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Program Policies

Please read before registering

Participant Expectations and Guidelines

At Heartwood, it is our mission to provide outdoor play and learning environments that nourish the mind, body, and soul of all participants. It is understood by both the participant and their parents/guardian(s) that the Heartwood Expectations are essential for us to maintain a safe environment.

Parents/guardians are required to read the following information with their children. Heartwood reserves the right to suspend or expel any participant from the program who poses discipline problems, regardless of whether all steps in this discipline procedure have been completed. 

Commitment to Safety, Respect and Kindness 

All participants in Heartwood including staff and participants are expected to act and speak in ways that are safe, respectful, and kind toward themselves, other people, and the surrounding environment. Outdoor educators work actively with participants to continually develop ways of being safe, respectful, and kind. Classes and camps create their rules and expectations at the beginning of sessions and review and reassess as needed throughout the year.

General Participant Expectations

  1. Show Respect and kindness to all participants, staff, equipment, property, and environment. Put-downs, insults, aggressive behavior, and/or teasing will not be tolerated. Theft or destruction of the program, park, or other's property is not ok.
  2. Always be within sight of an educator. Respect and follow classroom boundaries set by counselors/educators.

  3. Practice safe and respectful play. Avoid forms of horseplay including piggyback rides, wrestling, hitting, kicking, pinching, and picking each other up

  4. Heartwood participants are not to pet dogs while in class.

  5. Hiking sticks must be shorter than you are tall. Sticks to be carried and waved around must be shorter than your arm. Sticks may not be used to hit another person.

  6. Respect all living things and the environment. 

  7. Forest materials/treasures/creatures from the park, stay at the park.

  8. Leave toys or electronics at home.

  9. No gun play. 

  10. Screaming is allowed only if you are hurt or need immediate help (yelling is fine, screaming means you are in trouble!)

  11. Clean up after yourself.

  12. If there is a problem of any kind, notify a staff member immediately.

Touching Policy


A touching policy is in place with the intent to provide guidelines around physical touch for all our participants and staff.


Physical contact is appropriate* if it:

  • Occurs during light touch tag games

  • Occurs when holding hands

  • Occurs when giving a kind and gentle hug

  • Occurs when helping a peer/student if they need a hand getting up or off something. 

  • Includes safe touches. - Consent is required

  • These are touches that keep children safe and are good for them, and that make children feel cared for and important. Safe touches can include hugging, pats on the back, and an arm around the shoulder. Safe touches can also include touches that might hurt, such as cleaning a cut or removing a splinter.

*Consent is always required except where staff need to intervene and believe a participant may be in immediate harm


Physical contact is inappropriate if it: 

  • Includes touching the groin, genital area, buttocks, breasts, or any part of the body that may cause distress or embarrassment

  • Is non-consensual

  • Frightens, distresses, or embarrasses a child or member of the teaching staff

  • Includes unsafe touches. These are touches that hurt a child’s/educator’s  body or feelings (for example, hitting, pushing, pinching, and kicking). 

  • Includes unwanted touches. These are touches that might be safe but that a child does not want from that person or at that moment. It is okay for a child to say "no" to an unwanted touch, even if it is from a familiar person. 

Progressive Disciplinary Process 

 To ensure the quality of this program and safety of participants, each participant must follow program rules and expectations. The following procedures will be followed when children misbehave or break the program rules and expectations. We reserve the right to bypass one or more steps in the process if a situation warrants it. If a serious incident has occurred, your child will be sent home with a discipline slip. The discipline slip will need to be signed, dated, and returned to teachers the following program day.   

Participants are encouraged to practice social skills that will allow them to resolve conflicts and meet their needs without the use of harmful or destructive behaviors. When disciplinary situations occur that require intervention, staff provides the child with clear explanations as to why specific behavior is inappropriate. Staff helps the participant find alternative behaviors that fit within Heartwood guidelines of appropriate behaviors.

Minor Incident: 

  • May include: 

  • Disrespect of staff or participants 

  • Inappropriate behavior 

  • Failure to follow established program rules and expectations


Collaborative Disciplinary Procedure: 

1st Incident:

Discuss with child about disruptive behavior. Educator will collaborate with participant to plan alternative behavior options to try in the future. 

2nd Incident:

Time spent with Educator or time away from group if participant needs time alone, or to take a break. Lead Educator/Camp Director will collaborate with participant and discuss alternative behavior options to utilize in the future. 


3rd Incident:

Meeting with Lead Educator/Camp Director, necessary staff, parent(s)/guardian(s), and participant(s) involved. 


If it is deemed necessary to remove participant from program, parent(s)/guardian(s) will be notified immediately; refunds will not be issued under these circumstances. 


Serious Incident: 

May include: 

  • Endangering the well-being of themselves or others 

  • Swearing or verbal abuse of staff or participants 

  • Stealing or destruction of property 

  • General disregard for Educators, volunteers, or program regulations 

  • Acting aggressively toward others 


Disciplinary Procedure: 

1st Incident:

Parent/guardian will be notified regarding the incident and will have to retrieve child for the day and sign-out from the Lead Educator/Camp Director. It is to the Director's discretion if the child will be permanently removed from the program or given a second chance. No refunds will be issued under these circumstances. 

2nd Incident:

Termination or suspension from the program will be at the Director’s discretion. No refunds will be issued under these circumstances.