Welcome to our nest

Birdsong Play Garden

A year-round outdoor play-based preschool for 2yo – 5yo 
located in west Davis.  

Mondays – Fridays 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM.

Email us at info@birdsongplaygarden.com for more information and to schedule a tour.

Greet the Morning

Gathering with movement and song

Arts and Culture

Storytelling, puppetry, and music

Outdoor Adventure

Nature exploration and observation

Afternoon Rest

Fallow time for body and soul

Imaginative Play

Child-led creativity

Living in Rhythm

Celebrating the seasons and festivals

Bird's Eye View

Songbirds in our care form loving relationships with their teachers, peers, community, and nature. For many this is a first step into the world beyond their home and family, a place where they make their first memories, and we delight in witnessing them blossom through their independent experiences at Birdsong Play Garden.

Although the children are too young to reliably articulate what a rolicking good time they’re having, we are reassured through observations. In the mornings they run down the gravel path into our backyard, eager to share hugs and hellos with us and their peers. Furthermore they handle transitions smoothly – such as goodbyes from parents, departures from playgrounds, or settling down for rest. This shows their trust, comfort, and security in the rhythm of our days and towards us as caregivers.

As our name suggests, we are a play-based program. Through daily adventures on the peaceful greenbelts in west Davis, the children cultivate a relationship to the land. Instead of sensory bins, they are immersed in the richness of the outdoors. Little hands explore in mud, soil, and sand and collect treasures of stones, sticks, leaves, and berries. Rather than intellectual instruction, we want them to first experience nature. Their innate curiosity and wonder are the sparks of a lifelong loving relationship with nature.

These explorations also build the children’s adventure muscles. They jump, amble, climb, teeter, tumble, and balance. Gross motor movements are complemented with fine motor toning as the children learn to care for their bodies, their possessions, and our shared space. Exclamations of “I did it!” ring out among the flock as each child announces having independently removed his socks and shoes and placed them neatly in line before transitioning inside. Gaining mastery over one’s body builds the child’s confidence and contributes to brain growth, both of which lay the foundation for later academic success.

To find out more information about us, our program, or the sources that inspire us, please visit Our Song, FAQs, and Resources, respectively. If you’re wanting to be part of a movement that raises healthy, well-adjusted children in a loving community, then send us an e-mail requesting more information.

Cheerful Chirps

Ms. Jo and Mr. Steve are intentional in every aspect of Birdsong Play Garden. They were calm and conscientious stewards of our transition into childcare and were communicative throughout our journey with them. The excitement on the faces of the children during drop off speaks to the fun environment Jo and Steve foster. Birdsong's focus on providing a healthy relationship with nature is a wonderful antidote to the "indoor kid" vibe it's so easy to fall into in modern life. Your child will come home with treasures in their muddy pockets from an active, independence-fostering, nature-based daily experience.
Caroline Grantz
I feel so lucky to have found Birdsong Play Garden. If I had dreamed up a program for my kid, it would look like theirs: outdoor play (rain or shine), lots of songs and exploration, big nap, healthy snacks. Jo and Steve bring exceptional thought to a program that supports each individual child while honoring the healthy dynamics of the group. No small task! And it’s one to which they bring loads of patience, intelligence, and good humor. I’m continually impressed with the creativity and attunement they bring to the subtle (and not so subtle) emotional experience of the kids. Jo and Steve have created a warm and welcoming community of families, and we feel lucky to count ourselves among them.
Sarah McColl
My family counts the day we met Johanna as one of the best and most serendipitous of our lives! For two-and-a-half wonderful years, she nurtured our twins, Seamus and Louise, from their first steps and words all the way through potty training and the start of preschool. And what wonderful children they became under her care! Each of those many marvelous days was filled with song, laughter, stories, magic, and wonder! Johanna possesses a true gift for this work—she lovingly guides children (and their parents!) as they become what they are called to be. I wish we could stop time entirely and live forever in those beautiful days!
Brendan White
I have known Johanna since she was 13 and began helping out with my three young children, two of whom have Down syndrome. Johanna was always responsible, quick on her feet with problem solving, and showed great initiative in navigating the different learning styles of my three children. She was a joy to work with and quickly became a valued member of our family support team for several years.
Peggy Mace
Steve and Jo are a dynamic duo in regards to childcare! They are loving, nurturing, attentive, and are filled with positivity. My daughter is always coming home with new things that they have taught her: fun songs, how to put on and take off her own clothes, and how to observe bugs and wildlife. Steve and Jo are also attentive to me and willing to work with me to find solutions to sleep or behavioral problems that we may be experiencing. Thank you Steve and Jo!
Amanda Montgomery
We had the privilege of Johanna caring for our two children, one and four years old. She is loving, thoughtful and creative in her approach. We deeply appreciate the way she structures the children’s days with rhythm, intentional communication, song and time in nature. She provides keen and generous insights into ways of enriching both the lives of the children she cares for, as well as their parents. Our children benefited greatly from her care and we definitely learned from her as well.
Marita Madeloni
I just wanted to say that Steve was my son’s teacher for several years. I’m happy to recommend Johanna and Steve for taking care of your children. They are good, nice dependable people!
Dan Ng
Steve and Johanna are wonderful people. Mr. Brannon taught my son in Waldorf middle school and is articulate, bright, full of energy, and an inspiration to his students. Johanna is a thoughtful and kind person who connects naturally with children.
Diana Cuomo
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