Wild Life Forest Preschool at Earth Native
The vision of the forest preschool at Earth Native is simple - every child can find themselves in the forest.
Tree Frogs - Meet 2 days a week on Monday and Wednesday from September-May. See calendar below. FULL, Join waitlist
Box Turtles - Meet 2 days a week on Tuesday and Thursday from September-May. See calendar below. FULL, Join waitlist
Hedgehogs - Meet 1 day a week on Friday from September-May. See calendar below. FULL, Join waitlist
Wild Life Forest Preschool at Earth Native is Central Texas’s first true forest preschool. Set in the hardwood forests of Bastrop along beautiful Cedar Creek, our forest preschool offers children ages 3-5 the chance to take their first steps towards long term nature connection.
Like forest preschools in Europe and around the world, Wild Life Forest Preschool at Earth Native is play-based, child-led, and earth-conscious. Children learn as the mammals do, by following their satisfaction through play, by challenging their bodies, and by experiencing the patterns of their environment, both natural and social, in a forest they themselves care for.
Numbers are learned by needing more rocks to build a dam. Shapes by squeezing sticks and stones through holes in logs. Colors by climbing the same tree again and again throughout the seasons. Your child will build the foundations of writing, science, math, art, and physical development – even confidence and happiness – by exploring the forest with their friends.
Instructors will guide their exploration by engaging in each child’s curiosities, be it faerie home building, bug catching, or something entirely unthought of. We will stoke their fires, offer wisdom, security, and wonder, the tools of language, but never mandates, or rules without reason. Instructors will follow the children into their forest.
And of course, Wild Life Forest Preschool will make certain your child’s first adventures are considerate, careful and safe. Nature connection, and ultimately all learning, happens best once a comfortable space has been established. We will start with trust, then work our way outward. Our adventures will start small, and just like our bodies, hearts, and minds, get bigger!
The vision of the forest preschool at Earth Native is simple - every child can find themselves in the forest. We believe each child is already equipped with the tools to learn through play, exploration and natural curiosity, and that the best way to bring out the unique spirit of each child is to allow them to be free in the forest.
Location: Our beautiful wooded campus west of Bastrop, TX at
137 Woodview Lane. click here to read more about our campus
Ages: 3- 5 (Students must be at least 3 yrs by September 1, 2022)
Class Times: 9:00am - 2:00pm
Class Dates: Classes will begin the 2nd week of September and will end in mid-May. See 2022/23 program calendar below.
Registration Fee: $300 non-refundable registration fee due at the time of enrollment.
Our Teaching Method
At Earth Native, our unique teaching methods center around “Coyote Mentoring”, a method of teaching and learning that is based on education models used by indigenous populations across the world for thousands of years. Our “invisible school” teaching philosophies are based on natural learning cycles that use your child’s passions and natural inspirations as the spark that drives their education in the outdoors.
"I have found in my career as a nurse that I am often a lighthouse for people and their families. I must remain calm yet aware and plan for the worst while encouraging the best for people. At times this year, it became too much, and I had to learn to really find my breath and lean on the modalities that help create balance and healing for me. We all faced quite a challenge this year and the lessons and humbling moments we were given are ones that will walk with us into our future.
I can't thank you enough for being that lighthouse for me and my family. I can't do what I do without knowing my family is safe and ok. Because of you and your leadership I could go into my work and face all the unknowns knowing that my baby was supported and having days filled with adventures in the safest ways possible at the time. Your bravery, guidance, love, and spirit truly allowed me to be brave myself and I thank you. You truly are a lighthouse for these kiddos and families and my daughter has grown so much in this last year. When we go for walks she identifies plants, stops to greet the insects, and bravely climbs and falls on any terrain. We have made friendships and allies and are beginning to feel like Bastrop is our home. I am so grateful to your school and what you bring to this world. " - KD S.
"I'm not sure I can imagine a more perfect preschool. The teachers are thoughtful, kind, and welcoming. They care very deeply for the children. My three-year-old is always excited to go (not always the case in life)! She is completely dirty and exhausted at pick up in the best of ways. For her preschooling, I was searching for something that was totally play-based and found exactly what I was looking for. An exceptional program." - Shannon F.
First Week of class:
September 7, 8 or 9
Last Week of class:
May 10, 11 or 12
Holiday Breaks - No Classes
Thanksgiving Break - November 21-25
Winter Break - December 19-30
Spring Break - March 6-17
A $300 registration fee per program spot is required at the time of enrollment. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable should you withdraw anytime after enrolling.
$175 a month for HEDGEHOGS.
$345 a month for TREE FROGS or BOX TURTLES
After paying your $300 registration fee, your tuition can be paid in 9 installments of $175 (H) or $345 (TF or BT) each month from September- May.
PAY IN FULL
Tuition is $1480 (Hedgehogs) or $3010 (Tree Frogs/Box Turtles) per student if paying in full at the time of enrollment, PLUS the $300 registration fee per program spot.
Meet the Instructors
Britt Luttrell is a native of Austin, Texas. Growing up he spent many an afternoon catching bugs or in some treehouse he had built with his nose in a journal. His father worked for the Texas Agriculture Department and used to take him on ranch visitations where he experienced MASSIVE purple grapes on the trellis and corn fields with more ravens in them than corn. These trips, and others, bound Britt to the natural world in a truly significant way.
Britt loves witnessing the wonders of nature, whether it be giant trees growing on the edges of sheer cliffs or the impossibly perfect adaptations of tiny insects. He loves challenging his body, finding nooks and crannies no person has ever been to before. The stories of an ecosystem captivate him… Are these ants coming or going? Who was here last night? Britt feels so proud to have retained his childhood sense of wonder about the world. He values green belts as much as huge forests and he believes every kid should have a safe place to connect to the Earth and its wildness.
Before joining the Earth Native teaching staff, Britt spent eight years practicing, learning, and teaching young people at Nature’s Way Preschool at the Austin Nature and Science Center. He was fortunate enough to study with some leading figures in play-based education, including Tom Hobson (Teacher Tom), International Play Iceland, and others. Britt has held the microphone on discussion panels for the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin (CINCA) and led countless meetups in the greater community. Between preschool classes, summer camp groups, volunteer days, hiring and training new staff, and international trainings, Britt has shown his city the benefits of playing outside.
With over a decade of outdoor education experience, Britt knows that the best place for children to learn is in the woods, forests, and wild places. He is eternally joyful that he has the opportunity to continue to give children some of their first great adventures in nature at Earth Native.
Forest Preschool Instructor
Raised in Southwest Houston, Kimberly always wanted to trade the fast-paced city life for a life filled with wild animals and tall trees. Being the eldest of five, Kimberly always found comfort and peace laying underneath trees, watching the clouds go by.
Growing up in a big city, it was hard to find green spaces to connect with as a child. Luckily, Kimberly was able to connect to nature through stories her family would tell her about growing up in a small town in Guatemala. Listening to stories about hiding in the trees, running through streams, and sleeping in hammocks underneath the stars always amazed her and she desperately yearned for a childhood like that. It was her family’s stories that inspired Kimberly to care and learn more about the outdoors.
As she grew older, Kimberly spent a lot of holidays hiking and swimming at Brazos Bend State Park and Guadalupe River State Park. During these outings, she always felt a sense of belonging and never wanted to leave these dreamy state parks. These places felt magical and unreal to her and captivated her imagination unlike the city.
It wasn’t until she was a student at Texas State University that Kimberly’s love for teaching others about wildlife and conservation exploded. Being able to learn about wildlife in Guatemala and Ireland in her college years made her realize how powerful first-hand experiences are and wanted to help others have those experiences.
During the school year, she was a Glass-Bottom Boat driver and would drive visitors around Spring Lake to show off the beautiful freshwater springs. During this time, she was also a freshwater aquarist and helped maintain the health of the Texas Blind Salamander and San Marcos Salamander. In the summer, she was able to chat with people from all over the world as an environmental interpreter at the Downtown Aquarium – Houston. Kimberly was also able to SCUBA dive for the aquarium to help maintain the appearance of the tanks and health of her fish friends.
After earning her degree in Wildlife Biology with a minor in Geography from Texas State University, Kimberly joined the Earth Native Instructing team in order to pursue her dream of working outdoors full-time helping others develop a love of nature to match her own.
Forest Preschool Instructor
Jon spent his childhood in Washington and Missouri, exploring the forest that surrounded his home, going on outdoor adventures with his family and friends, and learning to play several musical instruments.
Jon was first exposed to the world of outdoor education in elementary school when he attended his first class trip to Earth’s Classroom, a nature school in Rosebud, Missouri. This experience led him to enroll in the school’s Natural Resource Career Experience program where he learned about career opportunities in Environmental Education.
The camping and hiking he did with his family growing up flourished into an interest and love for backpacking and the trees he he climbed led him to a passion for rock climbing. The endless summer days spent on Table Rock Lake led to his interest in marine biology and the joy of taking a boat through any body of water.
After graduating high school, Jon immediately left his small town to work at a summer camp in the San Bernardino mountain range of Southern California. It was here that Jon realized outdoor education is where he was meant to be. He went on to the University of Missouri, where Jon studied Parks, Recreation, and Tourism with an emphasis in Natural Resource and Recreation Management. During this time he continued to pursue his own nature connection, taking on roles such as a climbing instructor, camp counselor and herb farmer.
Prior to joining the Earth Native team, Jon worked as an outdoor educator in the Adirondack mountains where he helped his students develop an appreciation for the natural world. For a time this work allowed Jon to live and work in the Adirondack Mountain range of upstate New York, and later in the Blue Ridge Mountain range of western North Carolina. During his time in New York, Jon was fortunate enough to be hired as an adventure guide where he led trips all over the Northeast instructing rock climbing, sea kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking, and backpacking.
Jon is thrilled to be on staff at Earth Native and to be a part of the Wild Life Forest Preschool teaching team where he continues this passion helping others develop connections to nature and outdoor skills.
Don't let a little distance get in the way of your child's incredible nature connection experience!
We know that Bastrop can be a far drive for some, but our school's campus is amazing and the perfect canvas for this program. We are fully committed to helping facilitate parent carpooling. We already have families enrolled in this coming school year coming from various parts of Austin, Cedar Creek, Cedar Park, Elgin, Giddings, San Marcos, Paige, Smithville, Bastrop, Red Rock, La Grange, Manor, Martindale & Dale.
PARENT TESTIMONIALS CONTINUED
"My daughter is tiny for her age -- she's below the first percentile. In fact, she's below the .5% percentile! But when I see her on the playground with peers who are not Earth Native kids, she has twice their physical confidence.Her legs and arms may be much smaller than theirs, but she climbs higher and with sure footing. At her swim class, the instructor commented that she'd never seen a preschooler get the straight leg kick this fast. And after just 3 classes, she was already able to swim short distances -- and ready to take it to the next level.There's no question that her physical confidence and willingness to embrace challenges come from her experiences at Earth Native. (It's certainly not genetic!) Mr. Britt creates an environment that's challenging, fun, and above all supportive. And that sets the tone for the kids, too, who support and encourage one another. They feel more like a tight-knit family than a preschool class. She comes home every day covered in dirt and with stories of adventure and discovery. She undoubtedly knows more about the local flora and fauna than anyone else in the family. And she's always happy. It's more than worth the 50-minute drive we make to get there" - Juliana W.
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"I couldn't love the school more!!! Last semester our daughter was in there for only one class, two days a week. I was thrilled to find out I can put her in two classes, four days a week. Honestly, I don't think we ever would've put her into a preschool (we thought only of her immediate future in homeschool), until we went to the campus. Mr. Britt and Miss Jeannie, I really cannot give them enough praise. Any child from any walk of life would be happy with those two around.
They embody what it really means to be a child. Our daughter is safe and happy and outside doing what she loves. Being inspired by the things around her, and the environment that she's in, and constantly learning what it's like to be a human being. Also getting as muddy, dirty, fithly, and happy as she can without being judged, or told no....just like we feel at home! We are always in the garden or fixing something that needs a good fixing. I love she is not fettered by lessons and rules that other schools use to get as many kids in the program as possible, or legally take. My husband and I own an agricultural business, and our daughter is used to being with us outside in all conditions. When I'm working I do not always have the patience to teach her what I wish I could.
The school picks up where I can't always as a parent by helping me raise a responsible human being on this earth. Things that eluded me, not when I was a child, but when I was older. They help me teach my daughter things that every parent wants their child to learn, but we don't always know (or how) to teach inherently.
I hope every child gets one day, just one day, to be here.
We are lucky, blessed, and so thankful that our daughter gets to share her precious time at the school!!!!
When you're this excited about telling the world about the preschool that your daughter is at... And your words get all jumbled and you can't express in one post without it being completely Silly when you read it....That's an amazing school.
I wish I could be as eloquent as I want to be. This school, I love it so much I feel like my four-year-old trying to describe all the wonderful things there are to describe.
It's the best I could do....If you're still here reading this... Call them check it out, it will change your life the way it changed ours.
Also my punctuation and grammar are really bothering me but I'm just so excited to talk about the school sometimes that I have to talk text and let it pour out..." - Alli E.
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"This program is so wonderful and a total blessing to our family and preschooler! We hope to continue on with their home school programs as our children age into them!" - Jocelyn B.
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"If someone had told me that I would be grateful to drive almost an hour out of my way every time I bring my daughter to preschool only to have to sit at some fast food restaurant for the day to work until she's done, I would've said they were crazy. But grateful is exactly how I feel about this school.
We discovered it by chance when our son and daughter did a summer camp at McKinney Falls a few years ago. As luck would have it, her instructor at that camp was going to be heading up the new preschool. He encouraged us to check it out, and because he was so amazing with her, we did.
Every day she comes home covered in dirt and mud and paint that she made herself from materials in nature. She smells like smoke and we can't get the sand out of her hair for days. Her classmates frequently tell each other how much they love each other and work together to build things and play games. In other words, it's fantastic.
Our biggest regret is how far away it is, but not because of the time spent in the car or the money spent on gas. She has made amazing friends there that we rarely see and likely won't stay in contact with for the most part because it's just too hard to get together. But if you are considering nature preschools Wildlife Forest Preschool is hard to beat." - Josh W.
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"Wild Life Forest Preschool is a slice of heaven that we are so grateful for. Our 5-yo has attended since September and our whole family looks forward to school drop-off and pick-up. The environment is the most wonderful, natural space for kids to explore and grow. The tree coverage provides shade on warm days and protection on cold and rainy days.
The teachers truly care about the learning of each student and pull families into the fold of the community.
It is an incredibly rich learning environment and our whole family has felt the positive impact of it." - Kacie C.
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"This place is phenomenal. I wasn't familiar with the nature preschool model, but I wanted something different for my son's last year before kinder. Having been there a semester, I am so sad I didn't start him sooner and that my older boys weren't able to experience it. My son and I were just laughing about the sticky week juice the kids made last week. He said it was delicious. This place is such a gift to our family. Mr. Britt and Ms. Jeannie are dedicated, knowledgable, kind and above all open up a world of natural experiences for the kids. Highly recommend!" - David M.
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Wild Life Forest Preschool has been the greatest blessing to our family. Our 3 year old loves to play outside, climb things, dig in the mud and water, examine bugs and generally take everything apart to see what it's like on the inside.
When we started exploring preschool options for him, many of the spaces inside the Austin area (where we live) seemed too small and confined for him. We were worried that his outgoing, interactive personality couldn't be supported in such places.
When we discovered WLFP, we knew we had found the right place for him. A close connection with nature, plenty of space to play and climb and run and jump, plus teachers who support and encourage free play--our dreams come true. Even though our son is still a little young to always understand the lessons, he comes home with the ability to recognize the sound of a woodpecker and identify edible plants. I know some of the older children (age 4-5) have also learned to tie knots and identify animal tracks. However, I think many of the parents would agree that these skills really seem secondary to the overall independence, confidence, social skills and deep respect for nature that our children learn at WLFP.
WLFP truly is a special, meaningful experience for our son and our whole family. At WLFP, we feel like we are a part of something bigger than us. The preschool director, Mr. Britt, uses the curriculum and community to keep the families and children connected to one another and to nature. I would say he is an admirable leader of early childhood development in the greater Austin community.
*I want to make an extra, special note about the teachers, especially Mr. Britt and Ms. Jeannie. They are very kind, loving, and skilled at supporting children of all different personalities, learning abilities and social skills. They also truly love and respect nature and I feel they do a tremendous job of instilling that love into our son.* - Allanah H.
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"We have loved our experiences with Wild Life Forest Preschool. I feel confident in the teachers's abilities to handle conflict and provide a safe and respectful environment. I also love the play spaces and that my son has the chance to learn about nature and beginning survival skills. My son says his favorite things about the preschool are friends, teachers, making fires (safely), helping everyone, hiking, story time and "just everything." We are very grateful to have found such a great place for his first experiences away from family. Highly recommend." - Grace T.
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Words can't express what this school means to us! Earth Native's Wild Life Forest Preschool (or just "nature school" as we call it) is one of those places you want to share with every other parent you know...and also no one because -- like any best-kept secret -- you want it to stay exactly the same forever (and ever).
We are so grateful to know Ms. Jeannie, Mr. Britt, and the whole Earth Native community. The level of attention these teachers give to creating an environment where our boys and girls can grow and learn about themselves, about each other, and about the world around them is pretty amazing.
They keep the student/teacher ratio low to ensure one-on-one attention. It's clear they spend time learning about each individual student. And they guide each one safely in the direction their interests take them, instilling self-confidence all the while.
They help the kids to understand, value, and respect their peers' thoughts and interests, as well. Everyone has something positive to contribute to the community here.
Our boy is learning so much more than we could have even imagined...and so are we as parents.
If you have any inkling at all for your little ones to spend their earliest days of learning forging friendships, playing outside, exploring the forest...this is the place you want them to be. Pure magic. - Heather Y.