Frequently Asked Questions

If you have already registered, please be sure to read the YELLOW HIGHLIGHTED SECTION IN YOUR EMAILED RECEIPT for information regarding your child’s summer program.  This details pick-up and drop off locations, what to bring to camp, medication requirements, etc.  To find your receipt, search your email for “doubleknot”, “Nantucket”, or “Maria Mitchell Association”.  Please feel free to contact Kim Botelho, Director of Education, if you have any other questions.

Q: What is our refund policy?

Cancellations for any reason prior to May 31st will be subject to a 30% administrative fee. Any cancellations after May 31st will be subject to a 50% administrative fee with the remaining balance refunded ONLY if the spot can be filled at the time of the cancellation. There is a minimum cancellation fee of $100 for all camp programs and 30% cancellation fee for Mitchell House programs. If MMA cannot fill the spot the entire fee will be considered non-refundable. No refunds, for any reason, INCLUDING EMERGENCIES, will be issued if cancellations are made within 14 days of the session’s start date. Refunds will not be given for sick or absent days.

If a class is canceled by the MMA your payment will be fully refunded.

Enrollment is limited in all camps. Registration is based on a first-come, first-serve basis. We cannot hold a space ‘open’ for any child.

All registration and medical forms MUST be completed at least two weeks prior to the session’s start date. Students will not be considered enrolled in camp and may not attend until all medical and registration forms have been received. If a child does not have a completed medical form two weeks before camp, MMA reserves the right to drop the child from the program and you will NOT BE ISSUED a refund.

Q: Is it possible to transfer a child into a different camp?

Transferring your discovery camp or NLP session to other dates will be permitted for a fee of $75, per session, if the transfer is made at least four weeks prior to your original start date.  If there is less than four weeks notice, fees will be based on our camp cancellation policy since we do not allow people to hold spaces.

Q: My child is not quite the right age for the camp they want to attend.  Do you make exceptions to age groups?

This is the question we get more than any other throughout the camp season.  Because of that and the fact that a lot of our camps fill up and have wait lists, we are pretty strict on this rule. We would have a lot of upset parents if their children couldn’t get it because spaces were filled with children that weren’t age appropriate.

However, we do make exceptions but only in these situations:
1. There is still space in a particular session the week before it is scheduled to start
2. We do an age analysis of those enrolled to see if it makes sense.  For instance, if we had a group that was mostly 6/6.5 year olds, we would not allow a 4 year old to attend.  If that session was filled with 5 year olds, we would.
3. It is ALWAYS with the understanding that if you register a child that is too young and they can’t keep up with the group, don’t follow instructions, don’t understand the activities, or need an increased amount of attention and help to do things, your child would not be able to continuing coming and you would NOT be eligible for a refund.

The only time I will consider making an exception earlier than 1 week is if I have personally had that child in an MMA class already and believe they are behaved well enough and have the developmental capacity to participate in an older group.

Questions related to age groups should be directed to Kim Botelho

Q: Will my child need to pass a swim test to participate in the program?

Unless specifically listed in the program description, we do not allow children to swim in our camps.  Five and six year old children are allowed to go up a little past their ankles and seven to twelve year old children can go up to their knees. For camps that list swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking programs, your camper will be asked to complete a swim test. If they pass, they will be able to participate in the activity wearing a less restrictive flotation belt.  If they do not pass, they will be required to wear a life vest. We will provide flotation devices for all students that require one, but campers are permitted to bring their own if they have one available.  It must be Coast Guard approved and in proper condition.

Q: Where should I drop my child off for their program sessions?

Pick up and drop off for Discovery Camp is at the Nantucket Ice Rink on 1 Backus Lane just behind the elementary school.  The NLP classes get dropped off and picked up at the MMA headquarters at 4 Vestal St, the aquarium, or public parking lot on Washington St.  Please check the weekly agenda and maps you receive by email the Friday before your session begins for exact details.  The Pre-Wee class meets at 33 Washington St.  Please plan to arrive early to find parking.  There is no parking available at that location but it is adjacent to the public lot and just down the street from parking on Washington St. Extension.

Q: What should my child bring to morning/full-day class?

Clothes/Shoes – Exploring can be dirty and wet work so please provide your child with clothes and shoes that can get wet and dirty. Wearing a bathing suit under their clothes or wearing a Sun shirt (UPF 50+) is excellent for both water play and outdoor activities and is recommended. For the safety of your child, please send them with a pair of close-toed shoes that they can walk/run/hike. We suggest sending sandals or water shoes with ankle straps for exploring the water and beach. FLIP FLOPS ARE NOT ALLOWED

Lunch/Snack – For morning and full day programs please provide your child with a lunch in addition to snacks. Refrigeration is not available. Due to allergy concerns, children are not allowed to share food.

Water – Children should come to class each day with LOTS water to drink – this is especially important on very warm, sunny days. We, unfortunately, do not have access to water during the day so please make sure that your child has an adequate water supply. Please send extra water for full day programs.

Sunscreen & Sun Shirts – We at MMA are working hard with our staff and participants to be Sun Safe as well as environmentally friendly. We recommend children registered for both half day and full day programs to wear sun shirts that are 50+ UPF. Since the shirts retain their effectiveness in water and after activity, there is no need to “re-apply”. Keep in mind that the shirt only protects the skin that it covers; long sleeve shirts are also recommended for children with extra sensitive skin. Pediatricians recommend that children also protect themselves by wearing wide brim hats and sunglasses when outdoors. Please label your children’s’ clothing and accessories.

If you choose to use sunscreen your children should arrive already lathered up with sunscreen that is at least 50 UPF. If your child is extra sensitive to the sun please send them with extra. For full day participants, teachers will give “sunscreen” breaks to allow children to reapply. Children are not allowed to share sunscreen due to allergy concerns.

Insect Repellent – Many of the sites we visit will have biting insects such as mosquitoes. For the comfort of your child you may want to send your child with bug repellent. Please do not send aerosol sprays.

Ticks – We do our best to avoid exposure to ticks, however children may be exposed to ticks while traveling through class sites (especially woods and fields). Teachers will try to check children daily, but they should be checked again thoroughly for ticks each day after class. (Remember also that teachers are unable to check for ticks in areas of the body covered by clothing.) Please refer to the Center for Disease Control’s website for more information on tick-borne illness prevention and safety tips:

Q: What precautions does the MMA take against deer ticks?

We ask that parents dress their children appropriately or pack extra clothing in their backpack (light colored long pants tucked into socks, long sleeves, and a hat). We always do tick checks before getting on the bus and highly recommended that parents do a thorough tick check each evening as well, as teachers are unable to check areas covered by clothing.

Q: Are there any items my child may not bring to the program?

Yes. We ask that children leave all toys, electronic devices, etc. at home as they tend to be a distraction from the activities planned by our staff.

Q: Where do classes go on inclement weather days?

This depends on the severity of the weather. If it is a light rain or mist, we still head out into the field. On days with heavy rainfall and/or thunder storms, we will utilize indoor teaching spaces (these locations may change from year to year depending on availability). On overcast days with a forecast of rain, please send your child to class with a rain coat or poncho. We do not cancel classes due to weather.

Q: How do I sign my child up for the Discovery Program?

All registrations for Discovery Programs can be done online. If you do not have a computer, come to the Administrative Office at 4 Vestal Street to register there. You can check online for availability or to be placed on the wait list.

Q: Can I request that my child be placed with friend(s) or sibling(s)?

The MMA encourages children to make new friends through our programs, but we understand the importance of being with someone they know, especially in new surroundings. To assist us in placing friends and siblings together, please indicate friends’ or sibling’s names on the appropriate line on the medical form. We will make every effort to accommodate these requests but due to session size, we cannot guarantee that every request will be fulfilled.

Q: What is the student to teacher ratio for your program’s sessions?

In order to create a comfortable learning environment for our participants, we do keep class sizes small. The MMA always maintains a student to teacher ratio of no more than 10:2 for our Wee Explorers and no more than 12:2 for our other programs.

Q: Where does the Discovery Program take place?

We believe that the best place to learn about the natural world is in the outdoors. To that end, our natural science focused Discovery Program take place at a variety of wooded and seaside locations around the island many of which are owned by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and Nantucket Land Bank. Locations include but are not limited to: Sanford Farm, Squam Swamp, the Windswept Cranberry Bogs, Masquetuck, Jetties Beach, The Mud Flats and Dionis Beach.

Q: If my child can only participate in part of a full week class will you pro-rate the registration fee accordingly?

No. We expect that children registering for our programs will participate in the full week and therefore do not pro-rate our fees for children who will only be in a session for part of the week.

Q: Do classes meet on July 4?

No. Discovery camp is closed on July 4th.  We do still charge for a full week of camp but if you contact us with a request to pro-rate the camp for the missing day, we are happy to do so.

Q: If there is a problem or my child is sick, whom do I contact?

Please contact us at 508-228-9198 or email Molly Zegans concerning any problems.

Q: How do I know MMA staff are qualified to be camp instructors?

All MMA Discovery Camp Interns have provided us with at least three positive references, they are all, at a minimum, CPR, First Aid, and AED certified, and their criminal background and sexual offenders background checks were all clear of any wrong doing. Most interns are also lifeguard certified and per our policies, we will not accept more than two interns per summer without this certification out of the fifteen we hire. Those without lifeguard certification would not be permitted to lead snorkeling or kayaking programs. Additionally, interns go through an intense, two-week training before camp starts. As part of this training they become certified swim assessors to lead our snorkeling programs and health care supervisors enabling them to help provide medication and administer EPI-pens to campers. As a parent/guardian, you have the right to call Maria Mitchell Association at 508-228-9198 to ensure background checks have been completed and thoroughly reviewed.

Q:  I have a child that doesn’t do well when disciplined in certain ways.  How can I ensure MMA instructors will manage my child’s behavior appropriately?

We encourage parents/guardians to give us suggestions on managing your child’s behavior.  You can do this by speaking directly to the teachers and/or including suggestions on the medical release form you fill out when you register.  In general, if we are having difficulty managing a child’s behavior we speak to the parent/guardian at pick up time and ask for suggestions.  As a parent/guardian, you have the right to request and review MMA’s discipline policies.  Please call 508-228-9198 or email Kim Botelho, Director of Education at

Q: I’m upset and want to issue a complaint.  What is the best way to do this?

Please call or email Kim Botelho, Director of Education at 508-228-9198 or email

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