We are a small family like community who believe and love the Montessori approach. Here, at Little Gems Montessori we give safety and health of our children and teachers the utmost priority like any family would do. As we reopen pursuant to Executive Order 149, Little Gems Montessori is taking on a tremendous responsibility for ensuring the well being of children in an environment in which the risks are significantly higher and more complex than they were only a few short months ago. The procedures outlined below are intended to facilitate the safety and well-being of our staff and our children. Appreciate your co-operation and patience as we navigate through these times.

Screening and Admittance

Children and staff will be screened for fever or signs of COVID-19 illness prior to entry to the school. An outdoor area will be assigned for drop-off and screening depending on the classroom enrolled. Drop off times will be staggered.

Parents or Guardians will take their child’s temperature upon arrival at the school. Staff will be standing 6 feet away from them. Once parent or guardian confirms that the child does not have fever, shortness of breath or cough children will be released to go to the staff. Staff will make a visual inspection of the child for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness. Staff will be wearing a cloth mask during this procedure.

Changing of shoes will be required of all staff and children.

Group Size and Social Distancing

A maximum of 10 children in one group with one or two teachers. Two groups will be placed 10 feet apart from each other at all times.

During nap time, children will be placed on cots in such a way that they do not face each other (facing each other’s feet).

Use of shared spaces (entry ways, restrooms) will be carefully controlled to ensure that children and staff maintain at least six feet of separation from children or staff from other groups.

When feasible, children will be encouraged to wear cloth face coverings within the center. Cloth face coverings will NOT be put on children under age two because of the danger of suffocation and will never be placed on a child during nap.

Snack and lunch will take place in the classroom where groups are regularly situated.. All parents are required to send snacks, lunch and silver ware for their children in individually packed containers. School snack will not be served. Lunch will not be warmed up in school. Friday pizza is cancelled until further notice.

Activities

Close person to person contact (hugging, shaking hands, etc.) will be completely avoided. Activities that are likely to bring children into close contact will be cancelled or modified. Sharing and working with a partner will be avoided too.

Sharing of supplies, toys and other high touch items (art supplies, school supplies, materials etc.) is not permitted. Children will be bring their own supply of pencils, scissors, color pencils, crayons, etc., from home and store them in a zip lock bag. Children’s belongings will be kept separate in individual storage bins or cubbies and sent home each day for cleaning and washing.

Children will have their own table space and rug which they will be using. Table will be wiped down at the end of the day and rugs washed everyday. We will try to incorporate outside learning as much as possible during morning hours. Group activities, science experiment, circle time, etc we will do outside.

Visitors

Visitors will not be permitted to enter the center during operating hours, with the exception of emergency or law enforcement personnel in their official capacity. They will be subject to the same screening procedures as children and staff.

Promoting Health and Hygiene Practices

We will be washing hands before and after every activity. Children and staff will practice frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and will be required to wash their hands upon arriving at the center, when entering the classroom, before meals or snacks, after outside time, after going to the bathroom, and prior to leaving for home. Children will be monitored to ensure proper technique.

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures

There will be increase in the frequency of cleaning toys, equipment, and surfaces, especially doorknobs, light switches, tables and chairs, and restrooms. There will be designated spot in the classrooms for used materials and teachers will disinfect the material before giving it to another child.

Enrolling / Returning to Our School

Every new / returning family after the exposure or diagnosis will be required to fill out the form acknowledging lack of any symptoms in your household. Your child will not be allowed to attend school without this form. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions on the form, you will be asked to stay away from school for 14 days and/or bring a note from a doctor clearing you to attend school.

Content Courtesy: State of New Jersey, Department of Families and Children (DCH: All Rights Reserved)