How did LA Nature Kids become the first Forest Preschool in Los Angeles, you might ask. Well, many years ago, 12 years to be exact, Christopher Pierre was working at First Years preschool in Venice. He is an outdoor enthusiast and as such he was constantly bringing nature into his classroom: A branch or plants, kelp from the ocean, clay that he harvested, mysterious shells, and magical rocks that he found on his adventures (to name a few). One day his director came into his room, handed him a cover story about forest schools, and said “this seems perfect for you”.

Christopher had already been taking one student out on after-school natural environment explorations at the parent’s request to supplement his income as a father of 3. Any preschool teacher knows that extra income is always welcome as the average preschool teacher earns half of what the average kindergarten teacher makes. The article planted a seed that “outdoor education” and age appropriate environmental education was possible with preschool children and childhood programs and with that Christopher forged a plan to open a forest preschool in Los Angeles.

He started with a spring camp to raise funds for a van. As the school he worked at was closed, parents were happy for the childcare and to have their children spending time in nature in the most beautiful parts of Southern California. Once he had earned enough through these “outdoor learning” camps he bought his first van which was named “Squeaky” by the kids. With “Squeaky” came the means to embark on a new livelihood: Co-Founder of the first forest preschool in Los Angeles; “Nature Child”. With his then partner they enrolled enough kids to be a nature based early childhood education school, and Christopher was able to merge two of his passions; early childhood education and nature.

As a child Christopher grew up in the forest and mountains of Switzerland and spending time in the great outdoors was part of who he was at his core. He had also raised his own children in nature in Tahiti, Switzerland and L.A. “Nature Child” grew from word of mouth and became what is now LA Nature Kids; A preschool, after school programs, and vacation camps based in Santa Monica. Christopher scouted nature enthusiasts and teachers, trained and mentored them, even hiring primitive skills master teacher Jim Robertson to work with them. Several of his former and current teachers have gone on to start their own programs, the most well known one being Everwild; a homeschool/nature school hybrid.


Since the time Forest School pedagogy was acknowledged and included in the conversation about early childhood education and “whole child learning” , many countries have adopted this methodology after having realized the benefits of nature on children in forest schools. Many parents worldwide are seeking to counteract technologies’ hold on their children and understand that outdoor preschools and outdoor learning cannot be matched or replicated in traditional classrooms or schools; Even those with quality programs cannot match an outdoor classroom setting.

The Physical Benefits of a Forest Preschool in Los Angeles

The physical benefits of environmental education and spending time in nature are tenfold; Vitamin D, cognitive development, emotional development, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders, better breathing (indoor concentrations of air pollutants are HIGHER than outdoors on average), improved sleep (less artificial light), more opportunity to move, boosted immunity, protection against myopia, and over all well being. You can find numerous articles on your lovely screen about the importance of outdoor time to one’s overall health. Nature is a balm and sending your child to a nature preschool can set them up for a healthier life the future by fostering a strong connection with nature in the present.

Forest Preschool in Los Angeles

Forest Preschools During the Pandemic

The pandemic saw a rise in the number of nature based preschools across the country and to me this is wonderful news. While my former preschool was closed, and figuring out “social distancing”, masking and “sanitizing protocols”, I was working in the outdoor environment, unmasked, close to children and happy! Happy to have gotten the opportunity to work at the first forest school in Los Angeles and happy to be outside in nature everyday.

Forest schools, especially for children ages 1-5, should be a consideration for any parent looking to maximize the wonder and development of the “early years”.

Interested in the Forest Preschool Curriculum at LA Nature Kids?