School Policy


The basic principle in the Montessori philosophy of education is that every child carries within himself the potential of the adult which he is to become.  In order to develop his physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual powers to the fullest, he must have freedom – a freedom to be achieved through order and self-discipline.

The world of the child is full of sights and sounds which appear chaotic at first.   From this chaos, the child must create order and learn to distinguish the impressions that assail his senses.   Slowly he gains mastery over himself and his environment.  Dr. Montessori developed what she called a “prepared environment” which possesses a definite order and disposes the child to develop at his own speed according to his own capacities, in a non-competitive atmosphere.   “Never let a child risk failure until he has a reasonable chance of success,” says Dr. Montessori, understanding the necessity for the acquisition of a basic skill before its use in a learning situation.   Providing positive direction, the Montessori directress and the parents realize the importance of allowing the child to develop in his own time.


The method by which children are taught in the Montessori school is extremely disciplined.   And since the child has learned to work independently in the prepared environment, he is ready to enjoy the presence of other children without necessarily working directly with them.   Thus, the Montessori teacher is able to work with each child individually, illustrating the use of the equipment.   Because most of the Montessori equipment is designed so that errors are self-evident to the child, adult intervention in the child’s work is not necessary and is even undesirable once the use of the equipment has been demonstrated.


Dr. Montessori recognized that the only valid impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child.   Children naturally move themselves toward learning.   Adults often intervene, with the best intentions, and place obstacles to learning in the child’s path.   To this effect, Dr. Montessori stated that any unnecessary help given to the child hinders him in his growth.   The teacher prepares the environment, observes and directs the activity, functions as a authority and protector to the children and environment, and offers the work according to the readiness and need of each child.

If the Montessori child is free to learn, it is because he has acquired, from experience with both mental and physical order, the “inner discipline” which frees him.   He becomes aware not only of his freedom but also of his corresponding responsibility to himself, to others, and to the environment.   This is the aim of Montessori to develop “the whole child.”  Intellectual, physical, and social development are of equal value within the prepared environment.   The teacher strives to encourage and guide the child to help him develop the balanced, happy, vital personality that will perpetuate into his life as an adult.

Recommended Reading:

Montessori and Your Child by Terry Malloy

A simply written overview of Montessori principles.   Very quick and easy to read.

Montessori:  A Modern Approach by Paula Polk Lillard

An overview of Montessori theory and practice which should help parents understand what is happening in the classroom.   Excerpts from Dr. Montessori’s own writing are put in a frame which is easier for modern parents to read.

What Do You Really Want for Your Children?  by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

A thoughtful analysis of the really important things that we want for our children.   Will help you get over some of the minor hurdles of parenting as you focus on major goals.

How to Raise a Brighter Child by Joan Beck

Very readable, interesting, and refreshing perspective on children and how to nurture mental development.   The chapter on Montessori is well done.   Includes a good list of gift ideas.

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Links the absence of nature to some of today’s most disturbing trends, rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.  Support his theses with research which indicates that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish

Teaches step-by-step skills that many of us have lost in our video culture.  Useful in adult life as well as gaining perspective on how our children relate to us.

Nurturing the Spirit by Aline Wolf

Focuses on the ways we adults can nurture this often disregarded facet of the child’s development.

The Child in the Family by Maria Montessori

Dr. Montessori’s own words about the responsibility of the parents and the contribution that the child makes in the family.


In the event we have to evacuate the school our designated location is at St. Cecilia’s School 11740 Joan of Arc, Houston, Tx 77024. Make sure we have updated contact information for you and the people on your emergency pick up list.


Tuition is based on the annual cost for each child.   The total cost includes meals, accident insurance, and supplies.   All payments are due in advance and must be up-to-date before the child will be allowed to attend the school. If your tuition is received after the first business day of the month, there is a late payment charge of $25.  If you have made arrangements to pay mid-month, the same late charge is applied after the 15th.  Because of the time and cost involved, $25 may be charged when a check is returned.  No tuition allowances are made for children’s absences.  If your child will be out of the school for a full month, a temporary leave can be granted.    Please contact the office to make arrangements for this adjustment.


A full month’s written notice is required to withdraw from the school.   When written notice is received, we apply your tuition deposit to your child’s next or last month’s tuition regardless of attendance.


A child may be dismissed by the school without prior notice if, in the sole opinion of the school, it is in the best interests of the child or of the school to do so.   When a child is dismissed in this case, all prepaid monies are refunded from the week of dismissal.


Because enrollment is strictly regulated, children are enrolled in the following priorities.   First priority is given to children enrolled in the school in the previous year.   Second priority is given to siblings of children already enrolled in the school and graduates of the school.  Third priority is given to children on the waiting list according to date of the application.  The school reserves the right to accept children to achieve the optimum age balance of children in the classroom.   This is an important requirement for a proper Montessori environment. There is no discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or disability.


At the beginning your child may need help to adjust to a group situation.  The visits before your child actually starts school gives your child a special time with his new teacher.   You can help dispel fears by talking, in a positive way, about the things the child can anticipate at his school.  New friends, fun “work”, and good food are all pleasant aspects of his new experience.   Your attitude will be your child’s clue as to how he should react to school.   If tears do occur on the first day or two, they are usually short-lived and they often stop as soon as the parent is out of sight.   While it’s not easy to leave when a child is crying, a firm, quick “goodbye” often works miracles.   Avoid lingering kisses and comments like, “Mommy/Daddy is going to miss you today.”  Your reappearance at a regular time each day will soon relieve anxieties.

If you are concerned on a particular day, we encourage you to call the school later in the day for a full report.


Children should be dressed in comfortable play clothes which are washable, roomy enough to allow freedom of movement, and easy for the child to handle.   Children out of diapers should have elasticized waistbands rather than overalls and sunsuits.   This helps with your child’s sense of independence and self-confidence.   Sandals and high top shoes have definite disadvantages for children.  Do not tie your child’s shoes in double knots.  The children are taught to tie their own shoes very early.   If the laces don’t come untied occasionally, the opportunity to tie does not come up.   Also, shoe laces should be long enough for the children to tie.

Removable clothing such as jackets and hats should be marked with your child’s name.   Houston weather is so variable that layers work really well.  Expect that your child will be playing outside at least part of the day and send your child with appropriate clothing.  We will see to it that your child is dressed for her greatest comfort, appropriate for either hot or cold weather.  Most children should have one change of clothes at the school.   Infants need at least two changes of clothes, and toddlers frequently need numerous changes.

Personal Articles

Sometimes an item that has a special attachment for the child can ease transition into the school.   Favorite toys to share with their friends can be real learning experiences for children.   They are especially good for allowing the more reticent child to “perform” before their class.   These are important lessons to learn, but please choose carefully what is to be brought.   Neither the school nor the staff accepts responsibility for these personal articles, so you will want to consider carefully about allowing expensive or valuable items to be brought.  Books should have the child’s name written in it.  Toys that may be classified as weapons such as guns, swords, or knives will not be allowed.   If the child wishes to bring a live animal to show, arrangements should be made with the child’s teacher.

From time to time, children become very attached to small pieces of Montessori apparatus.   We would appreciate your checking pockets and washing machines occasionally in case a little “treasure” has been brought to your house.


We would like your child to have the most enjoyable day possible at school.  Having a nutritious breakfast is the best insurance for the optimum way to start the day.  It has been our experience that those children who eat empty-nutrient food and sweets are those who have a more difficult day.   The main consideration is to avoid processed foods, artificial food coloring and flavorings, and preservatives.   The simpler the food, the more nutritious it is.  Packaged cereals, doughnuts, fruit drinks, and pop tarts are negative nutrition.  Raw fruit, unsweetened breads and cereals, and milk make the best breakfasts


Walk in with your child as soon as your child is old enough to walk.  If you’re having trouble with this, let your child help by carrying his belongings.  Please enter the school through the front gate and front door.   Always close the gate and door after you pass through.  Encourage your child to put her lunch box and belongings in their correct places.  Your child must always be left with the acknowledgement of a staff member.

When entering the classroom, please remember that we speak in a low voice to those who are near enough to touch.   Greetings and good byes are never delivered across the room.   In the morning, a brief entrance and departure is recommended.   Visiting is lovely in the afternoons when we all have more time to relax.

Work Time

Children receive lessons with the whole class, with small groups, and in a one-on-one situation.  After receiving a lesson, the child will practice, sometimes for a long time, to perfect what she has learned.  The teacher observes the child’s progress and skills and uses these observations to personalize future lessons for the child.   The Montessori method implemented through the prepared environment and lesson presentations are delivered in a sequence that leads to optimum success for each individual child.  Children move freely about the class, observing other children’s lessons.   This offers many more opportunities of learning for the child and also indicates to the teacher what the child’s interests are as an indicator of what additional lessons should be presented.  When you enter this busy environment, it may appear very casual.  In fact, the children are “working”, and you will want to be as unobtrusive as possible in respect for this work.

Meal Service

The children get snacks in both the morning and the afternoon that consists of a fruit or vegetable, sometimes a cheese or grain product, and water, juice or milk.  The snack menu is published each week in the newsletter.  If your child has a food allergy, please be sure to flag that with our staff.  Because meal times are a social learning experience, our staff members join with the children in a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.

Parents provide lunch each day for their child and the school is not responsible for its nutritional value or for meeting the child’s daily food needs. Lunch kits for the children should be something the child can open easily.  Please make sure your child’s name is on the kit in an indelible marker. Food that your child does not eat will come home in the lunch kit.   This will help you in determining quantities to send.   If the food is all gone, then you may want to send a little more.   If most of it comes back, then you may want to send less of each item.   Remember that the child had both a morning and an afternoon snack, so don’t be concerned that your child is not eating.  It a great way to open communication with your child about what things she might like to take in her lunch kit.   The two of you can begin to compromise about wise decisions in your child’s life.  Consider some of the following suggestions when you need to get creative about things to eat:


fish      hamburger patty      meat balls

chicken leg or thighchicken or turkey     meat loaf

canned tuna  ham    soy burgers

lasagna           spaghetti        cheese

yogurt            cottage cheese           nuts

tabouli           homos            kabob anything

thermos of:

stew    soup   beans

lentilsfried rice


peanut butter (no jelly)       tuna salad      chicken salad

egg salad       ham & cheese            stuffed pita bread

grilled cheese           cream cheesestuffed tortillas

avocado with sprouts          cucumber with sprouts


pasta salad    pasta with parmesan           macaroni/cheese


boiled eggs (shells on)        deviled eggsscrambled eggs

peanut butter (send in a small container to be spread):

with honey    with raisins   with sprouts

with sesame seeds   with wheat germ      with apple slices

vegetables (raw or cooked):

bell pepper slices     cucumber slices        zucchini slices

carrots            celerygreen beans

corn    peas    squash

asparagus      broccoli          cauliflower

tomatoes        lettuce            potatoes

beets   salad


bananas          oranges          apples

peaches          apricots          nectarines

pears  plumsstrawberries

watermelon (deseeded)      cantaloupe    honey dew melon

grapes (seedless)      pineapple chunks    kiwi (sliced)

papaya (cut)  mango (cut)   berries

jicama (peeled/sliced)        raisins            dried fruit

applesauce (no sugar)         canned fruit (no sugar)        fruit kabobs

guavas           cherries          fresh fruit salad


foods to avoid:

fried or breaded anything  canned fruit in heavy syrup or

artificially sweetened, flavored, or           fruit rollups

colored anything   canned pasta or “instant” meals

processed meats and cheeses        cookies and other sweets

(like “Lunchables”)          condiments (ketchup or salad

chips of any kind                 dressings)



Lessons in grace and courtesy are an important part of the life skills curriculum at our school.   When you are in the school, you become the child’s official supervisor and we hesitate to correct your child in front of you.   Therefore, here are a few of our more basic rules so that you can reinforce them on your own.

o          We always speak so softly that a person more than about three feet away cannot hear.

o          We never run in the school.

o          We never walk on a work rug.

o          We put our work away before we leave an area.

o          The children shake hands with their teacher when they are leaving the school.  They are not allowed to leave their group until the parent appears and hands have been shaken.


Our school is committed to discipline of children that dignifies and respects their own inner guidance and self-directed purpose for harmony, order, cooperation, and love towards their environment.  Adults interact with children to support such self-discipline in children and to assure their compliance and cooperation.  We use such positive means as example, clear direction, reasoning, distraction, reflective language, and questioning to achieve desirable behavior.  We consider any intentional inflicting of physical pain or threat of such pain as strictly inconsistent with and contrary to our discipline policy.  We consider such actions child abuse, which may also violate protective laws that require us to report to pertinent government agencies.   All adults on our premises are required to agree to follow this policy at all times in their interactions with our children.  Any adult who violates this policy agrees to accept correction, direction, or other suitable guidance to cooperate in a remedy of the situation.

Nap Time

All children have a quiet time after 12:00 for at least 30 minutes.  Your child will need a small pillow and blanket, a child-sized sleeping bag approximately 30”x60”.  You will take these items home on Friday for laundering.  Nap time is an extremely relaxing time when we have a story, soft music is played, and the children’s backs may be rubbed.    Children still sleeping at 2:30 are awakened. 



Children’s birthdays should be very special days.   We celebrate the child by having a “birthday circle” in which the child goes around the circle once for each year of his life.   We like to talk about special events that happened during each year and perhaps show pictures of the child when he was that old.    This information must come from the parent.  It can be in the form of a story and maybe snapshots.  Pictures will be returned the day we have the “circle”

If you would like to send a special snack for the birthday celebration, this is permissible, but you should coordinate your plans with the teacher.   Generally, we prefer a low-sugar snack.  In fact, we find that a party favor lasts longer and brings more appreciation from the children than a snack.  Some parents like to contribute an article to the classroom in the child’s name for the celebration.   This should also be discussed with the teacher.


Various holidays are celebrated throughout the year.   National as well as ethnic celebrations are scheduled.  The children and their parents are encouraged to contribute to these celebrations.  Please talk with your teacher about your ideas.

Holidays that the school observes by closing include: 

New Year’s Day    Martin Luther King Jr.    Good Friday   Memorial Day   Independence Day    Labor Day Thanksgiving(Wed, Thu, & Fri)    Christmas ( school closed one week)


If a child is enrolled for only the school day, he may be left at the school 30 minutes before class time and must be picked up within 30 minutes after class time.   This means that you can arrive as early as 8:30 in the morning and must be leaving the school by 3:00.  Please park and walk into the school with your child.   A safe entrance and a happy goodbye are crucial to your child’s day.   Be sure that your child has been greeted by a staff member and that he is securely in place.   Sometimes a child will run after a parent, creating an emotionally trying experience for both the child and the parent.

It is important that children arrive in the mornings before their class starts.   Late arrival disrupts the class and also puts the late-arriving child at a disadvantage.  Pickup time should be similarly regular.  Children are extremely sensitive to their order of leaving, and being left late without their knowing why can be cause for avoidable anxieties.   If you are detained from your usual schedule, please call the school so that we can let your child know of your whereabouts. There will come the day when you’ll want the same courtesy from your child.


Children left more than 15 minutes past their pickup time or after 6:00 will incur a late pickup charge.   The charge is $10 for each 15 minutes or portion of 15 minutes that the child is left late.   This time is by our clock. If you find that you will be late, please call to let us know when you expect to arrive.

No child will be released to anyone other than those people listed on the emergency information forms.   Exceptions may be made in writing by the parents. People picking up the child should be prepared to show identification.

Emergency Closing

At times, weather conditions may necessitate closing the school.  When public schools are in session, we close the school if either Spring Branch or Houston Independent School District closes.  If we have to close the school during the day, you or your emergency contact will be notified by telephone.  You can confirm closings by checking our website.

The school has written procedures for dealing with fires or natural disasters that might occur during the school day. If we have to evacuate the school, the children will be taken to Saint Cecilia’s We will gather at the gymnasium with is the first parking lot on Joan Of Ark St .  Please make sure you know how to get  to that location. Another possible emergency is a shelter-in-place contingency.  Each staff member is thoroughly trained in all these procedures, and the children regularly have fire and tornado drills.  If you have questions about any of these procedures, please ask to see our operating procedures for details.


When a child is to be absent, a quick comment to the staff or a phone call to the school prevents unnecessary concern.   If your child is ill with any contagious disease, please let us know so that we can alert other parents.


The school is a place for healthy children.   We ask your cooperation in keeping children home when signs of disease are present.   If your child is at all contagious, she may not be at the school.  Though this is sometimes inconvenient for parents, this policy reduces the total number of sick children at the school.   If your child has a fever of more than 100˚, he cannot be in the school.  Please do not mask fever with a fever-reducing medication.   Although the child may feel better, in fact, he is still ill and needs to rest.  If you feel that your child is too ill to participate in the school’s activities for the day, including going outdoors in cold weather or water play on warm days, please consider that perhaps the child is too ill to be at the school.  Children left out of the general activities begin to feel that there is something wrong with them.   If your child develops symptoms of illness while at the school, you will be notified.

We will be glad to help you in administering medication to your child as necessary, although we will not give fever-reducing medicine except in a crisis situation.   Please help us by adhering to the following rules:

  1. A “medication permit” for each medicine to be given that day must be filled out and signed.
  1. Medicine must be in the pharmacy’s original container where the label specifies the proper dosage.   The school will not exceed a recommended dosage specified on a non-prescription drug.  An imprinted note from your doctor’s office is required showing the proper dosage.
  1. Medicine must be given to the staff or placed in the proper containers either in the refrigerator or on top of the refrigerator.   It must never be put with the child’s belongings.
  1. All medication should be taken home each day.  If the child is to continue his medicine the next day, another “medicine permit” form is to be filled out.

Both insect repellent and sunscreen are considered to be a “medicine” and a medical authorization is required for us to apply it to your child. You should apply in when your child is dropped off and we will reapply if necessary in the afternoon. The recommended sunscreen to use is SPF 15 to SPF 18.  Talk with us if you want sunscreen or mosquito repellent for your child.

If your child requires special care for a medical condition, we need a full statement of the condition and the steps needed to accommodate your child. Please also be aware that our school staff are mandatory reporters, which means that if we suspect abuse of any sort, we are legally obligated to report the suspicion to Child Protective Services.


Each child must have all state-required immunizations, a certificate of health form, and vision and hearing tests for children 4 years old or older.   A great place to get information about immunization requirements is the Texas Department of Health at  Your child cannot be admitted to the school without proof of the immunizations unless your religious affiliation prohibits immunization.  Waiver forms are available in the office. 


While accidents are rare, we follow this procedure:

1.   We immediately notify the parents or your emergency contacts.  If we can’t reach any of these, we contact your family physician.

2.   Failing to get instructions from any of these, we see that your child is taken to the nearest hospital.

All children in the school are covered by the school’s accident insurance policy.   Please notice that this is a secondary policy.  This policy protects your child while attending school, while participating in or attending any activity sponsored by the school, and while traveling directly between his residence and the school. 


Our weekly newsletter has such items as upcoming events, what’s happening in the classrooms, and what to bring for this week’s show-and-tell.  This is our main avenue for keeping you informed about what’s going on at the school and about any changes in policies at the school.  Much of the newsletter is also on our website at  and we frequently post pictures on our Facebook account. The website also has links to general parenting and Montessori sites.  You can get more specific child care information and current standards at The Texas Department Of Family and Protective Services they are available to assist you if needed. You can contact the T.D.F.P.S. at 2221 West Loop South, P.O. Box 16017, Houston, Texas 77027-6017 or visit their web site at or phone at 713-940-5200


There are several types of conferences at the school.   The first is your orientation conference that you will have before the child’s first day of school.  The child may stay with the parent and teacher while they meet, play with the children, and explore the classroom The teacher will discuss what the child needs for the first day, routines at the school, where things are located, and answer questions.  We’ll want you to tell us your perception of your child’s personality, his learning style, and routines at home.  We’ll give you an orientation packet with more forms to fill out and more information about the school.  In about six weeks, you’ll have another conference with the teacher to share how your child is normalizing and what your observances have been about your child as he has made this important transition.

Twice each year thereafter, usually in May and again in November, parents have the opportunity to conference with their child’s directress.   This is accompanied by a written report of the child’s current activities at the school.   These conferences are invaluable aids to the teachers, and we feel that this communication between the school and the home is beneficial for the child as well.   You will receive notices of the conferences, including time, date, and approximate duration via our weekly newsletter. We make every effort to accommodate your schedule in making these conference times as convenient as possible.  Thank you for honoring the teacher’s time if canceling or rescheduling the conference time is necessary.

When your child is preparing to make a transition into another class, you’ll be notified by your child’s teacher that this transition is approaching.  When the time actually arrives, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with the new teacher and discuss new customs and routines of that class.  About six weeks after the transition is complete, you’ll have another opportunity to share how your child is normalizing to the new class, both from your observations at home and from the new teacher’s observations.


Day-to-day schedules often do not allow time to discuss items that are of concern to you.   Please feel free to call the school at any time for an appointment with any staff member.   Small matters can sometimes assume alarming proportions if left to grow unattended.  As a matter of practice, we make every effort to maintain confidentiality for all our families.   Please understand that when your child tells you a certain child has been involved in an altercation, it may or may not have been that child at that time.   The best remedy is to talk with us..

Special Events

Several times a year, special events are planned for families and sometimes  just for parents of children in the school.  Open houses, parties, lectures by community specialists, and staff discussions will be scheduled, as well as other topics you might suggest.  In the summer, the children participate in informal water play activities.  These consist of sprinklers, tubs, and hoses, and they are a great delight.  


We encourage you to notice the whole school environment every day as you come and go.  With our open classrooms, this is easy to do.  If you’ll train yourself to observe, you’ll find that you’ll have a high degree of confidence about what is happening at the school on a daily basis, especially on those non-routine times that you’re coming and going.  You’ll also be aware that every other parent who comes and goes has the same opportunity.

Children are delighted to have their parents visit their working environment.  As a general rule, you should not ask to observe your child’s class less than six weeks after your child has transitioned into that class.  This is the anticipated period for the child to normalize.  To schedule an observation period, call the school for your most convenient time.   We ask that you limit your observation to about 30 minutes beginning approximately 15 minutes after classes have started. 


There may be times when we simply need an outsider to be objective.  Because we enter into this mutual agreement to resolve disputes, we anticipate gaining the benefits of a speedy, impartial dispute resolution procedure.  In order to work toward these objectives, we may choose to use voluntary mediation, but if mediation is not chosen or is unsuccessful, we promise to resolve our disputes through binding arbitration.  Either of us may begin mediation or arbitration.  Mediation is available to us on a strictly voluntary basis.  However, either of us has the right to compel arbitration before a mutually agreeable arbitrator.  The arbitrator has exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, or formation of the agreement including any claim that part or all of this agreement is void or voidable or any claim that the terms of this agreement have been violated.  We both acknowledge that we have carefully considered the policies of the school and that we have entered into this relationship voluntarily.  We agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision, and understand that we waive the right to have a court or jury resolve claims or disputes.

Gang Free Zone

As a result of House Bill 2086 that pass during the 81st Legislature, Regular Session, Chapter 45 of the Human Resource Code includes section 42.064, effective September 1, 2009. This stature requires the school to inform parents and guardians of children that we are in a gang-free zone.  A gang free zone is designated area around a specific location where prohibited gang related activity  or organized criminal activity is subject to increased penalty under Texas law. The gang-free zone is within 1000 feet of the school/child care center. For more information about what constitutes a gang-free zone, please consult sections 71.028 and 71.02 of the Texas Penal Code.

Nursing Moms

Human milk is the best source of milk for infants. Additionally, breastfeeding supports optimal health and development. The school provides mothers with a place to sit and breastfeed. We can provide a pillow to support your infant in your lap, a stepstool for propping of the feet which may help prevent back strain and water to keep you hydrated if there are other ways we can make it more comfortable please let us know.