The staff and administration of Sun Grove Montessori School are committed to providing an environment that can fully meet children’s needs within the construct of the Montessori framework and philosophy. The Montessori approach recognizes and honors the distinctive pace and abilities, as well as medical needs, of each individual child.
Our staff is encouraged to observe objectively and document behaviors. If patterns of concern become apparent staff or parents may request a formal observation by the parent, child’s Directress, Director of Education, outside specialist(s) or all choices given. Our intention is to clearly communicate any concerns or observations during parent-teacher conferences or by requesting a special conference. Our staff cannot provide medical or specialist diagnosis, however, they may request the parent provide this in order to consider accommodations.
Educational or Health evaluations can be provided through private sources. In general, families pay for this unless their insurance provider covers the service.
Educational evaluations can also be provided through state or county sources. These evaluations are provided at no cost to families. Children under 5 are referred to FDLRS and children over the age of 5 are referred to the Saint Lucie County ESE Department. Referrals can be made for:
- speech; articulation and pronunciation
- language; communication, comprehension and more
- gifted (typically parent-initiated when a student is transitioning to a new environment because children have the opportunity to advance at their own pace within the Montessori environment).
If found eligible through FDLRS or the county ESE Department, Service Plans will be drafted and they will outline the details of eligibility including locations and times that services are available. Arrangements are made between the family and the county or state’s contracted service provider(s). Several variables determine if services can be brought to Sun Grove or whether the student will be asked to travel to another location.
Students benefit the most when classroom teachers and the Director of Education are invited to screening and summary meetings during the evaluation process. We also welcome and will help facilitate onsite observations by outside specialists at Sun Grove. After an educational evaluation or medical recommendation has occurred, the child’s classroom teacher(s) and Director of Education will request a meeting to determine an agreed upon SGMS Accommodation Plan. Documentation must be provided for us to proceed with any Accommodation Plan.
Additionally, when considering our ability to modify instruction, environments or protocols, parents must be aware that authentic Montessori environments are not designed to provide external rewards, a high level of adult direction, increased adult prompting, or multiple students moving towards identical accomplishments and tasks at the same time. When considering life threatening allergies, parents must be aware that we can isolate food products purchased and provided by Sun Grove and can aid in the education of students and parents but cannot provide 100% assurance of cross contamination from foods eaten prior to arrival or foods brought into school by staff, children and other visitors to the school. The majority of our students eat lunch in the classroom environments they work in.
Creating an Education or Health Accommodation Plan for an existing student, as well as, considering new or continued enrollment and transition of a child with an existing IEP or Service Plan, as well as, a SGMS Accommodation Plan, will be affected by the following considerations:
- The composition of the existing classroom(s).
- The nature of the applicant’s needs for accommodations.
- The ability of the parents to use outside support services, if applicable, or to take on more involvement in the child’s need for individualization. In some cases this involves outside therapy or shortening the length of a younger child’s school day.
- The individual teaching team’s experience, training, and confidence in meeting the child’s needs.
Following an initial trial period where an agreed upon SGMS Education or Health Accommodation Plan is instituted, regular follow-up meetings will be scheduled. Additionally, if medication and/or outside services are recommended, it must be communicated and kept ongoing until the professional releases the child or it is determined between the school and family that it be discontinued. Enrollment, re-enrollment and transition to new classrooms may be dependent upon the success of accommodations and/or follow through by the family. Our goal is always for the success of the child and the classroom as a whole.