Frequently Asked Questions

Registration

Q: How have your policies changed due to COVID-19?

A: Visit our COVID-19 Updates page for the most current information about how we are planning for programs during this time.

Q: What kind of financial aid is available for your programs?

A: We offer scholarships and payment plans for all of our programs. Please read more about our scholarship application process here. Any questions about financial aid or payment options can be sent to our Finance Director, Nancy Miano, at info@twocoyotes.org.

Q: What is your cancellation policy?

A: Deposits are non-refundable. If you cancel 30 days or more before a program starts, we refund in full minus your deposit. If you cancel between 7-30 days, you will receive 50% as a credit towards a future program and will forfeit the other 50%. If you cancel within 7 days, we cannot issue a refund or credit. You can find more information about our registration policies here.

Q: What is your cancellation policy if TCWS cancels a program?

A: If we cancel a program due to low enrollment, we will offer to transfer your payments to another program or refund you in full. In order to make commitments to our staff, during the school year we strive to close enrollment two weeks before a program date and will reach out if it looks like we don’t have enough to run any given program. We do not provide refunds for weather cancellations. 

Q: When does summer camp registration open and close?

A: We will provide an updated timeline in the winter for the upcoming summer camp season. Here is an overview of the 2020 timeline as an example:

Jan 25th: Early Registration opens for returning camp families

Feb 1st: Camp Enrollment opens to general public

Feb 29th: Scholarship applications due

March 14th: Notice of scholarship awards sent out

March 28th: Scholarship acceptances due

March 28 29th: FREE Summer Camp Open House events hosted in Newtown 3/28 and Granby 3/29. Aimed at introducing Two Coyotes to new families, returning families are welcome to attend too with new siblings or friends!

May 1st: Open Enrollment closes, Final payments due (or payment plan set up), & Med forms due

– Sessions that have not met the minimum enrollment number will be cancelled

– Sessions that have met the minimum enrollment number will remain open until full

– Sessions that are full will maintain a waitlist

– Anyone who has not paid in full, set up a payment plan, and/or uploaded their current med forms by May 1st will get moved to a waitlist

June 1st: Enrolled families receive a Welcome Letter with an introduction to 2020 Summer Camp Staff

– All camps with open spots will continue enrolling until the Friday before that camp starts. 

Logistics

Q: How many kids will be in my child’s group?  

A: Our ratio is one adult instructor for every six children, with no more than twelve children and two instructors in each group.

Q: Do you know which of your instructors my child will have?   

A: All of our staff are highly qualified and skilled. You can rest assured that your child’s instructor will be someone they will love being around. We base our staffing schedules on availability, registration numbers and other factors, and is subject to change.

Q: Is this a drop off program?  

A: Yes, the majority of our programming is drop-off unless otherwise stated. Our Coyote Pups are for a child and adult caregiver.

Q: What gear does my child need?

A: After you register, you will receive a confirmation email that includes a Family Handbook as an attachment. Inside the Handbook is a packing list for all seasons as well as overnight programs.

Programming

Q: Will my child get dirty?  

A: Yes. We embrace it! From mud to grass stains to charcoal face paint, you can expect it all. Did you know some schools in New Zealand have barefoot recess so the kids get exposed to dirt and build their immune systems? It’s good for them to get dirty. We suggest designating special “wilderness clothes” for Two Coyotes days.

Q: Can my child be in the same group as their friend/cousin/sibling?  

A: You may request students be in the same group in the comment section of the registration form. While we honor requests when we can, our priority is to create amazing programming for everyone, regardless of who is in their group.  When creating groups, we take into consideration age, number of years in the program, and familiarity with the Two Coyotes culture.

We find that when children are with a tight group of friends, the focus shifts from the skills, inner work and mentoring, and is more focused on socializing. While that has an important place and happens naturally at TCWS, we encourage families to make plans together outside of our program day to build community with new and existing friends. 

Q: My child is very mature/skilled, can they be in the older age group?

A: In most cases, no. The oldest, most mature or skilled child in an age group gains a unique opportunity to mentor his or her fellow students, cementing their knowledge and making use of their newly learned skills. Moving up to the next age group is a privilege that each student earns and looks forward to when they reach that program’s age threshold.

Q: I prefer my child be in the younger age group. Is this possible?  

A: We try to keep our age groups accurate but are happy to speak with you about a child who might benefit from being with a younger group.

Q: My child has other commitments so wouldn’t be able to attend every week. Can I still enroll her and come when we can?  

A: Our long-term programs are an important commitment for the mentors, the students, and their families. Mentors and students develop deep connections and trust within their group and with each other, and a person attending inconsistently would not be able to experience this or support others.  

Q: Can I stay with my child on the first day?  

A: We welcome parents to stay through opening circle in the morning. Most kids do well with parents leaving after circle when the instructors take their groups into the woods.

Q: Why does tuition seem so high?  

A: If you were to break it down by the hour, it’s actually quite competitive to any other child programming. You are paying for deep connections and mentoring with adults who care for every child they work with on a personal level. At Two Coyotes, your child is mentored by a skilled naturalist while learning team-work, leadership, primitive skills, self-awareness and so much more.  Your child will enjoy a carefully planned arc of skills and shared knowledge spanning the hours, days, weeks and months your child is enrolled.  Our mentors meet children where they are and gain a deep understanding of who they are as a person.

We believe our programs should be available to all families, so we offer scholarships and financial assistance. Please contact us to find out more, or please donate to support our scholarship fund.

Q: Is it possible to get a schedule of typical day?   

A: Each day is a bit different but always starts with a large group circle with students of all ages and the instructors. We share gratitude (for something nature-related) and a song, followed by group announcements like reminders to check for ticks before students offer a coyote howl together and head to their individual groups. The structure of each day follows the ebb and flow of nature and children’s energy.

Our instructors will gather their groups and each group will have a meeting together about safety and rules. From there students are led on a day of adventure with their nature mentors. This may include making friction fire, nature crafts and playing nature games. Each program varies based on the age of the group and the instructor’s specialty. Toward the end of the day, all the groups on the land join together to share a song and each child has the opportunity to share a few gems from their day. The day concludes with a game while we await the arrival of parents. Each child is signed in and out by an approved guardian.

Q: Can you provide a more detailed syllabus of what projects and activities will occur during a homeschool season?   

A: All of our instructors bring unique skills and gifts to Two Coyotes Wilderness School. They use these special talents to draw on the specific interests of the students and determine the projects that group works on throughout the session. All groups learn how to safely make a fire and extinguish it in the forest. All groups learn about wild edibles, plant and animal ID, tracking and being a steward to the land. All ages learn scouting techniques and how to be invisible in the forest, and play nature games that teach them leadership and awareness of themselves and their surroundings, but to them they are just…games! Younger students will focus on forest mysteries, games, crafts and other interests of their group. Older students may learn how to safely carve with a knife and make more advanced survival tools. Students will revisit skills multiple times throughout the course of a session because we know that they learn more deeply every time they are exposed to it. Children in our long-term programs come away with life skills that are difficult to get in other settings.

Q: Can you describe a day in Coyote Pups?   

A: This special program creates a village environment where your instructors lead adults and children in stories, songs, games, crafts and other activities together. Pups classes will often hike a short way to a central location that acts as the village and then head off in different directions from there to explore and play. Similar to all of our programs, the day will start with gratitude and a song and branch out from there, closing again in a circle. Each day will have new focus and our instructors are gifted at reading the needs of each child. Many of our Pups instructors are parents themselves!

Safety

Q: How do you make decisions about holding programs based on the weather?   

A: We hold classes in all weather conditions. In some of our locations, we have access to indoor space, which we use in the case of extreme cold, thunderstorms, or other dangerous weather conditions that may emerge unexpectedly. Learn more about how to dress for cold weather here. We will cancel if roads are unsafe, temps are well below freezing, or winds are very high. We do not provide refunds for weather-cancelled program days.  Our instructors design programming, gather materials, and commit themselves for the day, regardless of whether mother nature sends a big storm our way. We will notify with families if we are able to include a make up snow day in the calendar. See our registration policy for more information about weather and weather-related cancellations. 

Q:  What about ticks and other biting insects?

A: Ticks are a hazard when spending time outdoors in Connecticut. We mitigate this risk by having kids do group tick checks in areas on their body typically uncovered by a bathing suit, and having kids pair up to check scalps, behind ears and other hard to see-yourself spots. In addition, it is important that you familiarize yourself with what ticks look like and how to do a thorough tick check each day. We recommend children come home, leave gear outside and put clothing directly into a hot wash. There are various repellents that can help but should not be your stand alone protection for avoiding insect bites. For more information, please read the CDC website about best practices for avoiding lyme and other insect-borne diseases.

Q: What is your knife safety protocol?

A:  Knife use must always be supervised by an instructor. Knives are only allowed for students 8 and older who have proven they have reached a maturity level enabling them to flawlessly follow safety rules. Children receive training in knife safety from our staff. Knives should otherwise be stored in a small compartment of their backpacks and require permission to take out. If a student cannot follow the rules, their knife will be taken from them until the end of the day or longer if necessary. Read our detailed knife safety protocol here.