Please use this article as your guide as you fill out the application.
The information you give us about your Powderpig enables us to place each child in the class that will be just right for them. It also gives us the information we need to plan a successful learning to ski experience for each student. The following article tells you a little about the kind of information we are looking for and how we intend to use it. Please use this article as your guide when you answer the questions on the application. In creating each child’s class we take a wide variety of things into consideration in addition to the usual “ages and stages” traditionally used to put classes together. The following is what we have found important for us to know about each of our students:
What interests your child the most? The social or the skiing/riding end of things? When we know this in advance, we can mix the class to just right proportions to everyone’s advantage. If you don’t have a clear idea it just means you child is probably balanced somewhere right in the middle!
Does this learner flourish in an environment where s/he can participate in determining what goes on in the learning experience with a social-cooperative instructor? Or does your child learn more easily in the security of a more traditional class structure where the instructor’s approach is firm and directive?
Knowing what concerns our Powderpigs or their parents helps us to know where a child may need encouragement and a little extra support. Concern, anxiety and fear are real detractors from a satisfying learning to ski experience. Helping a child discover their baseline success level, so they can build step by step from there, is the nursery for competence & confidence. A remarkably simple way to reduce the discomfort & distractions of anxiety flavored concerns.
Designing a really good learning to ski experience for a child entails knowing how a child best takes in & processes information. If we know beforehand, then we can put kids with others with compatible learning styles so they can complement rather than frustrate one another.
When we know a child has difficulty sitting still, “staying long enough” to take in information and remembering directions, we know that it is of even more than usual importance to keep things moving and give them the support they need when they are required to take in new information. Chair lift rides, lift lines, safety information, & plain old directions come under this heading. We must make sure the way we give directions to that Powderpig really works for them.
We need to know about your child’s tolerances so that we can help him or her stay within their comfort zone. This is a safety as well as a satisfaction issue. Discomfort, whether it is physical or emotional, is a distraction from what is going on. Too much or too little of anything on the tolerance list and they will need help dealing with it in order to stay safe and satisfied with the adventure of learning to ski or snowboard. Knowing where their perceptions and tolerances are help us monitor their well being.
Excitement is an inherent part of skiing. Knowing how much excitement is “just right” for a student allows an instructor to plan for class activities that work for all their students. When the excitement level goes up because of external circumstances, the well informed instructor will know who will need extra support and who will downright relish the event. With excitement, knowing where the “too little” level is can be just as important as knowing where the point of “too much” is. Kids (of all ages) who need more excitement than is currently available often create it for themselves. This is usually not the kind parents and instructors would prefer. An individual’s need, use and tolerance for excitement can vary with familiar and unfamiliar environments or activities. Even so, an individual’s underlying preference for lots or little excitement is usually consistent over time and fairly obvious unless it is hidden “somewhere in the middle”.
When a child runs out of energy, whether it be physical or emotional, (Often both) we can help them get recharged when we know what their preferred recharge mode is. Time out in a quiet corner with a book or some music? Someone to chat with? Other?
While some children move easily from one activity to another with no appreciable distress, others get so deeply involved in what they are doing, it is like trying to pry a limpet from a rock to get them detached enough to go on to the next activity. Distressing for all concerned! There is an art to helping those deeply involved kids shift gears; and when we know in advance we have a student who is gifted with “deep focus”, their instructor can build an early warning system into the instructional mix for “happy transitions”. Any insights you might have about things that work well for your Powderpig are very welcome.
When some kids encounter new or unfamiliar things or people they move right in for a closer look, comfortable & ready to engage. Others like some time to look things over before they are ready to try it, taste it or talk to it. While still others need real support when they are required to deal with something new, the unusual or the unexpected. It helps all involved when we are able to plan ahead for a child’s needs in this dept.
The question about feelings getting hurt easily will make the most sense to parents of a child who is very tuned into the messages others give them and who care what that other person thinks. The answers to this question can make a difference in our selection of instructors, classmates and activities.
The “Big Changes” question is an important one. When children go through a Big Life’s Event, it can impact a broad spectrum of things in their lives. A Big Life’s Event in a child’s life may or may not be the same as one in an adult’s. Focus of attention, sensitivity to certain subjects, feelings of safety, security and competence and even their sense of being “OK” & worthy of love can be shaken. These things in turn can have a very big impact on their perception of their safety, to say nothing of their enjoyment of learning to ski and snowboard. When we know a child has undergone a Big Event in their lives, whether it is loss, addition or just plain old change, we set the class up so that if they have increased needs, we have the flexibility to help them take care of them. Here are a few examples of things that have really impacted our Powderpigs throughout the years: moving from old neighborhood, new school, loss of a pet (never underestimate this one), loss of a family member, being bullied/being ganged up on or left out by peers, having a hard time in school, addition of new family member (by birth, adoption or marriage), separation/divorce, best friend moving, new school, accident/injury, surgery(however minor) serious illness, accident/injury of family member, serious illness in family. Rough time at summer camp.
If Your Child Has Any Special Needs – Let Us Be Part Of Their Team!
We need to know if a child is dealing with any medical issues – temporary or chronic – allergies, asthma, seizures, diabetes, chronic tummy aches, headaches, sinus or ear infections, injuries, medications, treatments, limitations, etc. And, if so, how does it impact them? For example, how severe is the allergy? Is it food or environmental or other? What happens? What would you like us to do in the event of an allergic reaction? Where is their medication located? Do they self administer? Do they need help? How do we contact you?
Does your child have anything else with which they are dealing and our knowing about would help us design an even better learning experience for them? A good clear picture is particularly important when a child is dealing with any variations on the human theme like differences in hearing, sight, perception, wiring, ADD, ADHD, anxiety or any of the myriad of things with which we humans sometimes come packaged. These bright, beautiful and frequently energetic children usually have a fine array of very special needs and sometimes some rather spectacular “do it yourself” strategies for getting those very legitimate needs met. When their needs are identified, we can help them learn to manage them in our snowy learning environment and then they are free to become enthusiastic & skilled skiers and snowboarders. However, when a child’s needs are not acknowledged and managed – these are the kids that can blow a class apart in a heartbeat. Leaving that child with yet another unsuccess – painful and unnecessary.
We all come packaged with our very own unique collection of the traits known as temperament. Some of us have been “issued” our temperamental gifts in XXL. These are the kids who just have “more”. More energy, more caution, stronger convictions, larger responses with which they encounter their world. They are often more tenacious, notice more, hear more, see more, think about things more, taste & smell more and feel more – kinesthetically and/or emotionally. Some of our finest “critical” thinkers come from this group. Because they are quite literally dealing with more than the rest of us, they must build more strategies in order to live in harmony with themselves and the rest of us. These are our spirited kids who, with our encouragement & understanding, very often become our stars, but who need extra help figuring out how to manage the endowment of temperament with which they have been blessed. We need to have a very clear picture of our spirited kids so we can be friend & mentor rather than just one more thing with which they must deal. With the help of our students throughout the years, we have developed some neat strategies to help set all our Powderpigs up for success. We have discovered that it truly takes all of us to manage this feat. When you give us a really clear picture of your Powderpig you can make a very big difference for your child and for us. Thank you in advance for taking the time and the energy to fill out the About Your Child pages. Use separate sheet(s) of paper if necessary. The About Your Child questions are the first step in our friendly co-conspiracy to create the very best possible learning to ski or snowboard experience for your Powderpig. Any information that you would prefer be kept in total confidence may be emailed directly to Nancy at and marked “For Nancy’s Eyes Only” in the subject line. Otherwise, all information on the application about a child is kept in strict confidence and shared only on a need to know basis.