The Code of Conduct and Discipline has been established in order to maintain peaceful and orderly co-existence among educators, learner and parents, and rules may change over time, as the three elements work together. Below is an outline of our general policies.
- QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
- MONITORING OF POLICY IMPLEMENTATION
- MONTESSORI METHODOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY
- ENROLMENT PROCEDURE
- HIV / AIDS
- CELL PHONES
- ABSENCE FROM SCHOOL
- WORK MISSED
- SCHOOL BAGS
- USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES
- USE OF SCHOOL VEHICLE
- ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
At the heart of the Quality Management System is the concept of continuous improvement for the child, for the teacher, for management and for our school. The school has policies in place to cover all facets of school activities.
Policies related to the Trustees, will be approved and reviewed by Trustees.
Policies pertaining to School Management are drawn up by the school Management Team.
The Management Team consists of the Principal, Business Manager, and Montessori Consultant.
All policies are reviewed by the Management Team in the Third Term of each year and updated where necessary.
Where the Management Team feels it is necessary, a new policy may be created or an old one reviewed and up dated during the year, but appropriate parties must be issued with this policy in writing. The policy must be signed and dated correctly.
Policies are in a file in the staff room and available to all staff when they are appointed.
It is the responsibility of all staff to become acquainted with these policies.
Relevant policies are issued to newly elected Trustee members.
Management and Phase Heads are responsible for making all members of the school staff aware of new or changed policies and to make sure they have a good knowledge of their content.
The school’s management bases their decisions on these policies.
The school operates according to these policies.
Every incident of non-compliance with these policies is investigated by management at their weekly meetings and the reason for non-compliance is determined and rectified.
School policies are reviewed annually by the Policy Team, in the First term, or when applicable during the year, and amended and supplemented where this is necessary.
All staff are notified, as soon as possible, regarding changes, at their weekly staff meetings with Phase Heads and/or Management.
The Policy Team sees that the school policies comply with the statutory provisions of National and Provincial legislation and associated policies.
The School’s environment and teaching methods are based on Montessori philosophy. Dr. Maria Montessori was Italy’s first woman medical doctor and a pioneer in education in the early twentieth century. She developed an educational method to implement her philosophy, and was consequently nominated as woman of the century and acclaimed as the greatest educational genius since Froebel.
There are thousands of Montessori schools worldwide, and their popularity continues to grow. However, it is worth noting that the name “Montessori” was never patented and is in the public domain. Therefore parents considering Montessori education for their child should visit the school of their choice to determine whether it meets the standards of authentic Montessori education.
Montessori methodology and philosophy obviously require in-depth study, but some of the most important aspects may be very briefly summarized for parents as follows:
Montessori focuses on self-discipline and freedom through choice. Freedom within the environment can only exist where rules are obeyed. The freedom given to the child is to do what is right, not what is wrong. The order of a Montessori classroom is not the structure of a conventional classroom. The child is empowered and free to master skills at his own pace, to move and choose activities, to work alone or with others, to evolve his own patterns and rhythms and to discover what interests and satisfies him.
The child is not, however, free to disturb other children, harm equipment or act against, rather than for, the common good. Good behavior is shown to be sensible and desirable, and self-discipline the ultimate aim.
According to Montessori, “An individual is disciplined when he is the master of himself and when he can, as a consequence, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.”
Montessori identified four planes of development in children. Each plane places the emphasis on the “sensitive periods” of that plane or phase. Particularly within the 0 – 6 year phase, Montessori noted and documented “sensitive periods”. For example, the sensitive period for order is between 18 months and 3 – 4 years, and during this time, a child will be sensitive to order and willingly picks up his toys. An older child, who has not been taught order previously, will show a reluctance to tidy up.
The concept of order is the foundation to Mathematics and Reading. Regular education takes little heed of these planes. In fact, in most cases it ignores the most important years from birth to six, when the child is able to absorb, with little effort, from the environment in which he lives. Early education is vital.
Classes are divided into three year age groups. This has many social and mental advantages: older children are able to reinforce their knowledge by helping younger children, while the younger child has people close to his own age to emulate, and also the opportunity to learn through observation. Children learn and progress at their own pace, so that fast learners are not held back, and slower learners are not frustrated by their inability to keep up.
Specially designed Montessori Self-corrective Materials allow the child to work independently and understand concepts in the concrete, before moving onto the abstract. These materials provide for authentic and continuous assessment and a continuing syllabus for children from the age of three to fifteen. All materials have a control of error. Subjects can be integrated without losing integrity, and emphasis is placed on learning through languages. Spelling and language enrichment is related to what is being taught.
Should it be necessary for a child to leave a Montessori school, Montessori students are well equipped to adjust to other school programmes, thanks to the desire to learn which has been carefully fostered throughout their Montessori training. The Knysna Montessori School curriculum covers all the requirements of the Western Cape Education Department, but also provides much more.
STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT:
– Toddlers (2-3 Years)
– Preschool (3-6 Years)
– Foundation Phase / Junior School (6-9 Years)
– Intermediate Phase / Junior School (9-12 Years)
– Middle School (12-15 Years)
– High School (15-18 Years)
No pupil will be refused admission to this school on the grounds of race or religious belief. Where selection becomes necessary because the number of applicants exceeds the number of available places, selection is based on the following criteria:
Preference will be given to siblings, except where this is not in the best interests of the child.
Preference will be given to applicants who have previously attended a Montessori School.
Preference will be given to children of past pupils of this school.
Preference will be given to applicants to whom this school is the nearest school, provided that the application is submitted in time.
The capacity of the school to provide an acceptable quality of education to the applicant: this provision applies particularly to applicants with special needs and barriers to learning. These students will never exceed 10% of any one class / phase.
Parents are informed that there is a 2 week settling in period, during which time both parties may decide whether the school is suitable. Fees and deposits paid upfront would be proportionately reimbursed. Thereafter a period of one terms notice must be given in writing within 5 days of the school term.
When parents first visit the school, a School Brochure and an Application Form are issued.
Parents should return the completed Application Form to the School Administration Staff at the office, who will inform them whether the child has been accepted and a deposit is payable, or whether it is necessary for the child to be placed on the waiting list. Parents on the waiting list will be informed when their status changes.
On receiving a letter of acceptance, parents must pay their deposit within two weeks of receipt, to ensure that their child’s position at the school is secured.
Debentures paid before the 30th November in any year will have the value of that year. Later payments will pertain to the Debenture value of the following year.
Hostel, classroom and playground rules are formulated by Staff, with the participation of the children where appropriate. Consequences for the violation of rules are put in place at the same time, so that all are aware of both rules and consequences. This discipline exists for the express benefit and protection of all the students, in order to ensure respect towards others, and safety and security within the school environment.
Every child attending the school is expected to know and abide by the rules.
Procedures may differ according to ages or phases within the school:
1) Inappropriate behaviour needs to be identified and addressed pro-actively. A peace table is held to deal with first time offenders and counselling given.
2) If behaviour is repeated, one-to-one counseling with the Principal coupled with a warning of consequences of a repetition of unacceptable behaviour.
3) Continued inappropriate behaviour will be reported to parents and a black mark issued to the student. Counselling would be recommended.
4) If the behaviour is repeated, a second black mark will be issued, a Parental interview will be called and behaviour modification will be outlined. Professional counseling, regular report backs, and a positive improvement in behaviour will be required if the learner
is to remain in the school.
5) If the behaviour does not improve, three black marks in any one year will result in dismissal from the school.
Appeals & Grievances Procedure:
At Knysna Montessori School staff members are expected to set an example by showing respect for the individuality of each and every child. Students should feel that staff are friendly and approachable.
In the 3-6 year and 6-9 year phases, appeals and grievances of students should be dealt with promptly by the teacher in charge. To facilitate this, a peace table, with the rules of the peace table displayed on it, should be available in each phase area.
Phase council meetings are held every Friday in the intermediate, junior high and high school phases. Council meetings serve as a forum for students and staff to voice their issues, appeals and grievances. The students have turns to lead council meeting and the format is:
– Brag Session
– Thank You’s
– Business of the week
During issues no names are mentioned – only grievances and expressions of feelings aroused by these grievances.
In the Middle and High School phases an accountability system is in place. This system is not a punitive measure, but importantly teaches the student that every action has a consequence.
“Young people must have enough freedom to allow them to act on individual initiative. But in order that individual action should be free and useful at the same time it must be restricted within certain limits and rules that give the necessary guidance. These rules and restrictions must be those of the whole institution, not forced on separate individuals as though they had no sense of responsibility and were incapable of conforming of their own free will to necessary regulations. The rules must be just those that are necessary and
sufficient to maintain order and ensure progress.” Maria Montessori (From Childhood to Adolescence second edition transcribed by Lindsay van den Berg 2006).
Should grievances not be heard, the phase teacher or Phase Head should be approached before going directly to the Principal.
The Head Directress has, within reason, an open door policy for students, staff and parents. Grievances are dealt with promptly in a kind and friendly manner.
The essential aim of discipline at the Knysna Montessori School is to encourage our children to discipline themselves, and we therefore, endorse and foster Montessori philosophy which states that “an individual is disciplined when he is the master of himself, and when he can, as a result, control himself when he must follow a rule of life.”
Knysna Montessori School has chosen to use scientific time lines and to research all religions on a broad basis, celebrating various religious holidays to promote cross-cultural tolerance.
We believe religious instruction is the responsibility of the parent and begins at home.
Learners are made aware of their rights and responsibilities and will be empowered through assertiveness training to expose bullies.
All learners have basic rights:
– To an education
– To feel safe in the school environment
– To human dignity
– To be respected by other learners and educators
– To be valued as individuals
All learners have basic responsibilities:
– To respect the rights of others
– To allow uninterrupted learning to take place
Types of bullying:
– Inflicting physical pain of any form. Taking, using or damaging any article belonging to another without permission.
– Making/forcing another to do something against his/her will.
– Writing hurtful, damaging things about another.
– Any other physical action which may diminish the dignity of another.
– Diminishing the dignity of another using verbal attacks which include: threats, teasing, mockery, racial slurs and hate-speech, foul language and name calling.
– Intimidation, rumor-mongering, ostracizing, manipulation and domination.
– Any other action which psychologically diminishes the dignity of another.
– This is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
– Impersonating another or identity theft of any sort.
Procedures on dealing with bullying:
Procedures may differ according to ages or phases within the school.
Students need to be encouraged to understand the difference between playground banter and the seriousness of bullying. Mentoring and discussion about the topic occurs daily in Life Orientation and Life Skills lessons.
– Bullying behavior needs to be identified and addressed pro-actively.
– A peace table is held for first time offenders, at which counseling is given.
– Senior Students in the Middle and High School use the Council Meeting Forum to express feelings and issues.
– If behaviour is repeated, offenders are given counseling by H.O.D. / Principal coupled with a warning of the consequences of any further bullying behavior. A full report of the offensive behaviour is given to parents and a black mark issued to the student.
– If behaviour occurs again, a second black mark will be issued, a parental interview will be called and behavior modification will be outlined. Professional counseling, regular report back and a positive improvement in behavior will be required if the learner is to remain in the school.
– If the behaviour does not improve, three black marks in any one year will result in dismissal from the school.
The Principal should have an open door policy, within reason, for students, staff and parents and grievances should be dealt with promptly in a kind and friendly manner.
No student/staff member will be refused admission to the school on the basis of their HIV-status, but will be subject to the same selection procedures as non-infected students/staff members.
Parents of students or staff are not required to declare their HIV-status, but are encouraged to do so, so that support can be given to the student/staff member. This information will be kept confidential by the school.
HIV-positive students/staff will be afforded the same privileges and be required to adhere to the same rules and regulations as other students/staff.
With regard to sport, any person with an open wound prior to, or sustained during, a game will be asked to leave the sports field, and will be treated by the first aid team in terms of the school’s normal HIV-infection prevention protocol.
No employee will be dismissed because of his/her HIV-status, but will be subject to the same sick leave benefits and the same policies on prolonged absenteeism or physical incapacity, as any other employee.
Knysna Montessori School will not under any circumstances tolerate the use of alcohol or illegal drugs on school premises, or in any dress or circumstances that may identify users as Knysna Montessori School pupils. Possession, distribution and use of illegal substances is outlawed in our country and is a punishable offence under South African Law. On application to Knysna Montessori School (for Middle – High School) you and your child will be asked to sign a drug policy form.
The aim of this policy is to encourage all students to abstain from using any drugs (other than those which are medically prescribed), including alcohol and tobacco. This document sets out the school’s policy on drugs, alcohol and tobacco use. Parents or guardians of students are required to sign it as acknowledgement that they have read and understood it, and that they have agreed to abide by this policy. Middle School and High School students and parents sign this form when enrolling their child or when the child progresses to the Middle School. A drug testing consent form is also issued to parents.
The school does not tolerate:
– The use or possession of any illegal or prohibited substances
– The possession of drug-related equipment such as cigarette papers, pipes, etc.
– The use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances
– The inappropriate use of solvents, inhalants and similar agents
– The consumption of alcohol and the smoking of tobacco.
Anybody found in possession of, or using, any of these substances either on school property, or when in school uniform, or when under the supervision of the school, or attending school-related functions, including sports outings and social events, will be subject to the following procedure:
– The student will first be interviewed by the school counsellor or senior member of staff to determine the nature and extent of the student’s involvement. If necessary a drug or alcohol test will be carried out and the student may be suspended whilst an investigation takes place.
– The student’s parents will be informed of the student’s involvement and they will be required to attend a meeting at the school to discuss the matter.
– If on the basis of the interview, the school considers it necessary to refer the student to an agency for professional drug counselling or other treatment, the parents will be informed of this. The cost of such treatment shall be paid for by the student’s family. In instances where parents are unable to afford treatment, the student will be referred to appropriate state health facilities or agencies.
– Disciplinary action against the student may follow if, in the opinion of the school, this is warranted by the nature of the student’s involvement and if the student is found to be dealing in drugs or involving others in their use the student will be expelled from the school.
– The school understands that addiction is a medical problem and the school’s staff, as far as possible, will treat this with the utmost confidentiality. Any student who asks a staff member for assistance in coping with drug use, will not be punished, but will be helped to attend appropriate counselling.
– If the need arises, the school will call on local authorities for the necessary support in upholding and maintaining a drug-free environment.
While the school acknowledges that cell phones have become an important and useful means of communication, it is also aware of the fact that their use and abuse, particularly by children, pose social, ethical and safety consequences. The school would prefer students not to have cell phones in their possession while they are at school or in school uniform.
All learners are to hand in and sign in their phones at the start of the day to the front office. Phones will be locked away and must be signed out at the end of the day.
Termly boarders may use their cell phones at weekends, but they must hand them in to the house parents during the week and follow the hostel cell phone rules.
Any violation of these rules will mean confiscation of the cell phone for minimum of 4 weeks.
Staff cell phones must be on silent during class and when on duty with the children. Staff may only take calls during lunch hour or free periods.
Teachers off school property/outing shall have a cell phone in case of emergency.
Staff involved with MARS may use their discretion about cell phones because of the nature of the event.
In accordance with Government policy, a student who has been absent for more than thirty days during the school year may not be promoted to the next level.
Should parents find it necessary for any reason to remove children from school during the term, please ensure that they have the necessary work to do whilst they are away in order to keep up with the syllabus. It is the responsibility of the parent and not the teacher.
If a child is absent for 2 days or more, a medical certificate is required detailing the reason for absence from school.
Parents are requested to submit their requests in writing to the Head Directress if they wish to take their children out of school earlier than the scheduled term dates.
Students who miss a standardised CLASS test through ill-health or other legitimate reasons will be expected to write the test on the day they return to school. A doctor’s letter must be provided. Their mark may be adjusted at the teacher’s discretion.
Students are required to hand in work on the due date to their teacher, in person.
Penalties will be imposed for work that is handed in after the due date. A penalty of 10% of the final mark will be deducted for each day after the due date that the work is overdue up to a maximum of three days (30%).
Students who fail to hand in assignments or who miss tasks through absence for reasons that are not legitimate may be kept after school to complete their task.
A student may be given 0 for a task only in instances of proven dishonesty or plagiarism.
External examinations and control assessment tests will comply with specific specifications given by external examining bodies.
Educator sweep of bathroom prior to exam to check for irregularities. Students are encouraged to use the bathroom before the examination begins. If the student leaves the room during the examination for a toilet break, then the time must be noted when he left and when he returned.
No bags in the examination room.
All students are to have the correct stationery for the examinations. Reminders will be given to students when the examination schedule is published. Failure to bring the necessary stationery to the exam room will result in the student having to complete the examination without the item/s. e.g. calculator, Geometry set, coloured pencils, pencil, ruler, eraser, pen etc.
All students with the exception of the Matriculants are required to attend school as usual during the examinations period. The school hours remain the same as normal. Exception – Matric students. If a student is ill, a letter from the parent and a doctor’s certificate must be provided and the necessary arrangements can then be made for the student to sit the exam at another time.
Full school uniform is to be worn (except blazers). No knee blankets, hot water bottles, toys or mascots are permitted.
Leaving the Exam Room:
The student is to attract the attention of the invigilator by raising his hand. With the exception of accompanied visits to the toilet (member of staff will wait outside and monitor time), no student will be allowed to leave the examination room until the prescribed time has elapsed.
Where students have been assessed by an educational psychologist and the recommendation is for that extra time, scribe or reader, the student will write in a separate venue and the same general rules will apply.
Any student who takes into the examination room (or has in his/her possession whilst in the room), any book, memorandum, notes or any paper whatsoever, except his/her personal copy of the examination paper and examination pad will be disqualified.
Any student, whilst visiting the toilet during an examination and who is found to have on his/her person or in the cloakroom, notes, book or memorandum, will be disqualified.
In the above cases, results for that examination paper will be declared null and void.
The Junior School students write Assessment Tests and not examinations, but the correct protocol is expected. The children are informed about the rules prior to the assessment.
Each grade 10-12 student is required to keep a portfolio of evidence of his personal work for each subject as listed on the portfolio guidelines for that subject. The material (evidence) must be stored and catalogued in the manner prescribed in the portfolio guidelines provided by their subject teacher.
Teachers are responsible for formal report cards that go out to parents in the Second and Fourth terms. In the first and third term a parent evening for each phase will be held, with students’ work on display and teachers available for discussion. Graphs detailing progress during a work cycle are done in the first and third terms in the Pre School and Junior School. A Progress report is done in the Middle and High School at the end of the first term. Reports are sent out electronically. Graphs are collected at the office.
Meetings are to be held at the end of each formal report term to discuss the student’s progress where necessary.
Assessment concessions for learners with barriers to learning:
On the advice of a competent professional such as a doctor or educational psychologist, a learner with temporary or permanent barriers to learning may be granted various concessions. These may include:
– additional time to complete tests and examinations
– spelling dispensations
– hand writing dispensations
– reader and / or scribe
Application for an Accommodation needs to be submitted with relevant supporting documentation to the IEB between January of Grade 8 and 31st October of the Grade 11 year.
Pupils must look neat at all times. Please see that your child wears full school uniform and sports kit ONLY:
One wristwatch and one set of plain gold or silver studs, one in each earlobe, may be worn. Special written permission must be obtained from the office for the wearing of a discreet religious symbol.
Piercings / Tattoos:
No body piercings or tattoos are permitted.
Hair / Braids:
Must be neat and not hanging in the eyes. Hair/Braids touching or longer than collar is to be tied back with hair accessories in plain school colours. Extreme haircuts and dyeing or colouring hair is discouraged.
Most parents are well aware of the damage over-exposure to the sun can cause. Please see that your child has adequate protection from the sun during break, at sport and in aftercare (if applicable), in the form of a good sun block and a school hat or cap which is brought to school on a daily basis during the summer. School hats and caps are available from the office.
A branded KMS school backpack is compulsory for the Junior School (6 -9 & 9-12).
A swimming / sports bag is also compulsory for your children’s sports / swimming togs. (All of the above available at the school office in the New Year.)
Access to the school site during the academic day is restricted to students and staff of the school and to bona fide visitors, who have legitimate business reasons for visiting the school. These visitors must first report at reception, and sign the visitors register.
No person beside academic staff and office staff may enter the school grounds after school hours without permission. Any person found to be present on the school site after school hours will be considered to be trespassing and may be prosecuted.
The Amphitheatre, Friday Market Field, swimming pool and sports field may be hired for use. Specific conditions apply to the hire of these facilities:
– that there is a responsible adult present for the duration
– that the hirer agrees to pay for any damage to the property which may arise as a result of his use of the school’s facilities
– the user undertaking not to hold the school liable for any injury or prejudice that the user incurs as a consequence of using the facilities
School vehicles may be used for school purposes, for example, class outings, but must be pre-booked at the office.
Keys must be signed in and out when taking a vehicle at reception.
Inspection of vehicle both inside and outside should take place before each trip.
Any incident, however minor, should be reported to the Business Manager immediately so necessary action can be taken.
Drivers of school vehicles must hold a P.D.P license if transporting children.
Log books are to be kept in the cubby hole of each vehicle and are to be filled in each time the vehicle is used – date, name of driver, reason for use, kilometers used, any faults noticed & condition of vehicle on entry.
Both in-house and external advertising are used to promote the school and its activities. Occasionally newsworthy photographs and coverage of school activities and achievements are submitted to our local media. Should you have any objection your child / children being involved in this, please let the office know.
We also have a school Facebook Page and Webpage which is overseen and updated regularly by our staff, and all parents are cordially invited to support this.