The Living Tree is a place where children can gather together to participate in play and project-based learning, nature-immersion, and unique educational experiences, supported every step of the way by loving and dedicated teachers. 

We offer a nature-based & Waldorf-inspired Early Childhood education for 3K-5K students. Our community celebrates seasonal festivals that all families are welcome to attend.

Our campus is located in the historic Camp Whitcomb / Mason in Hartland, Wisconsin.  A large private lodge serves as our home base from which we explore over 300 acres of rolling hills, forests, trails, wetlands and the shores of Lake Keesus.


Our Waldorf-inspired Early Childhood Program for 3K-5K is designed to provide a gentle and rich learning environment that connects the children to their loving teachers, their peers and the world around them. We meet the children where they are, allowing them to grow and flourish at their individual pace.  This play-based education model mirrors the home, with the teacher being the loving authority that guides the children through their supportive daily rhythms.

Our Early Childhood program has a low student to teacher ratio of 7 children to 1 adult. This allows for exploration at each skill level while maintaining the social opportunities of a mixed-age class. 

The children will be learning how to cooperate with others, gain confidence in their abilities and explore their growing independence in a safe, nurturing environment. 

Our 2022-2023 Early Childhood program meets Monday - Friday, Full Days. We offer the following options: 3-day friends (Monday - Wednesday), 5-day friends (Monday - Friday), and 2-day friends (Thursday & Friday).

Early Childhood Daily Rhythm

Monday - Friday, Full Days, September 6th - May 25th

  • 8:30  Arrival, begin day with circle song and morning walk (Parents welcome to join)
  • 9:00  Morning snack and social time
  • 9:30  Free play and planned activities for day (crafting, handwork, coloring/drawing, beeswax, painting, help with food prep/baking)
  • 10:30  Story / puppet play
  • 11:00  Lunch
  • 11:45  Chores / clean up
  • 12:00 Outdoor play
  • 1:00  Nap time (lavender hand/foot rubs and lullabies)
  • 2:30  Snack and social time followed by free play / activity
  • 3:00  Pick up



Leslie Gutkowski

Lead Teacher, EC & Grades (2021-2022)

Leslie holds an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Waukesha County Technical College - along with Early Childhood and Psychology courses from University of Milwaukee and Whitewater. She continues to pursue higher education coursework to broaden her knowledge and experience. In the past 4 years she held positions at Prairie Hill Waldorf School as a Teacher’s Assistant, Summer Program Coordinator & Lead Teacher, and Kindergarten Lead Teacher. Her goal is to make each child feel safe, loved, and seen for the unique person they are.


Cassie Reesman

Early Childhood Assistant (2021-2022)

Cassie graduated from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in May of 2020 where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has five years of experience working in the education and childcare field; as a lead teacher at two childcare centers, an education support professional at a special needs school, and as a kindergarten assistant at a Waldorf School. She loves that Waldorf education is based around the whole child while developing children’s social and emotional development.


Tia Reinhart

Assistant, EC & Grades (2021-2022)

Tia has been a Teacher’s Assistant for the last 6 years in a Waldorf school. She has two children, son Chase, 10 and daughter Natalia, 8.  She loves working with children and supporting them while they discover their capabilities and passions. She loves being outside with her children as much as possible and also enjoys playing board games at night.  Some of her other favorite things include music, baking, reading, and doing crafts/building projects. 


We are located in the historic Camp Whitcomb / Mason in Hartland, Wisconsin.  A large, private lodge serves as our home base from which we explore over 300 acres of rolling hills, forests, trails, wetlands and the shores of Lake Keesus.

This home base includes a main classroom with large windows, vaulted ceilings and plenty of space to contain the children's abundant energy. Additional rooms include a three-season sun porch, multi-purpose rooms, nap house, full kitchen, large deck and easy access to the outdoors. Our indoor classroom is filled with open-ended toys made of natural materials, such as silk, wool, and wood. 

Our outdoor space is beautiful and serene. It allows for year-round exploration and skill development through the mud kitchen, sand box, tree stumps, play house, swings, and more. It is also common for the children to get to observe wildlife while outside.

We have worked diligently over the past two years to transform this space even further into a magical place for children to grow, feel inspired, and develop a deeper appreciation for nature.


Tuition & Applications:

Early Childhood (Monday - Friday, 8:30 - 3, September 19th - May 31st)

Tuition includes all healthy organic lunches and snacks, supplies and materials. 

5 Full Days (Monday - Friday): $7,200 - paid in full or in monthly payments ($720.00 mo for 10 months)

3 Full Days (Monday - Wednesday): $4,860- paid in full or in monthly payments ($486.00/mo for 10 months) 

2 Full Days (Thursday - Friday): $3,600 - paid in full or in monthly payments ($360.00/mo for 10 months) 

* 2.5% credit card processing fee applies 

The Living Tree is a growing parent-led nonprofit dedicated to providing a rich alternative education model for children. Our tuition costs are kept as low as possible through generous donations of time, money and resources by our community.

Our Admissions process begins with submitting an application and paying a $100/family application fee. This fee is non-refundable and goes to support our program by offsetting cost of tuition. After receiving your application and application fee we will be in touch about setting up a phone call to allow any questions you may have to be answered. 

We will continue to accept applications and place students throughout the school year as space allows.

We look forward to welcoming you into our community where our children can grow together!

Applications for the 2022-2023 school year will open May 1, 2022. Priority placement is given to current and wait-listed families through May 7, 2022.

Children admitted into the program must be at least 3 years 6 mo. of age, and no older than 5 years & 11 mo. as of Sept 1, 2022.


APPLY NOW - Early Childhood Application


Feel free to contact us with any questions:

If you would prefer to talk on the phone, please email us your contact info and someone will be in touch shortly.