What gear will my child need for your programs?
We will be meeting RAIN or SHINE each week, so your child needs to be prepared for all weather conditions. Gear is incredibly important for your child’s experience, so please prepare thoroughly. Check out our regular program gear list and/or our camp gear list for more information.
What is the teacher to student ratio for your programs?
We ensure low staff to student ratios for all of our programs. For our preschool programs, we keep a 1:4 ratio. For our older groups, age 5 and up, we keep a 1:6 ratio. This ensures safety and provides ample opportunity for your child to receive one-on-one interactions with our teachers.
Where are your programs located?
We hold programs at Abbey Nature Preserve, Halyburton Park, and Carolina Beach State Park. Please see details for your program of interest to learn where it is held. Interested in having a program at a different location? Let's talk!
What do your programs cost?
Costs are listed in the details of each program. Find your program of interest here. If cost is a concern for you, limited scholarships are available. First, register for your program of interest, and you will be offered a link to our scholarship application upon completion of registration.
Are your programs safe? What risks are involved?
Playing outdoors always involves some level of risk. At Nature Connect, we do everything possible to prevent hazards, including teaching awareness so that children learn to take responsibility for their own safety. All of our staff are trained in CPR & First Aid by the American Red Cross and keep a cell phone on their person at all times in case of emergency. All of our programs take place in areas with clear cell reception, and a safety plan is in place with local EMS should an ambulance be needed. We also put a strong emphasis on teaching children about specific hazards and giving them the autonomy to look out for themselves and each other. Awareness is a large part of what we teach in our program, and safety is one of the most important reasons to be aware of your surroundings.
Possible hazards include, but are not limited to:
Poison ivy - all students are trained to identify and avoid poison ivy and reminded of it on a daily basis
Venomous snakes do live in our area. We teach children snake safety from day one, including how to identify venomous vs. nonvenomous snakes.
Even non-venomous snakes can inflict severe bite wounds if provoked - we teach children not to approach snakes even if they believe it to be non-venomous.
Venomous spiders do live in our area. We teach children spider safety from day one, including how to identify venomous vs. nonvenomous spiders
There are plants in our area that are poisonous if ingested. Most will only cause sickness, but some can be fatal. We also have many edible and medicinal plants in our area that are delicious and fun to try. Our staff are trained in expertly identifying edible vs. poisonous plants, and our strict rule for children is not to put any plant (or anything for that matter) in your mouth without specific permission from a teacher - even if you recognize the plant, or think it's a plant you have eaten before. No exceptions.
What is your plan in case of inclement weather?
All of our programs meet rain or shine. We want to teach children that nature is a beautiful and wonderful place, even in the rain. Rainy days can be some of the most fun, splashing in puddles and working together to build tarp shelters. Please see our gear list for rain gear requirements.
Of course, rain can also bring lightning. If a forecast is calling for persistent lightning storms throughout the day, we do have indoor locations that are adjacent to outdoor spaces we can use during breaks in the storm. While indoors we will play games, tell stories, do crafts, etc. These locations are specific to each program and will be given to you during orientation for your child's program. Weather in our area is unpredictable, and the call to switch to an indoor location can be a tough one. If we believe a switch may be necessary, we will give you a warning of the possibility the night before program by 8pm, and make the final call at least two hours before program the following morning. Ultimately, we prefer to be in our treasured outdoor locations, and do not want to move indoors unless absolutely necessary.
In the event of an extreme weather event, such as a hurricane or severe ice storm, the program will be cancelled and a makeup day will be used at the end of the semester.