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OAKWOOD FOREST PRESCHOOL PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

"If you have ever gone into the woods with me, I must love you very much." - Mary Oliver

This parent and student handbook is designed to share all of the information you could possibly need as your child begins their year at Oakwood Forest School. This is a curated compilation of our teaching frameworks, guiding principles, commitment to care, daily routines, lessons learned, and ongoing growth. Our administrative team, various teachers, and parents from Forest School communities across the southeast have generously shared their knowledge to help you and your student prepare for the year ahead. 

We request that you take the time to read this handbook thoughtfully and thoroughly. After you have read through it, we ask that you sign an acknowledgment along with a Waiver and Release at the end of the handbook.

SITE CONTACT INFORMATION

CAMPUS ADDRESS

5343 Roberts Drive
Dunwoody, GA 30338

PHONE

(770) 394-3322

EMAIL

THE HISTORY OF FOREST KINDERGARTEN

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in the child’s soul.” - Friedrich Froebel

More than 150 years ago, German educator, Friedrich Froebel, opened the world’s first kindergarten. These “children gardens” were built on the premise that children are innate meaning makers. The idea that children move through the world with care, creativity and curiosity. The firm belief that each child is on the hunt for connection – to self, to others, and the world around them. And, as the beautiful context for childhood inquiry, Froebel believed that nature was home. He believed nature curated a learning environment for children in which lessons flow organically from the rhythms of the seasons, the changes in the weather, and from children’s daily discoveries. This beautiful approach to learning holistically has woven together the entirety of learning into one vibrant, cohesive tapestry. Froebel’s approach forever impacted educational approaches to early childhood education.

Today, thousands of forest kindergartens, outdoor schools, and Nature-based Early Childhood Education (NbECE) models have taken root around the world. These schools may look very different from one another, but share a commitment to Social-Emotional Learning practices, environmental awareness and engagement, and play-respectful learning. Like this growing forest school movement, at Dunwoody Nature Center we gather our inspiration from the forest, from the earth, from the creatures big and small,  from the stories we tell around the fire, from the innate curiosity of children, and from slow, gentle pedagogy. We are committed to healthy risk-taking and meaningful engagement with nature that cultivates a deep awareness of the symbiotic relationship between all living things and the Earth. We believe that this reciprocity, in turn, develops authentic community, strong relationships, and – most essentially – kind, thoughtful, curious and compassionate humans.

OUR COMMITMENT & OBJECTIVES

“We believe in the full integration of self: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual. We affirm the personhood of children. We respect and honor the unique developmental experiences of every child." - Kara Caldwell, Director of Teaching & Learning at Wauhatchie Forest School

Through repeated exposure and engagement with the flora, fauna and weather, children encounter spontaneous teachable moments that shape their love and appreciation for the Earth and her environment. We truly believe in the meaningful learning that takes place during a wander through the woods, a splash in the creek, observations of insects at work, and imaginative playThese moments of “masterful inactivity” (a phrase coined by the English Educator, Charlotte Mason) provide children with the opportunities to engage creatively, interactive collaboratively, and explore meaningfully. 

Our preschool students are given the richest diet of play, unstructured (but facilitated) learning, and exploration, with gentle invitations to more structured learning as they show readiness and interests. 

Our commitments to your student are as follows:

Here at Dunwoody Nature Center, we are guided each day by three important kindness principles - I will be kind to nature, kind to others, and kind to myself.

GENERAL INFORMATION

ACADEMIC CALENDAR Oakwood Forest School follows the Dekalb County Department of Education Calendar for our Federal holidays and all school breaks. The Forest School year will run from September 10, 2024 through May 16, 2025.

ONLINE PARENT PORTAL Wauhatchie School uses TADS, a cloud based service that supports small schools with Admissions, Enrollment, Tuition Management, School & Family Support.

PARENT COMMUNICATION Wauhatchie School uses a communication software and app called Minga to allow parents to communicate directly with teachers and other parents while maintaining the privacy of personal information. Minga allows parents to stay updated on classroom news, school closings, upcoming events, important calendar items and other pieces of necessary information.  Parents will receive information about signing up for Minga the week before school begins and are required to use the app to stay updated and informed.

ENROLLMENT FEE The $500/month enrollment fee is non-refundable. 

If you are interested in other ways to support your student’s classroom, please check out our Amazon wishlist.

WITHDRAWAL Parents who wish to withdraw their child from Oakwood Forest School, at any time during the school year, must communicate their plan as far in advance as possible with the Forest School Director by email, phone or in person. 

If a student is withdrawn prior to July 1, 100% of tuition will be refunded. For withdrawals made after July 1, prorated refunds will be applied beginning the month following withdrawal, less any early payment discount.

ESSENTIAL CLOTHING AND GEAR

Oakwood Forest School embraces all seasons. We are outside during all types of weather, but are always mindful of safety and monitor the weather closely. We want every family to feel prepared and confident in their gear choices for their children. We’re here to help and don’t want anyone to waste time or money on products that do not protect your child, so please thoroughly read and take note of the suggestions below as you begin your year of forest school!

CARING FOR YOUR CAR & YOUR CHILD'S GEAR

We are outside all day, every day - your child may frequently come home wet and muddy!

For a smooth pickup time: Designate a “get in” spot in your vehicle where your child can sit before possibly removing dirty or wet clothing for the drive home. Many parents have said it is helpful to keep a towel, a laundry basket, and a change of clothes in their cars to help manage dirt/wet clothes. Your child will get muddy and dirty and so it is important to be prepared!

Caring for your Gear: The best way to maintain your child’s waterproof clothing is by rinsing it off rather than washing it. Hose it down when you get home and just leave it outside to dry. If its just gotten too dirty, you can put it in the wash by itself and run it through a rinse cycle with NO SOAP. Don’t dry them. Putting your waterproof layers through the dryer is one of the quickest ways to wear them out and potentially destroy them altogether. Rinse them and allow them to air dry overnight.

Tear Aid is a great product for patching holes in rain gear, but duct tape can temporarily work just as well (it gets gummy in the long run). Don’t overwash any wool clothing. If wool is worn under other layers and aired out at night, it only needs to be washed every few weeks. 

Label Everything: This is the very BEST way to ensure your kiddo is able to keep track of their gear, especially more costly things, like a quality rain jacket. We recommend putting your last name on all rain layers, on the tags of play clothes, along the bottom or side of water bottles, and on the bag containing changes of clothing.

FOREST SCHOOL GEAR FAQ

What do we do about bugs?

During warmer months, it’s important to apply bug spray each day before drop-off. This will keep mosquitos, ticks, flies, and stinging insects at bay. 

We also recommend packing a (labeled) bottle of bug spray in their backpack for reapplication. Citronella stickers like these can be a good option as well. Bug-repellent bracelets don’t tend to work well as they can be distracting and easily lost as we move through the forest.

After school each day of warmer seasons, be sure to thoroughly check your child for ticks. We recommend using a tick key to remove any you find safely and effectively. 

It's pretty warm out. Should I send my student in rain pants?

We try to wear rain pants year round. In addition to keeping students dry, they also protect legs from bugs, thorns, sharp rocks, and scraped knees. If its really hot, students can wear shorts and pack rain pants in backpacks.

How can I help my student be comfortable in all of their gear?

All clothing and footwear should be loose and fitting and roomy to allow the body’s own insulation layer to surround the skin. This keeps students much warmer! Pants with elastic waistbands are much more comfortable than buttons or snaps. It’s better to arrive to school in more layers than you think you’ll need. Children’s needs are often unpredictable and can depend on weather conditions, body temperature, and activity level. 

We recommend establishing and sticking to a gear routine that you go through WITH your child each day. We suggest arriving to school 5-10 minutes early to park in the Nature Center’s lot and “gear up” for the day. 

In summer, this would mean riding to school in comfortable, quick-dry play clothes and rain boots then stopping at the front to apply sunscreen, bug spray and check all backpack contents before joining the carpool drop-off line. 

In winter, this means riding to school in base-layers plus any warm layers needed to get to the car then adding thicker, warmer layers, outer waterproof layers, hats, scarves and mittens at school before getting into the drop-off line.

Talk with your student about the importance of wearing and caring for their gear and how it’s designed to keep them as safe and comfortable as possible throughout the day. For winter gear, talk with them about listening to their bodies and removing and adding back layers based on how warm they’re feeling. Discuss the signs our bodies give us – like shivering, sweating, colder extremities, lower energy levels, etc. – to let us know what we need to be comfortable. Encourage your child learn to pay attention to those and respond appropriately to take care of themselves.

You may also want to talk with them about how teachers are able to help with their gear (i.e. if it’s hard to put on/take off layers, mittens, etc.). Caring for and keeping up with gear is the child’s responsibility and teachers will be modeling & expecting this from day one of forest school. If any layers/gear are removed during the school day, the student is responsible for putting it into their backpack right away!

Where can I find good kids gear?

Brands like Oaki Kids and REI are durable and highly recommended. Many parents recommend checking local thrift stores for those essential under-layers and fleeces.

It is also great to connect with other parents in you’re interested in gear swapping or finding second-hand gear from other students.

Waterproof vs Water Resistant

When it comes to forest school, there is a HUGE difference between water resistant gear and outer layers that are truly waterproofMake sure to purchase GORE-TEX or other thin, waterproof outer layers. Snow gear doesn’t hold up well and is rarely actually waterproof, so its best to layer underneath a thin outer shell. 

If you buy gear locally, just check in with the staff as they may be able to help! If you find rain gear secondhand or get it through a gear swap and find that it’s not keeping the water out, Nikwax is a great, eco-friendly product for re-waterproofing jackets and boots. 

How to layer properly in the winter?

Baselayer first, including woolen or quick-dry pants and a long sleeve shirts with thick wool socks.

Warm, cozy layers come next, like fleece pants (1-2 pairs) and fleece or thick sweater upper layers (1-3 of increasing thickness). It’s best to to tuck these layers into taller socks. It’s good to add a second pair of socks when really cold, but be sure this doesn’t make your child’s boots too tight. This can cut off circulation to their feet and make them feel even colder!

Outer, waterproof layers are last, including rain pants, rain jacket, waterproof mittens, and insulated waterproof rain boots. Pull the cuff of rain pants down over the top of rain boots to keep water out. Similarly, put waterproof mittens on then put rain jacket on over the top to stay dry.

Accessories come last, with the exception of mittens. Add a scarf or gaiter and warm hat. We love the ones with earflaps that velcro under the chin to stay on while running, climbing, and exploring. 

Odds & ends like a rechargeable hand warmer or warm tea/soup in a thermos can help stave off the cold on chilly days, helping children to stay warm from within. We will often have a fire or seek sunshine on cold days. Teachers may carry a few temporary hand warmers as well. Start the day WARM – once a child gets cold, it’s really difficult to warm up externally! 

Mittens or Gloves?

Mittens are warmer and much easier to put on and take off! If your child cannot get fingered gloves on by themselves, we strongly recommend wearing mittens on cold days.

TEACHING & LEARNING AT OAKWOOD FOREST SCHOOL

Research strongly supports the idea that young children learn best through direct experiences with the world around them. Being outdoors provides children with not only fresh air, but endless resources for imaginative play, creativity, hand-eye coordination and balance, physical strength, and mental clarity.

By tapping into a child’s innate sense of wonder about nature, we can help them learn basic environmental and natural science principles, as well as respect for all living beings. Our lessons flow organically from the natural rhythms of the seasons and from the children’s daily discoveries. There are no set lesson plans: each day is shaped by the animals, insects, birds, amphibians, weather, and foraging that is encountered, providing endless spontaneous teachable moments.

Oakwood Forest School programs are play-based, experiential, child-led, and fully immersed in the great outdoors. 

We integrate best practices in early childhood education and often incorporate threads from various teaching philosophies (including Waldorf, Reggio-EmiliaWildschooling, and Montessori among others) to weave a vibrant tapestry of child-led learning in the rich forest environment. This interdisciplinary approach guides children to be self-motivated, cooperative, respectful, grateful, and aware of their impact on the earth.

Our teachers are committed to:

DAILY ROUTINES & GUIDELINES

Forest School will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

ARRIVAL POLICY & PROCEDURES Parents/guardians will enter the Dunwoody Nature Center property through the main entrance. Please note we share a driveway with Austin Elementary School. Drive down to the roundabout section of the parking lot where a Dunwoody Nature Center staff member will assist you with check-in and getting your child out of the car. If you need to finish “gearing up” you can park prior to entering the carpool line. 

TRAFFIC SAFETY Please follow any posted speed limits upon entering the property. Please drive slowly and be mindful of cars and people moving about. 

LATE ARRIVALS Because our classes are nomadic, it is critical that students arrive on time. If parents are running late due to unforeseen circumstances, they should immediately contact the office to inform them of their estimated time of arrival. Arrangements will be made by the teacher to collect the student upon arrival.

In the case of recurring late arrivals (more than 3), teachers will notify an admin team member who will reach out. In some instances, a $10 late fee will be requested.

ABSENCES If your child will miss a day of school due to illness or a planned absence, please communicate with the main office (770-394-3322) as soon as possible. We keep detailed attendance records in order to ensure all students are safe and accounted for each day. If there is a last-minute absence, please notify the main office.

DISMISSAL POLICY & PROCEDURES Pickup functions the same as morning drop off. 

If your family has additional drivers (grandparents, babysitters, etc.), it is your responsibility to ensure they are on our approved pickup list and to inform them of all traffic safety policies and procedures.

Please notify your student’s teacher ahead of time if someone else will be picking up your student so they can be added to the authorized pick-up list. Unknown adults will be required to present ID at pick-up.

In the case of recurring late pickups (more than 3), teachers will notify an admin team member who will reach out. In some instances, a $10 late fee will be requested.

GENERAL FOREST RULES

BOUNDARIES Children are expected to stay within the boundaries that have been established by teachers at all times..

CLIMBING TREES Children may climb trees at school while under adult supervision. They may not climb higher than twice their height and only after they have demonstrated competence.

STICKS Children may not play with a stick that is longer than their arm, unless it is clearly and responsibly being used as a walking stick, a tool (digging, for example), or for building under the supervision of the teachers. To keep everyone safe, running is not permitted while holding a stick. We appreciate your help in reinforcing these rules with your child. 

INGESTION Children will not eat or drink any substance or material found in nature without explicit teacher permission. For young kids, we use the terminology “we don’t put nature in our mouths” and repeat it often. 

NO TOYS Nature provides all the materials necessary for learning outdoors, so toys from home are not allowed. Any art supplies or other learning materials will be supplied by Dunwoody Nature Center.

*Rare exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis if a child is having a hard time adjusting to or feeling comfortable at school. Sometimes, a beloved stuffy can make a world of difference without causing issues for the class as a whole. This option can be discussed between parents and teachers, but teachers have the final say in whether it will be allowed or not.

NO TECHNOLOGY We ask that you do not send your child to school with any of the following: 

If you need to get in touch with your child, contact the front office at (770) 394-3322.

FOOD AT SCHOOL

Oakwood Forest School strives to incorporate sustainable practices in all we do and we encourage our parents to support those efforts. Please do your best to send your child’s snacks and lunches in reusable containers with minimal and/or compostable packaging. 

While natural, healthy foods with little to no packaging are the preference, we also understand the importance of balance in life! Some days, your child’s lunch may be curated with care and prepped with precision. Other days, it’s okay to throw in an apple, baby carrots, an Uncrustable, and some packaged crackers as you rush out the door.

We encourage whole foods as much as possible to help children’s bodies sustain their full days of playing and learning.

Each student should have at least one calorie-rich snack per day. Some popular snack items include:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Carrots & hummus
  • Apples & peanut butter
  • Cheese cubes
  • Bananas
  • Nuts & trail mix
  • Sliced deli meats
  • Yogurt or apple sauce
  • Nutrient dense snack bars (Z-Bars, Larabars, Luna Bars, etc)

WINTER TIME FOOD We recommend more substantial snacks that will help provide extra energy in the colder months. Cheese, yogurt, deli meats, and nuts are great filling snacks to pack during this season. Packing a warm snack in a thermos (oatmeal, soup, mac & cheese, etc.) as well as extra snacks – more than you think your student will eat – has been helpful for many children. 

Note: A warm, nutrient dense breakfast is key this time of year. It helps little bodies feel fueled for cold days in the forest!

FOOD AND BIRTHDAYS We celebrate each child and love to make birthdays and other celebrations magical here at Oakwood! The possibility of bringing in outside foods depends on allergies/dietary needs. Parents can communicate with administration staff about food & treats, crafts, or books for these special days. Teachers will have the final decision on bringing in any outside foods for the class.

ALLERGIES Teachers are aware of any allergies present in their class from the information provided on the emergency form. Teachers will not offer food to a child if it contains an ingredient that the child is allergic to and will notify the parent(s) ahead of time if a food is being served that a child cannot eat so the parent can send a substitute.

WEATHER POLICIES & SCHOOL CLOSURES

We will NOT necessarily follow DeKalb County weather delays and closings.

To preserve the safety of children and staff,  weather forecasts and current conditions will be carefully assessed daily. School will close if conditions warrant such actions. We strive for children to experience all types of weather in order to embrace the beauty of the shifting climates in the forest, as such Oakwood Forest School will make every effort to open as usual. 

UNEXPECTED SEVERE WEATHER DURING SCHOOL HOURS If warnings are issued during school hours, or heavy downpours and lightning occur, all children will be moved indoors until the threat is over. It is at the discretion of the administration team to make the decision to dismiss early, open late, or close for the day. If the administration team decides to dismiss early, families will be notified by the methods below. 

PREDICTION OF SEVERE WEATHER BEFORE SCHOOL HOURS In the event of school delays or cancellations, a decision will be made by 6:30 a.m. and will be broadcast via multiple outlets:

CHILD SAFETY

GROUP DYNAMICS All students will remain within eyesight and earshot of a teacher at all times. The maximum teacher:child ratio for outdoor classes is 1:6 for Forest Preschool. Each class stays together in designated areas specific to each portion of the day. The only people that interact with the students during the day are pre-approved by the faculty. There are always two (or more) adults with each class and teachers carry emergency forms and an official first aid kit at all times.

SITE ASSESMENT  The sites and structures are checked for safety each morning before the children arrive at school. Any hazards will be taken care of or the group may relocate to another site for the day.

FIRE SAFETY Children are only in the presence of fire while under direct supervision of their teacher(s). Although a child may be invited by a teacher to help tend a fire, they are given very specific instructions based on their age and ability to discern safety around fire. They may help collect and haul firewood, but the teachers are always in charge of adding fuel to the fire. There is always direct adult supervision when children are in the vicinity of fire or hot coals.

WATER SAFETY All visits to the creek and pond are under full supervision of teachers. Children will be allowed to wade in water that is less than knee deep while wearing water shoes or rain boots. 

FIRST AID AT SCHOOL In the case of a minor injury, the teachers may administer basic first aid—wash the injury with soap and water and cover with band-aids—as they see fit. The parents will be notified of any significant injuries at pickup (or after school via phone call if the child is picked up by another adult). In the case of a major injury, the teachers will call 911 and the parents/emergency contact and apply basic first aid until medical help arrives. All teachers have easy access to First Aid kits at all times. Children will always be sent to the nearest hospital if such extreme measures are needed. 

ILLNESS To control the spread of illness, children with vomiting, diarrhea, and/or fever must remain at home and not return to school until the child has been symptom free, without medication, for 24 hours. Should a child become ill while at school, parents will be contacted to pick up the sick child promptly. If a parent cannot be reached immediately teaching staff will call the next emergency contact to arrange pick-up. 

DISPENSING MEDICATION If your child takes any medications that must be administered during the school day, you will need to provide a signed authorization that allows teachers to administer medication, even non-prescription. Specific instructions regarding dosage, frequency, and symptoms of the condition for which the medication is administered should be listed on the authorization form signed by a parent. The medication should be labeled with the child’s name. The Oakwood Forest School staff member who administers the medication will document the time, the dosage, and any noticeable side effects. 

EMERGENCY EVACUATION In the unlikely case that we need to evacuate the property, all parents would be notified via phone call of the destination and pick up protocols. 

BATHROOM SAFETY All students must be FULLY potty-trained in order to attend Oakwood Forest School. 

This means that your child can independently use the bathroom with no or limited help from a teacher. This includes going both #1 and #2 on their own. Your child should be able to climb up and sit on the toilet, climb down, wipe themselves, clean up after using the toilet, and manage the majority of their clothing and gear on their own. For each class, the bathroom area consists of both a designated outdoor space (chosen to allow for privacy, but located within earshot of a teacher) as well as an indoor toilet facility. As a standard procedure, students will go #1 outdoors and #2 indoors unless too far from facilities to do so. Teachers are located so that they can hear children and are available to help if needed. 

We understand that young students may need help adjusting to using the bathroom in the forest. Parents and teachers can work together to help new students get comfortable with this during the first 2-3 weeks of school. We recommend practicing and talking with your child about this at home before school begins. We also understand that preschool-aged students may sometimes need help with layers or buttons/snaps, especially during the winter season. 

If a young child needs assistance with gear or using the bathroom, the teacher that helps will remain in eye-sight of the class and/or another teacher at all times and will always inform their co-teacher that they’re helping a student. Teachers stay close enough to other children and teachers that they are never alone with the child going to the bathroom. The bathroom door will be open while a teacher is physically assisting a child in that space, and closed for privacy with the teacher waiting outside the door while the child actually uses the bathroom. 

Students may not attend school in a diaper or pull-up. If a student arrives at school and is not fully potty trained and/or has more than two accidents in a single week, you may be required to take a Pause in Enrollment in order to work on bathroom skills at home before returning to Oakwood Forest School.  As a reminder, all students must be completely toilet-proficient as a condition of their enrollment in Oakwood Forest School.

BEHAVIOR GUIDELINES

Dunwoody Nature Center believes and acknowledges that children are complex beings, with complex needs. We approach each child with care, curiosity and concern, but we also acknowledge that Forest School is not necessarily the best fit for all children. We reserve the right to pause enrollment at any point during the school year. A pause in enrollment can occur for any number of reasons, but common reasons include observable patterns of detrimental behavior, displays of complex trauma behaviors, and academic interventions beyond the scope of our learning framework.

The following protocols are by no means exclusive, and will be taken on a case by case basis with parental, teacher, and administrative involvement.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS A WAIVER BELOW CONFIRMING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OR THE FOLLOWING BEHAVIOR GUIDELINES. THIS MUST BE SUBMITTED.

What is considered disruptive behavior?
  • Requiring constant attention from the staff
  • Inflicting physical or emotional harm on other children, adults, or self
  • Disrespect people and materials provided in the program
  • Consistently disobey the class rules
  • Consistently fail to follow teacher instructions
  • Verbally or physically threaten or harm other students and/or staff
  • Use inappropriate or offensive words repeatedly
Navigating Disruptive Behaviors at Forest School

Oakwood Forest School believes that our immersive forest environment is a natural guide for growth and learning. We encourage and support children’s innate ability to express deep compassion and concern for themselves, others and their environment as they’re learning to be good humans. We believe that the forest invites us to practice empathy, self-regulation, and consideration of others. 

Below are some strategies teachers use to help students experiencing conflict or exhibiting consistently disruptive behaviors in order to help them thrive in the outdoor learning environment:

Teachers will make parents aware of any disciplinary concerns through ongoing conversation and then with Behavior and Incident Reports and calls or meetings with the teaching team as required.

Patterns of Detrimental or Disruptive Behavior

Oakwood Forest School has a zero tolerance policy for bullying, coercion, hitting, grabbing, pushing, verbal harassment, aggressiveness or any other demeaning or detrimental behavior.  If these behaviors occur, the teacher will separate the instigating child from the group and the following steps will be taken to ensure the safety of all students and staff in class.

Step One Incident/Behavior Report

Detrimental behaviors will be addressed in a behavior and/or incident report. This will be completed by a teacher to document inappropriate behaviors that directly and negatively impacted other children, staff members, or the group as a whole. This report will be shared with the parent and will explain the behavior and how the behavior has affected others. It will also explain how the situation was resolved. The incident report will be given to the parent at the end of the day to be signed and a brief discussion will take place between the parent and teacher to discuss how to address the behavior at school and at home.

Step Two Incident Report and Parent Call

If two behavior/incident reports are written regarding the same inappropriate behavior documenting that the child has difficulty managing his/her behavior on a recurring basis, parents will be asked to keep the child home for one school day to address the behavior at home. A member of the administration team will then call the parent to discuss how to best help the student manage the detrimental behavior and offer support and tools so that the teaching team and parents can be a united front for the student.

Step Three  Incident Report & Meet with Teachers & Admin about Enrollment Pause

If the concerning behavior does not improve and another incident report is written regarding the same behavior, parents will be asked to meet with the child’s teacher and a member of the admin team to discuss a pause in the child’s enrollment and construct a learning plan for the child’s return to school.  Pauses in enrollment are discussed as a teacher, admin and parent team to ensure the success of each student.  The steps for enrollment pauses are outlined on a case by case scenario to accommodate the unique needs of the student.

Academic Pauses in Enrollment

The first six weeks of school are critical in assessing a student’s comprehension of curriculum, social emotional learning and awareness.  Oakwood Forest School understands that some students may need additional resources and learning support in order to be successful learners. If learning differences, special needs or necessary additional resources are identified in the first six weeks of school that fall outside of the learning framework of Oakwood Forest School the following steps will be taken to ensure the success of the student.

Step One Teacher, Admin, & Parent Meeting

Parents will be asked to meet with the student’s teacher and a member of the administration team to discuss the learning differences and special needs identified within the first six weeks of school.  A learning success plan will be established and resources available at Oakwood Forest School will be outlined to help the student, teachers and parents work together for the success of the student. 

Step Two Enrollment Pause

If the learning plan established by the teachers in the teacher meeting doesn’t prove to be effective for the student’s success, an enrollment pause will be discussed with parents to allow time for the student to receive psycho-educational testing to determine the specific and unique learning needs of the child.  Once testing by a licensed therapist has been completed, the results of the test and diagnosis will be shared with the student’s teachers and admin and a meeting will be set up to discuss a reintegration learning plan for the success of the student.

Step Three Reintegration

The student’s parents, teachers and a member of the admin team will meet to review the test results, discuss reintegration into class and establish a learning plan to ensure the student’s success at Oakwood Forest School.  Oakwood Forest School teachers and administration know that a forest school might be the best fit for every student and that the learning framework may not be able to meet the needs of each student.  If this is the case, the meeting to discuss reintegration may be a meeting to discuss better learning resources and environments for the students to help them on their learning journey.

Conditional Enrollment

Parents of students with identified learning differences, therapeutic assessments, previous psycho-educational testing, IEP and 504 services, or other special needs before the school year begins will be asked to provide any and all documentation of services and diagnosis received.  The admin team and the student’s teaching team will review the documentation and discuss the necessity of setting up a meeting before the school year begins to establish a learning success plan for the student.  Teachers will then observe the student in class for the first six weeks of school and regularly discuss their academic progress and social-emotional learning.  

After the first six weeks or at the teacher’s discretion, a meeting will be scheduled to reevaluate the learning success plan and discuss any additional resources necessary to meet the student’s unique and specific learning needs. Oakwood Forest School teachers and administration know that a forest school environment might not be the best fit for every student and that the learning framework may not be able to meet student needs. If this is the case, the six week meeting may necessitate a discussion about more appropriate learning resources and environments for the students to help them on their learning journey.

GENERAL LIABILITY OVERVIEW

Oakwood Forest School is thrilled to offer your child many experiential activities they would not get in any other educational setting. However, there are inherent risks involved in this type of education and our forest setting. Oakwood Forest School and Dunwoody Nature Center cannot be held liable for such accidents and injury.

All parents/legal guardians of Oakwood Forest School students must complete the below waiver before the 2024-2025 school year begins.

Click Here to Sign the Parent Waiver

Oakwood Forest School operates under the Bright From the Start exemption category #6 which states: Nursery schools, playschools, kindergartens, or other educational programs for children two (2) years through six (6) years of age that operate for no more than four (4) consecutive hours per day.

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