WILD CHILD

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What does the Wild Child program actually look like?
Children and parents gather at the meeting point and the facilitators will do a brief introduction. After that the program is a little different each week. You will probably be playing in the forest or next to a stream. You and your child will be walking across uneven and sometimes muddy or wet surfaces. You may climb over fallen logs and get down low to look under a bush. You might throw rocks into the stream or try to catch the creatures that live there. You may slide on the snow or build a snow caterpillar. The weather constantly changes bringing new aspects of nature to our attention. About mid-morning, we typically stop for a brief snack and to read astory, but that also depends on the interests of the group.

How long is this program?
Typically the program runs until 11:30am or 12pm. Facilitators will stay on-site until noon or 12:30pm, but families are encouraged to stay as long as they like and leave when they are ready. Our goal is to build happy memories and facilitators will gladly help families find their way back early if desired.

Is there a snack time?
Facilitators follow the children's lead, but typically we find that children bring a snack and enjoy it during story time, usually around 11am.

Is the program nut-free?
Because of our location outside, we encounter various nut trees (especially walnut, oak, and hickory). We also chance upon various nuts that animals have carried to the locations including those sourced from birdfeeders. As a result, we do not have a nut policy for participants in this program. Typically parents will ask if there is anyone with an allergy before feeding peanuts to their child, but we have left this decision to parents.

Are there bathrooms?
Our Thursday and Saturday groups have access to washrooms at the meeting points. Otherwise, there are no washroom facilities available in the forest.

What if we are late?
We recommend arriving by 10am. Because we are a child-led program, we cannot predict where the group will explore, and it can be challenging to find us if you arrive late. If you do arrive late and cannot locate the group, we encourage you to enjoy your own adventure.

What do I wear?
Please dress for the weather. We are outside for the entire program. Typically children and parents are most comfortable in long pants (no risk of scratches while bushwhacking) and closed toed shoes (for easy running and climbing). We recommend rain boots or other footwear that can get wet for BOTH parents and children at the Saturday location.

Here are some typical clothing recommendations dependent on weather:

Rainy weather: rain/splash pants, rain coat, rain boots

Cold weather: Snow pants, snow jacket, toque, water resistant/waterproof gloves/mitts, warm socks, snow boots and some extra mitts

Hot weather: hat, water bottle, lightweight clothing that is easy to move in, bug repellents, sunscreen

Extremely cold weather: lots of layers that include materials like fleece and wool. Avoid cotton. A scarf or neck warmer to pull up over the mouth and nose. A warm sugary drink like hot chocolate in a thermos or travel coffee mug

Is my child too old/too young? What ages are best?
Our program is enjoyed by children of all ages. Even young babies benefit from the fresh air and being outside. Typically parents use carriers or sleds (winter) for children who are not walking yet, and then let the baby lie or sit on the ground to explore at intervals. During school vacations and on weekends, we typically see a mixture of school-aged and younger children. As facilitators, we can assure you there is no upper age limit for having fun outside!

How do I manage the mess?
Many caregivers bring a plastic bag, a towel, and a change of clothes to leave in the car and simply change their children before heading home. During colder weather we find that parents will also bring additional pairs of mitts, and sometimes other clothing in a backpack as well to allow for changes of clothing mid-program.

Experience has taught us that spraying down muddy clothing with a hose and putting it through a washing cycle is often sufficient. For shoes, simply rinse them out and leave to dry by a fan or in the sun in nice weather.

What should I bring?
Many parents bring a plastic bag, a towel, and a change of clothes to leave in the car and simply change their children before heading home. During colder weather, we find that parents will also bring additional pairs of mitts, and sometimes other clothing in a backpack as well, to allow for changes of clothing mid-program. Don't forget a change of clothing and shoes for yourself!

Most families also bring a snack and drink to enjoy at some point during the program. All that fresh air and physical activity works up an appetite!

My child is very cautious - will they still have fun?
We have a wonderfully diverse group of adults and children who attend our program. On any given day there will be children who are more and less cautious and we find that they often tend to find someone at their own level of comfort to play with. We also find that over multiple visits the more cautious children become more adventures and comfortable taking risks as they learn about themselves and their abilities and are tempted to try the fun things other children are doing.

When does the program run? Will the program stop in the winter? How will I know when programs are canceled?
We run the program year-round. There may be occasional cancelations due to staff training or thunderstorms, but usually the program runs rain or shine, cold or hot. Any cancellations are announced via social media with as much advanced warning as possible depending on the circumstances.

Are your sites accessible? Wheelchair/walker friendly?
Some program sites are more accessible for wheelchairs and walkers than others. Our Thursday and Wednesday location are more accessible as both locations have some paved and fairly flat terrain. We encourage you to contact us if this is a concern.

My child has a developmental disability will they be able to participate?
Our programs perfect for children who have various abilities. Because the natural environment provides interesting play opportunities for all ages and abilities, we are confident that your child will be able to enjoy the program. If you are still concerned, please contact us, and we can answer any specific questions or concerns you may have.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Karen at kgair@childreach.on.ca OR 519-434-3644 ext 620.