Guidance and Discipline Policy

The foundation of the guidance and discipline policy at Whole Earth Nature School is to encourage positive behavior in the individual which will support a positive experience for everyone.

Our underlying assumptions:

  • All people want to feel a sense of belonging; they want to feel important and included.
  • Youth desire positive attention from the adults and peers around them; however, when they do not gain positive attention, they will seek negative attention.
  • All behavior is a form of communication. Youth are trying to meet their needs (to gain attention, to obtain something, to avoid something). It is our job as teachers to understand what they need and to teach them more appropriate ways of getting their need met.

We put our greatest effort in preventing inappropriate behavior. Whole Earth Nature School provides a supportive and nurturing environment where communication from each student is valued and encouraged. We create an environment where positive behavior is reinforced and where inappropriate behavior is not necessary. We remind students to use words to express what they want, what they need, and how they feel. We guide them to treat themselves and others with respect, and we facilitate verbal problem solving when students are in conflict.

On the first day of most of our programs we will co-create the program rules and guidelines with the students. In addition to whatever rules are defined at that time, our basic program rules are as follows:

The Three Rs

  • Respect Yourself
  • Respect Others
  • Respect the Environment

Even when all preventative measures have been put in place to encourage positive behavior, students will sometimes test the limits. Our response to inappropriate or negative behavior may include: redirecting the student’s activity, ignoring attention seeking behavior, discussing the situation with the student, and/or using firm, clear and concise language to instruct the student as to a more positive way to express her/himself. In situations when a student is having difficulty changing her/his behavior, and the above techniques have been unsuccessful, the staff will use a logical consequence. This may include removing her/him from the situation for a brief period of time. The teacher would then explain to the child what is expected in order to rejoin the activity. In the event that the problem behavior persists we will issue a formal warning to the student. If it continues to persist we will issue one more warning, with the clear understanding that if the problem behavior continues we will contact their parents and they will be removed from the rest of the day’s program. Should problem behaviors continue during the following day’s program, we will contact the parents to remove the student and the student will not be invited to return to that program.

The instructors will keep in close communication with the student’s family whenever inappropriate behavior persists beyond initial reminders to respect the rules of a program. We will contact parents to explain what we have observed, action we’ve taken, and to ask for assistance on how we can support their child in behaving in a way that facilitates a great experience for everyone in the program. Removing a student from a program, whether for a day or for the rest of a program, is always our last option and is only exercised when all previous methods have not been successful.