FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT DO YOU DO IF THERE IS A THUNDER AND LIGHTENING STORM?

Our teachers are trained to know the distance a thunderstorm is from our location. If a thunderstorm becomes too close and could jeopardize the children's safety, we have a small camping cabin we can gather in if needed to wait out a thunderstorm. The children will never gather in this building for anything other than an emergency. Heavy rain is not always accompanied by thunder and lightening, and when thunder or lightening is not present but rain is strong, the children can gather under their class tarps.

WHAT DO THE CHILDREN DO WHEN IT IS FREEZING?

One of our school's mottos is "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." Our exhaustive clothing requirement list ensures children will be warm on the coldest of days. When the children are playing and moving their bodies, they will naturally keep warm and their winter insulating layers will keep the heat close to their bodies. We will build campfires with the children for warmth as well. When we have a combination of temperatures well below freezing, heavy precipitation, and high winds, we may cancel class.

MY CHILD HAS NEEDS THAT MAY NEED EXTRA ASSISTANCE. ARE THEY STILL ABLE TO COME?

Our programs are designed for children to be in a group setting with one or two instructors. Our instructors do not have the capacity to care for a child who needs special one on one care on a regularly basis. Our instructors are not trained in working with children with developmental delays or have unique needs. If a child has needs that require one on one assistance, the child may still come with a caregiver to accompany them.

DOES MY CHILD NEED TO BE POTTY TRAINED?

Yes. In the winters when it is cold, changing pull ups or diapers creates unsafe conditions to remove so much clothing and getting cold while getting changed. Instructors are available to assist preschoolers with using the toilet. Forest kindergarten and co-op students are expected to fully use the restroom on their own with no assistance.

All locations have a toilet at some point throughout the day. However, using the restroom in the woods is inevitable in our outdoor setting when we are far from a restroom. Students are taught how to use the restroom outdoors properly. 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE CATAWBA AND FINCASTLE LOCATIONS?

Our Catawba location is focused on primitive nature-based skills such as foraging, wild crafting, whittling, fire building, shelter building, and survival skills. Our Fincastle location is focused on farming and homesteading skills such as animal husbandry, gardening, water management, and food preservation.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ON FOREST SCHOOLS?

MY CHILD ISN'T 3 YET, CAN THEY JOIN A PRESCHOOL CLASS ANYWAY?

We have a very limited number of spots for 2 year olds to join a preschool class. Those spots are typically reserved for teacher's children or younger siblings. If teacher's children or siblings are not filling spots, they may be open to other families.

ARE TEACHERS TRAINED IN FIRST AID AND CPR?

All of our teachers are trained in Wilderness First Aid and Infant/Child/Adult CPR. Substitute teachers are not expected to be trained in Wilderness First Aid or CPR, but will always be placed with a teacher who is trained.

WHAT AGES CAN BE A PART OF A PROGRAM?

Ages 3-12. Once a child ages out of our programs, they can apply to be an Assistant Instructor.

WHY IS EACH LOCATION A DIFFERENT TUITION COSTS?

Each location has different associated costs and supply needs. The tuition is based appropriately.

ARE YOUR PROGRAMS AFFORDABLE?

Absolutely. If you need financial assistance, we have tiered tuition to choose a price that fits the needs of your family.

WHO DO I CONTACT FOR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES?

Email Bekah Quirin: bekah@valleyforestschool.com

HOW MANY DAYS DO I ENROLL FOR?

The recommended number of days for enrollment is 2 days per week for preschoolers and kindergarteners and 1 day per week for co-op students, but we accept students for 1-4 days.

DO YOU OFFER SUMMER PROGRAMS?

We are bringing summer camps back for the summer of 2023!

CAN I GET ON A WAITLIST?

The short answer is no, we do not place students on a waitlist. Re-enrollment opens in February for our existing families and new siblings who are eligible for programs first. Enrollment for new families opens in March on a first come first serve basis. Once all spots are filled in a class, a waitlist is established. Should a spot come open mid year, you will be contacted in the order of the waitlist.

DO I HAVE TO ENROLL FOR A FULL YEAR?

We require a commitment for at least one semester, but preferably one year. The community built among the class is dependent on time to build trust and relationships. Students coming and going throughout the year disturb this connection.