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 covered in mud. There are children stretched out on the ground staring into the sky and majestic trees. There are children sitting still in a tree or running by as fast as their feet will carry them. 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. Children do not generally take risks beyond which they feel comfortable, nor do they like to experience pain or fear. 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 1:7.
  • 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.

*All teachers are CPR and First Aid certified, and we have a clearly written risk management plan that is reviewed and improved regularly. There is bear spray at each location to be used in the unlikely event of an animal encounter, and teachers are trained in what to do if there is a dangerous intruder. In many cases the perceived risk of being outdoors is higher than the actual risk.

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

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 notice from Magnolia programming must be given in writing by 5pm on the 14th of each month to release you from the obligation to pay tuition on the 15th of that month. All families enrolled for the 2022-2023 school year will be required to pay the first month’s tuition (due August 15), unless withdrawal notice is given no later than July 1, 2022. If written notice is received after July 1, 2022, you will be charged on August 15th for September's tuition.

April/May/June Policy: During the school year, students may not withdraw for only the months of May and June. If you need to withdraw during the spring, withdrawal from school for the months of April-June would require notice by March 14, 5:00 pm. However, if notice is given after March 14, 5:00 pm, the student’s family is still required to pay the remainder of the year’s tuition payments (March 15, April 15, May 15).

Summer camp tuition is due at the time of registration and is non-refundable, regardless of when notice of withdrawal is received.

For more information, request a copy of the Parent Financial Agreement from the Registrar, info@magnoliaforestpreschool.com.

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

Have a question?

We are happy to answer any questions you may have. 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, and we hope to see you in the forest soon!

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