Welcome to the 2017/2018 DVMS School Year

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Here are your important dates for August and September, as well as some general housekeeping and reminders, including staffing changes and class lists for the 2017.2018 DVMS school year. There is a lot of information here, so please refer to this post for reference (it was also emailed on August 16). Scroll down for details of each dated item.Important Dates


  • Wednesday, August 30 and Thursday, August 31,  9:30-11:00 a.m.: New Casa Student Orientation Days.


  • Wednesday, August 30, 8:30 - 11:00 a.m.: New Upper Elementary Student Interviews. Please sign up online.


  • Wednesday, August 30, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.:  Upper Year 6 Student Leadership Meeting.


  • Thursday, August 31, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Toddler Community Open House (new Toddler Community families are welcome to drop in).


  • Tuesday, September 5, 8:30 a.m.: First day of school!


  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, 4:00 p.m.: Lower Elementary Parent Orientation


    • Casa North: September 13
    • Casa South: September 14
    • Casa East: September 15


  • Saturday, September 16, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Welcome Back to School Picnic at DVMS (bring your picnic lunch and chairs). Weather dependent.  If it rains...it's cancelled.


  • Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26: School Photo Days.



  • Wednesday, September 27, and Thursday, September 28: Toddler Community New Student Parent-Teacher Interviews. Please sign up online.


Events and InformationEvery Friday during the school year, we post on our website and send out an email entitled "Events and Info" that outlines what's coming up in the week(s) ahead. The website post contains full details and photo galleries of your children hard at work and fun, and is updated if anything changes. Please be sure to read your "Events and Info" each week. All event items and their details are also posted on the calendar at dvms.ca.
Hot Lunch RegistrationThe hot lunch enrollment deadline is Monday, August 28, so that we can hit the ground running, with full bellies, starting Sept. 5. [Please note that hot lunch is mandatory for Toddlers and optional for Casa and Elementary children.]For the coming school year, hot lunch will be provided by Food is Love Caterers.  We are thrilled to have a local Hamilton business once again cooking up our delicious food.Hot lunch is a per term commitment.  We like to encourage children to see a term through and (hopefully) expand their palettes. There is a $25 administration fee to make changes or to come on or off hot lunch in the middle of a term. We are unfortunately not able to accommodate children who forget a lunch or who would like to try it for a week as the food is portioned per number of children enrolled.Hot Lunch enrollment forms can be submitted online through our website .Vegetarians, vegans, and allergies can all be accommodated.Hot lunch fees for the year are:Toddler: $270.00Casa: $360.00Elem: $420.00Term 2: Jan. – MarchToddler: $150.00Casa: $200.00Elem: $240.00Term 3: March – JuneToddler: $210.00Casa: $290.00Elem: $330.00Please complete the registration form and bring in postdated cheques made out to “DVMS” (one for each term, dated for Sept. 1, 2017, Jan. 1, 2018, and March 1, 2018) if you would like to enrol your child in the Hot Lunch program.
New Casa Student OrientationNew Casa student orientation days will take place on Wednesday, August 30, and Thursday, August 31, from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. each day. Your child will have the opportunity to meet their guides, explore their environments, familiarize themselves with our facilities, meet other children who are also new to DVMS, and get a sense of our routine.These two days are for first year Casa students and their families, as well as any Casa students who are new to DVMS and starting Casa in September. Parents and children, please plan to attend both days.Please meet in the foyer of the school each day, at which time your child will be welcomed by their Montessori guide and taken to their Montessori environments to meet their new friends. There may be a tear or two, but we ask that parents help us establish a consistent routine and process from the start by not accompanying children past the foyer.  Please know that we have been down this road many times and that if you trust in the process your child will soon be happy and tear-free.On Wednesday:
  • Parents will attend a Montessori 101 with Tony, in the gym, from 9:30 to approximately 10:30. Bring your questions and a pen and paper if you desire.
  • Parents of first-year Casa children (not children entering the second or third year of Casa) will then have the opportunity to visit our Casa dei Bambini environment and meet the guides there. Casa dei Bambini is the afternoon Casa program for first year Casa children who stay full days. Second- and third-year children will be introduced to the playground.

On Thursday:

  • Children will be dropped off at 9:30 and will again go straight to their Casa environments.
  • Parents are invited to explore the wonderful downtown Dundas community -- lots of local coffee shops and shopping -- and return to DVMS to visit your child's Montessori Casa environment at 10:30.
  • We will all meet on the playground to pick up at 11:00 and to head out for the last bit of summer vacation before school starts on Tuesday, September 5.

If you or your child are unable to attend the orientation days, please let us know.At the orientation, we will be distributing an envelope of important information and forms that must be returned on the first day of school. If you are unable to attend the orientation, please remember to pick up your package on the first day of school.

New Upper Elementary Student InterviewsNew Upper Elementary students and their parents (both new, first year Upper Elementary children and new-to-DVMS Upper Elementary children) are asked to attend a 15-minute introductory meeting with their Montessori guides on Wednesday, August 30, between 8:30 - 11:00 a.m. Please click here to select an interview timeslot. (Class lists were emailed on August 16 if you are unsure).
Upper Year 6 Student Leadership MeetingStudents entering their final year of Upper Elementary are asked to attend a Leadership Meeting with their guides on Wednesday, August 30, from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Toddler Community Open HouseThis is a drop-in open house for new Toddler Community children and their parents. Please drop-in anytime between 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 31, to chat with the Toddler Community guides and let your adorable little ones have a good look around their new Montessori environment.
First Day of SchoolAnd...we're back! The first day of the 2017-2018 school year is Tuesday, September 5. We will be handing out calendars that day.  If you need any dates before then, please visit the calendar on our website.
Lower Elementary Parent OrientationThis orientation session, at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, is open to all Lower Elementary parents. You are strongly encouraged to attend to chat with the guides and go over some of the routines and expectations for the year.
New Casa Children Parent-Teacher InterviewsParents of children that are new to the DVMS Casa program, either as first-year students or as new-to-DVMS second- or third-year Casa students, are asked to sign up for a brief introductory meeting with your child's Montessori guides. These meetings will take place over three days, from 3:30-6:00 p.m., as follows:
  • Casa North: September 13
  • Casa South: September 14
  • Casa East: September 15

Please click here to select your child's Montessori environment/guides and your interview timeslot. Class lists were emailed on August 16 if you are unsure of which Montessori environment your child is in.

Welcome Back to School Picnic at DVMSThis event has been rained out for last 500 or so years, but we will try again on Saturday, September 16, from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (ish). This is a fun picnic day on the playground to welcome everyone back to school and give you time to renew old acquaintances and meet some of the other wonderful families who have chosen an authentic Montessori education for their children. Bring a picnic lunch, chairs and/or blankets, and post up under the trees for food, fun, and friends.
Photo DaysPhotos will be taken over the course of two days this year: Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26. Photos will once again be taken by the wonderful Lindsay Palmer.
Lower Elementary New Student Parent-Teacher InterviewsParents of new Lower Elementary students (both new, first year Lower Elementary children and new-to-DVMS Lower Elementary children) are asked to attend a 10-minute introductory meeting with their Montessori guides on either Tuesday, Sept. 26, for Lower Elementary South (Noeleen and Christine) or Thursday, Sept. 28, for Lower Elementary North (Jodi and Kathleen). Please click here to select an interview timeslot. (Class lists were emailed on August 16 if you are unsure).
Toddler Community New Student Parent-Teacher InterviewsParents of new Toddler Community children are asked to attend a 20-minute introductory meeting with their Montessori guides on either Wednesday, Sept. 27, or Thursday, Sept. 28. Please click here to select an interview timeslot.

Housekeeping and Reminders:

2017.2018 DVMS Staffing Changes and UpdatesThere are few staffing changes and updates for the 2017.2018 DVMS school year:

  • Kathleen Miszuk is new to DVMS and will join Jodi in Lower Elementary North (Carol retired, again, at the end of last year) and is moving back to Hamilton after many years abroad. She has over 15 years of Montessori teaching experience and is trained at both Casa and Elementary levels. She also has a Masters in Montessori Education from Endicott College. Kathleen has been working in Cabo San Lucas for the last decade in Casa, Lower, and Upper elementary environments.
  • Kathleen Liu, who you may have seen here last year when she did some of her Montessori training with us, will be joining us on staff as LRT support in Casa East in the mornings and school-wide on a part-time basis in the afternoons.
  • Christine Komarnycky will covering for Joanna in Lower Elementary South until her return from maternity leave. Christine has over 25 years experience working in Montessori at every level -- from Toddler to Upper Elementary. She is also an Ontario College of Art graduate and has been working at DVMS as a substitute Montessori guide at all levels, and as an Elementary art specialist, for a number of years.
  • Hilary Warne is new to DVMS and will be covering a leave in the Toddler Community for the first term.
  • Congratulations to DVMS Toddler Community Montessori guide Kate Millie who completed additional Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) Toddler-level training in Denver this summer.
  • Congratulations to DVMS Learning Resource Specialist Mairi Achong who completed her MACAR training in Dallas at the Shelton School.
  • Michael Rode will be moving to Upper Elementary West to work with Kathleen.  Anna Lugowski is moving on to spend more time with her children.
  • Catherine Warne will continue to work with Terence in Upper Elementary East, now on a full-time basis.
  • Lucie Laplante is now Lower Elementary French specialist.
  • Lisa Savard-Quong is now the French Specialist in the Casa and Bambini Montessori environments.
  • Pat Stephens, Serena Sherping, Mary Flewelling, Elizabeth Flenniken, and Shalyn Baker (and Tony) all took part in the International Montessori Congress in Prague this summer.

 ArrivalWe kindly ask all students to arrive at 8:30 a.m. sharp every day. The Montessori day consists of 3-hour work cycles. The purpose in having long, uninterrupted blocks of work time is to allow students to select work freely and become absorbed in work that has a particular fascination for them at each point in their development. Late arrivals disturb the children's focus, concentration, and intellectual exploration, and make settling in difficult for your child.DismissalWe understand that parents (and children) lead busy lives and sometimes an early pick up is necessary.  As much as possible, we ask that you pick up at the appropriate time for your child's level (3:30 p.m. for Toddler and Casa children; 3:45 p.m. for Elementary students).  Parents with children in both Casa and Elementary are asked to arrive at 3:45.Both Casa and Elementary children have responsibilities that happen at the end of the day and that contribute to their community. Leaving school early disrupts this process. The Elementary children also have gym and going out activities that run until 3:45 p.m. If you do need to pick up early, please let administration know by email or telephone and we will attempt to have them ready in the foyer.It is important that we account for each child's dismissal. Please ensure that your child says goodbye and shakes the hand of the staff member with the clipboard by the main entrance. This ensures that each child's dismissal is noted on the attendance sheet. If someone other than the pri:mary caregiver or contact is picking up your child, please let us know by email. Our staff may request to see photo ID for alternate persons picking up students. We do encourage an active social time after school, however, due to the number of students, parents, and siblings on the playground it can become chaotic, so we ask that you supervise your child once you have arrived and ensure that if your child becomes disorderly you quickly take them home.Parking & Drop OffOur parking lot can pose a few challenges at drop-off and pick-up.  We ask that all parents of elementary-aged children drop their children off nearby and allow them to walk to the school on their own.  This not only leaves parking spaces open for those with young children but also gives your Elementary child the independence they need. With your written permission (email will suffice), Elementary-level children can also dismiss themselves from school and walk home, or meet you at a pre-determined spot nearby.Parking along the walkway fence is not permitted as this is a fire route.  It also produces a bottleneck at the bottom of the driveway, which is a hazard.Please be respectful of, and courteous to, your fellow DVMS parents and our neighbours.

DVMS Community DinnerThe annual DVMS Community Dinner, where we invite you all to come enjoy a fabulous meal, some beverages, and a whole lot of fun conversation with really smart, loving, made-the-best-choice-for-their-kids-education parents just like you. Mark the evening of Friday, October 20, on your calendar and plan to attend!
ImmunizationsNew children to DVMS will have an immunization form come home during the first week. Please fill it out, sign, and return. We are required to keep a record of your child's up-to-date immunizations and to submit them to Hamilton Public Health. When your child has any updates to their immunizations, we also require these on file. Please ensure that your child's immunizations are up-to-date and if they have had any updates in the last year please notify Holly in person or at admin@dvms.ca.
Personal Information Change FormDuring the course of the year, if you happen to move, change employers, get a new phone number, a new email address, etc., please fill out a personal information change form. These can be filled out and submitted electronically on our website.
Before and After School CareDVMS offers Before School Care from 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. The program functions the same as After School Care, where parents pay per use (no need to sign up or let us know ahead of time). Children who are dropped off prior to 8:30 will be considered to be part of Before School Care.After School Care commences at 4:00 p.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m. Children who are not picked up by 4:00 p.m. will automatically enter the After School Care program (you will be invoiced).The charge for both Before and After School Care is $3.50/half hour and you will be billed at the end of each term.
Telephone & Email List DistributionEvery year we distribute a parent telephone and email list. This encourages community and helps when arranging play dates and organizing carpools. If you do not wish to be included, please let Holly know during the first week of school.