For Caregivers

Welcome to the wonderful world of Wild Child Forest School! Thank you for joining us on our outdoor adventures!

Below you will find all of the information you need as a Wild Child caregiver including our unsafe weather policy, how to dress your child(ren) for the weather, what to pack, and our Caregiver Handbook! If you have any questions, please contact wildchild@sierraclub.ca

Caregiver Handbook

Plese click the link below to download our Caregiver Handbook. We encourage all caregivers to read the entire handbook before the start of your child(ren)’s program. Thank you!

Unsafe Weather Policy

Wild Child Forest School reserves the right to postpone or cancel sessions due to unsafe weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances that may negatively impact the health, well being, and/or safety of participants and staff.

This includes:

  • Forecasted chance of lighting and/or thunderstorms
  • Winds gusting over 70km/hr and/or sustained winds over 40km/hr
  • Forest fires
  • Forecasted heavy rainfall, flood, and/or wind warnings
  • Temperatures above +32 with humidex, below -25C with windchill
  • Any other events that may present a serious hazard

Wild Child Forest School will attempt to reschedule sessions missed due to hazardous weather conditions, but this may not always be possible. Wild Child Forest School will not be held liable for loss of fees for sessions.

Dressing for the Weather

Our goal is to make sure children are able to come have fun with us and be comfortable while being outside! Wild Child Forest School operates outside in many types of weather.

This includes:

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Cold
  • Heat
  • Drizzle
  • Fog
  • Other weather conditions

It is the caregiver’s responsibility to ensure that the particpant is dressed properly for the forecasted weather conditions. This means sturdy closed toed shoes are expected at all times. Long pants tucked into socks (to protect legs from scratches, ticks, mosquitoes, etc.) are highly recommended. Waterproof pants and jacket (or a waterproof one-sie), waterproof footwear, and warm layers that can be removed are expected during wet conditions.

Appropriate clothing and outer layers are dependent on weather conditions which include temperature, precipitation, length of program, and damp conditions. Please check the forecast each morning and dress your child in the proper gear to be able to participate in our programs safely. Please consider the length of time your child will be outside. Please note that it is often cooler and damper in the forest than in open areas.

For the health and safety of your child we do reserve the right to refuse a child’s participation based on improper clothing and footwear.

We do have some clothing and gear that we are able to loan based on availability and size, please contact us in advance if you need to borrow items.

Warm, waterproof clothing makes all the difference in cooler weather!

Clothing Tips & Reminders

How to Dress for Success at Wild Child Forest School!

Closed-toed shoes are a must, this includes hot days and during the summer! Open sandals and flip-flops are not acceptable footwear

  • When rain or wet forest floor conditions prevail, waterproof footwear may also be necessary, especially on cool or cold days
  • Long pants help prevent scratches and limit skin exposure to harmful UV rays, insect bites, and ticks. For these reasons, we highly recommend that you send your child with breathable, full-length pants tucked into their socks
  • Socks can make all the difference in the world. Good quality wool socks are better than cotton. Wool socks will continue to insulate and keep feet warm especially when they get wet. Cotton socks have negative insulative value when wet!
  • Keeping heads and hands warm can also be challenging, but is necessary to keep children comfortable and safe. Wool is the best choice and mittens are better than gloves for little hands
  • Thin knitted gloves can make hands colder than wearing nothing, especially when they get wet, and should be avoided
  • During rain events or wet damp days, keeping the body dry and warm prevents hypothermia and keeps the grumpies away. A sturdy breathable waterproof jacket and waterproof rain pants will be required
  • Please note that most snow pants and nylon splash pants are not waterproof and are not acceptable on wet rainy days. When purchasing gear, water resistant is not the same as waterproof and waterproof breathable materials are preferable
  • Forest School is not a fashion show and your child’s clothing will get dirty, wet, and possibly ripped. Second-hand shops can provide cheap functional gear at a fraction of the cost. If quality clothing is a barrier, please discuss this issue with us in advance. We do have some gear to loan
  • Dressing appropriately for extended play outdoors is necessary to be comfortable, safe, and willing to participate in forest school activities

Clothing Checklist

Always:
– Closed toed shoes
– Long pants (highly recommended!)
– Extra sweater or warm jacket
– Spare dry socks

On a rainy or wet day:
– Waterproof jacket
– Waterproof rain pants
– Rubber or waterproof boots

On a rainy cool day, include insulating layers under rain gear:
– Wool or polar fleece sweater
– Wool or fleece pants
– Warm socks (avoid cotton, it has negative insulation value when wet!)
– Warm hat & warm mittens
– Extra socks and mittens.

On a cool windy day:
– Warm coat or windbreaker shell with a warm sweater
– Warm pants, possibly long johns underneath
– Warm wool socks
– Rubber boots (forest floor is often damp or wet)
– Hat & mitts

For children under 5 years and for everyone participating in our Full Day Programs, we suggest packing a spare full set of clothing appropriate for the weather including:
– Underwear
– Socks
– Pants
– Shirt

What to Pack?

We ask that caregivers ensure their child has all of the following items packed in a sturdy backpack that fits your child. It is good practice to pack the backpack with your child’s help so that your child will be aware of what is in their backpack and where to find specific items.

Please refrain from packing extra items. Your child will be carrying their own pack while hiking and extra items will add extra weight.

Travel sized items or smaller portions in labeled containers for sunscreen and bug repellant will help reduce the weight and space taken in your child’s backpack. All tools and equipment that are needed will be provided by Forest School. Please do not send any tools or knives from home.

Backpack Checklist

– Spare clothing in bag
– Water bottle
– Nut-free snacks and lunch, preferably litter-less
– Sunscreen (non-aerosol only)
– Bug repellant (non-aerosol only)
– Extra sweater
– Spare socks
– Hand sanitizer (if possible)

Full Day program participants may bring a book, small blanket, and/or stuffed animal for quiet time. Please keep in mind this item may get dirty or lost.

Please do not bring:
– Toys
– Pocket knives or other tools (unless permission has been given by Wild Child staff members in advance)
– Electronic devices including cell phones, mp3 players, and gaming devices

Lost Items
WCFS is not responsible for any lost or stolen items while on site. We encourage parents to label everything coming with your child to help ensure it ends up back in their pack.
Any items left at WCFS will be placed in a Lost and Found, which will be made available on request.

Sunscreen and Bug Spray
WCFS encourages that all participants to arrive with sunscreen and bug spray already applied.
Educators and volunteers will assist children in re-application if needed

Food

Food is fuel and when outside being physical, we need more of it and our appetites tell us so. Packing a little extra food helps us maintain good energy and mood.

During Full Day sessions when the weather is cool, we encourage a warm drink and/or a hot lunch that you know your child enjoys eating. It is also good practice to have your child help with packing their lunch kit, so they know what is for lunch, what is for snack, and know where to find it.

We ask that participants refrain from bringing any peanuts or tree nuts to WCFS due to the prevalence of life-threatening nut allergies. By providing nut-free snacks for your child, you can help us create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone!

Participants are not permitted to share snacks.


We ask that participants try to bring a litter-less snack with them, as less trash is better for our environment and our Wilderness Site does not have a trash can. When packing in reusable containers, please consider the weight of containers and what will be comfortable for your child to carry.

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