FAQs | GENERAL PROGRAM LOGISTICS
Tours include a walk around the property to see program spaces including the garden, woodshop, horse zone, archery range, riding arena, animal areas and general meeting zones. Thanks for letting your students know that tours do not include animal interaction time or any hiking to areas like the Tree Fort. To arrange a tour, please call or email the office.
We do not have time to introduce students and instructors in person prior to the start of the year. Instead, we have biographies of each of our staff on the website so that students can familiarize themselves with our staff when they meet them on the first day. Parents/Guardians of groups that drop off in the front may escort their student to meet their child(ren)’s instructor the first day of class. If you are doing drive through and need to speak with an instructor we will have you talk with an admin team member first to see what we can accommodate. Please email the office if this is needed for your family.
If you have a concern that is time-sensitive and your instructor does not seem to have the availability to speak with you, please stop by the red shipping container office to speak with Julie the Business Director who can help by either answering your question or supporting the instructor to make time for them to speak with you.
Your registration paperwork should tell you more about the pick up and drop off procedures. Instructors are either teaching another class or are preparing right up until the start of you scheduled program, so we appreciate your understanding in supervising your child(ren) until they are checked in and with their teacher. When it is time for class to start, follow through the drive through or escort your student to their instructor so our staff can introduce themselves and answer any questions you have.
NOTE ABOUT PARKING: We do share the parking lot with the ILM Tree Homeschool Co-op during the school year, so we ask that you make sure to park in a spot designated for Sienna Ranch since the ILM Tree families need to be able to come and go from their parking spot throughout the day. If you have concerns about parking, please let our Director know.
The first few minutes of each group class is reserved for student arrival. Your student’s instructor will likely check them in on their roster, introduce some sort of arrival activity option for your child to do while the others arrive, and may check in to see that your child has all their required gear for the day. If your child has health history that the instructor wants to know more detail about they might ask you a few follow up questions about relevant allergies, etc. When your child seems settled and engaged with the group you can say goodbye and depart through the front gate.
Students are responsible for telling their instructor that they see their ride inside the gated area, at which time they are allowed to check themselves out with the staff and walk through the gate to you. We ask that siblings wait with their parent/guardian outside the gate if there is another sibling en route for checkout.
Our goal is to offer a safe and fun program experience for everyone.
FAQs | SCHOOL YEAR REGISTRATION
We strive to offer families the chance to preview the options for the fall with a few weeks notice so that there is plenty of time to call/email the office before registration opens to get assistance making your family account, deciphering class options or payment methods. The best way to be kept up-to-date about enrollment is to subscribe to our email newsletter, since that is the tool we use to contact prospective families about registration.
We rely on families to accurately report student grades. Please let us know if you would like help choosing which grade level to assign your student. We will automatically graduate your student at the end of the school year.
NOTE ON GRADE DIFFERENCES: If you wish for an older and younger student to be together, you are welcome to enroll the older student into the younger program. Please do not enroll younger students in older programs without a written age exception from the office.
For class periods with multiple sections, make sure to communicate with friends about which class you are choosing (the title of the class will say either class #1 or Class #2). Thanks for your understanding, that the office cannot guarantee there will be space to rearrange students once class rosters are set.
Register early by enrolling online when program goes live. Interested in multiple sessions? You can sign up for all the sessions and use the payment plan option at check out to just put down a deposit of 15% for each session rather than paying in full. Once the session starts the remaining amount will be charged to the card on file. (https://yourolddog.com/)
FAQs | ENROLLMENT LOGISTICS
We do not offer refunds once programs are underway, but if we can fill the spot with someone from a waitlist we may be able to make an exception to our policy and offer a family credit instead.
- PreK-Kindergarten group classes usually have a 8:1 student to teacher ratio.
- 1st grade and up their class size increases to 10:1.
- Nature Sage program has a 11:1 ratio when it is at capacity.
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE DAY LOOK LIKE?
NOTE: Ranch Play is a one year curriculum. You’re welcome to take it two years in a row, but students who participate in Ranch Play as 3 year-olds often choose to come for the drop off program, Junior Ranchers, their second school year at Sienna Ranch.
One hallmark of the nature program is space for instructors to encourage students to take advantage of unstructured nature play and empowerment to be in charge of one’s own body, words, belongings and curiosity. With supervision and safe boundaries, we get excited about following student interests, sometimes leading a group to the buckeye tree, up into the lookout tower or over to the swamp to search for wild plums. We hope that when you ask your student what they did at Junior Ranchers that they say something like, ‘WE PLAYED!’ since that is one of the main curricular goals of this program.
NOTE: We have a 3-year curriculum for Junior Ranchers, so while there may be annual or seasonal traditions students are familiarized with year after year, projects and take home items are different between Year 1, 2, and 3.
NOTE: Sienna Ranch has a 3-year curriculum for Explorers, so students can continue with our program and ‘graduate’ to an older age bracket (experiencing unique projects that are age-appropriate) by the time curriculum spirals back to a topic they’ve already experienced. We strive to offer at least one of these unique projects so that students have something to look forward to as they age through our program.
Explorers can expect a number of seasonal traditions to repeat annually, including the fall acorn harvest, trade blanket and our winter feast. These highlights, mixed with different quarterly themes, help students learn a homesteading, survival and animal-themed skill each session.
Nature Sages will spend their class time focusing on a project for the day that is likely to be homesteading or survival-themed. Nature Sages should expect to do tasks that are more nuanced and challenging than what younger Explorers accomplish. For example, one project may take 3-6 weeks to complete in Nature Sages (whereas younger Explorers projects usually only take 1-2 weeks to complete). Students are encouraged to embrace the challenges of more demanding project work and to seek their own solutions, although assistance from instructors is always available for those who need it.
Each week will likely also include exploration time which may be structured as group teambuilding or just a fun hike. Students should be comfortable hiking on uneven terrain 1-2 miles with a small backpack carrying their lunch and should be ready to be outside the full class period, rain or shine.
NOTE: Nature Sages has a 3-year structure intended for 7th-9th graders. Take home projects may vary year to year.
NOTE: Woodshop programming is new each week, as instructors strive to offer fresh projects for students who return session after session. If you take part in multiple years of woodshop you might repeat a project or two, but for the most part we’re able to mix things up and give new students the support they need their first few weeks of class while challenging returning students to do more advanced work.
While we do not have wheels for throwing pottery, hand building allows students to experiment with texture and slip/score technique to create unique, beautiful art. Our pottery instructor starts each session with a clay exploration activity. All our projects are nature inspired. The pottery classes will take breaks and play games as well as visit the animals.