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Policies and FAQ

Policies & FAQ

I want to make sure you have a wonderful experience!

I am committed to making sure that you and your child have a wonderful experience! If an issue arises, please reach out to me so that I can offer support and we can work together to find a solution.

What ages does the program serve?

The program is designed for children ages 18 months-8 years.

Children younger and older than that age range are welcome to enroll and families are encouraged to try a free class to see if it is a good fit for their explorer.

 

Who must accompany my child to MOLE classes?

Our classes are designed for grown-ups and children to experience together. To provide for the safety of all enrolled, children attend along with an adult from their own household or pod.

 

Can siblings come join the fun?

YES! Our mix-aged classes are the perfect experience to enjoy with siblings.

Siblings under 12 months of age may join at no cost. Siblings over one year should enroll in the class. If you plan to register more than one child, please reach out to me by email (MagnoliaOutdoorLE@gmail.com) for a sibling discount.

 

If a sibling needs to attend due to scheduling change (eg. day off at school), they can attend up to two sessions without enrolling. Families are asked to notify the teacher if an extra child needs to attend for a session so they can prepare any necessary materials. 

 

Can families try a class for free before enrolling in the program?

Families are invited to enroll in free trial classes or pop-up play dates prior to the start of the season. These free classes are announced on our website as well as on our social media.

 

Can families register for classes after the start of the season?

Yes! You are always welcome to join us by choosing a class registration option that best suits your family’s needs.

 

Are refunds offered?

If a refund is requested BEFORE the season of classes begins, families can receive a full refund or credit towards a future class.

If a refund is requested AFTER the season of classes begins, families can receive a refund for half of the value of the remaining sessions in their class pack.

 

Are refunds offered for missed sessions?

Families who must miss a class are eligible to receive a free rescheduling code (based on availability) or a refund IF they notify the teacher they will be unable to attend class 48 hours prior to the class start time.

If you must miss a class and the teacher is not notified 48 hours before the class start time, the class cannot be refunded or rescheduled. 

Families are always welcome to join another class as a Drop In.

 

If a session is canceled by the teacher due to illness or emergency, families can choose a different available class date on the class calendar at no extra cost. If more than two sessions are cancelled due to teacher illness or emergency then families are eligible for a refund for the additional cancelled sessions.

 

What happens in inclement weather?

We love embracing outdoor play in all seasons and weather! That said, there are times when it is too dangerous or uncomfortable for safe, happy learning.

 

Decisions about whether it is safe to hold class are determined by the teacher using local weather guidance (such as weather stations, apps and local school's recommendations) and the Child Care Weather Watch chart.

When temperatures are in the caution zone and below freezing, the length of class time outdoors and age of children participants will be taken into consideration.

The teacher will update families at least 90 minutes prior to class by email and text message if the weather causes the class to be cancelled. IF only one class session is happening each week, the teacher will work to reschedule the class for a day and time that the majority of families can attend. IF more than one class session is happening in the week, the participants of the missed class will be invited to join another session that week. Classes missed or cancelled due to weather will not be refunded.

 

How do teachers foster a safe learning environment during class?

Each explorer (child) is accompanied by a guide (parent or caregiver). Teachers support guides and do all that they reasonably can to provide a learning environment that allows for safe risk-taking.

Leaders bring a First Aid Kit to class, which can be utilized by guides (attending adults) if needed.

 

A few, simple rules help to address most situations:

  • Explorers (children) can explore on their own as long as they can still see or hear their guide or the Leader.

  • If explorers are taking physical risks, we check in to make sure that they feel sturdy and safe in their risk-taking. 

  • Leaders encourage children to engage in risky play, but give clear redirection if or when safety and the safety of friends in the class could be compromised. For example, we celebrate that sticks are the #1 toy of all time, but we make sure that our sticks have plenty of space so they do not touch our friends' bodies. Ultimately, over time, we want to help children learn how to learn their limits while still playing in a way that keeps them and their friends out of true harm.

  • We encourage children not to put nature treasures in their mouths. If a wee one is doing so as a natural part of exploring the world, we work with their guide to try to honor that need in the safest way possible.

 

Are classes designed to allow parents to drop off their children?

Our Stay and Play Model:

One of the best parts of the MOLE class experience and the Tinkergarten curriculum is that classes help parents and caregivers develop new ways of engaging, exploring, and learning with their children. In classes, we refer to grown ups as “Guides” and support you as you support your child(ren) in leading the way in their learning process.

 

When parents and caregivers participate in classes, they gain valuable insights; often, they come away surprised by just what their children are capable of doing, and how much problem-solving and skill-building occur when kids have the opportunity to play outside.

 

Because of the important benefits that adults and children enjoy when they share these experiences, children must be accompanied by at least one adult during classes.

What is the approach to health/COVID-19 safety in classes?

We follow a standard approach to safety that applies to all instances of in-person classes. This approach has been informed by the CDC recommendations within the CDC Guidance for Operating K-12 Schools and Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs–specifically those portions which pertain to outdoor activities.

 

We are thrilled to have successfully utilized this approach since Summer 2021, and we remain confident that the outdoors is the safest place to learn and come together – something we all need to do so badly.

 

Before class:

All participants (teachers included) refer to our Pre-Class Health Checklist (which can be found in the documents section below) that includes a check for symptoms of COVID to self assess. 

 

During class:

All participants follow an In-Class Safety Checklist (which can be found in the documents section below) with 6 simple strategies that enable us to play safely together!

Masks are not required, unless they are required by the municipality or organization that oversees the location in which MOLE classes are being held. 

We design our classroom spaces and activities so that we limit participants' sustained close contact with people outside of their family/pod. 

Eating or drinking should be done in “nests” with distance from anyone outside of participants' household or pod.

When temperatures are above 50 degrees, Leaders provide a soap + water mixture for participants to wash hands as they arrive. 

 

Confirmation of confirmed positive cases:

 

Exposure Before Class: If you or one of the people who join you in class test positive or are exposed to someone who is positive, follow the current CDC Guidelines for isolation or quarantine. While in isolation or quarantine, stay home from MOLE classes.

 

Testing Positive After Class: If you or someone in your household who attended your MOLE class test positive for COVID-19 after participating in a session, reach out to me. 

 

What are MOLE classes like?

Magnolia Outdoor Learn & Explore (MOLE) classes utilize the expert created Tinkergarten curriculum along with other developmentally appropriate nature and play-based learning supplements. Classes are facilitated by me (Mycah Klinker) a certified Tinkergarten Leader with a degree in Early Childhood Education and years of experience in both traditional and nontraditional classroom settings.

 

With indicated MOLE registrations (such as a full season or any 3+ drop in classes), a discount will be provided for Tinkergarten Anywhere, a learn anywhere supplement to our live classes with additional activities and resources to keep learning all week long. 

 

Both our live MOLE classes, and the at home Tinkergarten Anywhere curriculum are designed to engage children in play-based activities that foster a sense of joy and wonder, all while developing essential skills.

 

Live group classes:

Each live group session follows an intentional structure that includes community building, songs, movement, learning about nature, guided play time, and a closing community share time. During guided play time, I will introduce a lesson of the week to inspire kids to play and develop a particular aspect of the target skill of the season.

 

Lessons:

Every MOLE lesson uses Tinkergarten curriculum along with other appropriate nature and play-based learning resources. Tinkergarten curriculum is designed to inspire open-ended exploration and play through which kids actively engage in imagining, exploring, and/or problem solving. While each lesson is designed by Tinkergarten and guided by me, the children decide how to play in response to the lesson’s play scenario. We trust children’s interests and follow their lead in shaping the way play unfolds.

To kids, it’s pure and joyful fun!

 

Approach to Learning

Our classes use the Tinkergarten curriculum along with other nature and play-based learning supplements. Tinkergarten lessons are engineered to help kids develop a range of essential physical, cognitive, and social-emotional skills. These skills support kids in being ready to learn, ready to thrive, and ready for anything. We make learning irresistible by designing each experience to inspire wonder, activate the senses, leverage brain science, and draw on wisdom of the ages.

 

Each season focuses on one of 8 core skills in depth. Over time, season, after season, children build these skills – the skills they’ll use to thrive in our dynamic world – and a love of learning in the natural world.

 

At MOLE, children drive their own play and, in turn, their own learning. As the teacher, I provide an enriching play environment and together with the adults who join the children, support the children's learning experience.

 

Our lessons are offered in a mixed-age setting (18 months-8 years), which both meet the needs expressed by families, and as research backs, deliver a richer education experience.

 

Read more about Mixed-Age play here

 

Our activities are open-ended, child-led, and designed within a universal framework to offer both access and potential benefit to children across a range of ages and developmental needs.

 

Why do we encourage the use of photos and how are photos used?

Photos are a valuable part of our learning both in and out of classes. Photos teach. Taking, sharing, and reviewing photographs of children’s experiences in MOLE classes supports our community of learners in the following ways:

 

FAMILIES can reflect on kids’ learning together: Photos allow families to reflect on their children’s experience in our classes as individual learners and as members of a learning community.

TEACHERS can celebrate kids’ play: Each week, I will share photos from our classes to our community gallery. Sharing photos with me allows me to connect with your kids and celebrate all of the playful learning they are doing.

KIDS learn from one another: As kids see images of their peers at play, they get inspired to play more themselves and get to know their classmates better.

Will MOLE use any photos that I upload?

I will share photos from each class session in a follow up email to only those families who attended that class.

 

I use photographs to illustrate learning concepts and promote outdoor play and playful learning on our website and other materials/media. Before I would use any photo in that way, I would reach out directly to the parent of the child(ren) in the photo and secure their permission.

 

Parents often choose to share pictures of their kids at play with Tinkergarten, MOLE and their local communities across social media, as they do with many other kids activities. Those choices are up to the individual parent.

 

Where to Connect? 
Contact MOLE founder Mycah Klinker

If you have any questions about Magnolia Outdoor Learn & Explore classes, please contact me at MagnoliaOutdoorLE@gmail.com 

 

Online Community:

Join in celebrating play and time outside with our greater online community on both Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram by following my MOLE classes page @magnoliaoutdoor and @tinkergarten. On Facebook within the Outdoors All 4 community.

This is a wonderful place to share experiences with local and nationwide communities, exchange ideas and build everyone’s knowledge.

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