Best Options for a Forest School in the San Francisco Bay Area

Chris Bennett
Sep 21, 2016 · 2 min read

Forest Preschools are common place in Western Europe but they are few and far between here in the US. Luckily, in the Bay Area, there are a number of great options.

“The concept of nature-based education has been in fairly wide use throughout Scandinavia, Germany, and the United Kingdom for decades. It has just started to gain traction in the United States due in part to a best-selling 2005 book by journalist Richard Louv arguing that a lack of outdoor time is bad for kids.” — The Boston Globe

Here at Wonderschool, we are big advocates of Forest Preschools because research constantly states that structured play is incredibly important to a child’s brain development and if you can couple that with consistent outdoor time in nature then you have a great combination.

It’s also important to distinguish between a “Forest School” and a “Nature School.” The way we distinguish between the two is a “Forest School” is 100% outdoors while a “Nature School” can be up to 50% outdoor.

Here is a list of some Forest Schools in the Bay Area for those looking.

San Francisco

Little Earthlings Forest School. Metson Lake, San Francisco. (650) 731–3016.

The Forest School. Stern Grove Park, San Francisco.

Fog City Explorers Forest School. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Mi Escuelita en Español Forest School. Glen Canyon Park, San Francisco.

Nature Nurture. 93 Moraga Avenue, Presidio, San Francisco. (415) 751–4000.

Parks + Creation. Two locations: Fulton Street and 10th Avenue, Goldren Gate Park, San Francisco. Pacific Avenue and Arguello Boulevard, Presidio, San Francisco.

Wise Forest Preschool. Fulton Street and 43rd Avenue, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. 415–670–0706.

East Bay

Emerging Sprouts Forest School. Various East Bay Parks, Berkeley, CA.

Bay Area Bugs Forest School. East Bay Regional Park.

Berkeley Forest School. 1250 Addison St. Suite 101, Strawberry Creek Park, Berkeley.

Early Ecology. Oakland.

Forest Freedom Preschool. A social justice-centered forest preschool program, primarily focused on serving black, brown, and queer families, and differently abled students. Consistent home bases are Lake Merritt Botanical Garden, Dimond Park, and the Redwoods of Joaquin Miller Park.

South Bay/Peninsula

Chickadee Forest Preschool. Located on a private ranch in Portola Valley.

Peninsula Forest and Beach School. A forest program in Belmont, a beach program in Pacifica, and a coastal trail program in Montara.

Please email us at if we are missing anyone or if any you have any questions!