BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS
First Week of School-Staggered entry
The first week of school operates under a staggered starts schedule to help ease Pre-K students into the new routine. August 28 and 29 are full school days for Kindergarten students only. August 30 and 31 are modified days for Preschool students only, from 7:45-11:00 am. Transportation and lunch are not provided for the modified Pre-K days (8/30, 8/31). September 1 is the first full day with both Preschool and Kindergarten students.
These typically arrive via postcard in the mail the week before school starts.
It’s OK to bring supplies anytime in the first week or so of school–the teachers don’t expect you to have supplies on day one.
You can find a list of supplies that teachers at George Watts put together specifically for our school here.
You may want to wait until Open House to see if your teacher has any additional special requests.
Physical Education, Art, and Music are the three “specials” at George Watts Montessori. Your child’s classroom attends one special for a full week, and then rotates through the other specials one week at a time. Your child will bring home a special's schedule each month, so you know when to send him or her to school in closed-toe shoes for P.E.
Doors open at 7:30a. Last bell is 7:45a
School releases at 2:15p. Parents can arrive for pick up between 2:15-2:30p.
The earlier you sign up for buses, the better for scheduling routes.
Bus routes, schedules and stops will be provided to families through each individual child’s school. Visit or call your school to get the most up-to-date information.
Track your child's bus with the Here Comes the Bus App
Learn more on the Durham Public Schools Transportation website
Pre-K Bus Riders
ALL preschoolers must be secured in a child safety restraint system appropriate for the child’s height, weight and age and secured and used properly.
See the regulations in Chapter 5 of this online document.
And chapter 6 describes how to buckle your child in. All parents must receive training in this. The school should provide this information to families with Pre-K bus riders.
Read an explanation of how the carpool line works here.
See maps of the carpool line routes here.
Drop off is at the Urban Avenue entrance.
Pick up is behind the school, by the rear door that faces the playground.
It is perfectly fine to walk your child to his/her classroom door.
In order to help teach your child independence and personal responsibility, teachers prefer that Pre-K and K drop-offs are short and sweet. Kiss and say good-bye. Try not carry your child’s backpack, and resist the urge to unpack it for them in the classroom. We know it's easier said than done during the first week or so - but the faster everyone transitions into the new routine, the faster the children can grow confident in their own abilities.
Dogs (other than service dogs) are not allowed on school property.
PARK AND WALK
Another option is to park and walk your child(ren) in. If you do this, keep in mind:
Limited 2-hour street parking is available on Watts, Urban and Dacian.
You are not allowed to park in the Watts Street Baptist Church parking lot across the street from the school, on Urban Avenue. The church respectfully requests it not be used by George Watts Montessori.
EARLY & AFTERCARE
High quality childcare is offered at George Watts Montessori before school from 6:30am- 7:45am, and after school from 2:15pm - 6:00pm Monday through Friday for a monthly fee. Activities during aftercare include homework time, library time, physical fitness, computer lab time, arts & crafts, guest speakers and performances.
Learn more at the Durham Public School's website here
Learn more about aftercare for Pre-Ks specifically here
Find online registration forms in English & Spanish here.
LUNCH / SNACKS / BREAKFAST
Lunch: Lunch operates by on a rolling schedule. The window of time when each of the three grade levels will begin lunch is listed below, with the actual time varying slightly by classroom. For example, all Primary classrooms will begin lunch by 10:20a, some as early as 9:55a. You can ask your teacher at Open House what specific time your child’s classroom will have lunch. Lunch will be served on early release days.
Lower Elementary: 10:30a-11:00a
Upper Elementary: 11:25-11:45a
There are several ways your child can pay for lunch:
By writing a check to George Watts Cafeteria and bringing it to the cafeteria or putting it in your child’s school folder.
By sending your child to school with cash in their folder for lunch.
By signing up to pay online here.
Breakfast: Every child enrolled in Durham Public Schools can eat breakfast free of charge. There are no forms to fill out. Breakfast is served in the cafeteria. If you don’t want your child to eat breakfast at school, be sure to let your teacher know.
Snacks: Snacks are provided by parents on a rotating schedule. Your teacher will either assign you your snack weeks or there will be a sign up at the beginning of the year. Typically, parents are assigned to bring snack for their classroom for a full week at a time (2-3 times/year). Teachers provide healthy eating guidelines for these snacks. Parents either bring in a week’s worth of snacks on Monday or bring something new each day. Either way works. Ask your teacher for guidelines specific to your classroom, including what time lunch is served.
The teacher or teaching assistant will help the little ones buying lunch navigate the lunch line. The TA or a returning Kindergartener will also help with opening containers, etc. Remember, you are welcome to come to school to eat lunch with your child anytime. Just remember to sign in at the front office first to get a “visitor” name tag
Food allergies are handled on an individual and classroom-by-classroom basis. The school is not peanut-free.
Find Breakfast, Lunch and After School Snack Menus here
WHAT IS MONTESSORI?
The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. Dr. Montessori’s Method has been time-tested, with over 100 years of success in diverse cultures throughout the world.
It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.
You can read more about Montessori from the American Montessori Society here
Durham Public Schools (DPS) Resources
George Watts Resources
Parent Engagement Resources
Strengthening Families Coalition and PFAST (Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training)
Focus Schools, N.C. Department of Public Instruction
Parent and Family Engagement Toolkit, N.C. Department of Public Instruction