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 12 children and has a minimum of 5 children to operate. 

Registration for each week will close on the Friday beforehand at 5:00pm.

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

Our Schedule: ​


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

Preschool Playdates will be held Monday - Friday from 9:00am - 1:00pm.

You can choose to register for the entire week, a three day a week option, and a two day a week option. If you need a specialized schedule, please email

One time Playdate registration: FULL

Recurring Playdate registration: FULL

*This option will save your credit card information and allow us to charge it weekly until you choose to cancel. 


  • Weekly (5 days): $175

  • Four days: $140

  • Three days: $105

  • Two days : $75

  • One day: $45

Member Discount:

30 Year Member Levels will receive a discount on preschool playdates. You may choose to purchase a 30 year level membership with both registration options above. 

  • Bronze 30 Year Members will receive 10% off your Playdate

  • Silver 30 Year Members will receive 15% off tour Playdate

  • Gold 30 Year Members will receive 20% off your Playdate

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: 

  • April - Earth Month 

  • May - Bugin' Out

  • June - Out of this World

  • July- Habitat Happenings

  • August- Animal Adaptations

  • September- Colorful Birds

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: ​

  • Veterans Day - November 9th, 2020

  • Thanksgiving - November 23rd - November 27th 2020

  • Winter Holiday - December 21st - January 1st 2020

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day- January 18th, 2021

  • Presidents Day- February 12th and February 15th

  • Memorial Day- May 31st 2021

  • Independence Day- July 5th 2021

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!

Valerie Lynch 

Valerie is a mother to two children, ages 11 and 9.  With a Masters degree in Family Therapy, Valerie has a professional history working with children in various settings and circumstances. She has been a stay at home mother, and also has experience working as a teacher in preschools and elementary schools. She enjoys being outside, running, camping, hiking, and learning more about the natural world around us.  Valerie's love for nature,  devotion to working with children, and passion for education are what has drawn her to our team.  

Ali Martin

Ms. Ali started working as a teacher for the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center in the beginning of 2021. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science from UC Irvine, and  believes it’s important to teach kids from an early age to appreciate and care for our Earth and the environment. Ali is so excited to be able to teach the future leaders and policy makers who are going to make a positive impact on our Earth and its inhabitants

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!