top of page

Nature Schools & Programs in Orange County

Nature schools and programs may be full-time or part-time. They may or may not change locations depending on the season and the topic of outdoor study. They are a unique alternative schooling option that is growing in popularity, so we opted to highlight them separately from other site-based programs.

*These summaries have been copy/pasted from the nature schools' websites.

Camino de Santiago Nature School ( Orange County campus) - Camino De Santiago Nature School is designed to be a 4-day per week program. Their Monday through Thursday program is designed to meet basic academic requirements, leaving Friday for students to pursue specific interests and/or enhance their learning from Monday through Thursday. Most homeschooling parents choose to homeschool to allow for flexibility in their child’s learning and Camino De Santiago recognizes and supports that opportunity, need, and decision by offering a 2-day program as well.

Coast Live Oak School - Coast Live Oak offers classes for all ages, outdoors, year-round

in Orange County, California, and surrounding counties by Native Skills expert, Mark Hay. At Coast Live Oak School their classes integrate history and ecology with native and ancestral skills. Founder, Mark Hay has been teaching in classrooms and outdoors since 1993. He has been learning and practicing native and ancestral skills since 1996 and teaching them since 2004.

Earthroots Field School - Earthroots grew out of a community need for environmentally progressive & conscious, enriching, outdoor, hands-on nature connection classes for children and adults in Orange County, California. Co-created in 2005 by a small, dedicated group of homeschool families and guided by Jodi Levine-Wright, Earthroots has taken root and now serves many families, schools, and colleges in Southern California each season.

Tinkergarten - Tinkergarten offers healthy, educational fun for toddlers, preschoolers, and young kids. Outdoor activity-based classes are led in local green spaces near Irvine. Tinkergarten's outdoor, play-based learning classes are the best way for kids to experience the great outdoors in Irvine, California, during Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Moms, dads, and caregivers come together to support their child's learning in a beautiful outdoor setting, as kids in mixed-aged groups learn through playing together.

Online hub with local in-person groups: Free Forest School of Orange County, California transitioning to Our Outdoors.


*Please note that this list is not comprehensive or complete. We'll continue to add more resources as we find them. This is a living document that will be updated periodically. If you have any resources to share with us, please email them to us at

If you're interested in more non-traditional educational options in Orange County, please visit our page detailing Non-Traditional Schools and Educational Programs in Orange County.


bottom of page