FAQ

Do you expect to open school on time in September?

Yes. Currently, the Washington Department of Health guidelines specifically allow outdoor preschools to operate regardless of which phase the county is in at that time. We adhere to all of the specific safety guidelines that the WA DoH have released for outdoor preschools, specifically. We will watch these guidelines closely and ensure we are in compliance with best practices as they evolve. We fully expect to open on time in September because forest preschools have been officially recognized as a safe alternative to indoor preschool and childcare programs.

Is my child safe at Forest Preschool?

It is a powerfully beautiful sight to step into the forest and see children playing. There are children who have dug holes and sit in them, almost subterranean. There are children stretched out on the ground staring into the sky and majestic trees. There are children sitting still by a tree or running by as fast as their feet will carry them. There are children swinging on ropes. There are children climbing on stumps, dirt piles, or onto the low branches of the trees. All of this activity raises an incredibly important question. Is my child safe at Magnolia? The climbing, running, and zooming risks they seem to be taking are merely pseudo risks that will foster a greater respect for their own abilities and limitations. Children may begin their tenure here not being able to do the things mentioned above, but peer apprenticeship and adult encouragement quickly bolsters confidences and bodies are set in motion. The teachers are watching the kids extremely carefully but not obviously. The student/teacher ratio is such that we are never more than a few feet away from an intrepid climber or a few inches away from a busy shelter builder. And if danger looms, there is always our one rule: Do not hurt yourself or anyone else.

Additional safety protocols:

  • Low adult to child ratio of 1:6.
  • Children wear matching bright Helly Hansen rain suits in the cooler months and matching yellow or orange vests in the warmer months.
  • Children must stay in sight and sound of their teachers at all times.
  • Teachers constantly count making sure all children are in view.
  • Children are given clear physical boundaries.
  • We limit outsider adult to child interactions, when encountering the public, teachers talk to adults first.
  • Children are not allowed to go to the bathroom without an adult.
  • We only allow children to be picked up by designated friend and family members.
  • We use pickup and drop off locations that are safe, have ample parking and low traffic risk.

Our risk management protocols are based on those used by outdoor preschools in Europe and North America and are reviewed and improved regularly. In many cases the perceived risk of being outdoors in higher than the actual risk.

For a full document regarding our COVID precautions and procedures, reach out to us at info@magnoliaforestpreschool.com.

How do you reduce shared surfaces?
  • Students will be provided with an individual supply of crayons/pencils/small notebook and a small towel to be used as needed. Once given, these are the property of your child. If your child is enrolled for the school year, please retain these items for continued use at forest school.
  • There will be shared surfaces only amongst the children and teachers in their group such as shovels and mud/sand kitchen tools. These items will be sanitized daily.
  • Children and teachers within their group will be allowed to have close contact per our normal policies in order to be sensitive to mitigate the psychological effects of separation anxiety.
  • Bathroom seats and hand washing faucets will be sanitized prior to each use.
  • Teachers will wear gloves when assisting a child in the bathroom and when changing diapers, per our usual policy.
  • We will not use playground equipment, handrails, or picnic tables.
  • All supplies used by the group will not be commingled with supplies for another group.
  • Your child’s rain suit will be yours to take home and returned at the end of the year. Your child should arrive fully dressed prior to drop off. Parents should apply sunscreen and bug spray prior to drop off, if desired.

Are children required to wear face coverings?

Teachers will wear facial coverings/masks when on duty and children ages 5 and up should wear a facial covering, per the CDC guidelines for outdoor activities. Children 4 and younger may wear facial coverings if desired.

We will maintain a minimum of 6 ft distance from any visitors at the campus.

Are hand washing stations available?

Each group will have hand washing available to use before eating and when using the bathroom per usual.

Every teacher will have hand sanitizer with them for themselves and the children per usual. Students are also encouraged to bring their own little personal bottle.

What does morning drop off look like?

Parents should check their child for signs of a cold or other illness prior to arrival.

Parents will keep their child in their vehicle until a teacher has come over to conduct a health questionnaire and take their temperature.

Parents or guardians will be asked a health questionnaire from the WA Department of Health: Has your child or a family member had any of the following symptoms that are not attributable to another condition, over the past 72 hrs?  

  • A cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • A fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
  • A sore throat
  • Chills
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
  • Unusual fatigue

How many children are there on average each day?

The WA Deparment of Health allows a group size of up to 22 people at outdoor preschools at this time. We will have no more than 18 kids and 4 teachers per class each day.

What is snack and lunchtime like at Magnolia?

Snack and lunch at Magnolia are times when the individuality of each child and the family from which s/he comes becomes evident. Each day the family provides its child with a snack and lunch that is prepared at home. Lunches should be packed in a single container that the child can eat out of with a water bottle for hydration, and, in the colder months, a thermos with your child’s favorite hot drink is strongly encouraged. These items should fit in their backpack so that your child can carry it easily during our hike into the forest. We are a NUT FREE school.

Are the children always together or are they ever separated by age?

Our program is a mixed-age program (ages 2.5 – 5) with children learning and playing together. While they do tend to naturally sort themselves by ability and interests, we feel the community of learners is most rich when older children nurture younger ones, and younger children are given the opportunity to learn and play above their age and ability. This provides a wide variety of growth opportunities and prepares them for the skills they need to function in society.

Are children allowed to play at the beach at Kitsap Memorial and Sequim Bay campuses?

There is a lot of meaningful sensory input and water play that happens at the beach. We count shells, build sand castles, and discover the wonders of the beach. Children can be found creating environmental art, experimenting with writing in the sand, and challenging their engineering abilities. Children are allowed to jump in the small waves. The beach is on the Hood Canal which is very mild.

The beach is a great place for us to visit during summer camp. We visit the beach intermittently throughout the regular school year, depending on weather and class size.

Will my child learn to read and write at Magnolia?

The first road to learning to read is not learning letters, it is learning to think symbolically.  A stick becomes a fishing pole, a pine cone becomes a baked potato, and a rock becomes a baby dinosaur egg.  As time progresses, children become more sophisticated in their transformations, including transforming themselves into something else. Eventually they do not need objects at all and can transform into fantasy without the scaffold of any props. Children use similar representation mental processes in reading and writing as they do in symbolic play.  MacArthur Genius grant recipient, writer, and former kindergarten teacher, Vivian Paley, says that “fantasy play is the glue that binds together all other pursuits” and believes that play is “the oldest and best learning tool”. At Magnolia, children's pre-reading and writing skills are nourished through the breadth of play-based learning experiences that fill up their days.

What is your withdrawal policy?

Withdrawal from Magnolia programming required 30 days notice. I understand I am responsible for all tuition payments due in full during the 30 days after my written withdrawal notice has been issued. For example, if you withdraw on the 15th, you are responsible for your full tuition payment on the 1st of the next month.

If a Magnolia program closes temporarily due to a known COVID exposure amongst your child’s group, tuition will not be due during the time programming is closed. However, when your child’s program reopens, all financial obligations resume.

Visit Magnolia and learn more

We would love to meet you! Each campus welcomes new families for tours regularly so that you can see the forest school space, meet the site director, ask questions and get a taste for the Magnolia Forest Preschool experience!

Schedule Visit

Request enrollment information

Forest school can be the perfect fit for so many children because it is uniquely tailored to support their strengths and interests. We look forward to connecting with you and your child further. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and hope to see you in the forest soon!

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