thoughtfully designed to inform families of MMEC policies and procedures. Please take the necessary time to read through the Handbook and the Addendum, as this will assist you in understanding our school culture and practices. The addendum  is accessible through the MMEC website’s main page and the Family Handbook is available through the Family website. Please contact your Guide or the office should you have any questions.

Attendance

We are committed to ensuring children arrive at school on time (no later than 8:35 am). Timely arrivals teach children about routines, commitments and respect for others’ time. Late arrivals not only disrupt the classroom environment, but the late student will miss out on social opportunities, as well as learning opportunities and lessons that occur in the morning. This year, timely attendance is even more important as we do our best to stagger and physically distance the classes/children as they enter the school building.

Your timely arrival at pick-up times is equally important, as classroom and office staff are busy preparing for the next school day. We also want to be mindful of mixing cohorts due to COVID-19 concerns.

To support a positive school experience, please make regular attendance and timeliness a priority.

Pick up and Drop off Precautions

It is a privilege for MMEC to be a welcomed member of the St. Andrews community. As such, please ensure that you are adhering to all community and traffic signs while driving through the neighbourhood. The speed limit around the school is 30 km/h and 15 km/h in the parking lot. To keep our students and surrounding community safe, please be mindful of speed restrictions and other vehicles and pedestrians while driving or parking. We encourage elementary parents to pick up or drop off around the perimeter of the school, leaving the parking lot for the primary parents with younger children. Lastly, please do your best to park/stop along the side of the road that lines the school and if you must park/stop on the opposite side of the street, please use the corners to cross. Jay-walking is dangerous, illegal, and an unsafe habit to teach our children. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Healthy Eating

MMEC promotes healthy eating among its student population. Please be conscious of what food items your child brings to school for snack and lunch and ensure that they eat nutrient-rich foods that nourish their overall well-being throughout the day. Please see the links below for more information about healthy eating and snack and lunch ideas.

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=tn9188

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/Blogs/PFH/196.aspx

Before and After School Care

Before and After School Care will be operational beginning Tuesday, September 7th. Like last year, children will be cohorted and placed with classmates to limit exposure to others. All COVID-19 protocols will apply to the care programs such as cleaning and disinfecting, personal supplies, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing.

The morning care provider is Amanda Dardes, and the aftercare providers are Francisca Merhi, Mila Ulfe-Young, and Olivia Blackman. The gym or library will be the designated morning care space, and the Elementary classes will be the designated aftercare spaces. Children arriving for morning care must be escorted into the building by a masked parent/caregiver and signed in. After school, children will seamlessly transition to the care program upon dismissal at 3:30 pm. Care providers will try to play outside during peak pick-up times, but please ensure that you wear a mask if you need to enter the building. Aftercare parents must sign out their child before leaving.

Children should bring an additional snack to be eaten before/after school. This snack should follow the Canada Food Guide (sugary and highly processed foods are not permitted).

Also, please ensure that your child is prepared for the weather, as the children go out to play daily. Please note that toys and games from home are not permitted as items can be damaged or misplaced, resulting in unhappy children.

Anaphylaxis and Allergy Awareness

In our school, we have several children who are at risk for potentially life-threatening allergies. Some children are at risk for insect sting allergy, while most are allergic to food. Food-allergic individuals can experience a life-threatening reaction from ingesting a very small amount of their allergen. Exposure through skin contact or inhalation can cause allergic reactions, but generally not anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis (pronounced anna-fill-axis) is a severe allergic reaction that can be caused by foods, insect stings, medications, latex or other substances. While anaphylaxis can lead to death if untreated, anaphylactic reactions and fatalities can be avoided. Education and awareness are key to keeping students with potentially life-threatening allergies safe.

Our school anaphylaxis plan is designed to ensure that children at risk are identified. Strategies are in place to minimize the potential for accidental exposure, and staff is trained to respond in an emergency. Our plan includes but is not limited to proper handwashing and cleaning of surfaces before and after food intake, a “no sharing” rule, a “no birthday treat” rule, identifying allergens by reading labels and thorough first aid and anaphylaxis training for every school member.

An anaphylactic reaction can involve any of the following symptoms, which may appear alone or in any combination, regardless of the triggered allergen:

  • Skin system: hives, swelling (face, lips, tongue), itching, warmth, redness rash
  • Respiratory system (breathing): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny, itchy nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing
  • Gastrointestinal system (stomach): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Cardiovascular system (heart): pale/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizzy/lightheaded, shock
  • Other: anxiety, feeling of “impending doom,” headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste

What to do in an emergency:

  • Give epinephrine at the first sign of a known or suspected anaphylactic reaction
  • Place individual in the recovery position (lying down on back with feet elevated)
  • Call 9-1-1. Tell them someone is having a life-threatening allergic reaction
  • Give a second dose of epinephrine in 5 minutes if the reaction continues or worsens

For more information regarding signs of anaphylaxis and emergency treatment, please visit:

Please submit any allergy or health-related concerns to Servejit at servejit@mmec.ca prior to the first day of school.

What is Anaphylaxis? Anaphylaxis (pronounced anna-fill-axis) is the most serious type of allergic reaction. Symptoms can vary for different people and can be different from one reaction to the next.

  • Skin: hives, swelling, itching, warmth, redness, rash
  • Breathing (respiratory): coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness/swelling, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing
  • Stomach (gastrointestinal): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Heart (cardiovascular): pale/blue colour, weak pulse, passing out, dizzy/lightheaded, shock
  • Other: anxiety, feeling of “impending doom,” headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste in the mouth 

During anaphylaxis, a person may have trouble breathing or experience a drop in blood pressure. These symptoms can lead to death if not treated.

Mabels Labels

How do you ensure that your child’s personal belongings don`t get buried in the school `lost and found?’ Label all of your child’s belongings with Mabel’s Labels! Durable, personalized name labels in bright colours and cool icons. Made in Canada, Mabel`s Labels withstand the dishwasher, laundry, microwave, UV rays and tons of use! Affordable and unique, you may choose from sticky labels, bag tags, shoe labels, iron-on, tag mates and much more. Mabel’s Labels are great for around the home, travel and perfect for school.

These labels help your child identify their name and keep track of their belongings while raising funds for MMEC`s Special Programs fund.

Click on mabelslabels.com, and you will be directed to MMEC`s campaign page. 

Library News

Keri Seville

The MMEC library strives to be a place that inspires learning and promotes a love of reading. It is our top priority to provide students with books and resources to assist with their classroom learning, research projects and personal reading. For the health and safety of our community, many of the same policies from last year will continue to be in place in September and may be modified as the year progresses:

The library will be open from 8:30 am – 12:15 pm (Mon – Thu) and 8:30 am – 3:30 pm (Fri).

Unfortunately, students and families will not be able to visit before or after school, and there will

be no self-checkout of books available. Elementary and Erdkinder students will have access to the library on a specific day each week based on their cohort. They may check out books to use in the classroom or to take home. Outside of their allocated library day, they will also be able to request books to be delivered directly to their classroom.

3rd year Casa students at Chief Crowfoot will be able to visit the library weekly to check out books and have library lessons. More information and a schedule for each class will be sent home within the first few weeks of school.

Books will be delivered by classroom request to the KE campus and rotated regularly. This year we hope to re-establish our relationship with the neighbourhood library for weekly storytime.

An online MMEC Library Book Request Form is available for parents of Toddler and Casa students at Chief Crowfoot to use. Parents may request specific titles, topics or a mystery bag to check out for their child. The books can be borrowed for 3 weeks and placed in a green bag on the student’s hook to take home. The link to the form can be found by logging in to the MMEC website and accessing the “My Family” tab.

Hand sanitizer will be available in the library for student and staff use. All surfaces will be cleaned daily. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact Keri Seville at keri@mmec.ca with any questions, comments or concerns.