Westmont Montessori School follows the mandate laid out by the Western Communities Montessori Society (WCMS) Board with regards to inclusion of all types of learners in our programs:
The WCMS recognizes that some children require additional support in order to optimize their learning in a school setting. In keeping with the belief that all children can learn and that children learn at different rates, and with the value of including students with a range of abilities, the WCMS embraces the inclusion of students with special needs in the school. This includes children with challenges at either end of the learning spectrum. Within its financial means, West-Mont School will make every reasonable effort to include children with special needs and adapt the environment and program to meet their learning needs, while not compromising the learning needs of other children. Each child’s situation is considered on an individual basis.
New admissions to our program are assessed according to this policy, and on the following criteria:
Capacity within the Classroom and Teaching Team
West-Mont tries to accommodate the learning needs of all students in its classrooms. Students with special needs often require additional staffing and/or staff time to modify or adapt the Montessori program. The demands made on a classroom team are cumulative and the addition of a new student with special needs cannot be looked at in isolation from the remainder of the class. In one classroom scenario a student’s needs can be met, yet in another that same student’s needs may be beyond the scope of the resources available.
Westmont being a small independent school cannot provide the services that may be found in larger schools and school districts. Westmont employs a Resource teacher who provides assistance to the whole school population, assists teachers in the construction of Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and performs some diagnostic testing. Other specialist services such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and physical therapy are not provided unless these services are explicitly identified as being provided by West-Mont in the IEP of a student.
Types of Special Needs
Independent schools identify special needs into different categories according to guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Education. Students identified in these categories are required to have an IEP associated with their educational program. However, not all categorized students qualify for supplementary funding from the Ministry. Additionally, there are students who have a need for supplementary support but are not categorized.
Uncategorized Students with Additional Learning Needs
West-Mont’s resource teacher provides assistance to the whole school population through direct instruction with students or by providing assistance to the teaching team. Additional specialist services such as occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and physical therapy are not provided. Parents are responsible for procuring these services. West-Mont can provide assistance in locating appropriate specialists.
Categorized Students Who Do Not Qualify for Special Needs Funding
West-Mont will provide support from its in-school resources to those students who are categorized as Special Needs. The types of assistance provided will be determined based on the education goals in the student’s IEP.
Categorized Students Who Qualify for Special Needs Funding
Additional funding can be received from the Ministry of Education based on student’s specific needs. However, this does not mean that all funds received will be spent directly, and solely on the designated student. As per Ministry of Education guidelines, how supplementary special needs grant funds are used is at the discretion of the school. All special needs grants received are pooled into the school’s special needs budget. The school also allocates funds in excess of the special needs grants received to run our special needs programming.
Westmont uses all special needs funding directly in the classroom. This can take the form of educational assistance, specific resources for use in the class, or the bringing in of outside specialists to assist students. The types of assistance provided will be determined based on the education goals in the student’s IEP.