What to Know Before the First Day

Friendship Montessori School

What to Know Before the First Day (updated 8/20)


Changes due to COVID-19 are printed in red.



Each child needs two clean masks at the start of the day, preferably ones that they like.  I know it is pricey, but if you want to arrive with five masks on Monday, we can send them home as they are used, then you won’t have to replenish until the next week. These would be your Plus 1 as your child will arrive wearing a mask. Or you can pack a clean one in a plastic bag or container each day.  Soiled masks will be sent home daily.


WE NEED LOTS OF FORMS: (new Students) Health Inventory, Emergency Card, and Questionnaire.  Your doctor can complete the Lead Level Blood Test results in the health inventory OR on the separate form.  Despite what the form says, ALL students, regardless of where they live (some zip codes for “hot spots” are indicated) are now required to have the blood test done.  A baseline is usually done at the two-year old well-child visit, and then again, a few years later. Asthma and Severe Allergy Medical forms are available to those who need them; if they do not apply to your child, we do not need the papers.  It is a good idea to print out a copy of the Authorization to Administer Medication form to have in your child’s file at the doctor’s office.  Please be sure you have signed each form where indicated.  Parent Handbooks, finalized school calendars, snack calendars and suggestion list, and permission slips for: field trips, use of photos, and application of sunscreen and insect repellant will also be in your child’s cubby at the Open House. 

It may not be possible for you to get your doctor’s office to complete their part of the Health Inventory if they haven’t seen you in a while.  Please complete and bring in your part for School, and remember to have the Doctor’s part completed when you can see the doctor.

FMS is requiring all students to be fully vaccinated in order to attend School.  This was a decision that was discussed and thought out carefully.  It is not our desire to exclude families, but the common good outweighs all else.  School will need a current copy of the immunization form prior to the first day of attending.  During the course of the year, if your child receives more immunizations at well-child visits, please ask the doctor’s office for a fresh copy of the form so we can update the file.  Parents may not pencil in the information as was once allowed by the State.  If your child is behind on any immunizations due to being born pre-maturely or because of other medical issues, the School requires a written explanation from the doctor as to why the shots were delayed and when they will take place.  

Every student will have had some vaccinations before COVID hit.  If your doctor is not conducting well-child visits, and your child in a bit late on immunizations, the State says your child may still attend school.Just keep in touch with the doctor’s office so you know when they are seeing well children again.

 (Returning students) The State is now requiring health inventories (and immunization records, as seen above) be updated yearly.  You may wait to have these forms completed at your child’s next well-child visit, as long as we have last year’s forms on file. Emergency cards can be rewritten, or simply reviewed and updated on Visit Day.

Same as above. If you cannot get an updated form, we’ll go with what we have for now.

We like to have a questionnaire completed for each new student.

On our website, you will find a calendar and the most updated forms required by the State.  You will receive a monthly snack calendar by cubby mail.  Newsletters will be emailed to you as the year progresses.  For the first one, I will ask that parents tell me that they received it, so I will know I have the correct email addresses.

You will be asked, during the first week of school, to check your listing in the Class Directory. A hard copy will be shared afterward.

Please complete a field trip permission slip (you will be notified of each trip in advance) no trips will be taken until it is safe to do so, and a photo permission slip.

  Returning students will also need updated forms. 

YOUR CHILD SHOULD HAVE A LUNCH BOX WITH NAME CLEARLY PRINTED ON THE OUTSIDE: Ideally, we would prefer lunchboxes that do not have pictures of fighting and weapons. 

The lunchbox needs to fit in the backpack so your child can carry both in and out of school successfully.

Pack whatever your child enjoys, keeping an eye on healthy choices.  Food to be heated should be in microwave-safe containers (label these as well.)  The school will provide low-fat milk at lunch, or you may send a beverage (no soda, avoid 10% fruit drinks with added sugar and color—they tend to make children jittery.) If you include a dessert, please limit it to one; do not send candy, marshmallows, fruit roll-ups, or gummy anythings.  Although the children can hardly believe it, at school Jell-O, cereal bars, protein bars, granola bars and most trail mixes and yogurt (especially the colorful kind that comes in tubes) are considered dessert.  Teachers will check that the children have eaten enough of their “healthy, help-you-grow foods” before okaying dessert.  Please do not send silverware or cold packs; we have it covered.  Peanut butter and nuts are allowed in your child’s lunch and will be unless we have a severe allergy issue in the classroom.

Some children enjoy having a photograph of their parents or the whole family in their lunchboxes.  If you send one, laminate it or put it in a little bag so it can be wiped clean.  Lunch box notes, such as: “I love you!” and “Have a super day!” are also popular.

Pre-Primary children can request water anytime during the day, and a teacher will provide it.  This helps keep the water dispenser clean while also reinforcing social graces.  Primary children usually help themselves to water, but that is not allowed right now.  Please send your PRIMARY child with a reusable, insulated water bottle, clearly labelled.  The bottles will be kept in the children’s cubbies. Teachers will fill them as needed throughout the day.  Please choose one that is manageable for your child, and not too likely to spill.

CHILDREN DO NOT TRAVEL LIGHT; THEREFORE, A BACKPACK OR TOTE BAG IS A GOOD IDEA.  A comfortable and reasonably-sized backpack encourages independence and responsibility.  Backpacks with wheels do not fit into the cubbies.

Children in both classrooms should have a backpack for their lunchbox and whatever else.  Remember, parents will not be going in and out of the building!

WE GO OUTSIDE A LOT; THEREFORE, SUNSCREEN and INSECT REPELLANT is good to keep on hand.  We recommend you apply sunscreen before school begins. If you would like it re-applied during the day, you need to sign a consent form and provide us with the sunscreen, labeled.  Be sure it has not expired.  Lotion type is preferred to spray as the spray sunscreens which may trigger asthma attacks.  You may also opt for teachers to apply the School-purchased sunscreen and insect repellant.

REGARDING SCHOOL CLOTHING:  Children should wear clothes that are comfortable and not family heirlooms.  Avoid belts, suspenders, leotards, onesies, and any accessory that discourages the child’s independent use of the toilet.  Elasticized waistbands are the easiest for young friends who wait until the last second to get to the bathroom.  As your child becomes more comfortable with self-care, more intricate closures can be introduced.  

Avoid long dresses and skirts; they are a trip hazard! 

FMS encourages the children to treat each other gently and kindly.  It is one reason we do not allow war-play.  Please keep this in mind when selecting clothes for school.  Tee shirts with Super heroes and all their weaponry, pirates with cutlasses, skulls and crossbones, Turtles who fight, Star War beings and Spiderman images do not help maintain an atmosphere of peace and are therefore not to be worn to school.  Please respect this rule and have issues resolved before arriving at school.

Rubber-soled shoes should be sturdy and safe for active play.  No clogs, flip flops, or shoes with high heels.  Sandals must have an ankle strap.  The most common accident on the playground occurs when children trip out of slip-on shoes such as Crocs that are too big.  I am not a fan of Crocs, but many parents are; please be sure, if you send them, that you make use of the ankle strap and that they fit snuggly enough to swing, climb and run.  Cowboy/girl boots make for sweaty feet and really hurt if your child accidently steps on someone’s fingers, therefore they are not appropriate for school wear.  Socks help keep many shoes from painfully rubbing and should be worn. 

All children need to keep a pair of rain boots at school to wear on muddy days.  If it is not raining hard, we will go out.  Put a name on the boots, please!

Some children like to keep a sweater in their cubbies in case the air conditioner gives them a chill.

PUT YOUR CHILD NAME ON EVERYTHING OR YOU MAY NEVER SEE IT AGAIN.  When school starts, the Pre-Primary friends don’t really know the difference between: “your cubby” and “a cubby”, so things make the rounds.  In Primary, the cubby area is a place for hurried movements (we don’t know why) and things float, slide and plop onto the floor.  Labeling helps everything go home with the right person.

HOW WE ADDRESS TRANSITION OBJECTS:  We are aware of the importance of transition objects for some children.  We want your child to feel comfortable here, but we also emphasize that the way we do things at school may be different from home routines.  Transition items are to be left in the cubby rather than travel the classroom with your child.  S/he may visit the cubby as needed throughout the day to touch and be comforted by the object.  If it is a nap-appropriate object such as a blanket or stuffed animal, it can be cuddled during quiet time.  (One creative Mom cut a section of a treasured blanket into hand-sized hearts.  If this child got tearful during the day, he would ask for a heart from home.) Please be sure take the transition object with you at dismissal.  (Of course, we have, and always will, meet you at school after-hours to enable you to retrieve a momentarily forgotten but now really needed transition object.  Still, you know you don’t want to make that call.)

Pacifiers are okay for nap time in Pre-Primary.  Please have your designated pacifier in a labeled plastic bag or container. We do not use bottles at any time.

SHOW AND TELL:  Your child can bring a toy (no war toys), book, nature object, etc. on his/her assigned snack day.  Please encourage your child to share something simple and that s/he is comfortable having other children handle.  Lego creations are a teacher’s worst nightmare for Show and Tell; the structures are almost guaranteed to fall apart and need rebuilding each time they change hands.  We know it is hard but try to talk your children out of bringing remote control vehicles, fragile Lego creations, and electronics.  

Show and Tell is highly popular.  It is amazing to watch even two-year olds stand up in front of their class to talk about a special item from home.  So empowering!  We would like to keep it going, only this year, the object from home will not be handed off to the friends on the circle.  Please keep this in mind.  A kaleidoscope, for example, would be disappointing if shown this way. 

*****PRIMARY CLASS***** 

YOUR CHILD NEEDS A COMPLETE CHANGE OF CLOTHES, LABELED:  underpants, socks (not tights, please) shirt, skirt/pants that fit and are seasonally appropriate.  Some children keep an extra pair of sneakers as well.  Everything must be labeled with your child’s name.  If your child is wearing different clothes at dismissal than he was at arrival, you can figure you will need to replenish the clothes box the next day.  School will provide a bin for your child’s extra clothes. 

If your child is a shirt sucker, please try to move past it. Send in several spares because no one can be exposed to a spitty shirt (oh, the language of ECE!)

QUIET TIME:  A few children in Primary object to “nap” because they are “too old” hence, Quiet Time.  Each child will be assigned a cot for the year. Send a twin size flat sheet (we will fold to fit), and, if desired, a travel-size pillow (not a bed pillow) a small blanket (not a sleeping bag), and a quiet, soft, stuffed animal or baby doll (no purses, squeakers, puppets, talking, batteries, leashes, changes of outfits, light up capabilities, etc.)  bedding will be folded each day and placed inside a large pillowcase, preferable provided by you.  Please label all bedding.  Each child will have use of a school-issued drawstring bag for transporting bedding home to be washed often.  All bedding must be able to fit in the bag.  

PLEASE HAVE YOUR CHILD SELECT A POCKET FOLDER to take home important work papers, drawings, newsletters, etc.  Please go through it regularly and respectfully.  Ask questions!

KINDERGARTNERS:  K’s need a wide ruled notebook, spiral or composition style, which lies flat when opened for their journal entries.  Pages that tear out easily with frantic erasing can make a frustrating writing experience worse.  Students should have two different-looking pocket folders, one labeled “Daily Work” and the other “Kindergarten – Leave at School.” We will explain why in the fall.  Ks should also bring in a box of Crayola markers-the thick kind.


THESE STUDENTS WILL NEED AT LEAST TWO COMPLETE CHANGES OF CLOTHES, LABELED:  more for children starting to use the potty.  Don’t forget the extra shoes.  Please bring a Rubbermaid type box just large enough to hold the extra clothes. Label the box and everything in it.  These extra clothes will stay at school.  We will remind you to replenish them when needed.

If your child sucks on shirt sleeves or collars, please send additional shirts as those will need frequent changing.

IF APPLICABLE, A STACK OF DIAPERS with your child’s name on the wrapper should be kept above the changing table.  We will let you know when the supply is low.

WIPES:  wipes of your choice.  No need to label, we will share these.

PULL-UPS may be used by children who are very close to being potty proficient, or when needed just for nap.  If your child is still in the diaper stage, please do not use Pull-Ups.

NAPTIME:  Each child will be assigned a cot for the year.  Please provide a small sheet and blanket.  A flat, twin-size sheet will work.  You may also send a travel-size pillow and stuffed animal or baby doll (no squeakers, puppets, batteries, leashes, changes of clothes, light up capabilities, etc.) 

Please send a large pillowcase for folded bedding to go into each day.  Cots will be sprayed down after dismissal due to sleep-drool.

Label all bedding; it will be sent home at regular intervals to be washed. (No bed-sized pillows, no sleeping bags—the cots cannot be stacked with too much bedding.)


PLEASE help us keep these supplies constantly available by providing:

1 box Ziploc bags, snack, sandwich, quart, gallon or two-gallon (surprise us!)

1 bottle of Ranch dressing and/or ketchup

Glue sticks

Pop-up tissues

If you can find these, we would be thrilled:

Pop Up antibacterial wipes (doesn’t have to be name brand)

Lysol Disinfecting Spray

Disposable gloves  Medium/Large

Disposable Latex-free gloves Large

Appreciated, but not required:  sidewalk chalk, pinkie erasers (rectangle shaped), fun stickers, white cardstock, colored copy paper, glitter glue, plastic bags (for icky diapers), plain vinyl placemats, vinyl tablecloths, playground balls, supplies for the mud kitchen, dot/Bingo markers

No list can be all-inclusive, however, having told you what to bring, allow us to mention what not to bring.  This hit list is derived from years of experience.


Toys from home (except for Show and Tell)

Pens Candy

Workbooks Umbrellas

 Make-up Perfume

Gum Tablets, Kindles, Cell phones

Money Loose, temporary tattoos

Sippy cups/bottles Outside toys (unless being donated to FMS)

Hand sanitizer unless donated to class

Sunglasses: unless medically required.  We have seen children’s sunglasses break and cut skin in playground accidents.  We much prefer sun/baseball hats which will help keep the sun off their faces too.

If you find some interesting, new objects in your child’s pockets or backpack after school, please check with a teacher to see if they belong to a work.  Our materials are attractive and sometimes hard to resist.  We will not be upset that your child has “borrowed” something; we will be very happy to get it back.

It seems like a lot, and it is!  But we will follow up with helpful reminders!