Natural Family Schools

Favorite Private Schools in San Diego

Best loved attachment parenting and natural family private, homeschool, and charter elementary grade schools in San Diego County



Kindergarten through 8th Grade:  The Child’s Primary School (TCPS) near Balboa & Genesee, in the Clairemont area holds Kindergarten, Elementary, and Middle School, drawing children from La Jolla and further North County, East County, beach areas, and even Chula Vista. The school body is very attachment parenting oriented because the school philosophy attracts these families. TCPS, a private kindergarten through eighth grade school, was founded in 1983 based on the principles of value and respect for the individual uniqueness of each child. We believe learning is promoted in an environment that supports each child within a community that includes family, school, and those who influence the life of the child.

Ms. Maggie Price & Ms. Sherry Risch developed a distinct philosophy of education, after years of training, that combines the best teaching methods and principles of learning with their personal philosophies of family and the needs of the whole child. The staff at TCPS are very special and attentive indeed, attracting delightful families to the school. Other wonderful features include a low student to teacher ratio, a separate science lab — a feature unique to this school, a modern computer lab, spanish classes, music classes, physical education, after school enrichment programs, a playground and adjacent park, morning care, and after care. Each of these various classes are taught by separate specialized instructors.



The San Diego Cooperative Charter School supports a progressive, developmentally based, child-centered community for active and collaborative student learning where shared values of family, diversity, relationship, creativity and academic excellence flourish. We respect that which makes each child unique and promote the cognitive, imaginative, creative, social, emotional, and physical development of all students. In order to provide high quality educational services, we have built a supportive, cooperative community – a true collaboration of children, families, and school staff. This environment is intended to enhance the joy of learning for all and to inspire discovery, creativity, and a commitment to lifelong learning.
Our vision is to employ differentiated methods to meet each child’s needs and to enable the learner to make connections between the curriculum and the outside world. Service learning and environmental stewardship are integrated into the curriculum in order to promote a strong social ethic in our student population. At San Diego Cooperative Charter all members of the school community work together to promote the success of each learner.


Explorer Elementary Charter School was founded in 2000, and serves 361 children in grades K-5 who are enrolled by lottery from throughout San Diego. Explorer’s mission is to successfully blend a child-centered, socially intelligent approach to education with exemplary curriculum and high standards for its students. We are committed to providing an environment that emphasizes learning as an interactive process focusing on individual needs of students.
Explorer’s Social-Emotional Curriculum is central to Explorer’s goal of developing a community of confident, inspired learners. Research indicates that social and emotional skills create higher achievement, increase “on task” behavior, and increase focus, learning and collaboration in the classroom. Explorer’s Social- Emotional curriculum uses both a cognitive curriculum called Second Step, and specific support structures for all members of the community to enhance social and emotional intelligence.


Leeway copy

In Normal Heights, Leeway Sudbury School provides the opportunity for students to design and implement their own educational program in a self-governing community of equals. Mission: To establish and maintain a school that is founded upon the principle that learning is best fostered by self-motivation, self-regulation, and self-criticism; provides a curriculum, determined by the interests of students, in which equal status shall be given to all pursuits; encourages members of the community to participate in teaching, learning, and other school activities so that the School may become an integral part of the community; allows the opportunities and responsibilities of governing the school to be shared among students, staff, and representatives of the community; maintains a flexible structure which, while being free to adhere to valid traditional forms, will also be free to create new ones.


NUA SparrowPreschool

National University Academy’s Sparrow Charter is a child-centered public charter school program that embraces the Waldorf approach to education. Sparrow places equal emphasis on a solid academic foundation, artistic expression, social development, and the developmental needs of the child. Our integrated, thematic approach to learning emphasizes a child’s relationship to the natural world while promoting respect for the environment and humankind.

Our educational philosophy at Sparrow is greatly influenced by Rudolf Steiner’s understanding of the developing child, and the long-standing Waldorf school movement he began almost 100 years ago.   This time-tested philosophy is supported by modern brain research, Piaget’s research on child development, Vygotsky’s theory of social learning, and Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.



In La Mesa, Innovative Centre, a branch of Julian Charter School, prides itself on Small Classroom Setting with Low Student to Teacher Ratio; Self-Contained Classrooms from Kindergarten-5th grade taught by Experienced, Proffesional and Credentialed Teachers; a 4 Day/Week Onsite Academy Program with Friday Home Study; Project Based Curriculum for Science & Social Studies Designed to Integrate Common Core Standards and California State Standards of Education; Traditional and Alternative Methods of Assessing Student Learning and Growth; Authentic Assessment of Learning through Projects, Presentations and Performances.

Dynamic Performance Showcases throughout the School Year; High Academic and Behavioral Standards Inspiring Each of us to “Be Our Best Selves;” Inter-Disciplinary Practices in All Academic Areas; Explict Teaching of 21st Century Skills; Differentiated Teaching and Personalized Instruction to Meet the Needs of all Students;



At Innovations Academy, in Scripps Ranch, we powerfully create our lives through self-expression, compassionate connection, and purposeful learning.

Through implementation of our mission, Innovations students feel cared for in a big way.  And through this caring, students feel encouraged to explore and learn. Academic excellence is achieved when children are supported to question and search for answers. We inspire and support all of the members of our community in living this mission. Consider that: Teachers are guides, not guards. Learning is a journey, not a destination. Discovery is questioning the answers, not answering the questions. The process is discovering ideas, not covering content. The goal is open minds, not closed issues. The only test is being and becoming, not remembering and reviewing. School (or any community) is whatever we choose to make it.



Village Gate Children’s Academy, K-8, in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, is a private school with Kindergarten, Elementary and Middle School Programs based on the teachings and philosophy of Maria Montessori. Our extensive experience and knowledge of the elementary-aged child, allows us to create a learning environment that sparks the child’s imagination and fosters their innate love of learning. Our programs are designed to optimize the individual learning styles and needs of our students by creating individual lesson plans and an environment filled with materials and learning opportunities. Our classrooms are a beautiful balance of individual activities and the cultivation of a classroom community.

Although, we relate to each child as an individual, we remain committed to ensuring state and national academic standards are met. Our curriculum is rich in Mathematics, Language, Culture & Geography, Science, Botany & Zoology and History. In addition, we offer art, music and technology with a physical education that includes weekly swimming & yoga.



In Carlsbad, Sanderling Waldorf School is Kindergarten through 8th grade. A Waldorf grades program is a rich, developmentally based education that responds to and makes the most of what children are optimally ready to learn. The arts; foreign languages; movement; and music are fundamentally integrated into the curriculum. The teacher engages the children in a main lesson by appealing to all pathways of learning — the head, the heart and the hands. For example, a math lesson comes alive in a story; through manipulatives; in art; and in structured movement. By integrating the arts and activities into academic pursuits, the experience creates a lifelong love of learning in the child.

One of the keys to the success of the Waldorf educational philosophy is the Class Teacher, who ideally moves with the class from first through eighth grade. This continuity provides a true gift to students, parents and the teacher. It allows tailoring of the curriculum to meet the specific needs of the children. Personal and academic challenges are not “passed on;” instead, the teacher and parents work together in partnership to support the student’s long term growth: academically, physically and socially.




We at The Village Farm Home School are a group of like-minded families working hard to help our kids get the education they deserve by practicing mindful co-parenting.


San Diego Home Education This is a very large, active, and supportive group, where you can connect with other home educating families, find information on resources available in the San Diego area, brainstorm ideas and activities, ask questions, and find encouragement and positive attitudes! We welcome people of all faiths – or none – all political persuasions – or none – and all methods of homeschooling – or none.


This resource page provided by:

Dr. Linda Folden Palmer, author of BABY MATTERS 

With the birth of Dr. Palmer’s son in 1995, she was confronted with his severe health complications and astounded by the extreme lack of accurate or helpful information from doctors or books. Her usual passion for research turned toward infant health and parenting. Her extensive reviews of science and medical research revealed huge confBabyMatters3rdEdFRONT.5-5'15 copylicts between what is found scientifically and what is standard protocol in pediatric offices. Her research in this area led to writing Baby Matters.





Please let me know about any changes or additions to the list. [email protected]




  • Maite March 19, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Hello, do you know something about Waldorf School of
    San Diego? It doesnt appear on the list, we were wondering why? We are looking for schools and making choices . Thank you!

    • Linda F. Palmer April 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      I would appreciate information about it, including why it fits in with my attachment parenting oriented recommendations.

  • A. Chedester December 18, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Yes, it seems really odd that Waldorf School of San Diego isn’t on the list; especially given that Sparrow is there.


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