PLMS During COVID-19
We are fully committed to the health and safety of our students and their families, our staff, and the community. In light of the COVID-19, we are taking extra measures to safeguard the well-being of all PLMS members while ensuring that we continue to provide an enriching program.
Pine Lake Montessori school has reopened after COVID-19 quarantine on June 29th, 2020. It was an exciting and heartwarming time to reunite with some of our students and welcoming new ones to our school. Currently, non-essential visitors are not permitted to our school. However, we would love to show you around our school and meet with you virtually. Please book a virtual tour by clicking the “Schedule A Tour” button on our website.
We have created a list of frequently asked question (FAQ) that we hope you will find helpful while you are planning and making decisions about your child’s education moving forward. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions about our plan for upcoming school year. We would be pleased if you review our policies and procedures developed based on the new regulations. You can find the link for this document at the bottom of the page. We are continuously monitoring ongoing developments and will implement updated steps as and when necessary.
We thank you all for your ongoing support and warm emails that we have received from many of our families. Be well and continue to care for those in need.
Sue EirdmousaDirector, Pine Lake Montessori School
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Pine Lake Montessori School is currently operating under the new regulations as mandated by Toronto Public Health and Ministry of Education. We offer full day programs for five days a week.
Classrooms maintain a maximum number of occupants as regulated by the Ministry of Education and each group remains together for the duration of their time at school. PLMS continues to update its policies and regulations based on the evolving guidelines. Classrooms are set up in a way that allows for as much physical distance between children as possible. Children have designated workspace and stationery. Frequent sanitization of the materials is incorporated throughout the day.
This summer, we are continuing with the Montessori curriculum. Children will receive individualized lessons in Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics, and Culture based on their skill level and interests. Children also have many opportunities to take part in arts and crafts, listen to stories, and enjoy the outdoors.
We plan to continue in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year, following recommendations from Toronto Public Health and Ministry of Education. We are offering full time programs for five days a week.
Yes, we are currently accepting applications for the upcoming school year.
To maintain the health and safety of children, families, and staff of PLMS, we will not be hosting visitors to the school, including those wishing to tour the school. We will conduct virtual tours and meetings whenever possible.
We strive to maintain our warm and welcoming environment and have the least disruption possible on children’s daily experience while at school. Children will continue to have access to Montessori materials to work on independently or with a teacher.
Our classrooms will continue to practice their regular daily routine but with some new practices included, such as limited partner and group work,alternative set up for circle time, increased frequency of hand washing, and screening upon arrival to school. Children’s learning and activity at school will continue as usual.
Helping your kids adjust to going back to school after lockdown: MorneauShepell
Returning to Normal after COVID-19: Kids Help Line
Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to talk to your child: Kids Health
Doctors answer questions from kids: Sesame Street Coronavirus Town hall
Talking to children about pandemic: Ontario Ministry of Health
We recommend speaking openly and positively to your child about how they might be feeling about returning to school. Children may feel uncertain about what to expect after such a long time away from a school setting. Let them know that their anxieties are valid, that we all feel this way sometimes. Speak about all the things they have missed about school and what they can look forward to upon their return. Let them know how much their teachers miss them and are looking forward to their return. Show them the pictures (please insert the link here so they can click) of the new set ups of the classrooms and how all the teachers are working hard to keep them safe. Discuss and practice as a family some of the habits children should expect to follow, such as cough and sneeze etiquette, hand washing, and respecting the workspace of others.
Upon arrival to school, parents should bring their child to the screening area, located by the main entrance. Staff conducting screening will be wearing PPE, including facemasks and face shield. Parents will be asked several screening questions to determine if the child is in good health, if they have been in contact with another person with positive case of COVID-19, if they have travelled outside Canada within last 14 days and the child will have their temperature taken with a non-contact thermometer. If the child passes the screening successfully, they will be guided to their classroom’s outdoor play area. If arrivals occur during adverse weather conditions, parents will drop off their children to the classroom’s alternative entry door.
If another school closure is mandated, PLMS will return to online learning, staying connected to children and families based on the experience gained during the initial closure.
We ran a comprehensive distance learning for all age groups in our school during the first school closure. We planned individual lessons for each child focusing on each child and family’s needs. We reached out to all the families at our school and based on their feedback we altered the lessons to fit their unique settings.
After the health screening is conducted upon arrival, the parent must accompany the child to the alternative door of the child’s class for drop off. If the child’s class is in the playground, dope off can take place there. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure that the child enters the classroom or playground safely.
The dismissal of the children at the end of the day will also be done from the alternative doors. Children who are in the playground at the pick up time will be dismissed from there.
There are markings for social distancing on the ground at all entrance door. Please be mindful of social distancing at pick up time.
COVID-19 Policies & Procedures
How did PLMS react to the school closures?
Distance learning at Pine Lake Montessori School began the week after March break. Using Google classrooms, staff members worked diligently to help meet the challenges involved and facilitate online platforms to come together with the families in our community when “together” seemed impossible. We endeavoured to send the message that although this is new for all of us, we’ll figure it out together with a healthy dose of fun and creativity. Montessori schools pride themselves on helping their students learn to be resilient, innovative, and to stand tall and confident in the face of new challenges. While there is a shared sense of loss and uncertainty, we are so proud of how our community rose to meet this new challenge and have stayed connected. We have felt a strengthening of our community across the distance.
PLMS faculty responded swiftly to the changing situation, transferring class activities, specialty lessons, and school celebrations online via Google Classroom. We are mindful of the fact that many of our parents are working from home themselves, and have thus created a program that allows for flexibility.
Teachers creatively prepare individualized lesson plans on a weekly basis, as is typical of Montessori schools, to meet the needs of each child and family as best as possible. Many lessons can be completed using materials commonly found at home and with minimal set up. There are also options for lessons involving technology, such as e-readers, educational videos, and virtual field trips. Learning continues to cover all areas of the curriculum.
Children’s House and Toddler Teachers meet with their students twice a week via video calls, where they host short lessons, sing songs, read books, and check in with children’s emotional well-being. One to one meetings are also scheduled regularly based on the needs of children. Our Elementary students had meetings daily either as a group to receive lessons, or one on one sessions to review, ask questions, and problem solve. One of the integral components of learning is the interaction that happens between students in the classroom. To maintain these connections between children, each video call incorporates time for children to just chat with each other, sharing stories from their lives.
PLMS also hosts video meets to provide yoga lessons, French lessons, and group celebrations for birthdays and holidays. Our community has come together to participate in school wide projects such as, “Thank You Frontline Workers” art project, Recipe Book, and most recently a Mother’s Day Tea celebration.
At PLMS, we realize that our best approach to these uncertain times is to rely on the strength and creativity of our community. We all feel a tremendous amount of pride in how we have been able to come together to make these months as positive as possible.