Let Them Be Wild

There is a noticeable decline in PLAY in many childhood programs, especially time spent playing outdoors. Thus the reason of creating W.I.L.D. Child!

Foster Creativity

Let Mother Nature Serve as our classroom

Studies show that time spent in nature decreases stress, regulates emotions, improves concentration, sharpens thinking, and encourages creativity! By Mother Nature serving as a child’s outdoor classroom, she will foster intellectual, emotional, social and physical development! Through such outdoor PLAY, children will actively be involved in critical thinking, cooperative play, risk management, strengthening large and gross motor muscles, developing peer relationships, and SO much more!



of preschoolers lack even one parent-supervised outdoor play session per day.

We Learn Through Play

Our educational philosophy fosters a strong commitment to child-led learning and PLAY. Play is an important part of neurological development in children. From birth on, play promotes healthy development of the brain, strengthening and connecting neurons that would otherwise go unused, and weaken.

"Through play the options for learning truly are limitless"

- Nicole Lanich, Founder

Play is essential to cognitive and physical development, while contributing to social and emotional well-being. By playing, your child is becoming an architect, a scientist, an artist, a critical thinker, a good communicator, a friend, a leader, a listener, and so much more.

Join the Waitlist

Bill Yeck Park

We are so lucky to be able to call Bill Yeck Park of the Centerville-Washington Park District our outdoor classroom! Our meeting spot is nestled near the Historic Smith House property, which boats 37 acres of meadow, trails, woods, creek, and an abundance of flora and fauna. Rain or shine August- May our class arrives dressed and ready for the weather and the adventure that awaits them! We truly believe that there is "no such thing as bad weather" and our kids (and parents) learn to appreciate the outdoors in all weather conditions! It is our hope that we instill a love and respect for nature and all living things to each and every wild child. (In the event of severe weather, we move  to our indoor classroom inside the Smith House.)

Explore the Park

Meet Our Educators

Nicole Lanich

Founder, Co-Owner, Educator

Ms Nicole is a homeschooling mama of four boys, on any given day you can find her knee deep in the creek, catching bugs, playing pirates, or creating something! She and her family reside on a few acres in Lebanon, perfect for their outdoor lifestyle! They love spending their days hiking, playing, fishing, and head to Lake Cumberland as often as possible!

Nicole has a passion for PLAY-based early learning. She is an active member in the Dayton area outdoor teacher community, loves researching forest schools, & whole-heartedly believes in the outdoor education movement!

When Nicole began researching schools for her second born, her wild, outdoor lovin’ child- she just couldn’t picture him indoors. She wanted to give him time to play, space to be a child, and friends to learn and grow alongside. Her vision included immersion in nature & above all else, PLAY... and so W.I.L.D. Child was born! She was ecstatic to partner with CWPD to offer this unique preschool experience to the community for a second year, and is so happy to have two new teachers to join her tribe!

Wright State University - Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education, Eastern Region of Forest and Nature Schools- Level 1 Nature-Based Teacher Certification

Nikki Antrobius

co-owner, Educator

Ms. Nikki, her husband, and two daughters recently moved back to Centerville after spending four years in Montgomery AL and two years in Maysville KY. She and her family have a great love of traveling and being outdoors. They are fortunate enough to have Bill Yeck Park in their own back yard and most evenings can be found hiking the trails or playing by the creek.

Nikki has a background in child development and developmental disabilities. She graduated from Wright State University with a Bachelors in Rehabilitation Services.

She has a love of learning and has passed that passion into her girls. She is always encouraging them to explore, ask questions and try new things!

Wright State University - Bachelors in Rehabilitation Services, Eastern Region of Forest and Nature Schools- Level 1 Nature-Based Teacher Certification

Megan Pooler

Yoga Instructor, Substitute Educator

Ms. Megan lives in Springboro with her husband, son and daughter.  They enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors as a family.  Their dog, Fez is a big part of their family, and he can usually be found enjoying their adventures.

Megan grew up in Centerville and graduated from Centerville High School.  She has always enjoyed teaching children, and has over 20 years of experience in teaching kids from toddlers through second graders.  She holds an early childhood education degree from Sinclair.  After becoming a mother to her first child in 2010 she stopped teaching preschool to start a family.  She has always had a love of yoga and while enjoying "Mommy and Me" yoga classes with her son she decided to take a children's yoga instructor certification course at a local studio. For the past 10 years she has taught yoga classes at many preschools, daycares, summer camps, and community events. " I love to help children learn how to find their light and let it shine."

After teaching yoga at WILD CHILD and seeing the wonderful program, she decided to become part of the teaching staff!  I'm so happy to be a part of such a unique preschool which incorporates a love of learning, nature, and exploring the world in which we live!

Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, Color Me Yoga Certified Instructor.

Mandy Palmer


Ms. Mandy is a momma to 5 and step momma to 2 incredible kids! She and her family live in north Lebanon and operate a small farm where they grow an abundance of medicinal and culinary herbs, native flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Her business, Barefoot Hippie Homesteading introduces adults and children to herbalism with day camps, workshops, and individual classes. Her family offers a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to the community as well as garden planning consultations and permaculture designs and food forestry installations. She has contributed to many articles, podcasts, and been a guest speaker at many events surrounding organic growing practices.

Her love for child-led learning began in 2002 when she became the administrative assistant in the private Montessori school her child attended. Since then, she has strengthened her knowledge in Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio education and implemented what she has learned through the years of parenting her children as well as hundreds of children in the community.

When Ms. Mandy isn’t in the gardens you'll find her hiking, camping, creating natural art, attending music concerts, growing environmental conservation efforts, volunteering and all things food related! She is currently wrapping up a certificate in Agricultural Business Management, as she also continues her “always learning” education in permaculture design and growing processes.

Sinclair Community College- Fire Fighter Level I & II and EMT B , Dayton School of Medical Massage, Various Certificates for Herbalism Practices and Education, Cincinnati Permaculture Design Certification Course, Eastern Region of Forest and Nature Schools- Level 1 Nature-Based Teacher Certification

Karis McEllroy


Karis, her husband, and 4 kids moved to Beavercreek 5 years ago after traveling the world (ok actually just the US) with the US Navy for 12 years. Her family enjoys camping, traveling, playing games, and cooking together. Karis has also recently fallen in love with backpacking, and is trying to convince her puppy to join her on these adventures. Karis has a Bachelors in Nursing from Cedarville University and enjoyed working in ER’s and urgent care until her second child was born. She then became a homeschool mama until recently, when the kids returned to public school full time. Karis is so excited to be a part of the Wild Child team as this is truly her dream job and something she feels passionate about.

Cedarville University- Bachelors of Science in Nursing, Leave No Trace (LNT) Trainer Certified

Our Daily Rhythm

A quick view of a WILD Child Day

Drop-Off, GEAR Check & Sign In :

A teacher will greet your child at the round-about parking lot, and escort them to the outdoor classroom! We will do a quick check to make sure your child is appropriately dressed for the day to ensure comfort and safety. Our car-line style drop off routine allows parents to stay in their vehicle, and children to wave goodbye before heading off to sign in, and start their day! Your child will take ownership of the daily sign in process through a rotation of letter and name recognition activities.

Outdoor Classroom Exploration:

After arriving to the outdoor classroom, students will spend the first half of their morning in authentic, child-led unstructured nature play. Teachers will serve as facilitators, both carefully supervising the play, and offering a variety of invitations. Our "invitations" are spread throughout the outdoor classroom, and rotate seasonally. These are designated areas that we invite the children to participate in, some examples are: mud kitchen, journaling, handcrafts, investigation, creative, math, and reading.

Morning Gathering

A time to gather together and sing songs, tell stories, ask questions, make predictions, and simply share and communicate with one another. We will also use this time to dive a little deeper into our seasonal nature study.

Snack & Read Aloud:

We will serve a fruit or vegetable for your child to enjoy each day during read-aloud time.

Adventure/ hike :

The remaining part of our day is saved for a grand adventure! This might look like: exploring a new part of the woods, romping in the creek, hiking along a trail, playing at the naturescape, racing through the fields,  visiting the apiary, etc.


Farewell gathering, Dismissal:

We will gather one last time for the day to reflect on our day, sing a song, and say our goodbyes. Children will be relased to thier adults after being signed out.

Time To get Messy

Explore a Wild Child Day

Drop-off/Check Gear
Sign In/Free Play
Snacks And Stories
Investigation Stations
Farewell Gathering / Dismissal

Parent Reviews

We love Wild Child! At the traditional preschool my son attended he would cry at drop off and be the first to run to me at pick up. Now he is so excited to get dropped off every morning and asks to stay a bit longer at pick up. He has come home with new vocabulary and it constantly tell us about his adventures at school. Watching him learn outside and with such a supportive staff makes my heart about burst. They truly take the time to identify what works for each child and nurtures that child as an individual. Cannot recommend this program enough!

Alexandra, Centerville