Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a half day?
A half day is 9:00 to 12:00 a.m. (morning session), or 12:00 to 2:45 for 4-7 year olds and 12:00 to 3:15 for 8-18 year olds (afternoon session). Because the morning session is longer and includes the teacher announcements for the day's activities, it is the recommended choice.
Lunch is from 12:00 to 12:35.
What do I do if I have children leaving at both 2:45 and 3:15 departure times?
We will hold your younger child (age 4 - 7) in a group activity until your older child finishes at 3:15 so that you only have to come once to pick them up.
We request that you go directly to the Squirrel's Nest to pick up your 4 year old, while your other children may be picked up in their sign-out areas at the front gate. You will usually be asked to pull into the pick-up lane of the parking lot and runners will get your children for you, but you may be asked to park and sign them out personally.
How qualified are your teachers?
Specialists lead areas and range from year-round teachers to artists who also teach children. Many of our specialists have been at Willowbrook from 5 to 15 years, and some have been with us for over 20 years!
College assistants help in all areas. Many attended Willowbrook as campers and high school assistants. They have proficiency in their arts and experience working with children.
Apprentice assistants are 14-18 years old. They work half the day and attend as campers the other half. They are required to have been campers at Willowbrook for at least 2 years and must be able to be placed in several areas, as needed. The role they play is important because they have grown up with the program and are models and mentors for younger campers.
How many students attend on an average day and what are your teacher-student ratios?
We have an average of 350-400 campers in attendance each day. Our staff includes more than 175 members, with approximately 150 present daily. Our average ratios are 1 teacher to 5-10 campers per center, depending on age area.
What security measures do you take?
Willowbrook operates in an exclusive use area of Brown's Ferry Park surrounded by a chain link fence. Security staff walks the grounds throughout the day, and is posted at the front gate at arrival and departure times. Visitors are required to show their driver's license. They sign in and out and wear a visitor badge. They are also asked to remain outside of the art centers. Children are escorted to the parking lot and picked up by authorized persons using a PIN system.
How do campers know how to move through their day?
Artisans (8 - 18 year olds): Teachers announce their offerings for each day in a morning assembly and tell campers if there is a sign up list for appointments in their centers. They also place their schedules on a bulletin board located near the front registration area. Campers are encouraged to ask a teacher if they need help remembering what is being offered. Students have free choice of the activities they want to participate in and the length of time they stay in a center. Some focus on one or two things in a day while others engage in many activities. We are always on the lookout for those who seem uncertain of what choices to make.
Villagers (5 - 7 year olds): These children are assigned to age groups with head teachers. They are taken on a short tour of the Village area daily and shown where each activity center is located. Village campers may then select their activities. Teachers are available to help them with their choices and to set up appointments for options such as piano lessons. Classes such as Folkdance and are scheduled with outside Specialists for age groups. 7 year olds have a greater variety of opportunities, such as attending special pre-arranged classes for small groups in the Artisan areas.
Squirrels (3 and 4 year olds): Children are guided to select from activity stations during the free choice part of the day. Group activities, classes in dance areas, and nature walks round out the day. Plenty of staff is on hand at all times, with an average 1 to 5 teacher-student ratio.
Is extended care available?
The extended care option is offered for campers whose caregiver’s schedule doesn't allow them to make the regular drop-off and pick-up times. We ask that extended care be used only for this reason. We are not set up as a day care facility.
Before-care is offered from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. and after-care from 3:15 to 5:30 pm. After-care ends promptly at 5:30. (A late charge applies after 5:30 - our staff needs to go home.)
Extended care staff includes college assistants and high school assistants from our teaching staff. There is a charge of $4.00 per hour, or $2.00 per half hour. Extended care activities include recreation, games, stories, drawing, and simple art projects. After care ends at 5:30 pm. A late fee of $5.00 is charged for every 15 minutes of care after 5:30
What kind of a schedule would you recommend for my child?
Campers’ schedules vary. The more a child attends, the more opportunities exist to explore a variety of arts. Many projects can be completed in a day, while others require more time and help hone a particular skill. If your child wants to participate in a play, particularly if s/he wants a major role, more attendance time is recommended. (See theater attendance question and answer.)
How long should my child attend to be in a theater performance?
Plays in which all theater groups participate are open to campers attending for only 1 week, the week of the performance. Campers ages 8 - 18 who want a speaking role in a play must attend for 2 weeks. Tryouts usually take place on Tuesday of the week before the performance week.
Major, speaking roles in plays for the Village theater group (age 5 - 7) also require a 2-week stay.
Are Village students of different ages able to spend time together?
Yes. Village campers are split into half-age groups in their own “home” centers for morning orientation and to deposit belongings. Each group has a lead teacher who stays in that center all day as a specialist. Children spend 15-30 minutes at the beginning of each day in their age group, depending on arrival time. All ages have free choice of activities in the Village throughout the rest of the day, except for a 10 minute regrouping after lunch and again at the end of the day to prepare for sign-out. Children can easily link up with friends and eat lunch together.
Can my child go to Artisan centers before s/he’s 8, or move into the Village before s/he’s 5?
No. We gear our age groups and centers to accommodate those ages adequately, with appropriate art projects and opportunities.
Our many years of experimenting and experiencing kids has taught us what levels are appropriate in our setting. We will make an exception, however, to move a child down an age group if necessary.
If I have more than 1 child, does the 5% discount apply only to one, or all?
The sibling discount applies to all children in a family attending at the same time. The children must reside with you and be immediate family. This discount does not apply, for example, to your nieces or nephews who are staying with you during part of the summer.
If I’m not sure of my child’s attendance schedule or might add days, may I pay after they attend?
No. Payment is required in advance of your child's attendance. You may pay as you go, bringing a check or cash on the day your child attends if you have already registered completely before that day.
Do you accept credit cards?
No. We accept checks or cash only. There is a $20 charge for returned checks. You may pay with a credit card for 5 or more days on our website at www.willowbrookartscamp.org using PayPal.