How do I know if WildWise School programs will be a good fit for my child?

There are certain skills and competencies that are important to our nature immersion programs that not all children at our accepted age ranges can be expected to possess. The following abilities are essential for a child to be safe and successful in our programs.

  • Your student’s name MUST hold power over them (they come and/or respond when name is called, not run away from or ignore mentors.);
  • Can alert adults when when they need to urinate/deficate;
  • Can urinate/deficate independently (see willingness statement below);
  • Is comfortable and capable of being away from parents and guardians;
  • Can follow instructions;
  • Can remember and follow basic safety rules;
  • Generally tolerant to varying weather conditions- cold, rain, heat;
  • Able to undress and dress self, 3-4 year olds may have minor assistance;
  • Do not send your student in one-piece rain suits or clothing;
  • Gets along well with other children;
  • Able to carry small backpack w/ lunch and water and gear on gear lists;
  • Able to walk 3-6 miles without excessively slowing down the group;
  • Willing to wear appropriate clothing for various weather conditions (e.g. raincoats, hats, gloves, boots);
  • Not napping between 9:00AM – 4:00PM;
  • Not prone to running or hiding when upset;
  • Able to communicate needs or issues to an adult (cold, discomfort, etc);
  • Age 5+ are able to manage their own footwear (putting on/taking off), we strongly discourage non-lace shoes as this is a core skill requirement that will be taught at WildWise;
  • Willingness to learn to pee/poop in the woods.  We can help teach how, but they have to be willing to do it, we will not hike back to a bathroom from deep within the woods, and they must be willing to carry their own used hygiene items or soiled clothing back out with them;
  • Must be able to communicate that they need to urinate/defecate to a mentor without soiling clothing (potty trained).

If you have any questions about a specific item or are unsure of your child’s readiness for WildWise School, please contact us at

What to Bring:

All snack and lunch items should be in a child-sized backpack (One your child can carry on his/her own!) and labeled with your child’s name. We encourage our students to independently manage their lunches and other possessions (opening and closing containers, disposing of trash, closing and putting away lunch bags, etc.), so please keep ease of use in mind when planning and packing lunches. Pack all extra clothing/gear in a separate tote bag or backpack so that the participants will have what they need for clothing without the weight being on their backs.

  • Reusable water bottle : Make sure your child can open and close it on their own!
  • Healthy lunch and snack : please try to limit the amount of plastic packaging in your child’s lunch, as bits of plastic are easily lost in the wind and become litter.
  • One complete change of clothes: in a ziploc bag

What to Leave at Home:

  • Toys and electronics : these take up valuable backpack space, cause jealousy and arguments between children, and distract from our immersive nature experience. Please leave them at home or in the car!
  • Precious or valuable items/trinkets : kids love to take these sorts of things out to show their friends, and they very easily get lost in the dirt or grass.
  • Candy : We try to set an example of healthy eating, and candy wrappers are easily lost in the wind and become litter.
  • Anything that cannot get dirty : Everything at WildWise School will get dirty!
  • Flip-flops : these will not work for hiking/climbing/running
  • Hand sanitizer : As hand sanitizer should only be used under adult supervision, we ask that parents do not send their children with a personal hand sanitizer – teachers will have some on hand.
  • Pocket knives : Folding knives are prohibited at all WildWise School facilities and at all WildWise School events. Fixed blade knives are allowed, but students must demonstrate proficiency in knife safety and pass a WildWise School competency and safety test before a student is permitted to carry their knife

Thank you for being part of our WildWise Family! Let us know if you have any questions before classes begin. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Rules and Discipline Policy

At WildWise School, it is our mission to provide children of all ages outdoor play and learning environments that nourish the mind, body and soul of all participants. It is understood by both the participant(s) and their corresponding guardian(s) that the Program Rules are essential in order for us to collaboratively maintain a safe environment that allows everyone the opportunity to be free to play, learn, explore, and create.

Every parent/guardian is required to read the following information with his/her participant to be sure all rules/procedures are understood. WildWise School reserves the right to suspend or expel any participant from the program who poses discipline problems, whether or not all of steps in our discipline procedure have been completed.

Commitment to Safety, Respect and Kindness

All participants at WildWise School, including teachers and staff as well as children, are expected to act and speak in ways that are safe, respectful and kind toward themselves, other WildWise participants, visitors or staff of the park, and the parks wild inhabitants. Teachers work actively with the children to continually develop ways of being safe, respectful and kind.

General Rules of WildWise School

  • Awareness is our #1 Rule. Follow all rules and instructions by program staff promptly to ensure safety.
  • Show respect to all participants, staff, equipment and property. No put-downs, insults, aggressive behavior or teasing will be tolerated.
  • Fighting, hitting, theft, or destruction of WildWise School property will not be tolerated.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Do not run away from staff supervision or leave the program premises without a parent/guardian. Participants should ALWAYS be with their counselor/teacher unless they have permission to be elsewhere.
  • Always ask permission from a lead teacher to use the indoor restroom or get a drink from the water fountain. A lead teacher must go with you.
  • Avoid all forms of horseplay including piggyback rides, wrestling, hitting, kicking, pinching and picking each other up.
  • Only staff and participants are permitted in program areas.
  • Profanity or negative talk toward others will not be tolerated.
  • If you do not feel well, tell a teacher.
  • If there is a problem of any kind, notify a staff member immediately.

Participant Guidelines

  • Hiking sticks must be shorter than you are tall
  • Sticks to be carried and waved around must be shorter than your arm. Sticks may not be used to hit another person.
  • Do not kill or damage living things!-Plants, Trees, Insects, Mushrooms, etc.
  • Fall-Spring: no deeper than knees in lake. Summer: up to waist in designated areas.
  • Be within sight and/or hearing distance of a teacher at all times
  • No gun play
  • No toys or electronics from home
  • No petting dogs
  • No sharing food
  • No feeding the wild animals
  • No digging in the grass/fields
  • Do not eat plants/berries/mushrooms you find unless cleared by a teacher
  • Do not throw things at people (unless as part of a mutually agreed-upon game)
  • No exclusionary activities
  • No horseplay on the trails
  • No playing or yelling in the bathrooms
  • Forest materials/treasures/creatures stay in the forest
  • If animals/insects are moved from their home for observation, they must be put back where they were found
  • Animals /Insects should be placed in a bug box for observation, rather than held in a hand
  • Animals/Insects may be gently felt with one finger
  • No screaming unless you’re hurt or need immediate help (yelling is fine, screaming means you’re in trouble!)
  • Do not destroy others projects without their consent
  • Do not dare or pressure others to do anything beyond where they feel safe
  • No means no

Touching Policy

A touching policy is in place with the intent to provide rules around physical touch for all of our participants and staff.

Physical contact is appropriate if it:
  • Occurs during light touch tag games- Consent is required
  • Occurs when holding hands- Consent is required
  • Occurs when giving a kind and gentle hug – Consent is required
  • Occurs when helping a peer/student if they need a hand getting up or off of something.
  • Includes safe touches. These are touches that keep children safe and are good for them, and that make children feel cared for and important. Safe touches can include hugging, pats on the back, and an arm around the shoulder. Safe touches can also include touches that might hurt, such as cleaning a cut or removing a splinter. Teachers will explain to children that in these instances, they are working to keep the child healthy, which makes it a safe touch.
Physical contact is inappropriate if it:
  • Includes touching the groin, genital area, buttocks, breasts or any part of the body that may cause distress or embarrassment.
  • Is non-consensual.
  • Frightens, distresses or embarrasses a child or member of the teaching staff.
  • Includes unsafe touches. These are touches that hurt child’s/teaching staff’s body or feelings (for example, hitting, pushing, pinching, and kicking).
  • Includes unwanted touches. These are touches that might be safe but that a child doesn’t want from that person or at that moment. It is okay for a child to say “no” to an unwanted touch, even if it is from a familiar person.

Disciplinary Procedure

In order to ensure the quality of this program and safety of the participants, each participant must follow program rules. The following procedures will be followed when children misbehave or break program rules. We reserve the right to bypass one or more steps in the process if a situation warrants. If a serious offense has occurred, your participant will be sent home with a discipline slip. The discipline slip will need to be signed, dated and returned to the program the following program day.

Participants are encouraged to practice those social skills that will allow them to resolve conflicts and meet their needs without the use of harmful or destructive behaviors. When disciplinary situations occur that require intervention, program staff provides the child with clear explanations as to why specific behavior is inappropriate. They then help him/her find alternative behavior that fits within the program guidelines of appropriate behaviors. These guidelines revolve around concerns for the safety of all members in a program.

Minor Offense:
May include:

Disrespect of staff or participants
Inappropriate behavior
Failure to follow established program rules and norms

Collaborative Disciplinary Procedure:

1st Offense: Discuss with participant about disruptive behavior. Teacher will collaborate with participant to plan alternative behavior options to try in the future.

2nd Offense: Time spent with Teacher, or time away from group if participant needs time alone, or to take a break. Lead Teacher will collaborate with participant and discuss alternative behavior options to utilize in the future.

3rd Offense: Meeting with Lead Teacher, necessary staff, parent(s)/guardian(s), and participant(s) involved.

If it is deemed necessary to remove a participant from program, parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified immediately; refunds will not be awarded under these circumstances.

Serious Offense:
May include:

Endangering the well-being of themselves or others
Swearing or verbal abuse of staff or participants
Stealing or destruction of property
General disregard for Teachers, Volunteers, or program regulations
Acting aggressively toward others

Disciplinary Procedure:

1st Offense: Parent/guardian will be notified regarding the incident, and will be required to retrieve child for the day and sign-out from the Lead Teacher.

2nd Offense: Termination or suspension from the program will be at the Director’s discretion. No refunds will be awarded under these circumstances.