Ventura Wild Preschool Programs

Continue scrolling for Registration & Program Descriptions

How to Apply

Applications for 2022-23 Preschool Programs will open in March 2022! 

If you are interested in our preschool-aged programs and want to be notified when the application process opens, please subscribe to our newsletter here.

We will be accepting applications for spots in the Fall Season of Ventura Wild’s Preschool Programs in March 2022. Applications will be open on March 1st @ 9:00 AM and close on March 13th @ 12:00 PM. 

**Applications will be reviewed after this process closed. You will be notified regarding your application status no later than March 25th, 2022. 

Continue scrolling down to review our 2022-23 preschool program offerings. You may apply for any or all 3 of the programs. Complete Steps 1 & 2 below. You will indicate which programs you are interested in within the Preschool Program Application.

This preschool program application process creates an equitable opportunity that doesn’t hinge on technological access. Long wait lists have created a competitive “race” to get into programs, so we are eliminating that stressful experience. Once applications are in, we will assign students to programs based on a rubric to create a successful group which includes: Prior participation, siblings, and scholarships. We hope this is helpful.

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

STEP 1: Register for the Preschool Programs Waitlist (OPENS March 1st, 2022 @ 9:00 AM)

This is a general waitlist for all 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 Preschool Programs Application (OPENS March 1st, 2022 @ 9:00 AM)

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

SCHOLARSHIPS: We award at least 1 scholarship spot in each preschool program. Please click here to apply for a scholarship. No child will be turned away due to lack of funds. 

CDC COVID guidelines update:

“In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. However, people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people who are not fully vaccinated.”

Ventura Wild staff are all fully vaccinated, but will continue to model mask wearing when unable to social distance. We will continue to practice hand washing, social distancing when possible, and having kids wear a mask when unable to social distance. Parents must wear a mask at pick-up and drop-off. Ventura Wild programs are supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask at any time.

What is a Nature-Based Program?

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.

Important Dates:

3/1: Application Process Opens for Fall 2022

3/13: Application Process Closes for Fall 2022

3/25: Applicants will receive notice on their application status no later than this date

Ventura Wild Preschool-Aged 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.

Sprouts Preschool Program
(Drop-Off)

DAYS: Mondays and Wednesdays
TIME: 9:00-1:00 PM
AGE: 3-5 yrs
MAX GROUP SIZE: 12 children of various ages
LOCATIONS: Foster Park, Hayden Preserve

**There are two seasons in each ‘school’ year: Fall 2022 & Winter/Spring 2023

Children growing into some independence will enjoy this opportunity to join our small 4:1 ratio child to adult groups to explore, play and connect in natural settings. There are so many opportunities for natural learning activities from watching bugs to climbing on logs, walking on rocks to finding walnuts and acorns. We wander into nature discovering all the diversity of the season, and then settle into a lovely sense of belonging and joy. Through games, stories, songs and the magical teaching moments presented by nature, your children gain awareness, knowledge and skills that last a lifetime.

Forest Preschool Program
(Drop-Off) 

DAYS: Tuesdays and Thursdays
TIME: 9:00-1:00 PM
AGE: 3-5 yrs
MAX GROUP SIZE: 12 children of various ages
LOCATIONS: Foster Park, Hayden Preserve

**There are two seasons in each ‘school’ year: Fall 2021 & Winter/Spring 2022

Children growing into some independence will enjoy this opportunity to join our small 4:1 ratio child to adult groups to explore, play and connect in natural settings. There are so many opportunities for natural learning activities from watching bugs to climbing on logs, walking on rocks to finding walnuts and acorns. We wander into nature discovering all the diversity of the season, and then settle into a lovely sense of belonging and joy. Through games, stories, songs and the magical teaching moments presented by nature, your children gain awareness, knowledge and skills that last a lifetime.

Bilingual Fridays/Viernes Bilingües
(Drop-Off)

DAYS: Fridays
TIME: 9:00-1:00 PM
AGE: 3-5 yrs
MAX GROUP SIZE: 12 children of various ages
LOCATIONS: Foster Park

**There are two seasons in each ‘school’ year: Fall 2021 & Winter/Spring 2022

Los niños jóvenes disfrutarán de esta oportunidad junto a un pequeño grupo para explorar, jugar y conectarse en la naturaleza. El grupo tendrá un máximo de 12 personas, con una proporción de 4 niños por cada adulto. Los participantes podrán aprender y disfrutar de la naturaleza – desde observar insectos hasta trepar en troncos, caminar sobre rocas y encontrar semillas. Las actividades incluyen juegos, historias, canciones y momentos de enseñanza presentados por la naturaleza – esenciales para desarrollar conocimientos y habilidades que duran toda la vida.

**The Bilingual Friday class will be similar in form to the rest of the preschool program, but will be taught in Spanish and English – with the goal of exposing non-Spanish speakers to the Spanish language, and encouraging native speakers to use and broaden their language skills in an outdoor nature-based setting. 

** La clase bilingüe del viernes será en forma similar al resto del programa preescolar, pero se impartirá en español e inglés – con el objetivo de exponer el idioma español a quienes no hablan español y alentar a los hispanohablantes a usar y ampliar sus habilidades lingüísticas en un entorno natural al aire libre.