Wheatley School Ministry Program Statement Implementation
Wheatley School’s interpretation of Montessori pedagogy and programming is consistent
with the Minister of Education’s Policy Statement as set out in “How Does Learning Happen
(HDLH)”. It is important to note that Montessori pedagogy often describes children’s
activities as “work” where HDLH describes children’s activities as “play”, but the activities,
as experienced by a child, are one and the same.
Wheatley School holds the view that all children are competent, capable, curious and rich in
The Ministry statement describes our goals for children at Wheatley School and the
approaches that we implement to meet these goals.
We promote the health, safety, nutrition and well-being of the children in our care by
diligently meeting all the requirements of Ontario Regulation 137/15.
We will implement and follow our approved Health and Safety policies, which meet the
requirements of Ontario Regulation 137/15 to ensure the health and safety of the children
in our care.
Our programme offers a safe and stimulating environment so that our students can learn
and grow. We have a fenced in playground and secure entry to our building. All students
are supervised during the entire day by caring and competent staff that takes note of the
arrivals and departure times of each child.
We offer catered meals and snacks, which adhere to the recommendation set out in
Canada’s Food Guide. We promote the well-being of our students through a well-rounded
programme, which includes indoor and outdoor play, rest-time, stimulating age and
developmentally appropriate activities and materials.
We teach the importance of personal hygiene, e.g. hand washing, blowing nose, sneezing.
We promote sensible, solution-based rules and guidelines regarding outdoor play. All staff
is CPR and First Aid trained.
We support positive and responsive interactions among the children, parents, and
teachers by communicating, promoting and adhering to our set Policies and Procedures.
These are communicated in our classroom Information Binder, Teacher Handbook and in
our Parent Handbook, for parents. In the classroom, all staff will provide simple and clear
communication, in a soft voice, using reasoning and encouragement in order to facilitate
positive and respectful interactions with our students and be role models for the children.
This considerate and respectful tone will also be used with parents and fellow staff
members. We endeavor to be kind, caring,, empathetic, warm, responsive and calm in all
dealings with our children and their parents.
Our teachers sit in small chairs to allow for face-to- face interactions. We are there if a child
needs a hug, but we respect the child who prefers to have more personal space. The
Montessori approach is to always take our cue from the child. Children seldom require
disapproval or harsh tone (except possibly with a safety issue). They can usually be
convinced to do the right thing with a simple question as “What do you think is the best
thing to do?”
Teachers are available to speak with parents when necessary. Appointments can be made
for parent/teacher conferences. They also speak with parents during drop-off and pick-up
because ongoing communication is important. Parents have opportunities to visit their
child’s class in which the child is able to show their parents the classroom and their
favourite activities. During the year we celebrate each family’s uniqueness/culture by
encouraging children to bring materials specific to their family’s traditions. Our teachers
are dedicated to ensuring that the children enjoy learning, which in turn leads to positive
classroom experiences and ultimately to a lifelong love of learning.
We encourage the children to interact and communicate in a positive way and their
ability to self-regulate. At the very heart of the Montessori method is respect and
peacefulness. Through the caring guidance and role modeling of our teachers, students
learn how to show respect and treat others with respect. Our students are given the
opportunity to communicate their needs and wants when they are ready and in a way that
is easy for them. When they encounter difficulty, we engage them in a quiet one on one
discussion in order to support their learning and help them integrate positive
Children are shown to use the peace flower, as a means of conflict resolution. They learn
the proper language such as “I feel” sentences. Circle time is a perfect opportunity for
teachers to address the group with lessons on how to be a good friend, how to be polite and
kind etc. without making one specific child feel targeted.
Having mixed ages where children remain with the same adults for three years provides
many opportunities for interactions with children older and younger than themselves. We
praise children for their effort in order to help develop “intrinsic” motivation. This leads to
children who are proud of their own accomplishments and who don’t need an adult to
praise them in order to feel satisfaction.
Maintaining a three-year age range allows the development of harmonious environments,
which allows children to develop their self-regulation.
We foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry by having fully equipped
Montessori learning environments (classrooms) in which developmental activities are
available for the full range of ages in the classroom. These are activities to assist children to
become independent or able to assist others in the care of self, care of the environment and
care of others (Grace and Courtesy); activities to explore and refine all the senses, as well as
to discover sequencing and order, activities to increase vocabulary, encourage discussion,
explore sounds, and begin to develop the process of writing and reading. Activities are
available to develop number sense, numeracy, and understanding large quantities, the
mathematical operations, geometry and even rudimentary algebra concepts. Students will
also find many activities that help them understand the world around them; for example
science and geography. Many of these materials are self-correcting, encouraging
independence and a feeling of self-worth and success. In addition, each classroom has
activities for cutting, colouring, painting, exploring colours, shape and texture, pasting, etc.
Children understand where everything is kept and they are able to choose and return
things independently and with their friends. Each classroom is fully stocked with
Montessori materials and activities, and is led by a qualified Montessori teacher to ensure
that at Wheatley School, we are able to foster the children’s exploration, play and inquiry.
We offer the children long periods of uninterrupted “work time” in order to encourage
sustained engagement with the Montessori materials and o allow them the time to create
their own plan and fulfill their own objectives. The children’s work is respected. They keep
it in their personal folder, show it to their friends and then take it home to share with their
Wheatley School provides child-initiated and adult-supported experiences. The
Montessori classroom is designed to support child-initiated experiences. Choice, respect
and responsibility are foundations on which all of our classrooms are built. All Montessori
materials are introduced to the child by an adult or by another child, and the Montessori
teachers are always observing children to see what support each child might need and
guide the child as they move independently between the different areas of the classroom.
They are very sensitive to allowing children choose their own work. Developing initiative
in this way often results in children being deeply engaged and peaceful in what they are
doing. Adults are always observing to find exactly the right moment to introduce a child to
something new, so that they have enough time to master skills and concepts, but also are
always being gently challenged.
We plan for and create positive learning environments and experiences in which
each child’s learning and development is supported by using the international
Montessori curriculum and materials that have been proven through research to be
effective with children from all socio-economic and cultural groups. Montessori programs
have been shown to develop executive function, and the social, emotional and cognitive
development needs of the child. Each class is comprised of a three year mixed age group.
We maintain classrooms that are optimal learning environments, prepared effectively for
the children’s learning. Record keeping is up to date for each individual child’s learning. We
always have a plan for the anticipated introduction of new materials from all area of the
curriculum, keeping in mind that we run, as much as possible, a child-initiated curriculum
where children are free to progress at their own pace, learning from each other under the
guidance of a trained adult. We offer options in the areas of practical life and sensorial
materials, math, language, reading, science, geography and art. Children are encouraged to
choose what is of interest to them, and the teachers help them explore areas that don’t
attract them, thereby helping them to develop wider interests.
We incorporate indoor and outdoor play, as well as active play, rest and quiet time into
the day, and give consideration to the individual needs of the children by allowing the
children to manage a great deal of their day. Children can choose to have snack or a drink
when they are hungry or thirsty; they do not have to wait for the whole group. We have a
large, well-equipped, outdoor playground that children access in groups twice each day.
Children are outside for a total of approximately two hours per day, depending on the
weather. Very cold weather may result in less outside time, but have time to play inside.
We foster the engagement of and ongoing communication with parents about the
program. At the beginning of the school year parents are invited to attend a Parent
Orientation Night to review the parent handbook.
We schedule Parent Education Nights so parents can learn about the curriculum. We invite
parents in to observe their children while working in the class. Yearly, we organize a Come
& See What I Can Do class visits so children can show their parents the work they are
doing. We hold a Grandparents Day so the grandparents can visit the classroom.
Parents are sent monthly newsletters and children bring home pieces of work home to
share with their parents.
Parents can access their child’s teacher by calling the school, email, or by chatting briefly at
the door during arrival and dismissal. When either parent or teacher indicates concerns
about a child we meet with the family to discuss the issue with a view to finding a solution.
Children receive detailed written reports twice a year. Parent-Teacher conferences are
scheduled to discuss the report. By communicating frequently and clearly with parents, we
are able to support positive growth and development in their child.
We involve local community partners and allow these partners to support the children,
their families and staff.
We work with a variety of community support agencies such as CCAC and find spaces at
school for them to work with our children. We meet with parents and the community
support, as necessary. When children’s specific needs are being met by outside providers
they work closely with the teacher. We also get involved in the local community by
collecting food for the local Food Bank and supporting the Community Care projects, such
as bringing a toy to donate to a child at Christmas. Children go on field trips in the local
We support our staff and others who interact with the children in relation to
continuous professional learning by offering them staff opportunities to attend
conferences organized by the Montessori Society or the local Early Childhood Community
Development Centre, visit other Montessori or non-Montessori programs for observations.
At the beginning of each year, our staff also sets goals for themselves in discussion with
Administration and together plan for how to support them in their achievement of those
goals. We have a budget dedicated to Professional Development that any staff person can
access depending on their particular needs. We have Professional Development days set
aside each year to meet as a whole staff and in smaller groups to review our work and plan
for improvements. We also meet regularly to discuss ongoing issues and topics of
particular interest. Each staff member spends time, at least once a year, observing in
The Ministry Program Statement will be reviewed with the childcare staff and
volunteers annually or whenever an amendment is made. All new staff, students and
volunteers must review the Program Statement prior to interacting with our students.
The Staff will be monitored by the school’s Administration to ensure the approaches set out
in this Program Statement are implemented. All Staff will be given a copy of HDLH. Staff
will participate in workshops led by a qualified instructor on understanding HDLH and how
to implement it in their classrooms.
Staff will sign this document each year as they review the Program Statement, as a
requirement of employment. This signed document will be kept in the Staff file.
Staff is monitored twice yearly to ensure that they are in compliance with the approaches
set out in our Program Statement. If any staff is not in compliance or prohibited practices*
are not observed, this will be noted on the staff monitoring form. This will be discussed
with staff and they will be given the opportunity to comply. They will be monitored shortly
thereafter to ensure compliance. Should they still not be in non-compliance, a meeting will
occur with the Head of School. It will be up to the Head of School to determine the
employee’s eligibility to continue at Wheatley School. Copies of the staff monitoring will be
kept secure in the staff‘s file for no less than 3 years.
The following forms of Prohibited Practices will not be tolerated on the premises for any
a) corporal punishment of a child (which may included but is not limited to, hitting,
spanking, slapping, pinching);
b) physical restraint of the children, including but not limited to confining the child to a
high chair, car seat, stroller or other devices for the purpose of discipline or in lieu of
supervision, unless the physical restraint if for the purpose of preventing a child
from hurting himself, herself or someone else, and is used only as a last resort and
only until the risk of injury is no longer imminent;
c) locking the exits of the child care centre for the purpose of confining a child, or
confining the child in an area or room without adult supervision, unless such
confinement occurs during an emergency and is required as part of the licensee’s
emergency management policies and procedures;
d) use of harsh or degrading measures or threats or use of derogatory language
directed at or used in the presence of a child that would humiliate, shame or frighten
the child or undermine his or her self-respect, dignity or self-worth;
e) depriving the child of basic needs including food, shelter, sleep, toilet use, clothing
or bedding or;
f) inflicting any bodily harm on children including making children eat or drink against
Staff will be expected to support positive interactions between children, families, staff and
the community through the implementation of the Program Statement.