The following policy applies when a registration is cancelled:

  • 100% of refund minus a $50 fee until 30 day(s) before the beginning of the activity.
  • 100% of credit minus a $50 fee until 7 day(s) before the beginning of the activity.
  • Prorated credit minus a $150 fee, after the start of the activity, based on the number of meetings remaining at the time of cancellation.

Packing lists for all programs are here.

Yes. Especially now, many schools have been even more flexible with in person and remote schooling options. We currently have participants that come one, two, three, four, and five days per week.

The Semester program incorporates outdoor learning spaces and a self directed pedagogy. We are in a wilderness setting and focus on expanding our level of comfort outside while engaging with crafts, games, adventures, and learning activities based on natural materials and the wild surrounding us. We approach literacy, math, Spanish, science, and additional subjects by offering related projects and activities in a self directed environment. We think that learning how to be in deeper relationship with the wild around us and our wild selves is essential and we value the learning opportunities that are present in more mainstream education settings. We feel that a mix of these two environments maximizes opportunities for resiliency, creativity, and increased autonomy for young people as they grow. Mondays in Hampden are an add on to the regular semester and focus on wilderness skills. Tuesdays through Thursdays also utilize the White Ash Learning Library at the Teaching Grove.

The picture of a group of children all nearly the same age playing in a school yard may seem familiar to modern eyes, but it is an odd image from the long perspective of human cultural and evolutionary history. As anthropologist Melvin Konner pointed out more than thirty-five years ago, play among children close in age (same-age play) is largely an artifact of modern times. Same-age play became common only with the rise of age-graded schooling and, still more recently, with the proliferation of age-graded, adult-organized activities for children outside schools. Over the history of our species, as natural selection shaped the brain mechanisms of play, children’s social play usually occurred among individuals of different ages, often widely different ages. To learn more read The Special Value of Children’s Age-Mixed Play in the American Journal of Play or find a summary of the article here.

We like to check in with parents of two and three years olds to ensure the program will be a good fit. Some questions to consider about your child:

  • Are they comfortable being away from home for the day?
  • Have they spent full days outside in year-round, varied weather conditions?
  • Are they seeking social or learning experiences that aren’t currently available in their day to day life?
  • Are they working on going to the bathroom independently? We accept participants in diapers if the program is otherwise a good fit.

There will be a minimum of one staff for every six participants. Often our staff to student ratio is lower, and we regularly have guest mentors attending who share specific skills. This low staff to participant ratio allows us to offer one on one and small group instruction and have a high amount of supervision in the field.

Most programs, including the Semester Program, Winter Camp, and Summer Day Sessions have 30-40 participants per day. Mondays and Fridays are currently smaller groups of 10-15 participants per day, and overnight programs are usually 12-18 participants per session.

Lead mentors are active Wilderness First Responders, meaning they complete up to 10 days of intensive training in backcountry emergency medicine at least once every three years. Assistant mentors who are not Wilderness First Responders have completed Wilderness First Aid, a two day comprehensive training in emergency wilderness medicine. Mentors in Training have a minimum of basic first aid and CPR training.

The Teaching Grove and Bear Camp each have an outhouse and we use a composting bucket system at all other program sites. Mentors support participants in building confidence going to the bathroom in a wilderness setting.

The compulsory age of attendance for Maine children is 6 years old. If your child turns 6 between September 1st and July 31st of the following year, you are required to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) to homeschool. The statute states that the NOI should be filed within 10 days of the child turning 6. We do not suggest filing before they turn 6. Filing early can result in the state expecting an early compulsory age and eventually requiring it. The compulsory age in 2018-2019 was 7. It was just lowered to 6 for the 2019-2020 school year.

All homeschooling families are required to submit an annual assessment, which includes a portfolio. Since the state of Maine does not have a specific requirement for the content of the student portfolio, it is up to you what to include in your portfolio. White Ash Learning can provide documentation of your child’s attendance in programs and a summary of the curriculum for this purpose. Learn more about the process of registering as a homeschooling family here.

No, but we recommend Dawn M. Nguyen, Maine certified teacher, who will review the academic progress in state mandated subject areas through a written portfolio review and/or oral narrative of the academic school year via Zoom for $25.

Since the state of Maine does not have a specific requirement for the content of the student portfolio, it is up to you what to include in your portfolio. White Ash Learning can provide documentation of your child’s attendance in programs and a summary of the curriculum for this purpose. Learn more about the process of registering as a homeschooling family here.

100% of our day is focused and engaged, we do not do any busy work . Participants need time to absorb and integrate all that they have learned and experienced throughout the day. There may be invitations to engage with at home such as noticing what birds have returned or continuing a project we’ve started on program for example. If evenings are left free of homework, this also leaves the opportunity for family learning time through things like cooking or crafting together or taking a walk outside.

If your child has an IEP, or undergoes educational testing while enrolled in the program we would love to receive a copy of the report so we can best support their learning journey. We would be happy to evaluate on a case by case basis and discuss how much individualized support we can offer in advance of enrollment.

The application is at the bottom of the About page.

In general, our focus is serving young people under 25. We occasionally host all ages events, especially when the focus is relevant to youth. Forest Therapy is offered for all ages, for more information about hosting a walk click here. We are also in relationship with and encourage you to explore the following organizations offering programming related to nature connection for adults:

Still have questions?

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