FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
-Does this mean Esalen has re-opened Gazebo?
No. Big Sur Park School is an independent non-profit organization, inspired by the Gazebo approach and established to support the Big Sur community after the closure of Gazebo. We are currently leasing the Gazebo Park grounds from Esalen as a secure and consistent home base for our program.
-What is the curriculum?
Big Sur Park School follows an emergent ecological-based curriculum with a focus on the development of the whole-child. The care of the teachers, demands of the environment and the curiosity of the children create an experience that support the interests and needs of the diverse developmental abilities within the school community. Children are free to independently explore, create and connect, with the support of actively engaged teachers who foster deeper understanding of experience with compassion and communication tools for relational and emotional development, land steward projects for ecological awareness and physical experience though the senses, and self-care practices for the development of independence and self-awareness.
-Are there opportunities for children younger than 18 months or older than 5?
At this time, we are only offering the 1.5-5 year-old program. We hope to offer these opportunities in the future--possibly in the form of a summer program extension or a parent-child program. Please let us know if you are interested!
-I see you are now offering a year-long program. Can I/Do I have to commit to the full year?
We are pleased to be able to offer the continuity of a year-long program to the community. Families are encouraged to participate consistently, as this will deepen and enhance the child’s experience. However, we have designed the program to be flexible: families commit to one 10-week session, and have the choice to re-enroll, adjust their schedule, or withdraw from the following session.
-Is it possible to enroll my child 1 day a week?
Children are encouraged to participate multiple days a week to allow the child and the teachers to establish relationships and rhythms that support the child’s development and experience.
The drop-in option is designed for families who cannot commit to full enrollment at this time, but want their child to experience some of what the program has to offer. Drop-in scheduling is on a first come first serve basis and space is limited. Please contact Sofia at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about availability and reserve your space(s). We request as much advance notice as possible to accommodate requests while maintaining a regular rhythm.
-Will school be open on rainy days?
Yes! We are prepared to weather the weather. Two structures in the park—the Pony Shed and the Theater— are weather proof with sturdy walls and roofs to provide shelter from the storms. We will be both under cover and in the elements during rainy days, exploring the elements, staying safe, and taking shelter when needed. Children are required to have rain coats, rain boots and rain pants on rainy days.
-Will school be closed during heavy storms?
School will be closed when weather is deemed unsafe (Heavy rains or steady winds above 25mph). The Program Director will make an informed decision with information from The National Weather Service (https://www.weather.gov) and Caltrans. Storms can be predicted up to 24 hours in advance and school will be announced “closed” 12 hours in advance. In the case of sudden events, school may be announced closed the morning of. Phone calls and emails will be sent out to inform families of change in schedule. Parents are responsible for checking their emails the morning of extreme weather.
When Highway 1 is closed from the north of Esalen to Ripplewood, preventing access to school, school will be closed for all.
Because we can’t control the weather there will be no tuition reimbursements for days when school is closed due to natural disasters.
In the case of extended closure, over 1 week, tuition modification and makeup days will be considered.
-What if my child misses a day due to sickness or a family vacation?
Families are responsible for tuition for all registered days. There are no refunds or make up days for missed days. This also applies for drop-in reservations.
-Is Scholarship available?
Yes--scholarship is currently available. Award amount is dependent on financial need and level of participation in the program. Please complete our online application if your family needs scholarship: https://goo.gl/forms/qjbIPg6OKNqYdEIS2 Our scholarship fund is dependent on fundraising--we are always looking for volunteers to help with these efforts!
-What does the $10 infant fee cover?
The $10/day supplemental fee for children under two years old supports the additional primary care that children need at this age. A teacher spends about 3 one-on-one hours with a young child tending to diapering, eating, napping and acquainting.
-What is Curacubby and why is there a registration fee?
Curacubby is a California-based software platform that provides administrative support to childcare programs. Their staff have worked closely with BSPS to create registration, record-keeping, and billing systems that are specific to our organizational needs. Families will receive detailed instructions on how to use Curacubby, as all enrollment and billing will be handled through this platform. Technical support is always available from email@example.com. The $20 registration fee goes towards the use of this service.
-What qualifications do teachers have?
All teachers meet or exceed CA Early Childhood credentialing requirements, with a minimum of 12 units of Early Childhood Education coursework. All teachers are infant and child CPR certified and have passed background checks through Livescan and/or Trustline.