A nature and Waldorf-inspired Early Childhood program

Show You Care.
Change Their World.

The journey to change the world starts with one child.


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 that focus on life skills, supported every step of the way by highly experienced, loving and dedicated teachers.


We offer a nature-based & Waldorf-inspired Early Childhood education for 3K-5K students. We are community-centered and celebrate seasonal festivals that all families are welcome to attend. Our campus is located in the historic Camp Whitcomb / Mason in Hartland, Wisconsin.


Our cozy, private lodge rests over 300 acres of rolling hills, rich forests, scenic trails, wetlands and the shores of Lake Keesus.

How We Can Make a Difference

A rich curriculum

Click here to view a sample of our monthly cirriculum.

Handwork skills

We integrate a variety of skill building through food prep, hand work and life skills to enrich the lives of our kids.

Daily nature immersion

We take daily hikes and explore diverse areas, observe wildlife and have open-ended play throughout our 300+ acre campus.

See what our parents have to say:

I have loved seeing my child so excited about going to school and coming home happy after her days at The Living Tree.


I love how many different experiences he’s getting, in nature, in the classroom, making food, and using natural materials. I have enjoyed his stories from the day about what he did at school, and I enjoy the family events.


Our Campus

Our lodge includes a main classroom with large windows, vaulted ceilings, a cozy natural fireplace and plenty of space to contain the children's abundant energy. Additional rooms include a three-season sun porch, multi-purpose rooms, nap/quiet house, full kitchen, large deck and easy access to the outdoors. Inside it is filled with curated open-ended toys made of natural materials, such as silk, wool, and wood. You will see, smell and feel the differences.


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 common for the children to get to observe wildlife while outside and participate in seasonal specialties, such as tapping our maple tree or tracking animal prints. We have worked diligently over the past few years to transform this space even further into a magical place for children to grow, feel inspired, and develop a deeper appreciation for nature.

Meet the teachers who help us transform lives

Danika Talbot

Lead Teacher, Early Childhood (2022-2023)

Danika cared for and taught children from a young age as a babysitter and nanny before becoming a teacher.  She enrolled in an Educational Psychology class as a 15-year-old, and has been working in classrooms ever since.  Danika graduated from UW-Madison, earning a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood through Middle Childhood Education, her Teaching License, and a Minor in Health.  After starting a family, she earned a Master of Science in Environmental Education from Concordia University.

Danika taught in both public and private schools starting in 2008, working in four and five-year-old kindergarten classrooms.  She discovered the Waldorf methodology when her first daughter was born and registered for LifeWays childcare in Hartland.  Both of her children later attended Prairie Hill Waldorf School where Danika worked as an Early Childhood & Grades Assistant, Food Preparer, and Summer Garden Coordinator & Teacher.  After the girls’ graduated from Kindergarten at Prairie Hill, Danika went on to found an outdoor children’s education program at a local organic vegetable farm where kids were encouraged to celebrate the joys of nature and gardening.

Danika believes the first seven years of life are the most critical.  She is passionate about Waldorf inspired learning environments and their healing effects. 

Danika lives in a 110-year-old farm house in Stone Bank she slowly renovated over time with her husband and two middle school aged daughters.  They have a small vegetable and flower garden along with laying hens.  Her other hobbies are reading, acrylic painting, cycling, gardening, cooking, and traveling.

"Being outside in nature builds resiliency and reverence for the world. There is a coziness and warmth to the classroom both outside and inside with bundled clothing, storytelling, wholesome foods, candlelight, natural toys, like-minded parents, and beautiful festivals.  The teacher is a graceful role model providing guidance with tender love and appreciation for each child; caring for them as their own including hair brushing, foot rubs, and singing.  Children are simply allowed to be children and let their days unfold in a calm manner."

Miss Leslie

Assistant Teacher, Early Childhood (2022-2023)

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.

Leslie has worked at preschools and owned/operated her own in-home daycare for 10 years, working with children 6 months to 7 years old. She also worked at a local Waldorf school in various positions for four years, which is where she fell in love with the Waldorf philosophy of simplicity and keeping the magic of childhood alive. 
One of Leslie's favorites quotes is, "They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel" and she believes it is her role of ensuring each child feels safe, loved and seen for the unique person they are. Leslie also connects with understanding how important these early foundational years are in regards to building confidence and having a healthy sense of self and the world around us. 

Some of Leslie's hobbies including spending time outdoors and hiking. She also enjoys reading, crafting, singing, and cooking.


Tuition & Applications:

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!

Early Childhood Program for '23-'24 (Monday - Thursday, 8:30 - 3, September 11th, 2023 - May 23, 2024)


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


4 Full Days (Monday - Thursday): $7,500 - paid in full or in monthly payments ($750.00 mo for 10 months)


* 2.5% credit card processing fee applies Children admitted into the program must be fully potty trained, and at least 3 years 6 mo. of age, and no older than 5 years & 11 mo. as of Sept 1, 2023.


*Based on enrollment numbers and teacher assessment, the age requirement may go as low as 3 years of age.

Connect with Us

W287 N8677 Center Oak Rd. Hartland, WI


Get a view into our classroom and community @livingtreelakecountry