Afterschool Class Guide
Details on what to pack, what to wear, and what to expect this Winter.
We are looking forward to having your children join us for afterschool classes in the park!
We are an all outdoor program and in the true nature of a forest school, we plan to experience and learn from all types of weather. We hold class in the sun, snow, and rain, and make sure each child is safe, engaged, and supported during our play and explorations. To prepare families for what to expect, we have created this guide to help you plan ahead for every kind of weather winter has to offer.
Please read the following information and guidelines carefully to ensure your child is as prepared as possible to enjoy our program.
Communication & Updates
Families will receive an email with the extended forecast, our weekly plans/activities, and teachers’ names and contact information at beginning of each week prior to class.
Families will not receive any other messages during the week unless inclement weather changes our typical plans for the day. Please check the forecast regularly & be sure to appropriately prepare your child/children to safely and comfortable enjoy the park with us afterschool.
Families should feel free to reach out to teachers directly via brightwheel with pertinent information or questions at any time.
School Pickup & Nature Class Dismissal
Our WINTER semester runs from Wednesday, January 2nd to Friday, March 15th
PLEASE NOTE: There is no class due to school holidays on the following dates: 01/21, 02/05, 02,/18, 02/19, 02/20, 02/21, 02/22
Children will be picked up by our teachers directly from school. (Please make sure your child's teacher is aware 'Brooklyn Nature Days' will be picking up your child on the days they are signed up for classes with us.) From there we will walk to Prospect Park together. Our teachers have wagons to hold all supplies, including backpacks and other child belongings. Please note: we CANNOT accommodate scooters or bicycles in our wagons. Please leave those items home on days your child is scheduled to attend classes with us.
After gathering for snack, we will explore and play together. Dismissal will be at 5 pm & 6 pm, (depending on which pickup time you have previously arranged with us). Please be prompt for pick-up & notify us if you or your caregiver is running late with as much advanced notice as possible. Please note pickup locations for your child's specific school below:
P.S. 130 / 230 / 889: Just inside the main entrance to the park at Park Circle/Ocean Parkway (where Prospect Park Southwest & Parkside avenue intersect -- not far from the Tennis Center.)
K280: Just inside the main entrance to the park at 15th street (where Prospect Park West & Prospect Park Southwest intersect -- not far from the former Pavillion movie theater).
P.S. 321: Just inside the entrance to the park at 3rd street and Prospect Park West, down the path just before you reach the playground.
P.S. 282: Just inside the entrance to the park at 3rd street and Prospect Park West, down the path just before you reach the playground.
Children will be given a BND tag to pin on clothing each day to class to identify them as part of our group. It is the parent/caregiver's responsibility to make sure each child has this tag for pickup. We recommend pinning the tag to your child’s backpack so that it does not get lost & is readily accessible for their next class with us.
For pickup: Children will only be released to adults who are listed on their brightwheel profile. If you need to make a last-minute change about who is picking up your child, and are unable to update the info on brightwheel, please send a message to teachers via brightwheel to let them know in writing of the change. All changes must be in writing. Verbal changes will not be honored. We take this very seriously in order to keep the children safe.
IMPORTANT: If your child will not be attending class any particular day they are scheduled to be with us, please message us via brightwheel as early as possible so that our teachers know not to pick them up at dismissal.
Make-up Policy: Brooklyn Nature Days does not offer make up classes when a child is absent and class is in session. Make up classes are offered only when classes are not held due to Brooklyn Nature Days cancellation only.
If your child has had a fever or any other symptoms linked to illness in the past 24 hours (vomiting, diarrhea, rash, etc.) or if you feel your child is contagious and/or will not be able to safely explore and play with us in the park, for their well-being and the well-being of the other children, please keep them home.
If our teachers notice any behaviors or symptoms that we suspect may be due to illness we will reach out to you immediately to arrange early pick up.
What To Wear
Please send children in comfortable clothing that can get wet and dirty and allows them to move and play. When we pick your child up from school, we will help them put on their layers and prepare to head outside with us. It is imperative children come dressed appropriately for class in order for them to fully enjoy our outdoor learning environment. When in doubt, it is best to send along any extra layers you think your child may need: sweaters, scarves, gloves, hats, snowpants, etc. It is better to have extra layers as opposed to not. It is much easier to help a child who is too warm take off layers, than scramble to find extra clothes to keep them warm.
Rain gear - Regardless of the weather, waterproof coveralls or rain pants should always be included in your child's bag.
Footwear - Please take note that it's important for the kids to have proper footwear with rubber soles that protect toes and has good grip for running and climbing. Sturdy and waterproof snow boots are mandatory for cold and snowy days. Please also include a dry pair of boots on very cold or wet days, as we often have to change socks and boots.
PLEASE NOTE: children are encouraged to immerse themselves in our natural surroundings and activities. This means that children’s clothing will become dirty and possibly stained during class.
For the winter, we recommend multiple layers for warmth, which can be adjusted if a child feels too warm.
Here is what we recommend:
-Top and bottom layers made of wool, silk, or ‘Heat tech’ material
-Warm pants and tops
-Sweater or fleece
-Snow suit (even on days when there isn’t snow, to keep bodies warm)
-Insulated, waterproof footwear with rubber soles for gripping when running and climbing
-Winter hat and/or balaclava and coat hood
-Scarf or neck gaiter
-Waterproof mittens/gloves (and several spare pairs) We recommend two pairs of gloves to be worn—a thin stretchy knit pair that allows the kids to use their hands for work as well as a waterproof, heavier pair on top. Please clip these to their sleeves so that they can take them on and off as needed.
Please ensure your children come prepared to enjoy their days with us. We are diligent in making sure the children are safe and as comfortable as possible at all times. We build shelters to shield us from the rain and wind, have their water bottles accessible all day to stay hydrated, and provide water for refills.
Gear Company Recommendations
We have had success with the following children's outdoor gear companies:
PLEASE NOTE: Polarn O. Pyret offers a 20% discount to families enrolled in outdoor classes. To register, click here to fill out the form.
Please include Brooklyn Nature Days's address and location on the form:
Address: Brooklyn Nature Days, LLC, 22 Caton Pl, #5K, Brooklyn, NY 11218
Class Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY
What to Bring
Besides their backpacks and lunch boxes from earlier in the school day, please do not send any extraneous items (toys, books, etc.) Our goal is to move through the park as lightly as possible, and any additional non-essential items may prove difficult to carry with us.
Many families opt to pack their child's extra gear in a separate dry bag on days their child is scheduled to attend our classes. A dry bag ensures items stay clean and dry outside in all weather. A 30L bag should fit all that is needed for the day, including your child's schoolbooks and other items.
Examples of drybags can be found here.
-A FULL water bottle (We will be carrying plenty of extra water, but they will need something of their own to drink from. We have water bottles accessible all day to stay hydrated).
-An extra set of underwear/socks/bottoms in a ziplock clearly labeled with your child’s name. In the unlikely event your child has an accident, it is helpful to have an emergency backup just in case.
-Extra set of clothes (seasonally appropriate top, bottom, underwear, and socks)
-Waterproof coveralls, a rain coat and rain pants should always be included in your child's bag.
Please make sure all items - bags, water bottles, lunch boxes, hats, and outerwear - are clearly labeled with your child's name. While we strive to keep each child’s belongings organized with their bags at all times, items do sometimes become lost or left behind and it is much easier to return them to you when they are labeled clearly.
Please ensure your children come prepared to enjoy their days with us. We are diligent in making sure the children are safe and as comfortable as possible at all times.
Things We Need To Know
Remember that Prospect Park is a not a manicured environment and contains hazards like bees, poison ivy, and other irritants. We will do our best to avoid these hazards, but if your child is particularly susceptible to them, please let us know.
Please be aware that NYC posts a tick advisory for the public parks. We generally avoid areas where they are most likely to be found, but ticks do live in the park and nature can be unpredictable. Please read the advisory below and check your child after class each day.
If you do find a tick, please let us know as soon as possible.
NYC's tick advisory is posted here.
IMPORTANT: If your child has any allergies, any other medical conditions, or is taking any medication, please make sure to let us know in writing via the Child Information and Release Form and on the brightwheel app. Once we receive this information, we will send an additional permission form to parents of children who need to carry an allergy action plan, Epipen, or other medication at all times in case of emergency.
Regarding bathroom use: Children will have access to the public park restrooms or our portable potette potty.
What We Will Eat
We are a tree nut and peanut-free program. We will provide a nutritious snack that includes at least one fresh fruit/vegetable each session, as well as something packed with energy to help keep us exploring.
If your child has any dietary restrictions, please let us know in writing.
Inclement Weather Plans
The only time our class location will change is when severe or inclement weather is forecast—most likely high wind, thunderstorms, severe cold, or blizzards. We are an all-weather program and plan to learn in the sun, snow, and rain but when official weather advisories are put into place, we plan accordingly. Families will receive a brightwheel message if we are moving class to an indoor location. This ensures that all of the children and our staff are safe and sheltered during inclement weather. As long as public schools are open, after school class will always meet. If parents would prefer a makeup class, as opposed to having their child join us on inclement weather days, please let us know and we will confirm with you to schedule a new date.
Any time we do need to enact our inclement weather plan, detailed instructions will be provided via brightwheel with as much advanced notice as possible providing families with detailed information regarding the change.
Please note: If NYC Public Schools close or have an early dismissal due to severe weather classes will NOT be held and a make-up will be offered.
Thank you for choosing our program and for entrusting your children to us. We take your child’s safety and well-being, both physical and emotional, very seriously. We are deeply committed to a philosophy of outdoor, play-based learning where children lead the way and in which we foster their social and emotional growth with kindness, warmth, inquiry, and silliness. We are looking forward to playing & exploring with your child!
The Brooklyn Nature Days Team