Playing with Intent

Nature Immersion + Food
Pre-K Playgroup

In our Earth Heroes Pre-K Playgroup, children will sow seeds for a lifelong connection with nature. With the support of CNGF’s teachers, families in this program share responsibility for the care of all children. Children learn outdoors through hands-on, nature-based, sensory play.

CNGF is an Ocean Grove approved vendor. If a family would like to use Ocean Grove funds, their Education Specialist can send a purchase order to



Weather permitting, gatherings are held outdoors in our ELSEE garden (Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education); otherwise, we will use our indoor classroom.

The California Native Garden Foundation’s ELSEE
76 Race Street
San Jose, CA


Weekly on Fridays (excluding holidays)
10:00am – 12:30pm

  • Ten students maximum per playgroup.
  • Siblings are welcome. A maximum of six siblings may attend each session.
  • This is a parent/guardian participation program. In the event that a parent needs to step out, another parent can be designated.

Sampling of our Lessons

Garden Activity
  • Seeding
  • Harvesting
  • Planting Cuttings
  • Weeding
  • Exploring – Collecting Seeds, Fallen Flowers, Fallen Leaves
  • Compost
Vegetarian / Vegan Snack*
  • Farm-to-table
  • Kids work with teachers to harvest and prepare snacks

*Food allergies are accommodated.

Play, Movement, Activity
  • Dancing
  • Stretch to Refocus
  • Garden Games
  • Hide and Seek
  • Relay Race
  • Tag
  • Free Play
  • Finger Painting with Herbal Paints
  • Painting – Flour-based Paint
  • Play Dough
  • Seed Recycled Paper
  • Nature Observation Books
Spoken Word
  • Song
  • Chant
  • Indigenous stories
Native Plant and Animal Relationship
  • Oak Trees and Scrub Jays
  • Linear Leaf Milkweed and Monarch Butterfly
  • Elderberry and Western Meadowlark
  • Pumpkin and Golden Orb Spider


Monthly rates range from $110 to $180, depending upon the number of sessions.


Register for sessions up to four months in advance.

Month of January 2024  (Jan. 5, 12, 19, and 26) 
Number of sessions: 4
Price: $150

Month of February 2024  (Feb. 2, 9, 16, and 23) 
Number of sessions: 4
Price: $150

Month of March 2024  (Mar. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29) 
Number of sessions: 5
Price: $180

Month of April 2024  (Apr. 5, 12, 19, and 26) 
Number of sessions: 4
Price: $150

Meet Our Pre-K Teachers

Interested in Early Childhood Education Training - Certificate Coursework and Practicum?

Through our year-long certification program, teachers will learn the 26 physical and pedagogical components of an ELSEE (The Environmental Lab for Sustainability and Ecological Education)- and USGBC-certified outdoor classroom; they will learn to build, maintain, and teach 50 “Playing with Intent: Nature Immersion + Food” lesson plans in an ELSEE-certified outdoor classroom, and will learn how to attract community volunteers and funding to help create and maintain their teaching garden. Teachers who complete the certification will have the skills to design, create, maintain, and teach in an ELSEE-certified outdoor classroom.

Learn more here.