Alternative Preschool & Kindergarten
Let's learn the nature school way!
Let's learn the nature school way!
Wild Child is a year-round outdoor nature camp that offers an alternative to traditional preschool or Kindergarten.
Drop off ONLY 8:30-3pm
Join us year round, rain or shine!
Located at public parks around San Diego in a 20 min radius around Mission Bay
Our Day Camp moves to different playgrounds with trail access each day. The students each bring a little backpack with a water bottle & lunch inside. Learning and play is done both on the trail and at the playground.
Our classes are lead by dedicated and experienced educators. Using proven teaching strategies, we make sure that every student feels seen, supported, and cared for. Our teachers are experienced in outdoor exploration and learning. From early child care through kindergarten, your little one will feel at home in our nature school.
Nature schools or Forest Schools originated in Europe. They facilitate learning through experiencing the natural world. The idea has gained quite a bit of traction in the U.S. and nature schools have been seen popping up all over the country. Our nature school moves to different locations each day. Rain or shine, our students come to sch
Nature schools or Forest Schools originated in Europe. They facilitate learning through experiencing the natural world. The idea has gained quite a bit of traction in the U.S. and nature schools have been seen popping up all over the country. Our nature school moves to different locations each day. Rain or shine, our students come to school prepared for the day's weather. We learn about life through experiencing the world around us and applying this to academic areas.
Our goal is to make your child feel safe and cared for while they learn through play and our age appropriate lessons. We are not just child care facilitators, we are teachers in every aspect. The lessons at our nature school are directed through the curiosity of the students. We utilize the nature around us as well as Montessori and Wald
Our goal is to make your child feel safe and cared for while they learn through play and our age appropriate lessons. We are not just child care facilitators, we are teachers in every aspect. The lessons at our nature school are directed through the curiosity of the students. We utilize the nature around us as well as Montessori and Waldorf teaching strategies for math, letters, reading, science, emotional/social development, and creating art. We strive to stimulate our students at the level each individual is ready for.
We are located at different playgrounds and trails each day that offer nature exploration. We have a bus option available where your child can be picked up and dropped off at a parking lot close to Mission bay. The bus will then take them to the playground/trail for the day.
We believe the best way to teach students is to provide one on one attention. To facilitate this we keep our classroom ratios small, but yet large enough to foster friendships and lifelong connections. Our teacher to student ratio is 1:5. We have the capacity to have 10 students with us. Our group is mixed age from 3-6 years old.
We follow California State Standards for teaching kindergarten without any standardized tests. We believe teaching these standards can be done through play and through inquiry led by the children. Our teaching style is heavily influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach as we strive to foster the innate curiosity of the students. Our curriculum prepares students to begin their reading journey through listening to stories, discovering the alphabet, and practicing phonetics all within a natural setting. We teach math that is appropriate to age and utilize proven strategies to support learning. Much of our focus is on social and emotional development of the child. We cultivate grit and growth mindset in our students so they feel adept to tackle any situation. We also teach beginner Spanish and Piano!
If your family has a love of nature, the outdoors, and doesn't mind muddy shoes or wet rain jackets, we are the nature school for you! We encourage risky play and allow our students to test their boundaries. If a student is ready to try climbing a tree, we will be there with our arms outstretched ready to support them if they need it. Children usually know what feels safe and what doesn't. We are here to encourage their exploration of the world and be there as a safety net. Coming home with a scraped knee or a stubbed finger is not unusual, just like when you're with your family at the park or your backyard. Our teachers are trained in first aid, CPR, and emergency situation protocols. We will be swimming at the bay in the summer months. Students are required to wear life jackets when we go swimMin
Please reach us at if you cannot find an answer to your question.
We do not facilitate nap time.
Wild Child is a day camp and does not have a physical building so we do not fall under childcare licensing regulations. California does not have a licensing procedure for day camps. All of our counselors are first aid/cpr trained and are prepared for emergency situations. They are all background checked as well as have multiple years of experience working with children. Wild Child is completely insured.
We operate in a whole group setting. This means the children learn from their older peers and also from teaching and helping the younger students. Our group of learners is small enough that each child has the opportunity to work at their own level within our larger group. There may be times where the older children get to do an activity that is separate from the younger ones, but usually all students will be included at their own capability level.
Since we operate as a whole group, all of the teachers will be your child's teacher!
Our class is in session even if it rains! We believe there is no such thing as bad weather in San Diego. There is only inadequate clothing for the weather. The teachers will do their best to remind parents when to bring rain wear, but please check the weather app when preparing your child for school.
We have a small camping toilet that folds and comes with us wherever we go, but we also have access to the parks public bathrooms. If the class is out on a nature walk, our teachers are prepared to handle business "the nature way" or with the use of the foldable toilet behind some screening foliage.
Yes! It depends on the day and the temperature outside, but there will be days where the children have time to play in the water. There will be other days where they play only in the sand or in the large grassy area beneath the trees. Please pack a swimsuit and towel just in case!
If your child has a fever please keep them home. If a child develops a fever at camp we will call the parents right away and try to keep them as comfortable as possible till their guardian can arrive. If a child has cold symptoms, please have them tested for COVID. If a child is feeling better and is COVID negative, but still has a little bit of a cough, they may come back to school. We understand that symptoms such as coughs can last over three weeks and it is difficult to take that much time off work. There will be frequent handwashing and sanitation of surfaces to reduce the spread of germs.
The teachers bring foldable desks and chairs to our location everyday for the students to work comfortably. The children will be able to decide if they would rather work on the grass or at a table. Just like in a traditional classroom, the students will participate in California Common Core designed lessons, but unlike the traditional classroom, lessons will be focused on each students personal interests and progress. The older students will be working on writing, reading, math, social studies, and science. Younger students who are ready for more will be challenged according to their individual progress. All students will learn through music, play, and games designed to facilitate learning. Our school practices can be compared to Montessori and Waldorf style learning. Sometimes we may be practicing ABC's in a composition notebook and other times we might be using a stick to write in the mud. Likewise math might be using rocks or flowers we find or it might be practicing written equations.