Thank you for sharing all that you have on this questionnaire. After years of teaching, these questions arose as important ones to be asked. The answers do help in determining if Tender Tracks can be a wonderful place for you to have your child attend.
Tender Tracks is a program for those parents who are interested in providing an immersion experience with the natural world for their child. Its focus is to encourage the natural state of the child to flourish and to have a deep and lasting connection with nature and all that is. The natural state of the young child is that of awe, wonder and curiosity. Here at Tender Tracks the children are encouraged to feel, taste, touch, smell, and hear the many wonders that are always around them. They are encouraged to explore their senses without judgment and begin learning the fine art of discernment.
It is the belief and philosophy of this school that what one bonds to is what one loves, and what one loves one longs to take care of. It is the express desire of this program to foster love and respect for the natural world we live in and all that it provides for us.
The questions in this questionnaire have been created after years of doing this work. Please, take your time with answering them. Allow yourself the time to look at what you truly do in your life with regard to the natural world.
The questions about TV/media and any and all electronics are asked because it has been found in this program, that children who are attached and utilize electronics ( i pad, computer, tv, videos et.al) without a balance and role model for nature, have a more challenging time and need more guidance with connecting to nature and all the beings therein. Their imaginary play is filled with external images that often times interfere with their everyday lives, and instead of play that is created from the richness of their inner and abundant world, it becomes driven by external, non-connected images.
The themes that they bring up from these exposures are worked with and massaged into a deeper connection to the natural world that they live in. However, it can be quite challenging to aid them in this reconnection when their own images are blocked by external ones. Encouragement to all families to limit their children’s intake of these devices is highly recommended by this program. If their viewing seems to be deeply interfering in an in depth way at Tender Tracks an explorative conversation will take place between staff and parents to find beneficial support and solutions.
Imagination is the “work” of and for the young child. Imagination is what enables an adult to create possibilities and solutions to the many, many situations that will arise in one’s life. Hence the question about your thoughts with regard to imagination. It is a cornerstone of the teaching tools at Tender Tracks.
Also, questions with regard to discipline are so that it can be seen that we have compatible styles and can support one another in aiding your child into healthy and happy socialization.
Questions with regard to gun play are also for similar reasons. This program is based on nonviolent communications for resolving conflicts. When children bring in gun play it is flowed with and rerouted into old ways of working with conflict: learning how to handle difficult situations with respect, intelligence, honor and high self esteem. With children that have this great energy to hunt and kill, stories of how the children of old learned to hunt by way of sitting very still in nature for a long time in order to find the animal to kill for dinner, to bring home to the whole family and to only kill the old and the weak ones, is one of the ways that this impulse in a child might get worked with. After many, many years of noticing, exploring and studying this “thing” that happens all the time — gunplay — this school has come to the conclusion that it is not going to be stopped. Whatever the ‘weapon of the day’ is will be used and it is more about working with it in a positive and organic way. The school does not hold a belief that it is bad, but rather an impulse that can be honored and noticed for its deeper intention as opposed to our adult fears.
Through interviewing many, many men, the conclusion has come that, playing with guns and killing things will NOT make an aggressive adult. How the adults respond to the play however can be quite impactful to the child’s experience and response. Therefore, no judgment is brought in, but rather a playful attitude using a lot of imagination and creativity as well as a playful flow with the game. It is almost always very enlightening to ask a child about what he is killing or doing when the gun play happens. Often times it is a way of needing to feel safe, protected or protecting others. Sometimes it is even about simply hitting a target for the fun of it. If for some reason the play is truly being used in a very negative or intentionally hurtful way, you will be notified immediately and we will work through it together from there.
The question about diapers has come up many times. If your child wears diapers it is all right. However, if your child poops regularly during the hours of Tender Tracks and needs that changed they will not be accepted into the program. When the diapers are just for urinating, they may be changed, but mostly not. Typically, children see the others using outdoors for the bathroom and it is not long before they follow suit.
The question about whether your child has or is seeing a therapist — be it physical therapy, psychological therapy, behavioral therapy, family therapy, or any other kind of therapy — is that Tender Tracks is a very small program. Challenges in children’s lives become very visible rather quickly in such a small group. Without any information we are limited as to how well we can be of support to the child and to the rest of the group. We have experienced hardships from not being informed of such matters. We appreciate your cooperation and willingness with regards to this.
It will be a pleasure to read your application and meet you and your child.