Childcare Information: Gaia for Girls Ages Five and Up (5+)
The following provides information and registration materials for Gaia Childcare for girls ages five and up. Please read the information carefully and send in the Registration Form and Waiver of Liability postmarked by July 20th to register your child(ren) for Gaia. If you do not register your child by the July 20th postmark date, you should plan to provide your own childcare throughout your stay at the Festival.
Using our experience and your feedback we have thoughtfully planned how our childcare areas are organized. Please respect and participate in these organizational efforts so that we can continue to provide safe, secure and fun childcare for our wonderful, growing number of children. Our childcare areas get better each year because of input we receive from Moms, so get involved and let us know what you think!
How Does Gaia Operate?
- Gaia Girls Camp will be open on Monday from 1pm to 9pm. We then operate from 8:30am to 5pm, and from 7pm to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday. Gaia is closed from 5pm to 7pm every day for dinner so please plan to pick up your child(ren) by 5pm.
- When determining how to plan for your childcare needs at Gaia, please consider how much time your daughter(s) is used to spending in childcare at home. Also, remember that a year away from festival can be a long time for a child. Gaia may feel unfamiliar, even for returning girls. Family time is important for girls at the festival and connecting with their adults from home helps them relax and have a good time while they're at Gaia.
- We appreciate your support in picking up your daughter(s) for meals, on time at 5pm, and no later than midnight on any night.
- Prior to utilizing Gaia, plan to make time to do an on-site check-in and orientation with your child, even if you are familiar with the Festival and Gaia. While you're there we'll get additional information about your child, provide you with more detailed information and go over the procedures and daily routine of Gaia.
- Please bring any adults who are responsible for your child to your on-site orientation so the Gaia staff will recognize the womyn who are authorized to bring your child to or take her from Gaia.
- We ask parents to do one of their two Festival work shifts at Gaia.
- Gaia offers moms/caregivers the choice to allow their daughters to check themselves out without an adult. This is called "wandering" or "being a wanderer". Girls who are most successful with this program can keep track of time independently, have a good understanding of the festival landscape, and have a history of demonstrating the ability to respectfully maintain family boundaries.
- The purpose of childcare at Gaia is to support women who are caring for girls on the land. You are responsible for feeding, showering and clothing the girl(s) you bring to the Festival. You are also responsible for making sure you meet your girls' needs for sleep and "family time."
- We cannot provide care for sick children at Gaia. Girls with vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or who otherwise cannot participate in Gaia due to illness are welcome to return once they are well.
- Gaia is always a smoke-free, chem-free, and electronics free space.
Meals are not served at Gaia. Please plan to share mealtime (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with your daughter(s) at the Festival Kitchen. Gaia does serve some snacks throughout the day - primarily fruits, but we ask that you not consider these snacks as replacements for meals, and that you make the important commitment to eat each meal with your child. Please do not send food with your child(ren) due to the numerous and diverse allergies and sensitivites among our girls.
Gaia girls enjoy a combination of structured and unstructured activities. They play "new games" (non-competitive, everyone-can-do sports), do daily arts & crafts activities and attend workshops designed specifically for them. The girls also learn about the Michigan woodland environment and enjoy campground activities like fireside games, nature walks, etc. Younger girls will have the opportunity to participate in the Young Gaia Girls Program which offers organized, adult-led activities throughout the week – the schedule will be available when you check-in. On Friday afternoon, the girls will put on a talent show. On Saturday evening, the girls put on costumes and host their very own Gaia Parade to the cheers of the night stage audience.
The Festival is a wonderful event to share with your daughter, and many girls and families experience a unique feeling of safety and freedom on the Land. We want to stress that you should not confuse the overriding safety of the Festival with an absence of the need for supervision and guidance for your children. Please talk to your daughter about your family guidelines for interacting with unknown people and about appropriate personal space/boundaries while at the Festival.
It is important to remember that the girls need time to get re-acquainted with Gaia and Gaia staff each year. Please take into account how your child(ren) adjusts to changes in daily routine and what her process is for getting acquainted with a change in her childcare environment. Please work this into your Festival family routine.
You are responsible to make choices with your daughters about what curfew is appropriate or what activities are fitting for them to attend. The Festival is child-friendly, parent supportive and safe; it also supports adult-only space. We make every effort to be clear about which parts of our program are not suitable for children. Adult-only events and areas are announced, posted at One World and/or noted in the program. However, we rely on you to exercise responsibility for your children.
What to Bring
Please mark all clothes and other belongings with your child's name. It's very important that you bring the following for your children:
warm clothes for evenings
cool clothes for the warm days
a change of shoes
a water bottle
We would appreciate you not having personal toys or dishes in Gaia. The area has community toys and dishes and given the large number of girls, it is very difficult to store and track personal items.
If your family includes children who will be in one of the other childcare services, please take some time to talk within your family about the different childcare areas and the reality that the kids will be separated for the days of the Festival.
Sprouts Camp is for girls and boys ages infant through four and operates from 8:15am to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday. Families that include infants or toddlers are welcome to camp in the Family Campground located adjacent to Sprouts. Many moms find this a warm and supportive place to connect with other moms/caregivers, and an easy way to have informal shared care of infants. If your child is aged infant through four, Gaia Girls Camp will not provide care for her.
Brother Sun is a six-day camp for boys five through ten years old and operates from 8am to midnight. It is located on its own section of the Festival land, and is serviced by a regular shuttle service. Moms of boys enrolled in Brother Sun must camp in Brother Sun to care for their sons overnight. Families that include both boys and girls are welcome to camp in the Brother Sun Family Campground located at Brother Sun.
Children's Ticket Information
There is a separate ticket fee for children aged three to sixteen and there is no additional fee for childcare. (See ticket information for prices.) Your child is not automatically registered for childcare when you purchase their ticket – you must fill out and return the childcare registration form postmarked by July 20th to complete the registration process. We can only provide childcare for those who are pre-registered by the July 20th postmark, and we realize snafus happen in the mail occasionally. To safeguard against this we strongly recommend that you mail your registration via the U.S. Postal service with a certificate of mailing. Bring this certificate along with a copy of your registration to Gaia and in the unlikely event that your registration never reaches us, this receipt will show us that you mailed your registration by the July 20th postmark. Your copy can then serve as your registration. The cost for this is approximately $1.15. We also welcome you to call us before the July 20th postmark deadline in order to confirm your child's registration in Gaia.
How's the Weather?
Michigan weather varies from the high 90's during the day and can go as low as the low 40's in the evenings, so pack to be comfortable across the full range of summer weather.
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