Wildheart Kindergarten 

FAQ’s

What is the  age range for the class?

Children must be below ages 6 to sign up but may turn 6 during the school year. They may turn 6 during the school year.

Can I meet the teachers?

Yes! First, families will talk with the Lead Teacher in a phone interview to determine if the Mixed-Age Kindergarten is the right fit for each child.

Afterwards, we invite families who are interested to tour the farm for an hour-long visit before enrollment. Here, they meet the teachers in person and ideally see the class while children are in school.

When and where are the tour locations?

Currently, tours are taking place at the primary Mixed-Age Kindergarten site at Juniper Jungle Learning Farm, just east of Bend, Oregon. We offer group meet and greets and one-on-one tours. Group meet and greet details will be shared in your interview. We plan for tours one family at a time, during the class freeplay time whenever possible, to allow the child to get a feel for a day in the life of Wildheart Kindergarten. During this time parents are encouraged to bring any questions they have about the program. We ask that older siblings stay home so the Kindergarten child can enter play with their class cohort.

 

Are parents allowed in class?

Yes, depending on the nature of the parent-child dynamic while at school.  Some children do well with a parent present during their school day, while others struggle to enter into the group play dynamic if they know a parent is nearby. When a parent is present, we ask them to participate fully in volunteer work that supports the activity of the day, with cell phones put away for the duration of the class. To request a volunteer day, please check in with the Lead Teacher.

 

How many children are in the Mixed-Age Kindergarten?

Following state guidelines for Teacher-Child ratios, we are able to enroll 10 children per credentialed teacher, however, we prefer smaller group sizes and have capped our farm class at 15 or less students with two teachers.  This allows teachers to work with children one-on-one and give extra care for developing skills such as independent pottying, crafts and gardening.

 

What are drop-off and pick-up times for class? What if I am late to drop-off or pick-up time?

Class begins at 9:30 AM and ends at 1:30PM.

The morning drop-off window is 9:15 AM- 9:30 AM.  Circle time begins shortly afterwards, and is the best way for your child to integrate into the class for the day. If arriving late, please email or text (morning of) your child’s teacher so they know to expect you.

Pick-up time is promptly at 1:30 PM right after the closing circle.  Please notify a teacher or another parent to share with the teacher as soon as possible if you are going to be late. If arriving 15 minutes after the pick-up time there is a $10 fee, and an additional $1-per-minute fee thereafter. During your child’s registration, please include all emergency pick-up contacts so that others, including class parents whom you know and trust, are able to pick up your child if needed.

 

What are the Inclement Weather and AQI Smoke Policies?

Being an outdoor school, we infrequently will need to delay or cancel school due to inclement weather and poor air quality. If outside temperatures hover below 23 degrees for the day, we will cancel class.  With freezing fog in the morning, we will delay school start time. If the Bend-LaPine school district delays or cancels school due to weather and icy road conditions, we will automatically cancel class. In some cases, canceled classes will be made up at the end of the school year.  Please review the Smoke Policy here .

 

In the outdoor class setting, how will my child stay warm in winter?

We utilize a large greenhouse and a heated tipi for warm shelters during the winter months.  A large campfire, arranged by the class during Fall months, provides a warm gathering place for circle time and stories throughout the day.

 

Are scholarships available for Kindergarten?

We offer scholarships on an income-based, as-needed option, while funds are still available. You can apply here.

 

What are the Kindergarten registration cancellation policies?

We offer limited refunds based on a 24-hour enrollment cancellation, or Wildheart account credits in qualifying situations. Please carefully review our webpage for details of cancellations and Registration Protect options during payment. Missed classes within the session due to family events such as illness or travel will not be refunded.

 

What are the current Illness and Health Policies to ensure health of the class? 

Please read the current Health Protocols to learn more.

 

Where can I find the Wildheart Communicable Disease Plan?

Corona Virus | Wildheart Nature School

 

What if mask mandates return?

At any point during the school year, Wildheart parents, staff and children are not expected to wear a mask against their will.

 

What is the Kindergarten bathroom option and potty routine?

We utilize two potty bathroom locations, one is a standard porta-potty cleaned regularly, the other is a wooden stall with a camp-style seat that has been sized for young children. We incorporate two daily “potty trains”’ into our routine, once before snack at 10:30 AM and once before lunch at 12:30 PM, with thorough hand washing after.  At any point in the day the children are able to use either potty, with assistance from the teachers if needed.

 

What should I pack for my child in Kindergarten?

Please review your confirmation email for the complete list of pack items, which includes a daily snack and lunch, full water bottle, close-toed shoes, layers for warm, hats for sun or warmth, seasonal waterproof gear, and a complete change of clothes set to remain at school.

 

Are meals provided?

No. With the variety of dietary preferences and allergies, we request children to bring their own healthy foods for snack and lunch.  We occasionally provide a small snack when it is relevant to our activities- such as All-Family Festivals or Birthday Celebrations, and these snack are limited to muffins, fruit, tea and natural beverages. We will always check in advance for children’s allergies.

 

Can I bring food for the class?

For your child’s birthday celebration, scheduled between the parents and Lead Teacher, parents are invited to bring either an organic fruit for each child (i.e. Mandarins or a fruit skewer) or low sugar muffins. If Gluten Free/Non-Allergen items are needed, the teachers will suggest them.

 

How are birthdays celebrated?

The Lead Teacher invited parents and siblings to attend for a morning circle -or- closing circle, to celebrate the child’s belated, upcoming, or exact birthday. Celebration song will accompany a timeline of the child’s life with photos brought by parents.

 

What is the general weekly and daily rhythm?

9:30 AM Arrival and Warm Tea on Tuesdays

10:00 AM Morning Circle and occasional Nature Hike

10:30 AM Wash Up and Snack

11:00 AM Freeplay or Inspired Activity

Example Activities:

Tuesday: Letter Learning and Journaling

Wednesday: Gardening

Thursday: Shelter and Campfire Building

12:30 PM Wash Up and Lunch

1:00 PM Art in Activity

1:30 PM Closing Circle and Pick Up

 

Why is the Kindergarten class offered in a mixed-age cohort?

Social interactions between a mixed-age range allow children to enter into different levels of engagement with a natural unfolding of age-appropriate challenges as they grow through the range.  The younger children can look up to the older children as “big brothers and sisters” who care for them throughout the day, while the older can become the caretakers while engaging in more developed play amongst each other.

 

What is the Behavioral Policy?

We create an environment that supports respect for oneself, others, and nature. Much of our discipline efforts go into preventative measures to maintain a safe and respectful class environment. If a child is repeatedly breaking rules, we will go over the ground rules one-on-one with them, and will help redirect their behaviors to safe engagement in play. We will include parents after repeated reminders, if physical behaviors arise, or if a stay-home day is needed after multiple incidents.

 

How do I enroll?

First, you can APPLY HERE and a teacher will reach out to you for an initial interview. Once accepted, you can register on the Wildheart Kindergarten website with a deposit and full payment or payment plan to hold your child’s spot.

 

I don’t see my question here. How can I learn more?

Contact us if you have more questions. Please contact your child’s teacher if already enrolled.