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     Program Requirements & Rhythm of the                       Forest School Day

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."

                                                                      -Rachel Carson

In order to be eligible for our Forest School program, Treeschoolers must be:

- between the age of 3- 7 years old by August 1st

-capable of separating from their parent or caregiver

-capable of walking in & out of the site with their own backpack on their back

-capable of listening to & taking direction, particularly as it pertains to personal / group safety 

-healthy enough to spend an extended period of time outdoors in the elements through the seasons

-toilet-trained

-able to attend "full-time" which means attending one, two or three weekly forest school sessions which is paid as tuition payments whether weekly, monthly or semester-ly

-dropped off / picked up by a parent or designated caregiver at our Forest School site.

 

Rhythm of our Forest School Day:

 

One of the endless wonders of Forest School is the fact that things in nature are constantly changing, so each session tends to offer a new mystery or delight to explore.  While there is plenty of time for deep play & contemplation, there is also a structure to our Forest School session that looks something like this (times are an estimate & vary depending upon what site we are using):

8:45 am- Drop-off

9 am- Circle-up (this is a brief circle & might include some gentle yoga, song/s, &/or special mentions for the day)

9:05 am- Walk to site 

9:15- Forest Circle ("Hello Forest"; "Who is here?"; safety demonstrations / reviews; & explanation of special projects, adventures &/or supervised tool practice on offer during the forest free play times. This may also be the time slot we eventually introduce the concept of "Sit Spots" to the children in.)

9:35 am- Forest free play, block I

10:45 am- Snack & Story (Sit Spots may occur after story & snack)

11:05 am- Forest free play, block II / tools / special projects & provocations

12:30 pm- Closing Circle & leave site

12:50 pm- Lunch (parents are welcome to join us)

*1:15 pm- Departure

*Late pick-ups are subject to late-fees (see parent handbook)

What to Pack for your Child's Day at Sol Forest School:

Your child will be expected to carry their own backpack so it is important that you have them try some backpacks on before making a purchase.  A higher-quality backpack from an outdoor / sports store will serve better than something cheaply made.  Look for a backpack with a waist belt &/or a chest belt as this helps to distribute the weight of the backpack, as well as one with a built-in safety whistle, if possible.  These can be found at REI, on-line & usually in the larger box stores.  The backpack should be big enough to carry 1 large or 2 small water bottle, some spare clothes, a hat, & any special personal items such as sunscreen, bug spray, handkerchief or tissues, etc. PLEASE do not send your child with toys or cherished items as we are not responsible for anything that is lost or destroyed while outside in the field.  We also are unable to dispense medicines to your child so these cannot be in your child's backpack.

This is what your child should bring to each forest school session:

-sunscreen on their face / body (applied by parent)

-closed-toes shoes (worn on their feet)

- spare pair of socks (in their backpack)

-a hat (a winter hat from October- March & a summer hat year-round as the sun in NM can be intense throughout the year)

-an extra t-shirt in the warmer months (in case the one they're wearing becomes too wet &/or soiled) & an extra layer (long-sleeved thermal & / or fleece of some kind) in the colder months (in their backpack)

-1 or 2 water bottles filled with water (in their backpack)

-tissues, wipes, sunscreen, hand gel, etc. IF you have a brand-name preference or your child has an allergy / sensitivity

-rain coat / pants &/or compact umbrella during the monsoon season

-spare set of clothes if "accidents" still occur

-lunch packed in a separate lunch bag with an ice block (we will keep all of these together in a separate cooler bag)

We provide a healthy morning snack that is usually organic & gluten-free.  For birthday celebrations we ask parents to provide low-sugar muffins or cookies to share with the group (nothing with icing or requiring refrigeration please as it is too much to handle in the outdoors).  We do not encourage sending separate personal snacks unless your child has food intolerances / allergies (if this is the case, please talk to Sally). On occasion, we may have a child in a session with a food allergy & if it is severe enough, we may ask parents of our other Treeschoolers NOT to send their children lunch with the offending item (peanuts or peanut butter, for example). For birthdays we also encourage sending a favorite book or story of your child's to share during our morning circle (parents are always welcome to come along & read this book during their child's birthday celebration!) 

Please check (empty) your child's backpack after each forest school session as it is highly likely you will find all kinds of "treasures" inside from their outdoor adventuring!