Ventura Wild Forest Preschool Programs

Continuing scrolling for program offerings

How to Apply

We are ACCEPTING applications for Spring 2023 Forest Preschool Programs – Mon, Nov. 28th – Sun, Dec. 4th!
If there are remaining spots available, registration will reopen. 

Stay up to date with registration announcements by subscribing to our newsletter here!

STEP 1: Register for the Forest Preschool Programs Waitlist 

This waitlist for all forest preschool programs. There is a non-refundable $25 application fee that will be applied towards enrollment if your child is placed into a program.

STEP 2: Complete the Forest Preschool Programs Application

In this application, you will specify which programs you are applying for and other details about your child.

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

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.

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.

Forest Preschool Programs 2022-23

Continue scrolling for Full Program Descriptions

2022 – 2023 Programs Day Time Age
Bear Cubs Mon & Wed 9:00 – 1:00 PM 3 – 5
Fox Kits Tues & Thurs 9:00 – 1:00 PM 3 – 5
Los Pajaritos Friday 9:00 – 1:00 PM 3 – 5
Upcoming Important Dates Date
Registration Opens for Winter/Spring Session Nov. 28th @ 9:00 AM
Forest Preschool Program Sneak Preview Dec. 1st 3:30 – 4:30 PM
Registration Closes For Winter/Spring Session Dec. 4th @ 9:00 PM
Applicants will be notified by Dec. 9th
First Week of Winter/Spring Programs Jan. 9th – Jan. 13th

Thurs, Dec. 1st – Forest Preschool Program Sneak Preview: Join your child for a wild craft / activity and to meet our forest preschool program staff. Sneak Preview will be held at Foster Park, one of our core locations. Prepare for an hour of outdoor play and joy! *Child must eligible to join us for our upcoming Winter/Spring 2023 Season (age 3 – 5 years old). Please email venturawild@venturalandtrust.org to RSVP! 

Forest Preschool Programs 2022-23

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 2023 offerings here

Bear Cubs
(Drop-Off)
1 Available Spot

DATES: January 9th – May 31st
DAYS:
 Mondays and Wednesdays
TIME: 9:00-1:00 PM
AGE: 3-5 yrs
MAX GROUP SIZE: 12 children
LOCATIONS: Foster Park, Hayden Preserve, Monthly Field Trips
PRICE: $2500

Click Here for the full program description

Click Here for Pricing Details

Fox Kits
(Drop-Off)
4 Available Spots

DATES: January 10th – June 1st
DAYS:
 Tuesdays and Thursdays
TIME: 9:00-1:00 PM
AGE: 3-5 yrs
MAX GROUP SIZE: 12 children
LOCATIONS: Foster Park, Hayden Preserve, Monthly Field Trips
PRICE: $2500

Click Here for the full program description

Click Here for Pricing Details

Los Pajaritos
(Drop-Off, Bilingual)
4 Available Spots

DATES: January 13th – June 2nd
DAYS:
Fridays
TIME: 9:00-1:00 PM
AGE: 3-5 yrs
MAX GROUP SIZE: 12 children
LOCATIONS: Foster Park, Hayden Preserve, Monthly Field Trips
PRICE: $1300

Click Here for the full program description

Click Here for Pricing Details