Policies and FAQs

At Open Spaces, we set policies as a baseline to learn and grow from. Everything in life grows and changes, please ask us if you have questions.

What ages does Open Spaces serve?

Open Spaces is for every age!  Play is essential for everyone, from our youngest humans to our most experienced. 

Some of our programming does list specific ages:  Explorer classes are designed for those between ages of 18 months to 10 years of age; mixed age learning is beneficial to all.  Infant and toddler classes are designed for our youngest learners aged birth through 2 years of age and their parents or caregivers. 

If there is an age range specified for a class, can children younger or older than the range attend?

Possibly.  We know ages are not synonymous with our abilities and strive to welcome everyone where they are at with their development.  Contact us and let us know your situation.  We’d love to discuss the possibilities. 

What is your refund policy?

If a refund is requested a week BEFORE the season of classes begins, families can receive a full refund or credit towards a future class. 

If a refund is requested AFTER the season of classes begins, adjustments will be made to account for processing fees and the portion that remains of the season. 

What if we miss a class?

Credits and refunds are not offered for classes missed by families.   Classes cancelled by teacher due to weather or personal reasons will be made up as soon as possible in the season.  

What is the approach to health and COVID-19 safety in classes?

All participants (teachers included) self assess their health, watching for signs of communicable diseases.  We refrain from sharing germs and miss class when ill.  Teacher will reschedule class if ill. 

Handwashing materials are available before and during class (when temperatures are above 40®F). 

Each family has a special spot in our circle, that can be referred to as your family’s “nest”.

Masks are optional.  Every human has a different view on masks and communication, curiosity, and acceptance are models we can all live by. 

During class play materials can be utilized by one family or shared.  After class, teacher washes all materials to ensure they are clean for next class. 

What is considered inclement weather? What if class is cancelled or delayed due to weather?

Decisions about whether it is safe to hold class are determined by the teacher using local weather guidance and a national weather chart.  Examples of inclement weather are wind chills that are deemed unsafe, lightening or electrical storms, and unsafe air quality.   Classes are held in rain, wind and snow.   As an enrolled family in the programs, your teacher strives to maintain clear communication and will email you regarding a weather warning for class.  The teacher will update families at least 60 minutes prior to class by email or text message if cancelling or delaying class.  Whenever possible, the class will be made up in the season it occurs in. 

How does Open Spaces foster a safe learning environment during class?

For classes and community events, explorers (children) are accompanied by a guide (parent or caregiver).  Teachers support guides and do all that they reasonably can to provide a learning environment that allows for safe risk taking.  Leaders bring a First Aid Kit to class, which can be utilized by guides if needed. 

A few simple rules help address most situations:

  • Explorers (children) can explore on their own as long as they can still see and hear their guide or Leader.
  • Guides (adults) can explore on their own as long as the can still see and hear their explorers (children). 
  • When explorers (children) or guides (adults) are taking physical risks, we check in to make sure that they feel sturdy and safe in their risk taking.  What-to-Say-Instead-of-_Be-Careful_child risk play outside nature 
  • Leaders encourage children to engage in risky play, yet give clear redirection if or when safety of the individual and the safety of friends in class could be compromised.  For example, we celebrate that sticks are the #1 toy of all time, yet we make sure that our sticks have plenty of space so they do not touch other’s bodies.  Ultimately, over time, we want to help children learn how to learn their limits while still playing in a way that keeps them and their friends out of true harm. 
  • We encourage the use of all our senses in our outdoor explorations.  However, we do not encourage children to put nature treasures in their mouths.   Wee ones do so as a natural part of exploring the world, and we work with their guides to try and honor that need in the safest way possible.  “We only taste when we know that tasting is safe!” 

How do we dress appropriately for classes held entirely outside, in all seasons?

Layers, layers, layers.  That’s the simple answer.  Each season offers us an education in how to dress.  In winter begin with a base layer of merino wool or thermal; this will trap your body heat next to your body and help you regulate your core temp.  Your second layer should be an insulate – fleece is a great option (pajamas are awesome).  Wool socks are a worthy investment that keep you feeling warm even if they get damp.  A waterproof outer layer finishes off in most every season.  We are happier and warmer when we can stay dry – both for guides and explorers! 

Spring and Fall are fluctuating seasons where we layer and shed while we play.  Here in the Midwest, our temperatures can fluctuate quite a bit in a single day!  A large washable fabric bag is wonderful to transport the extra layers we shed due to muddiness or just warmth.  A “muddy-buddy” waterproof outer layer is highly recommended (although not necessary if you are okay with mud).  

Being outdoors in the summer, layers are still recommended but not for warmth.  For protection from elements (sun, bugs). 

Why does Leader take photographs during class? How are they used? Who has access?

Photographs are just for enrolled families.  If leader takes a photograph for use on this website, photographer tries to avoid faces or identifying. 

John Dewey’s experiential learning features hands-on, multi-sensory engagement with the real world in real time.  Reflection upon those experiences is essential for wiring that learning in our brains.  Photographs offer us a lovely way to reflect (for all ages) and discuss our experiences. 

A post-class email will have recap of our day with link to share pictures with your class.

Photos are for personal use and not shared nor sold.