Frequently Asked Questions about...
Wild Life Forest Preschool at Earth Native
Q: Does my child need to be potty trained to attend your preschool programs?
A: Yes, we do require that all children attending are potty trained. For more details about what potty-trained means for Wild Life Forest Preschool, please check our Bathroom Readiness section at the bottom of the page.
Q: Will there be a classroom?
A: While we will spend the majority of our day outside, we have a cute little classroom, "Cliff Swallow", used for circle time and during inclement weather. We also have several open-air covered spaces to play games, tell stories, make campfires, and seek shelter if needed. However, it is still important that you dress your kiddos to be outside all day. Details will be emailed before the program begins.
Q: What is your student to teacher ratio?
A: We will have a max of 16:2 student to teacher ratio.
Q: Where are you located and can you tell me more about your campus?
A: Our school's campus is located at 137 Woodview Ln in Bastrop, TX. Please click here to read more about our campus and see photos.
Q: Is there a place for parents to hang out at your campus while my child is in class?
A: We ask that all parents leave the Bastrop campus after dropping off and saying goodbye to their child. While we know driving back home isn't feasible for all families, we want to make sure our students are able to explore themselves fully without parent interruption. Bastrop has many options for places to spend time at including bakeries/coffee shops, parks, plus the public library is a great free place to sit and work or spend time with a younger sibling. We have a list we can share with you!
Q: Bastrop is a little too far a drive for us. Will there be any bus service or carpooling available?
A: Don't let a little distance get in the way of your child's incredible nature connection experience!
We know that Bastrop can be a far drive for some, but our school's campus is amazing and the perfect canvas for this program. We are fully committed to helping facilitate parent carpooling. We already have families enrolled in 2020-21 coming from various parts of Austin, Red Rock, San Marcos, Dale, Bastrop, Elgin, Paige, Llano & Smithville.
Q: How much emphasis is placed on traditional preschool academics (i.e. numbers, letters) within the student led exploration learning style?
A: While traditional academics is not our main focus, we fold some of this into the program curriculum. We believe strongly that symbol-based education like reading, math, science, etc. can be more easily implemented past the age of five, after the child has laid the foundations for understating these concepts. If a preschool-aged child is excited about numbers or letters, then yes, we will expand upon and follow that passion with them in a natural context. We may not practice the symbols directly, but we will intentionally build platforms on to which these symbols fit nicely. A good example is harvesting dewberries. We might tell the students to take 1/4th of the plant’s supply. Maybe some kids won’t get one. Maybe one kid will take two and have to share. These are the foundational moments of mathematics onto which symbols can be applied. Without these exploratory learning moments, the symbols sit on shaky ground.
Q: This will be my child's first school experience and I expect them to feel anxious. Can I stay at school with them for the first few days?
A: Rest assured this is a very common sentiment! We understand and expect that this is likely most of our student's first experience at school and sometimes even their first experience away from their family. Our teachers have a lot of experience helping children and parents get comfortable with the transition into preschool. As a rule, we do not allow parents to stay at class. Most of the time, a parent's presence at class actually discourages the anxious child from fully engaging with the teacher and other students and often exacerbates the feelings. It has been our experience that these transitions are usually fairly quickly settled. In the case of more extreme feelings that aren't easily assuaged we will work with the child and parents to develop a strategy that works for the specific situation.
Q: Can I request a teacher for my child?
A: While we have two Instructors for each program day, children will not be permanently split into 2 groups and assigned an Instructor. Some days the kids will be split into groups and assigned an Instructor for the day, other days each Instructor will offer an activity choice and then kids can choose which group they go with and some days the whole class will be together. So all kids will get plenty of time with both teachers and all classmates
Q: Will my child swim at class?
A: We are lucky enough to have the year round Cedar Creek flow through our property and will spend time playing and splashing in the water on good weather days. However, we will never swim or go in the water past our knee.
Q: Will early drop-off or late pick-up be available?
A: Our classes will run from 9am-2pm each class day. You are welcome to sign your child in as early as 8:45am. Pick-up must be by 2:00pm. There is a 15 minute grace period and then a late fee would apply.
Q: What is your refund/cancellation policy?
A: Please click here to read our cancellation policy.
Q: Can I enroll my child in multiple programs?
A: If this year is your 3 year olds first year with us, we ask that you only enroll in one program and check back with us a little later in the year. If you have a 4-5 year - Yes, enroll in as many programs as you wish.
Q: Will class be canceled if the weather is bad?
A: Although we will run class in rain or shine, we will cancel or postpone class in cases of severe/dangerous weather (i.e. tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, etc.) If class is to be canceled/postponed we will email you and also post the information on the class’s webpage.
Q: What are my payment options?
A: Please click here for all payment options for our preschool programs.
Q: Can enroll monthly or by semester?
A: No, this program does require a commitment for the whole school year. That being said, we do have an incremental refund policy for program withdrawals. If you were to let us know before winter break that you were withdrawing for the spring semester, you would only be responsible for 75% of the total tuition if doing monthly payments or you would receive a 25% refund if you pay in full. We employ some really excellent youth instructors who are year-round full time employees and we rely on this program to fund the bulk of their pay and benefits during the school year. This program requires a school year commitment to accurately budget and keep all our teaching staff employed throughout the year.
Watch the build of our sweet little Earthbag House preschool classroom,"Cliff Swallow".
All students at Wild Life Forest Preschool must come potty-trained on the first day of school in September. This is important as our instructors facilitate adventurous, outdoor moments for young children in a rich, rugged environment.
That said, we understand that potty-training is a two-steps forward, one-step backward learning process for many students, if not all! Many of our students have a perfect record at home then come to school and experience a few accidents. This is perfectly normal and does not mean your child is unable to come to school. Everyone needs time to learn and feel comfortable in a new space, and the teachers at Wild Life will dedicate time and energy towards making sure your child feels safe in our facilities.
However, your child must meet certain bathroom-readiness requirements for attending school. The following things are must-haves on Day 1 so we can get to a safe, independent space for the school year.
Your child should be recognizing the need to go before they go in their clothes. Your child should be communicating this need verbally or physically in a way that is recognizable.
Your child should be able to enter a bathroom by themselves, take off their garments, get up on the toilet, wipe mostly by themselves, then put their garments back on. We recognize that wet clothes or cold-weather gear will require help from instructors, and one of us will always be present during bathroom trips. Everybody needs help sometimes!
Your child should be able to wash their hands independently!
No diapers or pull-ups allowed at class - these encourage the child to continue using the potty in the old way. Cool, exciting, big kid underwear becomes something the child wants to keep clean! Speak to the preschool director if your child has health or dietary restrictions that make bathroom-readiness more difficult.
Bring extra-clothes! Kids will have accidents, but these accidents can become physically and emotionally unsafe if your child does not have a proper change of clothes to get into. Good bathroom-readiness comes with backups, just in case.
Nature Potty skills are helpful! Sometimes a bathroom moment will strike when we are on the trails away from the main facilities. It’s a good idea to practice a few nature-potty moments with family before coming to school.
And that’s it! Wild Life is committed to meeting our students where they are, so if you have questions or concerns please get in touch with staff so we can plan a strategy suited to your family. A big part of what we do at forest preschool is teach independence and self-motivation to our preschoolers. The bathroom is a huge part of that for this age group! We will be successful!