About

The Native School is a 10 month program, spanning September through June annually. We have two programs serving children ages 2-3, and 4-6 in northern San Diego. We operate primarily out of the several lagoons in the area, but also spend time exploring state beaches and local hiking trails. 

Our Mission

The Native School is dedicated to providing place-based outdoor early education, fostering a love for learning and curiosity, while simultaneously deepening a child's intellectual understanding of and emotional connection to nature and our environment.

At The Native School, your child will...

engage in experiential place-based learning, listen to the wind and sharpen their senses, make heartfelt connections between ancient storytelling and nature, spot native flora & fauna, apply the scientific method, learn to use a map and compass, become an expert on local ecology, develop excellent locomotor skills, become champions of cooperation, learn the alphabet and sounds through songs, modeled writing and games, understand whole numbers and the importance of sequence and patterns, climb trees, love mud, understand "bird language," the understanding of local animal calls and movements, draw in the salt marsh, dance, eat wild fennel, and become a steward of the environment.


The best classroom and the richest cupboard are roofed only by the sky.
— Margaret McMillan

Daily Rhythm

8:30-9:00am // Morning Arrival & Free Play at designated drop off area. 

9:00am // Venture to the classroom. Children use "deer ears" by cupping their hands behind their ears in order to pick-up the quietest nature rustlings, "owl eyes" by softening their vision and adding focus to multiple directions, and "fox walk" by mindfully placing each foot so their entrance into the classroom doesn't startle native animals. 

9:15am // Sit Spot Observations. Children make their way over to their personal daily sit spot for morning observations.  Practice is given to a few moments of stillness and focus on local "bird language" skills, the understanding of local animal calls and movements. 

9:30am // Morning Gather. Teachers and children share their morning observations, discuss and learn new bird language skills, sing songs, ask questions, and set the tone for possible nature explorations based off individual child inquiries.  Proper language, writing, and logic skills are modeled, proving to children the value of basic math skills and the written word.

10:00am // Shared Snack. Fresh fruit or vegetables are shared and enjoyed family style.

10:20am // Daily Wander. Children engage in experiential learning as teachers facilitate child-led nature research, hands on integrated projects, creating, testing and proving hypotheses, all while taking an interest-led walkabout through nature. Play and discovery involving nature's natural "loose parts" (fallen leaves, seeds, rocks, feathers, etc.), mapping, tracking, basic outdoor skills, the scientific method, and honing "bird language" are some examples.

11:50am // Story of The Day. Children verbally share, journal, or sketch their "Story of the Day". Focus is on reflection to further knowledge and skills, obtain lessons and conclusions, and develop a capacity and willingness to contribute to the community as a whole.

12:15pm // Lunch. Children gather today and enjoy a meal together on a picnic blanket. 

12:45pm // Goodbye, see you tomorrow!