Do parents stay for the program?
Nope! Parents are free to go, it is a fully supervised program. Parents drop off kids for all classes and pick-up in the same location.
What is your child to adult ratio? What is the class size?
We keep a very small class size of 4 kids with one adult for Chickadees, 6 kids with one adult for Sparrows, and 7-10 kids with one adult for Summer Camp and After School. In other programs with a 1 to 4 ratio, how much attention is your child really getting if there are 40 kids in the room even with 10 adults? How many of those 10 adults are actively engaging the children instead of managing other tasks?
Energy builds exponentially as group size increases. We prefer to focus our time and energy on the interaction with the student, and not on managing large groups, cleaning, or tasks like lunch prep. This gives us the ability to give each child the calm, insightful interaction with science and nature we strive for.
How strict are you age ranges?
We believe that there are many factors besides age that contribute to finding the right program and group for a child. The age ranges are a general guide and parents are encouraged to call us and talk over options for their child's needs. Chickadees are still working on potty training and taking naps, generally 2-3.5 years old. Our Sparrows, usually 3.5-5 years old can go until 1:30 PM without a nap and feel comfortable using porta potties, my trail potty, or going nature potty. Meadowlarks can be anywhere from 4-7 and usually attend school before coming to HAW.
Do you have students with various cognitive or physical needs?
Research shows that time in nature is incredibly beneficial for children with ADHD, anxiety, speech delays, and many other needs. Guided and unstructured time in nature can benefit many different diagnosis or concerns. We are not a certified special education program, however we do have many years of experience working with students with varying and diverse needs, and are happy to discuss your child's needs with you before enrolling.
What is your enrollment or registration process?
To enroll just click on Register above in the top right corner of our website. Enter the fields and click submit! Takes less than 1 minute. After we receive and process your information you will receive three forms via email:
- Medical Release
- Pick-Up Authorization Form
- Liability Waiver and Photo Release
How is payment processed?
Along with the forms above, your confirmation email will also request a check for the term. Please mail a check with your completed paperwork to confirm your child's space.
Your schedule may conflict with my child's preschool, can we attend partial sessions?
Yes, if your child is enrolled in another program that overlaps with our schedule for any period of time, you can still enroll. Contact us to work out a schedule that fits your needs.
Neither of your locations or times work for my child's routine/schedule, are you opening any new locations or times?
Yes! If you have a group of 4 or more children ready to enroll, please contact us to see if we can find a park location and a time block that works for you but doesn't conflict with our regularly scheduled offerings.
What trail packs and gear do you recommend?
Chickadees- Osprey Moki pack Sparrows- REI Tarn
You want as little weight on them as possible while still giving them the opportunity to build responsible habits. Remember the water bladder will lighten as we go, and the snack will be eaten so by the end of class the only thing in the pack could be a jacket. Please make sure your pack has a chest strap! Also check to ensure the shoulder straps are not slipping off their shoulders, especially in rain coats. Detailed gear recommendations and layering technique outlines are emailed once enrollment is confirmed.
How should I pack snack and lunch?
Lightweight lunch boxes or tupperware are key! Heavy plastic or pyrex tupperware adds too much weight to their packs, Foil and washable fabric pouches are always a good bet.
What else should I pack in my child's trail pack?
Other than water, snack (and lunch for sparrows), the only other things that need to fit in the back are a jacket, a hat, and extra underwear/pants in case of bathroom accidents. I carry sunscreen, extra socks, and extra water so no need to include those in your child's pack.
What about Poison Oak and Snakes?
Poison oak is always nearby in Marin County and supplies important habitat for various organisms. It is the first thing we work on identifying and we carry Poison Oak wipes to quickly mitigate any exposure that may occur. Snakes are also an essential part of the ecosystem and want nothing to do with humans. We move at a very slow pace listening for animals around us, runners and off leash dogs are much more at risk of having a negative interaction with a snake then we are.
Your program is rain or shine, but what about flooding and thunderstorms?
If there is an unsafe amount of rain resulting in flood warnings or thunderstorm warnings class will be rescheduled. Class time can also be altered depending on the weather and the students' initial tolerance. We want experiences in the rain to be positive and adjust class length according to the amount of rain and the number of classes they have taken. In constant heavy rain (like you are in a shower) Chickadee and Sparrow class may be cut in half to help them build an appreciation for and comfort level with rain days. If rainfall is lighter, from mist to off and on showers, full days should be expected. On rainy days parents will discuss class length with the teacher at drop-off to ensure everyone is comfortable with the plan for the day.