Damariscotta Montessori School uses positive discipline, which is implemented in a developmentally and age-appropriate fashion to meet the needs of the individual child. Our focus is on how to help children resolve problems and empower them to have a successful experience in the classroom and school community. The goal of our discipline policy is to provide an environment that promotes respect and safety for each person as well as the space we share.
The need for discipline within a Montessori classroom is greatly reduced by the prepared environment. The teachers make a point of keeping engaging activities available for the children so there is never a lack of something interesting for each student to do. The teacher may also redesign the work areas, jobs available, number of children allowed in a work area, etc., in response to classroom behavior.
For younger children, the primary method in a Montessori classroom is redirection – moving the child from a disruptive activity and engaging him or her in something more productive. Emphasis is put on directing a child to what they may do (making appropriate choices) rather than telling them what they may not do. For elementary-aged children, the primary method used in a Montessori classroom is involving the child in making respectful and constructive choices. This may be done using mini-conferences, reflective listening and questioning, giving limited choices, making agreements, class meetings, helping to resolve conflict, etc.
The classrooms also utilize a peace area. This is a comfortable area in which the child may relax and calm down, or to try to resolve conflict with another child. The child may choose to go to the peace area her- or himself or may be requested to visit the area by a teacher, or, in the case of conflict resolution, by another child. On occasion, in the event of unsafe physical or verbal behavior, or a persistent problem, a child may be removed from the classroom for a period of time to collect him or herself and to give the staff an opportunity to help resolve the situation.
Parents will be notified of significant or persistent disciplinary problems at school in a timely manner. If it is necessary to involve parents in the resolution of a problem at school, it will be done with a spirit of cooperation and with the aim of helping the child. Parental support during that time is very much appreciated. Through conferences, goals will be mutually agreed upon. If the goals are not able to be met within an allotted time, further professional help or other school placement will be considered for the child. Parents or faculty may call upon the Head of School to act as a facilitator at any time. Should it become apparent that a family cannot be supportive of the school’s missions or goals, it may be necessary for the Head of School to consider whether it is in the best interest of the school to keep the child enrolled at DMS.
In order to provide an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for all children, suspension or expulsion procedures may be executed in the event of serious and/or persistent behavior problems. Such behavior includes but is not limited to: defacing or damaging property (school or other), profanity (verbal or written), triggering a fire alarm, violence, threats of violence, blatant disrespect, disorderly conduct, and endangering the safety of self or others. This kind of disciplinary action will be determined by the Head of School upon consultation with the faculty. The Board of Directors will be notified in the event that such disciplinary action is taken.
44 Deer Meadow Lane
Jefferson, ME 04348