Ventura Wild Forest Preschool Programs

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How to Apply

Waitlist is available for our 2023 – 2024 Forest Preschool Programs!

Waitlist is now available for our Spring 2024 Semester (January – June). Please note, availability is limited as many of our Fall 2023 participants will be continuing. 

Step 1: Register for the Forest Preschool Programs Waitlist (CLICK HERE)

This waitlist for all 2023 – 2024 forest preschool programs. There is a non-refundable $25 application fee. This waitlist will not carry over for the following 2024 – 2025 school-year. 

Step 2: Complete the Forest Preschool Programs Application (CLICK HERE)

In this application, you will specify which programs you are applying for and other details about your child. Minimum of 2 days required for registration.

*You must complete Steps 1 & 2 for your application to be considered!

Important Dates Date
Waitlist Opens for Spring 2024 Semester Thurs, Nov. 16th at 9:00 AM
Waitlist Closes for Spring 2024 Semester Sun, Dec. 3rd at 9:00 PM
Applicants will be notified, placed into program / waitlisted Fri, Dec. 8th by 5PM
First Week of Spring 2024 Semester Jan. 8th – Jan. 12th, 2024
Last Week of Spring 2024 Semester May. 27th – May 31st, 2024

Forest Preschool Programs 2023-2024

Continue scrolling for Program Details

2023 – 2024 Programs Day Time Spring 2024 Semester Dates Age
Sprouts (1 spot available) Mon 9:00 – 1:00 PM Jan. 8th – May 27th 3 – 5
Pups (1 spot available) Tues 9:00 – 1:00 PM Jan. 9th – May 28th 3 – 5
Cubs (1 spot available) Wed 9:00 – 1:00 PM Jan. 10th – May 29th 3 – 5
Kits (2 spots available) Thurs 9:00 – 1:00 PM Jan. 11th – May 30th 3 – 5
Los Pajaritos, Bilingual (2 spots available) Friday 9:00 – 1:00 PM Jan. 12th – May 31st 3 – 5

Click Here to Read our Full Program Description

Registration: In your application, you may request any combination of the days listed above. Minimum of 2 days required. Space is limited as many of our Fall 2023 participants will be continuing.

Spring 2024 Pricing: Payment plans are available for all of our forest preschool programs. A deposit will be due upon registration, followed by 3 installments. Additional installments can be requested. Please click here for additional info about our pricing and scholarships.

Spring 2024 Semester: January 8th – May 31st (18 weeks)

2 days per week = $2600 per semester or $520 per month
3 days per week = $3900 per semester or $780 per month
4 days per week = $5200 per semester or $1040 per month

Potty Training Requirements: Your child needs to be potty trained prior to beginning program with us. Minor assistance and occasional accidents are OK. We practice environmentally conscious nature pees/poos and there is also a public restroom on location, where we provide toilet seat covers and toddler seats.

Age Requirements: Your child must be at least 3 years of age by the first day of your program. The program is best suited for 3 – 4.5 year olds, with those 4.5 year olds turning 5 during our ‘school’ year. Ventura Wild offers homeschool and after school programs for those who have aged out of our preschool offerings. See our Winter 2024 offerings here


How does your child learn during a nature-based program?

Experiential Learning: Forest Preschool is centered around hands-on experiential learning. Students embrace their curiosities, forming questions that then guide them to their discoveries. Instructors are there to encourage this process, to support students building interpersonal skills to problem-solve such as communication and cooperation.

Emotional and Social Development: Students are encouraged to recognize and communicate their emotions. This awareness supports their self care routines and their relationships with each other.

Risk-Taking: Students are also encouraged to assess and take calculated risks, building spatial and motor skills. For example, students are taught the risks around tree climbing. With this awareness, they are then able to discover their ability and grow their comfort level within these parameters. With a 4:1 ratio, instructors are there every step of the way. Introducing risk-taking at this young age builds their resilience and improves their judgement that they will carry throughout their lives. 

Deepening a Relationship with Nature: Because our program is held in nature, students build a deep and lasting relationship with their environment. Witnessing the same animals and plants each day, we gain an understanding and therefore friendship with them. An early relationship with nature grows respect that lasts a lifetime.

A ‘Typical’ Day in Ventura Wild

 9:00 Drop-off
 9:10 Introductory Activity/Game (usually a form of movement)
 9:30 Opening Circle – Sharing and Snack time
 9:45 Bathroom Break
 10:00 Exploratory Activities (integrating learning with nature – science, counting, colors, senses..)
 11:30 Lunch + StoryTime
11:45 Bathroom Break
 12:00 Open Nature Exploration and Play
 12:45 Reflect on the Day
 1:00 Pick-Up

Though we maintain core routines to create familiarity, we allow great flexibility within our ‘schedule’ to allow space for creativity and following spontaneous moments in nature.

Ventura Wild

Ventura Wild rekindles a deep sense of belonging and connection to wild places by nurturing awareness, knowledge, skills and stewardship in the natural world. We are an education program of Ventura Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our registration fees cover the cost of running the program and that’s it. Our team of highly experienced and skilled outdoor educators are simply here to share the joy and love of nature while tending and protecting our environment.

The lands we visit are the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Chumash People.

What is ‘Forest Preschool’?

Forest Preschool is early childhood education that takes place solely outdoors. The curriculum is focused on nature-based learning, following the child’s natural curiosity and inspirations. The Ventura Wild Forest Preschool Program is a child-centered learning process that offers opportunities for holistic growth through long-term connections that include play, exploration and supported risk taking. Our program develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. A sense of belonging and confidence on this planet is the foundation of a confident and curious learner. 

Licensing and Accreditation

Ventura Wild Forest Preschool Program is not a licensed or accredited preschool, since preschool licensing is based on a building / structure. Our Forest Preschool is thus a “Program”, not a “School”. “Forest Preschools” are now accredited in Washington State, but California is lagging behind. That being said, Ventura Wild has highly qualified instructors and clearly defined best practice standards in the field of nature based early childhood and social emotional development. We are constantly seeking and applying the latest research and international practices in the profession, and all staff strive for excellence that is reflected in the children’s daily experiences with us.