Always Learning & Growing

Outdoor Nature School
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frequently asked questions:

HOW DOES THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS WORK?

Forest School Classes –

(Due to COVID modifications we are unable to offer trial classes at this time)

If you would like to enroll for the semester or school year, please contact us to arrange a meeting with the director and request an application.  Applications are accepted on a rolling basis subject to space availability.

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30am-1:30pm San Francisco
Monday, Wednesday and/or Friday 9:30am-1:30pm Berkeley

This is our wonderful group of regular forest explorers. Your child can join us to have the opportunity for amazing amounts of real life learning!  The park is our classroom and children are able to engage all their senses while building their confidence, social skills, and forming a connection and respect for our earth.  Extended care until 3pm is available as space allows.
Apply for the semester, school year, or on a month to month basis.

Outdoor Nature Camp– 

(Due to COVID modifications we will not be able to offer as many camp sessions at this time)

Schedules for many school holidays and breaks are available. Extended care until 3pm is available.
If your child’s school is closed we welcome children ages 3-8 to join our outdoor adventures.

For all programs:
Please click the link for registration and email to alwayslearningandgrowing@gmail.com with any questions.
Please RSVP to confirm space is available. Payments can be made in person by check or by paypal or through our registration systems.

Director/Teacher Carlene will be available at our open houses and by appointment to meet and answer questions regarding our outdoor programs and give parents and children an overview of our daily outdoor activities. Call 415-203-3779 if you have questions or would like more information.

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE DIRECTOR/TEACHERS?
Director/Teacher Carlene Murray has 20 years of experience teaching children in a variety of settings including Head Start, private preschool, nature based family preschool, and art and nature after school classes.

Carlene completed her B.S. degree in Environmental Science from Muhlenberg College and holds a certificate in child development from City College of San Francisco. She has earned a master teacher and site supervisor teaching permit from the California commission on teacher credentialing. She is a certified forest kindergarten teacher through the acclaimed Cedarsong Nature School in Vashon Island, WA. Her most recent training is a course through Cornell University on Environmental Education.

Additional safety certifications include current CPR and first aid training, a food handlers certificate, negative TB test.
Our assistant teacher has years of experience working with young children and a true love and knowledge of nature. All teachers have clear background checks and negative TB tests.

WHAT ABOUT RAINY DAYS?

We require that children wear/bring with them waterproof rain jackets, pants, and boots on days when rain is a possibility. There are lots of fun activities and learning that happen on rainy days, as long as one is prepared.
We offer a gear rental program to assist our families in providing good quality rain gear. For a small fee, we can arrange short or long term rentals of gently used rain pants, jackets, and boots. Please inquire for more details.
In case of severe storm warnings, high wind warnings, or unhealthy air quality alerts we will meet at a local museum such as the academy of science or Randall museum. (Due to COVID restrictions we cannot meet at these indoor locations and will have to cancel class) 

HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE ENROLLED?

In order to provide the highest quality of care we have a maximum of 8 children at one time with 2 teachers for our forest school classes. This means we have a very low ratio of 1 adult per 4 children. For camp the maximum number of children is 12 with 2 teachers.

WHAT ABOUT SNACKS and LUNCH?
Each child brings their own snack, lunch, and reusable water bottle. Please provide your child with a healthy nutrient rich snack which includes protein and fruit or vegetables. We generally eat snack around 10am and lunch around 12pm, we adjust according to the children’s needs.  A 12 oz water bottle is a good size and we can refill as needed.
WHAT ABOUT USING THE BATHROOM?

We visit the restroom generally twice during our program and are usually close by if an extra trip is needed. Please assist your child with using the restroom before class begins.  We do carry a travel potty with us and children can use this as needed.  

HOW DO YOU HANDLE HEALTH and SAFETY?

(COVID modifications include a strict no illness policy.  All families of enrolled children must agree to our reasonable social distancing policy and to follow all regulations regarding mask wearing. Children are in small stable groups of no more than 8 with the same 2 teachers.  Children’s temperatures will be taken before each class.)

Your child’s health and safety are a primary concern at Always Learning and Growing. We have a policy of supervision requiring all children to be within our sight at all times.  Teachers carry first aid kits and are trained in CPR and first aid.  

Children are explicitly taught our rules and expectations which include Be Safe, Be Friendly, and Be Respectful. Staying together with the group is a key part of the Be Safe expectation.   Friendly behavior is modeled by teachers and expected by all children, we offer support to children in order to resolve their own conflicts. We teach respect for others and help children become aware of the smaller creatures with whom we share our world. We also believe good nutrition is important for children’s growth and health and will encourage the children to eat and drink as needed.

Please send your child with a packed lunch that includes protein, fruit and vegetables, and a reusable water bottle. All teachers carry cell phones in order to contact parents in case of emergency and to update alternate pickup locations.  

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED EXACTLY?

We are located in San Francisco and Berkeley, CA. Our programs take place outdoors primarily in Golden Gate park for our SF sessions and rotate among Codornices, Tilden, and Canyon Trail park for our Berkeley area sessions.  We select a variety of locations throughout the year and often meet near the intersection of JFK Dr and Chain of Lakes Dr. West. and on most days return to the same area for pick up time. 
We chose locations with more natural settings to allow the children to really experience a sense of nature and small piece of wilderness within the city.

Because a variety of natural settings allows the children to experience more, we hike to several nearby places within the park. Text reminders are sent of any alternate pick up/drop off locations.

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL CLOSURES?
We are now offering camp days during many of the vacation/holidays listed on the SFUSD calendar.