Nature-Based Education

For Children and families

north shore cooperative preschool

Welcome to Oak Leaf! A nonprofit organization founded by parents and educators.

We are a network of early childhood nature education co-ops run by parents and teachers, currently in the Chicago metro area and coming soon to intown Atlanta in partnership with Adamah and Ma'alot Atlanta. Our programs take place outdoors in all seasons at parks and nature areas.

We offer enrichment classes, playgroups, and preschool programs led by parent-teacher boards. Children participate in outdoor exploration, play-based, hands-on learning, and community service projects. Our River Oak preschool co-op in Chicago and Winnetka Nature Playschool at Crow Island Woods are currently enrolling.

Our goal is to instill respect for people, plants, and animals at an early age, setting the foundation for children to become responsible citizens and environmental stewards.

We believe in nurturing the capabilities and potential of every child, and use children's interests and observations to shape learning experiences.

Visit our co-op pages to learn more about each program.

Oak Leaf Cooperative School is a 501c3 nonprofit and a member of the North American Association for Environmental Education, Parent Cooperative Preschools International, and the Alliance for Early Childhood Education.

Join the Northwest Nature Club!

We're excited to launch the Northwest Nature Club, a Barrington-based homeschool enrichment program focused on outdoor experiences in nature! Our seasoned outdoor educator will guide students each week through a nature-based program while giving students the opportunity to learn through play, sensory activities, books, and more.

oak leaf preschool

Family Involvement

Parents/guardians are involved in all aspects of program operations in order to build community, create a warm, welcoming environment, and ensure affordable tuition.

oak leaf preschool

Outdoor Education

All programs take place at nature areas. Children will spend the majority of class time  learning outside in all seasons, except in the event of severe weather.

oak leaf preschool

Respect for All Beings

Developmentally appropriate early childhood and childhood education that promotes respect for people and nature, compassion, curiosity, and problem-solving.

oak leaf preschool

Community Service

Children will take the lead on projects that build community, such as designing a nature playground, painting a mural, or creating a multicultural cookbook.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."

― Ralph Waldo Emerson