Welcome to Oak Hill Nursery School and Kindergarten      

Nurturing children. Supporting families. Building community.

Oak Hill Nursery School is a private free play based, nature centered nursery school and kindergarten that sits on 100 beautiful acres in rural upstate New York. Located just outside of Cooperstown since 2006, we cater to local families with a two, a three and a five half-day nursery school program for preschool children aged (nearly) 3-5 yrs old, and a four day afternoon kindergarten program for eligible 5 and 6 yr olds.

Imagination blossoms within the context of the seasonal changes as play leads the children through the year together with an ever deepening appreciation and respect for the world around them.

With our nature driven philosophy, children at Oak Hill experience the seasonal changes through poems, circle games and songs, but most significantly first hand, during extensive time deeply engaged in outdoor exploration.

Whilst hiking and climbing,  engaging in sand and water play and with ample time for free play, children find themselves immersed in the world around them. Within this framework children have the freedom to chose cooperative play or find moments of quiet time to explore alone. They problem solve and learn the value of teamwork. They engage in risky play and learn a strong sense of their own boundaries and limitations.

Through action and interaction with their world as they experience it first hand through all their senses, children at Oak Hill grow and learn together securely grounded in nature through the changing seasons.

Year round picnics, bark and leaf rubbings, chicken feeding, yoga, apple picking, cider pressing, planting, tending and harvesting vegetables, raking leaves, splashing in the creek and sledding are just a few of the activities children at Oak Hill experience along the trails, fields, orchards, woods and hill tops surrounding the school.

When you join the Oak Hill family, you are not just enrolling your child in a nursery school. We are a close and caring community of families who recognize that we are all on this journey together. We understand that it does indeed take a village to raise a child, and at Oak Hill you will find that village. 

  • We offer Parent Education through parent evenings and discussion groups. 
  • Our Parent/Child Groups are a place for families of very young children to come together on a regular basis and begin to offer babies from 6 months an unhurried introduction to a social experience in the warm and welcoming environment at Oak Hill. 
  • Our seasonal celebrations bring the entire school community together for special festivals, picnics and bonfires year round, with siblings, parents and grand-parents. 
  • Through our summer camp and after school enrichment programs, we continue to be a place where children can return for several years after making the move to the Big School! 

Through The Year At Oak Hill

Celebrate With Us


The children chop vegetables for the delicious soup for our Harvest Festival. We bake bread together and the children learn a short play and songs to give thanks for the abundance of our harvest. We celebrate Halloween with a party and fun costumes. Before the Fall draws to an end, we celebrate a Lantern Festival together on the Feast of St. Martin. Special Lanterns are made ahead of time and after songs and some warm gingerbread the children carry their lit lanterns outside to spread their light into the darkness of the coming Winter.


In observance of the Advent season we celebrate one of the most beautiful traditions of the year with our Advent Spiral. We mark Hanukkah and Christmas with special crafts and stories. As the winter draws to an end, we dip beeswax candles together for Candlemas Day and with Groundhog Day we celebrate winter drawing to a close as we anticipate the arrival of the spring and the reemergence of our animal friends! Valentine's Day is of course another fun reason for a special feast!


 We welcome the return of the Spring with a community potluck and a spring play.

For our Arbor Day celebration, we plant trees in and around the Oak Hill yard and enjoy the first picnic of the season.  One of the most anticipated events is our celebration of a traditional May Festival with Maypole dances, songs and flower crowns.


Just because the school year is over, the fun doesn't stop! Our Oak Hill Summer Days for children ages 4-10 offer the perfect balance between organized activities and unstructured time to simply enjoy the freedom of Summer the way it should be. We offer creek days, beach days, or theme days such as Farm Day, Zoo Day and our famous Oak Hill Olympics!

Kindergarten at Oak Hill

A Half Day Kindergarten option since 2018

Our quiet kindergarten classroom allows for a peaceful and unhurried transition into the world of letters and numbers. Children spend a portion of their time here, busy with early literacy skills, before heading outdoors for snack, stories, singing, whole group games and free play.

Nature is Our Curriculum

There is so much to be learned from the world outside our window. Our kindergartners know that everything tells a story; Whether we find tracks in the snow, a cluster of hazelnuts hidden in a tree knot in the fall, half a bird egg shell under a tree in the spring or branches chewed off the bottom half of our blueberry bushes after a long winter, we learn from what we see and find outdoors. These stories are carried back into the classroom with us and form the foundation for our curriculum.  

Inside the world of

Kindergarten at Oak Hill  

Sunlight and birdsong are the biggest distractions as the children work.  Our peaceful classroom setting allows short periods of deeply focused work, freeing the children up quickly to return to play, the real work of childhood!

We get by with a little help from our friends!  Our small class size encourages teamwork and mutual support as  we cheer each other on. Children have many opportunities to work together and hone valuable collaborative learning skills.


Self directed activities allow the kindergartners to challenge themselves, and to build an intrinsic love for learning that forms a solid foundation for the world well beyond the kindergarten classroom. 

Blank pages inspire beautifully colored pictures of our time together.  Using mostly blank 'main lesson books' rather than preprinted worksheets, the children leave at the end of their year with a priceless collection of their own work.

Forest Program

 COVID19 necessitated a change in how we approach schooling. The pandemic inspired us to dream a little bigger in order to accommodate all the Oak Hill students in a new all outdoor campus. With plenty of safe, well ventilated areas for shelter we now have several new outdoor play areas as well as a beautiful new Forest Classroom. Our trails and play areas are forever changing, improving and expanding as teachers work continuously to clear and enhance the opportunities for safe  exploration.

After School Enrichment Program

Our after school enrichment program for K-4th graders runs in six week sessions. Together we engage in a variety of STEAM projects, meeting visiting community 'scientists' who teach us applied science concepts well beyond the classroom. We also sing and hike together and of course we allow plenty of time for free play and exploration.  

Meet The Director       Kerstin Green

In 1993 whilst looking for a preschool for my own children I came upon the wonders and magic of the Rose Garden Nursery School, a small Waldorf inspired program, in Cooperstown, NY. All 5 of my children attended the Rose Garden, and I was fortunate to be invited to work there until 2006 when the Rose Garden closed their doors.

To bridge the gap until my youngest son and his friends were old enough for kindergarten, I founded Oak Hill Nursery School in September 2006. I originally planned for it to last for two years. Five other Rose Garden families joined me and my son, and our children stayed together for the remainder of their preschool years. Our first class of 6 children was small yet busy, and it became clear very quickly that Oak Hill was going to last a few years longer than originally planned!

With the capable and loving help of several assistants and co-teachers, Oak Hill has seen over 200 children spend their nursery school years and summer days here. We added the half day kindergarten program in 2018, and in September 2020 our all outdoor Forest Program was added to the mix. 

September 2022 marks the beginning of our 17th year.

Spring Is In The Air

Radiant Sun from her throne in the sky, Looked down on the earth where the sleeping seeds lie

And thought to herself,"I think it

is time for the flower babies to wake up and play!"

So with her rays of gold, she knocked and knocked at each and every flower family's door. "Wake up! Wake up!" She chuckled with glee, "Time to wake up and color earth's floor!"

The Bluebells were first, Then crocuses and Rosies,

Daffodils and hyacinths and all sorts of posies

Yawning and stretching under radiant sun 

"Yes!! We flowers make springtime so fun!"


"Oak Hill has been the best blessing for our son! Kerstin runs this Nursery School in the most amazing away - the children are truly nurtured, encouraged to explore and grow and come into their own in their own way, and at their own pace. She has a genuine and whole-hearted care for what is best for each individual child. There is not a one-size-fits-all practice at Oak Hill, but rather an environment that celebrates and embraces the wide and varied spectrum of growth happening amongst 3 & 4 year olds, with still a good amount of schedule and structure in their day. Imaginative play and outside play are priorities, they cook and bake on a regular basis, they do yoga at the top of a hill, play in the creek, make beautiful watercolor paintings - it's no wonder my family & friends wish they could all go to Oak Hill Nursery School too!"

Veronica mother of G.

March, 2016

"Oak Hill is such a special place. Kerstin knows and loves each child. Our daughter experienced both unconditional acceptance and gentle nurturing to help her grow. In her year there we saw her make tremendous strides in awareness of others, cooperation, and self-expression, but we always knew that she was deeply cherished for who she was."

April, mother of H.

December, 2016

"I cannot express how thankful I am that we have Oak Hill near by for my two children. I started looking when my daughter was still small, and Kerstin welcomed me with open arms. My daughter attended three full years, and this year has moved on to kindergarten in a public school. She is thriving. She loves going to school each day, comes home with excitement in her voice about the things she learned and did each day. I believe her early experience had a lot to do with her ease into this new phase. She is confidant in her abilities, she views learning as fun, and she is full steam ahead. Now I watch my son at Oak Hill, hiking to the creek and digging in the sandbox, coming home singing songs about the season and I am grateful he too will have this opportunity to discover himself and the world in a supportive and creative atmosphere. Oak hill and the community that comes with it has been a gift to our whole family!"

Jasmine, mother of R.

October, 2015

"Oak Hill is the most amazing nursery school experience we could have ever imagined for our daughter. Moving from a metro area, we weren't sure we were going to find a school in the country that embodied our ideas and values. Oak Hill has exceeded all expectations and continues to amaze us. We travel over 30 min each way to send our daughter and it is so worth it. Kerstin is truly gifted with children and we trust her implicitly with our kids. We love the Waldorf inspiration but also appreciate that Oak Hill is independent and incorporates its own style of learning. We have no doubt that our daughter's experience at Oak Hill will help her transition smoothly to public kindergarten and will prepare her for a lifetime of learning. We love the amount of outdoor time the kids get in all weather, the art, baking, stories, songs, imaginary play and seasonal celebrations. We also love the community aspect of the school and have formed many lasting friendships through the connections we have made here. Our older kids have attended the summer camp too, which is a terrific program, and look forward to it every year. We are beyond grateful that we found Oak Hill and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, loving, thoughtful, play based nursery school."

Jen, mother of A.

October, 2015


If you would like more information about our programs, send us your contact information and let us know how we can help you