FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Growing Wild Forest School meets for ten months out of the year, followed by a summer camp for extended ages. We generally follow the Buncombe County Schools schedule, including holidays, breaks and closings due to inclement weather. Our complete yearly calendar can be found here.
How long is the school day?
We offer four-hour programming five days a week, Monday through Friday from 8am-12pm OR 1-5pm. At this time we are not able to offer a full-day option.
Where are you located?
Our school meets on private land in West Asheville, North Carolina along the Hominy Creek Greenway. Our small campus has access to forest, creek, and meadow areas which support diverse nature connection. In the coming years we hope to expand and open more forest schools in other parts of town. Please support The Forest School Foundation with a donation if you'd like to help us succeed in this vision!
Are you full-time or part-time?
While we offer a flexible schedule of two to five days, registration priority will be given to families enrolling for three or more days per week. Because it is typically easier for the child to adjust to a consistent daily schedule, we strongly prefer that families choose consecutive weekdays to attend, rather than every other day or every two days, etc.
What is your teacher to student ratio?
Two teachers facilitate learning for a maximum of 12 students per day.
What age children do you accept?
GWFS accepts applications for children ages three to six, while the summer camp is extended for children up to age eight. All children must be able to respect others, follow directions, and notice their toileting needs.
When can I enroll?
Registration remains open throughout the school year until maximum enrollment is achieved: all five days of the week are full with a max of 12 students per day. If the enrollment link is live on our website then we are currently accepting new students. Once we receive your application we will contact you to schedule a site visit. If it's a good fit, we'll get set you up in our billing software and accept the application fee and first month's tuition to secure your spot.
Do you have an attendance policy?
We strongly prefer that families choose consecutive weekdays to attend, rather than every other day or every two days, etc. This is for the greatest benefit of the child in promoting simplicity and consistency in their schedule/routine, as well as building upon educational milestones.
How is tuition determined?
It's important to us to have our costs and billing processes fully transparent and understandable to you. Our tuition is based on a daily rate of $36, which includes all days of the school year that we are open, September through May. The rate for the full year is equally divided between the 9 months of school, not including summer camp months. This allows are rates to be consistent every month, regardless of how many school days there are in that month.
Secondly, there is a reason our tuition are higher than average. This 1) allows us to provide a substantial living wage to our highly-skilled and highly-trained educators 2) enables us to offer small class sizes and low adult to child ratios which are proven beneficial in child outcomes and 3) supports our not-for-profit mission and vision to advance nature education for all. Each month 7% of every tuition payment goes to fund "forestships" for other children who would not otherwise be able to attend. We thank you for supporting our school, and community, in this way!
Do you offer discounts or scholarships?
While normally tuition is collected monthly, a 5% discount is offered to families that pay for their entire year at once. A 10% discount is offered for siblings who also enroll. Please contact us directly to inquire about the availability of equity scholarships for families in financial need, supported by 7% of our regular tuition rates. Lastly, we do offer an unlimited 20% discount on children's outdoor gear (weatherproof suits, wool layers and more) from leading Swedish children's apparel brand POLARN O. PYRET. Parents may sign up at the this link and the discount will be applied once approved.
FOREST SCHOOL POLICIES
What happens if it's cold or raining?
As the Danish would say, "There is no such thing as bad weather." Indeed, our rainy days can be some of our most fun! (Check out this photo album by our favorite local photographer, Andy Wickstrom, who captured the magic of forest school perfectly on one such day.) Because our school meets in all seasons, it is imperative to dress appropriately for all types of weather. We closely monitor local wind speed, wind chill, heat index, electrical storm activity, and ice and snow, and we will cancel school if conditions are unsafe for driving or being outdoors. In particular please plan for school to be closed on days when temperatures will be below 22°F or above 100°F. Safety is ALWAYS our priority.
What is your risk-management policy?
Safety is always our priority. We are a fully-insured care facility. Of course, with any learning environment there are risks involved, but our intent is to teach and empower the children through these opportunities. As such, we believe children learn to manage reasonable risk in a healthy and supported way, leading to greater independence and self-sufficiency.
What should my child wear?
Your little one will be learning through play in all kinds of weather, so proper clothing is very important. Additionally, a complete spare change of clothes should be included in their daily backpack. Please label your child’s clothing! Please click here for a detailed guide on appropriate outdoor attire. We are also happy to offer our families a 20% discount on all-weather clothing and gear from Polarn O. Pyret.
Do you offer summer camp?
Yes! Our summer camp curriculum includes 12 magical themed weeks for ages three to eight. Gear your kids up for daily sun, rain, running, climbing, gardening, crafts, and splashing in the creek (weather and water quality permitting, of course). Registration for camp will open in March each year. Learn more here.
How can I learn more about forest schools?
Please check out our parent organization, the Forest School Foundation, for more resources, including the history of the global forest school movement, its curriculum, educational principles, and a listing of all of the innumerable benefits for physical, social, emotional, and mental development.
How can I help out or get involved?
As a not-for-profit school we are ALWAYS looking for opportunities to grow and improve. If you're interested in donating your talents, time, money, goods, services, etc, please let us know. Check out the variety of ways to give or our existing community partnerships for inspiration. And if you're a nature-based educator yourself, please review our Careers page and consider joining our database of qualified forest school facilitators.
I'd like to get to know your teachers and staff better before registering my child. How can I do this?
We completely understand! We want to get to know you better too. The best way is to subscribe to our seasonal e-newsletter, sent four times per year with all of the highlights and important updates you need to know. Some other ways to learn more:
Follow us on our Youtube channel, or the other social media channels below
Check out our Testimonials page for real-parent experiences
Review our Media page for an archive of headlines and interviews with our team
Monitor our Events page for our monthly open house, free nature play gatherings, and seasonal fundraising events where we welcome your presence and support!
Of course, if you have ANY questions or concerns that aren't already addressed on our website then we'd love to hear from you. Please reach out to us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.