Schoolhouse of Wonder has been offering nature-based, outdoor programs for almost 30 years. In that time, we have seen significant changes to the amount of time kids spend outdoors, in unstructured play, and with electronics. Children in our Orange County Camps get the chance to spend all day outside, engaging in creative and independent play, without electronics.
Our guarantee is this: we will return your child dirty, tired, and happy. Whether they attend a single day or several weeks, your child will spend time outdoors creating fun whether it’s through fort building or nature art, discovering plants and animals of the forest and creeks, listening to storytellers, and playing original Schoolhouse of Wonder games and games you might remember from your own childhood. Our award-winning camps celebrate childhood, curiosity, a sense of wonder, and life filled with adventures. We currently offer camps during Intersession and School Breaks as well as our full Summer Camp Season.
We understand that sending your child to camp is a big deal. Entrusting (one of) the most important people in your life to a group of strangers isn’t easy. Your child’s physical and emotional safety are always our priority, and we use many strategies to maintain that safety.
We have low camper to staff ratios
Eight campers per staff person is our absolute maximum and on most days its lower. This makes a difference. Many other camps have ratios of 10:1, 12:1, and sometimes even more. Our camper to staff ratios meet the industry standard for 5-7 year olds and exceed the standard for 8-12 year olds (ACA Accreditation HR 8). Having a better ratio means our staff are more able to connect with each child individually, adjust camps and activities to better match interest and skill level, and maintain positive group dynamics.
It is not easy to get a job with us
We hire exceptional staff and have high expectations of them. Every year, each staff member attends training which covers emotional intelligence, child development, teaching techniques, storytelling, tree climbing, and a lot more. Last summer, our average staff age was 25 years old. Our average counselor age, of the people who will be with your kid every day, was 22. We’ve found that investing in older, more experienced staff makes a huge difference. Our year-round staff have decades of experience working with children in a variety of settings ranging from science museums to tall ships to residential camps. Past Schoolhouse staff have gone on to become teachers, forest service rangers, sustainable farmers, conservationists, and social workers to name a few.
We foster a culture of safety
At Schoolhouse of Wonder, children are trusted and taught about making good choices, and we’ve found that children respond wonderfully to increased responsibility. Our programs have been designed to let campers choose how to engage with different levels of risk from whittling to tree climbing to splashing in the creek. It wasn’t long ago that children could play in a yard, park, or forest unsupervised for hours at a time. That’s not always possible or safe in the world we live in today. At Schoolhouse of Wonder, we aim to foster that feeling of independent play while keeping your child safe.
The usual camp day includes drop off from 8:15-9:00a, an earlier pick up option from 3:00-3:30p, and a later pick up option from 5:00-5:30p.
We understand that the cost of camp is a barrier for some families. Each year we partner with individuals, businesses, and community organizations to make scholarship funds available to as many families as possible. Scholarships are available for both campers and CITs. Please read more about our scholarship program here.
Have More Questions?
Read through our Orange Camp FAQs and read through our Parent Handbook has a lot of information about our programs. Give it a read through and maybe you’ll find your answer! If not, we’re always happy to talk with you. Call us at 919-477-2116 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For our program policies, click here.