Give your child the experience of learning directly in nature. We’ll spend each month in a beautiful natural area in San Diego County, getting to know about the plants, insects, animals, rocks, seasonal changes, and so much more. Exploring nature incorporates all areas of development; language, large and fine motor skills, math and literacy, problem-solving, cognitive skills, language, and especially social and emotional skills.

Children benefit in so many ways by spending time outdoors. They learn directly in real and meaningful ways about the world around them. As highly qualified early childhood staff, we are are also naturalists, well versed in all aspects of sharing nature with children, and able to support each child’s unique way of learning in an outdoor environment.

Acorns: These classes are designed to provide direct experiences in nature for children ages 2 years,10 months to 5 years. Class locations vary but are concentrated within 30 minutes or less of central San Diego. Classes are held for a least a month in each location. Tuesdays, 9:15-2:30 pm. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 9:15-1:15 pm. 

Application & Enrollment Process

  1. Fill out our online application via Google Forms. Click here to access the application.
  2. Staff will review the application and contact you to schedule a short school visit of no more than two hours, or an Open Field/Sample Class. A $25.00 application fee will be due at the time of your school tour or open field class.
  3. After attending an Open Field/Sample Class, contact the director, Patti Shields via email to request the remaining paperwork if you wish to enroll your child. Your child’s space in the school will only be reserved after you complete the final paperwork and make the payment of the registration and materials fees.
  4. Enrollment for the new school year begins in February when applications are sent to current families. Currently enrolled children, their siblings, and the siblings of alumni receive priority for enrollment. On March first, the existing applications are reviewed and any remaining spaces are filled with children on the Waiting List.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do if it rains?

We put on raincoats, boots, and enjoy the rain! The children have a change of clothes and bags for wet clothes. Honestly, they have Loved our rainy days. In the event of a storm that includes lightening, we will cancel class. We will and have one make-up day/school year.

Does my child have to be potty-trained?

We understand that children develop this skill at different times. If your child isn’t potty-trained you must provide all necessary items including plastic bags for soiled diapers. We will work with you to help your child gain this skill, supporting what you are doing at home, and offering our expertise as well. If a child is unable to progress successfully to being toilet-trained after three months, staff will discuss with parents if nature school is perhaps not the best option for their child.

How do I register my child?

You may download the application form on the website and mail it, with a $25.00 application fee. You must attend an Open Field event or come to a class with your child before he or she can be enrolled. You’ll receive all necessary forms after your child is accepted into the program.

Click here to view the bios of our skilled staff.