When parents and schools work together to build a strong sense of community, everyone benefits. Parents feel more welcome and are more willing to take on an active role in their child’s education and teachers feel appreciated. Here are some of the ways in which we ensure that we build a strong sense of community within Rowntree Montessori Schools.
Welcoming and Inclusive Environment
Each morning before school begins, teachers greet our students and parents to ensure that everyone starts the day off right with a positive attitude and eagerness to learn. However, being welcoming goes further than just saying “Good morning.” Teachers and students are welcoming to all newcomers to the school as well. Starting a new school can be frightening, but we always work to make the transition as easy and comfortable as possible. Children will succeed better when they feel welcomed into a new school, so they feel confident and able to succeed.
Using multiple methods of communication can also help to build the school community. When teachers are accessible, it helps to open the line of communication with parents. At our school, we use an online communication platform called myRMS as a primary means of communication, where parents can not only communicate with their child’s teacher directly, but can also see pictures and videos of what is happening at school, get access to newsletters, important documents and many other important items electronically. This platform allows parents to check in on their child’s progress, as well as see what is coming up on the school calendar. Daily agendas are another form of communication that is used at our school. The use of the agenda helps to teach students independence, self-monitoring and responsibility, and gives parents and teachers the option of communicating with the school in a written format.
Appreciate Many Cultures
Rowntree Montessori Schools is a very multicultural environment, and truly mirrors the world that we live in. At our school, we are accepting of everyone and strive to build a community of inclusivity, awareness and respect. All year long, and especially in April when we run our International Day, we celebrate our wide range of heritages. Students are encouraged to dress in traditional clothing and to contribute a food dish that best represents their family in our large international potluck. This is truly an exciting opportunity for the entire school to come together to celebrate our multiculturalism.
Bring Families Together
Bringing together different groups of people for a common purpose can also help to build a sense of community within the school. This is done at RMS on many levels. Campus-wide activities, such as Movie Night, Skating, Disney Disco and a Year-End bar-b-que and beach day bring together children and parents from all four of our campuses. Various school-level activities also take place throughout the year, such as dances and field trips that allow students, teachers and parents to truly interact and make meaningful connections and memories.
Involvement in the surrounding community is a vital element in each student’s school experience. Throughout the year, our school aims to serve our community in a variety of ways, whether through Food Bank donations, monetary collections for various charities, or participating in the Toys for Tots program with the Region of Peel Police services, where we help children in need. In addition, we have participated in activities such as singing at Retirement Homes, and cleaning up nearby parks. Everyone benefits from giving back to the community. We also make an effort to teach appreciation and good citizenship, as we raise money and awareness for a maternity ward in Kenya, through our school’s participation with Free the Children charity.