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Forest Preschool Update

Our forest preschool is on pause. We are currently researching ways to serve a wider range of our local community.

For example, we are currently working with a group of homeschooling families as well as collaborating with the Dance Palace Community Center for place-based nature programming.  We have joined with In Place, a new nonprofit for place-centered education.

If there is enough interest in a forest preschool program, we will offer one in fall 2025.

Please reach out to our director, Taira, if you questions or interest in forest preschool.




Emerald Heart Forest Preschool children enjoy being outdoors, which is a good thing, because our classroom is the forest!


Emerald Heart explorers range from 3 to 5 years of age. 


Some children will be ready to join us at 3 1/2 years, while others will be ready at 4 or 4 1/2. Some as early as 3! We base readiness on milestones rather than on age.

Please see below for the milestones that each of our explorers have met in order to feel comfortable and confident in our program.


Our explorers 

  • Are fully potty trained. Can pee and poop on a potty chair with ease. Rarely have potty related accidents.

  • No longer take morning naps.

  • Can express wants/needs with words--with other children and with adults.

  • Can be away from parent.

  • Can participate in our forest school day, including playing with other children and joining in for Circle Time.

  • Will follow an adult's guidance.

  • Do not wander off.

Readiness depends on the individual child, so please inquire if you have questions. We are happy to discuss.

An in-person visit with your child is required of all applicants. If you are applying for a start date that is in the distant future, you will be asked to visit with your child closer to their start date. This visit is to gently observe their readiness. 

Our teacher/child ratio ranges from 1/4 to 1/6. This means our teachers can give plenty of individualized attention and care. 

Because we are outdoors in all weather, including rain, our explorers dress in appropriate gear.


We realize that costs of new gear can add up. Currently, we offer loaner rain gear from our Gear Library, which has a variety of gently worn jackets, bibs, pants and boots.




Taira Restar, our lead teacher, has taught children and adults for nearly 40 years and specifically as a place-based educator for over 20 years. She is a somatic movement therapist and a certified Breakthrough Parenting instructor. 

more on Taira


We believe that our direct experiences in, with and as nature are beneficial to us and to our world--now and in the future. We foster love and gratitude for Earth through our intimacy with our beloved forest kin, who we consider our friends and wise teachers.


At Emerald Heart, we also honor and nourish the unique inner landscape of each child.

more on our philosophy




Our forest classroom is mixed woods of coast live oak, Douglas fir and California bay. Our forest friends include scrub-jay, gray squirrel, gray fox and black-tailed deer among many others. Our forest home is a rich and varied place that inspires a love of nature and fosters earth stewardship. We consider our forest our wise teacher. 


We are located on the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok Peoples past and present. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout generations.



Just as Nature has cycles and rhythms, we follow a daily rhythm that provides the children with gentle structure and comfort. Within this rhythm, there is room for improvisation and following the children's interests and needs.

more on our rhythm

We offer fully outdoor programs. 

The children's health and safety are our top priority.

Because we are fully outdoors, children and teachers do not wear masks. Teachers are vaccinated. and boosted. 

Feel free to speak with our director, if you have specific concerns. 
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