May parents come to class, or is it a drop-off only program?
Parents are welcome to join in on any of our classes. We strive to build community and expect that everyone present will participate and be engaged in the activities. We do ask that all visitors and friends fill out a medical release form prior to joining us in class.
May I bring my child’s younger siblings to class though they are not enrolled?
We welcome younger siblings who are supervised by their parents and would love you to introduce the younger child to the instructor at the beginning of class. In the event that a younger child is distracting the group, we ask that the parent step away from the group/activity with their child momentarily, so the other children can focus on the work at hand. An instructor will check in with you in order to see if they may be of service to you prior to you joining the group again.
Do I need to buy clothes or special items for my child?
No. We utilize the materials fee in order to purchase all equipment for anyone participating in our classes. However, we do ask that each child minimally has a backpack/book bag, a water bottle, reusable “mess kit” and wear sturdy shoes to class.
My child doesn’t get outside much and is not in the best of physical shape. Will they be able to participate?
We do everything we can to ensure that all of the youth or families on an outing make it to the various points of interest as a group. While the majority of our excursions do involve a hike, not all will and some will focus on the study of or participation in a limited area.
We ask that all parents and children turn off cell phones and other electronic devices during class to maximize our outdoor experience. However, cell phones may remain on and used for taking photographs. If you must absolutely use your cell phone during class we ask that you walk out of hearing distance of the group to handle your business.
For safety reasons, we do not permit participants to bring knives to class. However, exceptions are made for certain outings. Parents will be notified of these exceptions and instructions will be provided on the type of knives allowed.
How can I build upon the Outdoor School experiences with my family?
In between classes you will receive an email summarizing what each class covered and offering follow-up activities with which you may engage your child. The suggested activities are a way to bring the outdoor experience into your home. Use the activities to talk to your child about the stories of our day together, as academic homework, evening journaling and additional art projects or just as a simple reflection on time spent with others. It is up to each family to use the activities or not. We do not expect this work to be “turned in” to us.
What are the class and community expectations?
At PANTHER RIDGE FARM we believe in and practice Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Below are principles based on our belief in NVC that we use to guide group and individual action in community:
- Treat each other with respect and kindness
- Treat each place we visit with respect and kindness
- Treat animals, plants and other things we find with respect and kindness
- Students are in direct care of PANTHER RIDGE FARM instructors during class and will need to stay with the group in their “Buddy Team” at all times
- Disrespectful speech and actions towards people, nature and property are not allowed during PANTHER RIDGE FARM classes.
What happens if my child breaks a community agreement?
Instructors will bring it to the attention of the child or children in the moment and to the child’s or children’s parents after class (or during class if the behavior warrants it) so the conflict can be resolved. If that behavior occurs a second time, the student(s), their parents and instructors will meet again to discuss the situation and reach agreement on resolving the behavior. During that conversation, we develop benchmarks for change and will make it clear that repeat behavior could result in the child being asked to no longer participate in PANTHER RIDGE FARM programs.
Do I need to pack any meals for my child?
Each child will bring their own lunch and/or snack to class each week. We understand that food is our fuel and diet is a fundamental part of each child’s healthy physical, creative, emotional and psychological well-being. To this end, we do ask parents to please make efforts that any food being packed for lunch or snack NOT contain: refined sugar (e.g. white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose) preservatives, additives, artificial colors, artificial flavors or pesticides. Highly processed foods saturated with sugar, salt and chemicals run counter to the mission of the school and contradict the lessons that students will be learning during our classes.
What type of food and snacks does PANTHER RIDGE FARM provide during class or community potlucks?
We love to get our grub on, and there may be occasions each semester when our class activity revolves around making food together! We attempt to honor everyone’s unique nutritional needs and choices. We take care to stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, saturated fats, and non-organic foods in our offerings. The foods that we prepare come in vegetarian and vegan options that are organic, gluten-free and made without artificial flavors/colors and preservatives. Please contact us with any specific allergies your child has so that we can prepare his/her food accordingly. If your child has a sensitivity or an allergy that was not included on the Medical Release Form, it is your responsibility to put it in writing and give it to the instructors before the first day of class.
Reducing Wasteful Practices
We recommend that snacks and lunches be packed in re-useable containers that can be washed and reused throughout the year including water bottles. We encourage you to reduce, reuse or exclude “one-time use” disposable plastic bags, bottles and containers whenever possible.Please let us know if you have further questions! firstname.lastname@example.org