Please read through our Parent Handbook below. Some areas of this handbook only apply for our drop-off programs
(Preschool, Kindergarten, and Summer Camps).
Once you have been placed in a class, we will send you your teacher’s contact information, so you can reach them when needed.
If you have any questions or concerns before you enroll you can email your state director:
North Carolina: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact your teacher directly before or after class to notify us of absence, late arrivals, or changes to pick-up plans. We keep class time screen free unless there is an emergency.
*Please do NOT pass along important information to teachers at drop-off or pick-up, as that can be a hectic time and we may forget. Please email or text us.
Sick/Absent Child Policy
Since we are outdoors, there is less chance to pass germs than in a traditional indoor school setting. Please visit our Sick Policy page for more information on when to keep your child home.
↟ If your child is sick and cannot attend school, please text or call us so that we do not wait for them at pick up and drop off.
↟ If you know in advance that you will miss a day for vacation, etc., please email us.
↟ Please do not pass along this information during pick-up or drop-off.
Class Cancellation Policy
Wild Beginnings Nature School follows the local School District rules for weather closure in the area our school is held. If School District is closed, we will be closed as well. We will notify families of a cancellation as soon as possible via email, Brightwheel message, or text message. There are no refunds for canceled classes due to weather.
We account for 3 missed school days each year for every child due to weather cancellations. Above this we may schedule make-up classes at the end of the year.
Our classes are currently being held in Idaho, North Carolina, and Colorado in various locations. Please see the Our Locations page for an address of your class location.
Drop Off/Pick Up Policy (Preschool, Kindergarten, and Summer Camps only)
We ask that you please do not drop off your child more than 5 minutes before class starts and pick up no later than 5 minutes after class ends. All of our teachers have obligations before and after class to attend to and we do pay for their time if they have to stay late.
Fees for late pick up:
5 – 10 minutes late – $10 fee
11 – 20 minutes late – $25 fee
21 – 30 minutes late – $45 fee
30+ minutes late with no contact from parents and we cannot reach anyone from the pick up list, further action may be taken to ensure safety of the student. For emergencies please add reliable family members or close friends to the pick up list in case we need to contact.
Everyone can benefit from more outside time year round. With that said, we encourage one and all to get outside more! However, a drop-off nature school program may not be a good fit for every child. There are many variables to consider… from parents being willing to smartly-dress their child year round, to a child having the ability to follow directions in a potentially hazardous setting. Wild Beginnings Nature School has the right to refuse any child from enrollment for any safety concern of a child participating in our program.
Please look at program pages for schedules for our Nature Babies and Nature Explorers classes dependent on location.
Tuition is due one month in advance. There is a $5 per day late fee for late payments (capped at $20). Payments should be made through the
Venmo App @wildbeginningsnatureschool or through Brightwheel.
If tuition is not received by the 13th, student may not come to class until the amount due is paid in full including late fee. After a $20 late fee and no communication or payment from the parent, the child will be dropped from the program and you will receive notice on the child’s last day.
Please head to our tuition page to see specific tuition rates for Nature Babies, Nature Explorers, Preschool and Kindergarten.
*We also offer a 10% sibling discount for all programs excluding our summer camps.
For any withdrawals from any program we do require a 30-day notice. NO REFUNDS.
Risks and Hazards
The health and safety of our students is our number one priority at all times. In our Preschool and Kindergarten classes, our teachers are CPR certified, carry cell phones, and have first aid kits on them at all times. We teach the children comprehensive safety rules to prevent accidents or injuries, and we have established protocols if emergencies do occur. If there is an accident of any kind, a full report will be taken and caregivers will be notified at the end of the day, or sooner if needed.
Teachers are also trained to keep a close eye on the group at all times, avoid distractions, and communicate head-counts between each other to make sure everyone is accounted for at all times.
Generally, children who have experience playing outside injure themselves much less frequently than children who don’t. This is because they are given the space and time to practice real-life risk assessment, gain essential gross motor skills, and understand their physical limits. These are skills that, when developed early in life, can help foster a lifetime of self-awareness and safety in the outdoors! Within our safety guidelines and boundaries, children have the freedom and security to play, explore, and learn to their fullest potential.
We also keep a close eye on the children’s health and comfort. The teachers model awareness and care for their own bodies, and ask the children often, “how is everyone’s bodies feeling?” allowing the children a moment to check-in with their bodies, and bring an awareness to a possible discomfort or need. This helps to keep everyone comfortable, hydrated, happy, and healthy.
What to Bring
Please send your child to class each day with a backpack. Inside the backpack they will need an entire second set of clothing, socks, and mittens. These can be stored in a plastic bag so that wet/soiled clothes can then be sent home in this plastic bag.
Your child will also need a water bottle.
Your child may also want water shoes in their backpack during the warm months.
Everything should be labeled with the child’s name on it. Sunscreen and bug spray should be applied before the start of class. Please DO NOT bring any toys, electronics, or personal items from home. This creates a distraction from our play in nature, and we will not be held responsible for anything lost or broken.
Check out our clothing and gear resource page for brand recommendations and discount codes.
Lunch (Preschool and Kindergarten only)
Please send your child with a healthy, hearty and convenient lunch as well as a metal water bottle with your child’s name on it in their backpack. We will have lunch time each day to recharge and hydrate.
We will use on-site park restrooms. Please take your child to the restroom when you arrive so that they can begin the day ready to play. We will use disinfectant wipes on hands after each bathroom use.
If a public toilet is not available we will bring in our own portable toilet, pop up privacy tent, and sanitation.
Clothing and Gear
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing!”
***Helping your child dress comfortably for the weather and role modeling a positive attitude about the weather are the two things you can do to set your child up for success in our programs.
- LABEL your child’s hats, gloves and mittens and coats!
Make sure any and all clothing and shoes can get wet or dirty.
Have an extra layer, top to bottom, including socks & gloves (when applicable) inside your child’s backpack. Please check your child’s backpack regularly.
- Put all your child’s clothes inside a plastic bag, inside their backpack and include an extra plastic bag for dirty clothes to go into when necessary. This will also keep the clothes dry if it is raining or their backpacks get muddy.
- Layers, layers, layers! Many thin layers can be more comfortable than one thick layer and is more flexible for heat regulation.
Boots must be waterproof and insulated. We highly recommend “Oakiwear,” or “Bogs.” Having warm and dry toes is CRITICAL for a successful day in the forest, so please acquire the best boots you can for your child.
When the weather is fair and boots are not needed, we recommend comfortable, flexible shoes that will stay on and not hinder a child’s play while running, balancing, etc. Athletic shoes like tennis shoes, or water sandals with heel straps work well. PLEASE NO flip flops, clunky shoes, heels, or ballet flats.
We highly recommend byf thin soled “water shoes” for water play and even for general use. They provide excellent flexibility and grip for playing outside, and have the added benefit of being easily washed in the washing machine. Combine them with wool blend socks when the weather is dry for extra warmth.
When it is cold we recommend wool or wool-blend thermal socks. We highly recommend SmartWool. Don’t forget extras in the backpack!
HEAD & NECK
A well-fitting wool or fleece hat is best. Preferably with ear flaps. Please do not rely on hoods. A neck warmer is preferable to a scarf so they don’t get tangled while playing. Consider using a wool or wool/silk blend balaclava during extra cold weather.
MITTENS & GLOVES
We recommend you own multiple pairs (3-4) of gloves/mittens for your child, and pack extras (2-3 pairs of different types) in their winter backpack each day. This ensures that they have the right pair of gloves for the temperature, their comfort level, and have extras in case some get wet. Mittens that have a zipper up the back of the hand (like from the brands Gordini or Outdoor Research) are much easier for getting little cold or wet fingers in and out of. If your child prefers gloves with fingers, then Oakiwear neoprene gloves work well.
*Pro tip: on the coldest days, send your child with both fingered cloth mittens inside waterproof mits!
It is helpful to have a range of under layers to keep your child warm and comfortable in various temperatures.
↟ Base layer: a thin layer of silk, wool, or Capilene long underwear. (NO cotton.)
↟ Mid-weight: a middle layer of wool, or Capilene
↟ Heavy-weight: a thick layer of wool or fleece
***When it is fairly warm you will find a base layer under rain paints and a fleece or rain coat is sufficient. During really cold months, using all three layers under rain pants is necessary to keep your child warm and dry. On top, a base layer and mid-layer are helpful under a fleece or rain coat.
Waterproof pants are a crucial layer and are required for the months of October through April. They keep your child comfortable even when it’s not raining because the ground will be cool and damp. During very rainy weather, rain pants are better than snow pants because snow pants can absorb water and rarely have ankle cinches. It is crucial that the pants have a closure (Velcro, elastic, cord and toggle) at the ankle to cinch the pants tight over boots to keep water out. We highly recommend Oakiwear or REI. For other rain gear or gear that has been out in the rain for a season or more you may want to spray it with a water repellent spray such as Atsko’s Silicon Water guard.
Layers are important. A good fleece coat with a sturdy, proven rain jacket on top are ideal. This keeps the warmth in and rain and wind out. It is crucial that the waterproof coat have a system for cinching at the wrist to keep water out. We highly recommend Oakiwear, REI, Columbia, Polarn O. Pyret, or Hatley brands.
TREATING RAIN GEAR
Rain pants or waterproof jackets must NOT be dried in dryers otherwise they will lose their waterproofing ability. Wash in the washing machine on cold and gentle and hang dry. You can also rinse rain pants/jackets in the sink and hang to dry. If waterproofing ability begins to fade or to ensure extra strength waterproof ability, you may treat rain gear with a Durable Water Repellent.
During warmer weather, children may come to school with bathing suits under their regular clothing for water play.
For more information on what we recommend for gear please see our Clothing & Gear page.