Inviting all children ages 3 to 5 to join us every week for nature themed lessons and activities!


Each day will include environmental education and literacy, a craft made from recycled materials, outdoor play and more! 


Each lesson is reserved for three groups of 10 children and has a minimum of 5 children to operate. 

If you have any questions about Preschool Playdates or registration please contact Miss Emily at:

Our Schedule: ​


Preschool Playdates will be held Monday - Friday from 9:00am - 1:00pm. You can choose to register for the entire week, four days, three days, two days or one day a week. Payments are processed monthly, on the first Tuesday of each month. 

Preschool Playdates is held weekly throughout the entire year, except for holidays (see below).

Preschool Playdate registration: FULL

Please email to be add to our waitlist. 

*Looking to drop in, email with the date you are interested


  • Weekly (5 days): $175

  • Four days: $140

  • Three days: $105

  • Two days : $75

  • One day: $45

*Payments are processed monthly, on the first Tuesday of each month. 

Member Discount:

Annual Sustainer Circle Member Levels will receive a discount on preschool playdates.

  • Bronze Members will receive 2 days free 

  • Silver Members will receive 3 days free

  • Gold Members will receive 4 days free

  • Platinum Members will receive 5 days free

Refer a Playmate: 

If you refer a new playmate, a child who has never attended our Preschool Playdates Program, you and your new playmate will receive a one time 15% off code to use on your playdate! In order to receive the 15% off code, you and your new playmate must  email

Monthly Themes: ​​

  • January- Down in the Dirt

  • February- Life Around the Lagoon

  • March- Water, Water, Everywhere

  • April- Looking Up

  • May- Nature Detectives

  • June- Senses in Nature

  • July- Coastal Caretakers

  • August- Earth Explorers

Please have your child bring:

  • Snack

  • Lunch

  • Reusable Water Bottle

  • An extra pair of clothes in case we get dirty! 

  • Weather appropriate clothing, closed toed shoes, and come wearing sunscreen - we will be outside!

  • Lots of energy!

Holidays: ​

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day- January 17th

  • Presidents' Day- February 21st

  • Memorial Day- May 30th 

  • Independence Day- July 4th 

  • Labor Day- September 5th 

  • Veterans Day- November 11th 

  • Fall Break- November 21st-November 25th 

  • Winter Break- December 19th-January 2nd

Meet the Teachers:

Emily Bonds, Director of Education 

Emily grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and her love for the great outdoors developed at a young age. The warm weather and ocean drew Emily to Southern California, where she attended Chapman University. She received her B.A. in Integrated Education Studies with an emphasis in Leadership Studies and a Minor in Environmental Science. She also studied abroad in Turks and Caicos Island, where she studied marine science and tourism. Her passion for outdoor education and marine science drew her to the AHLF Discovery Center for their Academy of Environmental Stewardship. Emily is excited to be teaching and learning at the AHLF Discovery Center!

Darien Casimiro

Ms. Darien was born and raised in beautiful Southern California and loved to visit the Agua Hedionda Lagoon as a child. Her appreciation and love for nature motivated her to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University. She developed a passion for education while working for the San Francisco YMCA and as an environmental education intern for the San Diego River Park Foundation. Ms. Darien is thrilled to be part of the AHLF team to help connect children with nature and encourage their natural curiosity to support every learning opportunity.

Lauren Mewshaw

Lauren has lived in the snowy mountains, the hot desert, and now by the sunny beach—all in Southern California. She early on developed a love for nature and the environment while going on daily hikes in the national forests of Big Bear, CA, with her family. After receiving her B.A. in Communication from UC San Diego, Lauren discovered her passion for education and environmental stewardship during a summer internship at Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. While there, she taught campers and school groups about marine science and conservation. Lauren has now been teaching preschool and elementary-aged students for almost 7 years, first at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA in Encinitas and then at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla. Now she is thrilled to be an educator at the AHLF Discovery Center where she gets to teach children all about the wonders of our native animals and habitats.


Jo Niedeck

Ms. Jo believes in the importance of connecting children with nature. A native of the East Coast, she has a Bachelors of Science in integrated natural sciences and a Masters of Science in education. She taught middle school science in a public school for a dozen years and raised four daughters before moving to Eugene Oregon. There she worked as the education programs coordinator with the non-profit Nearby Nature. While at Nearby Nature she became increasingly convinced of the importance of early childhood interactions with nature and initiated Greenstart play days for preschoolers. Her move to California was motivated by a wish to be close to family.  She loves learning and has completed courses in early childhood education, permaculture, Master Gardeners training and California Naturalist training. Committed to environmentally conscious living, she grows food and native plants in her small garden, keeps red wiggler worms to compost food scraps and commutes by bike. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with family.  She is delighted to be working outside in nature with children at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon programs!