Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What age group(s) does The Owl’s Nest Holistic Alternative School offer programs for?

A: We will be offering a Primary and Junior Elementary program this year (kindergarten-grade 8). Your child must turn 4 by December of the present year to start in the Lower Elementary program (kindergarten-grade 2). We offer a Holistic Alternative School, a Forest School and a combination of the two. We do offer a preschool program as well for ages 2-3.5.

Q: What are the school hours?

A: Drop off will start at 9:15-9:30am and pick up time will be 3:30pm We can discuss case by case any need for before or aftercare.

Q: Is there a fee schedule developed?

A: Yes, at this time we have developed a standard fee that is paid in full or monthly instalments. We offer a reduced rate for tuition paid in full. 

Q: Do you have any pictures of the classroom or are you offering tours?

A: You are welcome to arrange a tour at our School that resides at Reroot Farm. Please contact us to arrange this. Much of our classroom takes place on the farm, by the creek and in the forest at the back of the farm.

Q: Does the classroom have it's own washroom facility?

A: We have three out houses and 2 porta potty available for use on the farm. One by the school and one in the forest. Our indoor classroom is equipped with an indoor composting toilet. We also have 2 UV water filtered hand washing and drinking water access. Our water is tested regularly and monitored. 

Q: Can we attend part time?

A: Preference is given to families that attend full time, with a combined 3 days Holistic Alternative School and 2 days Forest School. With that in mind, we did make our Holistic Alternative Program more accessible by offering it 3 days per week rather than a required full 5 days like comparable programs do. We also offer 2 day forest school programs for K-2 and 1 or 2 day programs for Grades 3-8.

Q: How many students will be in my child's class? How many Teachers will they have?

A: On average, children will be in a class of up to 12 children. They will have educators assigned to their group that include a main teacher and planning time teachers. Our school is between 35-55 students.

Q: Are they meeting The Ontario Standard Curriculum?

A: Yes. Along with the Holistic Alternative Curriculum, we have created a working document and curriculum that parallels the Ontario curriculum. Having said that, this program is not one that you can jump into for a year and then out of again. The Holistic Alternative Program is a complete program that covers all of the curriculum by grade 8. Many families find that the programming here far exceeds what is taught in the public system and meets the needs of their child in far more authentic and enriched ways.

What about safety?

A: We take safety seriously and are well trained and intentioned in the risk, risky play and lessons presented. In all likelihood, programs will feature stretching children's comfort zones that are within their developmental level and abilities. We are anti-fragile; meaning that we believe that facing difficulties and reasonable risks help children to become more resilient, independent and self-confident. Within the older grades we practice whittling, fire starting techniques and community fires, using power tools and other life skills. Lots of planning, developmentally appropriate introductions and precaution and gradual release are taken.

Q: Can you clarify your spaces for the programs? 

A: We have a designated school space in a renovated, multi room portable classroom which includes a school yard and washroom. On top of this, we have a double classroom outdoor greenhouse space as an outdoor classroom and shelter. We also have access to the farm. There is a shallow creek on site and a large wild space and forested area with a forest shelter. We also have access to another larger creek and cabin at the back of the forest.

Q: What are the washroom rules during the outdoor portion and weather 

A: Year round, we have access to the indoor washroom inside our classroom. All student’s will have an adult accompanying the children to the washroom, where needed and appropriate. We have a heated and cooled indoor classroom available for use anytime weather is not on our side. At the same time, we ask that students come having used the washroom, had breakfast and dressed appropriately for the weather so we can maximize our time outdoors.

Q: Is French a component of your curriculum?

A: Currently, our French Program is on hold and not available. 

Q: Do you feel that the full academic curriculum will still manage to be covered with only three days of the Holistic Alternative Program?

A: Mostly. Our 3 day program focuses on holistic learning, literacy and math. In the 3 day program you eliminate more focused time for social studies and science in the other 2 days. A great deal of time is dedicated to focused work. Our students are not given busy work. Each piece of work in the classroom is intentional, authentic, and builds upon the work previously covered. Oftentimes, in traditional schools the afternoons are typically spent in gym, having quiet time, silent reading, in free play. This time is used to support self regulation and manage busy bodies who are needing a break from indoor work. Typically afternoons are more challenging for students and they are harder to keep children engaged. This is because their energy has been depleted and they have spent the morning in a very focused state of mind. The outdoor portion of our days will help to alleviate that and support students all day while simultaneously learning. Being outdoors is a natural sensory experience and stress reliever. It helps support mental health and self regulation and creates optimal learning environments. Also, much of our Holistic Alternative curriculum is taught outside. Our classroom transcends 4 walls.

Q: Is there homework? What does it look like?

A: There will be little to no homework. The students will be engaged in authentic work, therefore, they work very hard and have no filler or busy work. All of their time spent in school is focused and engaged. Home time will allow their brains to process all that they have learned and focused on throughout the day. There may be some light assignments such as daily reading practice. It's our holistic philosophy that family time is very important and if evenings are left without homework, this leaves the opportunity for family time through meal times, walks, playing games or other activities of connection.

The Owl’s Nest FAQ Answers.pdf