Kids Programs FAQ


What are the rules for kids programs?

Simply put: be safe, smart & respectful.

1) Always stay with your group and always be in sight of your site-leader.

2) Treat peers, crew, the land, and its visitors with respect.

3) Do not put yourself or others in a situation that could endanger you or them.


What happens if there is a behavioral issue?

We keep our rules positive, simple and straightforward but we also understand that our Flurries and Blizzards have had a full day of school and have been on-task all day. Elements is a great place to let off some pent up energy in a safe and respectful manner to all. Sometimes our crew use conversation to rein in behavior if we deem it unsafe or disrespectful. If the crew needs further support, they radio the Elements Site Leader and if misbehavior persists, we contact parents and work towards a common, positive solution.


My child is nervous about being in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. What does Elements do to put kids at ease?

We understand that the woods, especially on a cold, grey, wintry afternoon, can be overwhelming. Our Elements Crew goes through training and part of that experience is instruction on how to introduce the kids to the magic of the woods in a positive way. When your child arrives at each session, they get a warm welcome and check in with the Site Leader. They are then introduced to their Crew Counselor and Small Group. They will be with this Crew Counselor and in their Small Group for the bulk of their Elements Sessions. The Flurries and Blizzards typically make fast friends with their Crew, Small Group and the woods.


I want to register a few of my kids but some are Flurries and others are Blizzards. Are locations near each other?

Yes! We try to keep our Blizzards and Flurries in the same parks but with slightly different drop off/pick up locations. Usually the location is just a block away or an easy walk for parents to get to.  


How do you deal with safety issues?

  1. Training: All crew go through a mandatory Elements Training where common safety issues are addressed.

  2. Communication: All crew carry Elements issued walkie talkies and cell phones so that we can easily communicate any safety concerns.

  3. Minor Injuries: Each crew  and the Site Leader carry basic First Aid equipment

  4. Tiered supervision & safety in numbers: Each session has a SIte Leader who is available to support the crew. The crew closely supervise their Small Group and we find that there is safety in our numbers.


What is the weather policy?

While we embrace the elements, we will always be safe. We closely follow the weather reports from National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

  • If there is a forecast for heavy rains, thunder, and/or lightning, we will cancel for that session and try to re-schedule.

  • If there is a forecast for high windswe will most likely continue since most of our locations have meadows where we can gather and play. If the forecast calls for severe gusts (over 50mph) we will cancel and try to re-schedule.

  • If the roads are impassable due to snow or ice, we will try to re-locate.

  • If dangerous weather presents during an Elements’ session please come to the pick up location early. DO NOT WAIT FOR A CALL OR EMAIL. We will gather the kids either at our pick-up location or shelter in situ.

Our foremost priority is the safety of the kids and crew.


What should kids wear to their session and what should they do with their backpack if they carpool?

Dressing for the elements is no different than getting ready for sports team practice. Coach will not let you play if you don’t have your pads or mouth guard! If your kiddo arrives and isn’t dressed for the conditions, we will need to send him/her home (but welcome them back if they can scramble) for the right attire. It is imperative (and lots more fun) to be dressed for what Mama Nature sends our way!

Our policy is to always dress for the weather and to factor in that the temps drop with the sun! Be prepared with lots of layers! Here are some suggestions:

  • SYNTHETIC BASE LAYER: Something close to the skin that wicks away moisture

  • INSULATING LAYER: Something fluffy and downy

  • PROTECTIVE LAYER: Something to keep the wind, water (rain pants and rain coat) and snow (snow pants and coat) out.

  • HEAD, HANDS, AND FEET: Hat, gloves or mittens, warm socks and good waterproof boots.

  • CARPOOLERS: Kiddos can store school backpacks in Site Leader's car during the session.


Is there anything else I should do to make sure my child is prepared? 

Yes! Please be sure to explain the Elements program to your child. They should understand that we will proceed in the elements: rain and shine, snow and cold, dusk and dark. If they are dressed for the weather and embrace the winter elements, we can promise that fun and friendship will follow!

We also ask that they have a healthy snack before they arrive at their session. We have some kids with allergies so do not serve any snack (Except for the occasional Peppermint Pattie!)

There are NO bathroom facilities at the parks. We will call parents if there is a bathroom situation that requires an early pick up.


What is your teaching method/philosophy?

We embrace individuality and celebrate the qualities and characteristics of each child. Knowing that kids flourish in different ways, we follow the “Challenge by Choice” approach to teaching. We provide leadership, encouragement instruction, and support. We embrace personal growth and communal citizenship. Our goal is that after each session in the woods, your child will be in their own element! They will feel confident, energized, and more knowledgeable about themselves, their peers, and their park. They will be ready to take on the world (or their homework).


Logistical, location specific questions? 

All our registered parents receive a Logistics Email that is specific to your location a week prior to our season. It will include the name and contact information of your Site Leader, as well as specific information regarding your child's site and session. That said, we are more than happy to answer your questions now. Just shoot us an email. 


Are electronics allowed?

Use of electronic devices are not allowed during The Elements adventures. Our goal is for the kiddos to have an hour to unplug, be present, and engage in our surroundings. If your child needs to have a cell phone, we ask that you put the ringer silent or vibrate. All instructors have cell phones and walkie talkies for emergency purposes.


What time is our Elements session and what if we are late or participant is sick?

We ask that you do your best to have the kids to the park on time, between 4:15 and 4:30. We have a lot to do in a short period of time and it is tricky to find us once we are woodland bound. If you arrive after 4:30, please call or text the Site Leader and he/she can direct you to where we will be stationed. We will bring the kids back to the trail head at 5:30.

Please email or text Site Leader in advance if your child is sick or has a scheduling conflict.


What is the cancellation/refund policy?

  • REFUND POLICY: 

    • If your child needs to cancel before December 31st,  we will provide a refund, less a $75 admin fee. Please let us know in writing via email to mrietano@theelementsdc.com.

    • If your child needs to cancel after December 31st we are unable to provide a refund. Please let us know in writing via email to mrietano@theelementsdc.com.

    • If we are unable to accept a registered or waitlisted child, we will provide a full refund.

 


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