Welcome to Fiddleheads!

Fun and Nurturing After School Programs and Summer Camps

Fiddleheads is a fun and therapeutic environment that provides social skills instruction and emotional support to neurodiverse groups of children in our vibrant Bay Area Regional Parks.

Our groups and camps are warm, playful, and instructive. Our highly skilled counselors foster deep nourishing connections for the children. Your child will form healing relationships with nature and make new friends, while absorbing social lessons and connecting more deeply to their senses.

Formed in 2010 to support children and their families, Fiddleheads is a holistic, heart centered therapeutic approach to social and emotional learning. Taking the stigma out of therapy, Fiddleheads brings joy, nature, and the real life experience of authentic relationships and presence into the healing process.

Inclusiveness and acceptance are foundational to Fiddleheads structure. Awareness and respect of neuro, cultural, racial and economic diversity, is at the essence of our approach.

After-School Program

Our nature immersion after-school program provides a nurturing and enlivening experience for your child. With the care of our highly skilled counselors, our small groups quickly form into strong packs of friends. Learn More

Ready to sign up now?

Summer Camp

Our camp is warm, playful, and instructive. We foster deep nourishing connections for your child—with nature, with other children, and with our supportive guides. Learn More

Ready to sign up now?

Fiddleheads Methodology

Fiddleheads practices stem from the latest research on mindfulness, developmental psychology and neurobiology to create an impactful social and emotional learning curriculum. Social lessons are integrated into each session experientially and are brought to life through mindfulness games, dramatic play, and storytelling, giving the children important tools for understanding themselves within the world around them:

  • Sensory integration builds as the children move over rocks and creek beds, exploring nature together.
  • Mindful movements derived from “Brain Gym” curriculum are integrated into the hikes.
  • Children’s emotions are mirrored and reflected, and they are given a vocabulary to communicate their feelings to others.
  • Friendships are formed as the children help each other over challenging obstacles in their physical play. Within these relationships, children learn skills to negotiate differences and work together.
  • We are inclusive of neurodiversity, and work to form groups of children that can learn and benefit from each other, from our wonderful counselors, and from the beautiful setting.
  • We support and nurture each child’s unique needs, and model that our differences can also be our strengths.
  • Our ratio is small: one counselor per three children. And we cap our group size at 6 to 8 children so that each child feels seen and understood.
  • We develop the flow of the day and structure of activities to meet the individual needs of the children in each session.
  • Our programs are led by teams of marriage and family therapists, interns, or trainees with or pursuing master’s degrees in psychology, and other professionals with outdoor education expertise. All of our counselors receive weekly supervision and thorough training and support.

Please contact us to learn more about our processes and programs.

Fiddleheads Participants

Fiddleheads serves children who struggle socially. Some families enroll in Fiddleheads as an enrichment activity for their child, while other families are seeking support for problems in school or at home. A typical group is a blend—one child may be considered on the autism spectrum, another may be dealing with life transitions at home, someone else may be a nature lover and wanting to play and be outdoors, while another child is struggling with impulse control and sensory processing. We bring together groups of children who can learn and benefit from each other, their supportive counselors and our natural settings.

Many of the children have had transformational experiences in their social and emotional well-being. The children have a wonderful time and cannot wait to come each week!

Fiddleheads After-School Program

Fiddleheads after-school program is a holistic, heart-centered therapeutic approach to social and emotional learning. We create a safe and stimulating environment for children and youth to experience and enhance their connections with their bodies, inner worlds, peers, and the natural environment.

Taking the stigma out of therapy, our Fiddleheads counselors bring joy, nature, and the real-life experience of authentic relationships and presence into the healing process.

8-14 week sessions depending on season

In San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, Lafayette, Petaluma and Santa Rosa.

Ages served 4-12 years old. Teen groups available in Petaluma.

Groups run 3:30pm – 5:30pm

Berkeley:
Wednesdays or
Fridays: all ages (5-12)

Oakland:
Tuesdays: Older kids
Thursdays: Younger kids

Petaluma:
Tuesdays: Younger kids
Thursdays: Older kids

SF:
Flexible Days: all ages (5-12)

Lafayette:
Mondays: all ages (5-12)

Richmond:
Fridays: all ages (5-12)

Santa Rosa:
Wednesdays: all ages (5-12)

Please note that the meeting days for each location and age group listed above may change subject to enrollment. When signing up, please select all of the available days that your child could attend a Fiddleheads group to support this process.

Don’t see a group here for you? Click here to inquire about bringing Fiddleheads to your area!

Full Price: $1150 per 10-weeks, $1400 per 12-weeks, $1600 per 14-weeks
This is the actual cost of the program. If you can afford the full cost, we encourage you to choose this option.

Tier 2: $850 per 10-weeks, $1050 per 12-weeks, $1200 per 14-weeks
This is our historically subsidized tuition. This option is available for families that need some financial assistance.

Tier 3: Scholarships determined based on the application.
This is a variable rate for families with financial assistance needs greater than Tier 2.

We are in partnership with East Bay and North Bay Regional Centers.

We can provide additional assistance to families that demonstrate a need through our Financial Assistance Fund.

Refund Policy:

  • 100% refund for cancellation at least two weeks before the start date for the session minus $100 deposit/admin fee
  • 50% refund for cancellation within two weeks before the start date for the session minus $100 deposit/admin fee
    • 25% credit to be used for future group/camp session.
  • 25% refund for cancellation after beginning  of session minus $100 deposit/admin fee
    • 50% credit to be used for future group/camp session.
  • $100 deposit is non-refundable, unless special arrangements have been made. If there had been no intake, $50 of the deposit can be used as credit towards a future session.

Contact us to find out more about our financial aid programs.

Ready to sign up now?

Fiddleheads Summer Camp

Dates

Session 1 – June 17 – 28
Session 2 – July 1 – 12 (no camp July 4)
Session 3 – July 15 – 26
Session 4 – July 29 – August 9

Our nature immersion camp is warm, playful, and instructive, fostering deep nourishing connections with nature and with each other. Developed to support the social and emotional growth of the children, Fiddleheads summer camp integrates many activities that promote sensory integration and emotional regulation, and take full advantage of our beautiful regional parks.

The key ingredients that make Fiddleheads Summer Camp unique:

We keep our ratio small: one counselor per three children. We also cap our group size at 6 to 8 children so that each child feels seen and understood.

We develop the flow of the day and structure of activities to meet the individual needs of the children in the group.

We are careful not to over schedule the children. A harmony of excitement and relaxation is sought through a balanced flow of free play, adventure, story time, structured games, crafts, snack and circle times.

We honor the natural rhythms of the child and the day; the in- and the out-breath.

We incorporate mindfulness and movement activities into everything we do.

We are happy to answer further questions. Simply fill out our contact form and we will call or email you to set a time to talk. Please know that our sessions do fill up so if you would like your child to join us this summer, contact us soon!

Tier 1: **$1,400 per 2-week session
This is the actual cost of the camp. If you can afford the full cost of the camp we encourage you to choose this option.

Tier 2: ** $1,050 per 2-week session
This is our historically subsidized tuition. This option is available for families that need some financial assistance.

Tier 3: 2 weeks = Scholarships determined base on the application.
This is a variable rate for families with financial assistance needs are greater than Tier 2. We can provide additional assistance to families that demonstrate a need through our Financial Assistance Fund.

Discounts:

**$75-$100 Session discount for Session 2, due to no camp on July 4

  • $100 off for early-bird sign-up by March 1, 2019.
  • $25 off for each additional child or additional session sign-up.
  • $25 credit toward camp fee or future Fiddleheads program for any referred sign-up.
Oakland:
Groups meet in Joaquin Miller Park or Redwood Regional Park.

Berkeley:
Groups meet in Tilden Park at the parking lot near the Brazil Building.

Lafayette:
Groups meet at Bear Creek Staging area in Briones Regional Park.

Richmond:
Groups meet at Alvarado Staging area in Wildcat Canyon Park

Marin:
Groups meet at Tennessee Valley Trailhead.

Petaluma:
Groups meet at Helen Putnam Park.

San Francisco:
Groups meet at Inspiration Point in Park Presidio.

Group size is kept low: up to 6 children and 2-3 counselors.

We offer separate groups for different age ranges from 4 years up to 12 years old. Groups are formed based on age, as well as each child’s needs and abilities. Our thorough enrollment process, including a written intake, phone screen and in person meeting, helps Fiddleheads staff to place your child in a group that will best meet their challenges and build on their successes. It also helps us to anticipate any additional supports that may be needed for your child to successfully and safely participate in Fiddleheads groups.

June 17 – June 28
July 1 – July 12 (No Camp July 4)
July 15 – July 26
July 29 – August 9
Sign up for 2-week session required
The start time is 9:30 and end time is 2:30. Drop off is 9:15 – 9:30. Extended care may be available upon request for an added cost. Please let us know early if you are interested in extended care.
Ready to sign up now?

Our Camp Counselors

Marriage and family therapists, interns, and trainees with master’s degrees, or counselors pursuing master’s degrees in psychology lead our Fiddleheads Summer Camp. All of our counselors receive weekly supervision and thorough training and support.

Fiddleheads Testimonials

From Parents

  • “Now, I have always liked the idea of a social skills group, but been wary of them, wondering if they would make my son feel different or stigmatized. But, at the recommendation of his doctor, and at the direction of a good friend whose son attends their summer camps, I found my way to Fiddleheads. I still can’t believe my luck!”
  • “‘I feel lucky to be in Fiddleheads,’ ‘The counselors are wonderful,’ ‘I feel so safe, like I can say anything and really be myself.’ These are direct quotes from my 10 year-old son who has just started the social skills group at Tilden Park in Berkeley. For context, he is basically your average 10YO in terms of interest and ability, and while very socially minded (i.e., friendships are very important to him) he has always lagged socially and emotionally, and struggled trying to form relationships in school.”
  • “Our experience has been great from our first day. We’ve been involved for several years and through many group leaders we’ve had amazing leaders. [Our son] loves this group. He has matured and has blossomed with the help of Fiddleheads counselors.”
  • “She had a wonderful time. I loved the fact that she was immersed in nature. She enjoyed the games and activities. Always emerged rosy cheeked and smiling. She really emerged into a more calm child, better able to handle frustrations and express herself.”
  • “He loves it. Favorite part of his week. He doesn’t talk about specifics but is so happy when he comes home. I think he knows a bit better how to socialize. I think it gives him some confidence in other social situations.”
  • “I cannot say enough about this innovative and supportive environment that blends sensory activities, brain gym exercises, hiking, story-telling, drama, learning, self-awareness, and social lessons in a very naturalistic way in a beautiful and naturalistic environment.”
  • “My son has attended this social learning play-group for more than a year and a half. It is held in Tilden Park, mostly rain or shine. It is a unique approach that gives kids the opportunity to be as big as they need to be, get in touch with their bodies and emotions, learn how to make friends, interact with peers, and resolve conflicts ~ all while having fun and learning about nature. I would recommend this group without reservation!”
  • “We so appreciate your thoughtful approach to our boys, one Tuesday at a time.”
  • “I’m so grateful to have adults in our lives who can care for our boys the way you do at Fiddleheads!”
  • “D is having another great session and loves every minute with all of you. I love how happy and relaxed he is when I pick him up.”
  • “Fiddleheads Summer Camp provides my child with a safe day camp setting where I can leave him for the whole day knowing that he will be understood and well cared for, while having a fun and totally enjoyable day in nature. He feels totally secure because he knows that, if he has a meltdown or any problem, the counselors will handle it in a way that brings him back into self-control without being made to feel guilty or ashamed. I am so thankful for Fiddleheads because there aren’t many programs where both he and I can experience total peace of mind while he participates.”

From Children

  • “I feel really lucky to be in Fiddleheads because everyone really listens.”
  • “Everyone is really nice and the counselors are wonderful! I feel like I can be myself.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The children spend all of the time outdoors, alternating between sun and shade to ensure temperature regulation and avoid sunburns.
If you have multiple children, depending on their ages, social and emotional needs and your wishes, they may be in separate groups or together.
The activities we have are very diverse. Those include the games children offer themselves – tag, capture the flag, sports, blue fish – red fish, night at the museum, eagle eye, hide-and-seek, etc and games that we facilitate, which enhance sensory, social and emotional awareness. Those games include mirroring, role-playing, dramatic re-enactments, animal-embodiment games, acting out feelings, arts, crafts and other games designed to develop their motor, coordination and other skills. We also hold circles where children share and listen to each other, participate in guided meditation and spend some quiet time listening to stories. The day consists of alternating active/quiet time designed to assist children in releasing and regulating their energy.
Aftercare availability and cost depends on interest. Historically, we offered aftercare until 5:00pm and the cost was $21 per hour. There could be a discount for multiple children.

DISCOUNTS AND SPECIALS

  • Earlybird Can be combined with our multi-session discount.
  • Guarantee your spot by March 1, 2019 and you can change your camp session or location through May 1, 2019 for absolutely no fee.
  • Multi-session discount: Sign up for two or more camp sessions and receive $25 off each additional camp session.
  • Multi-child discount: Sign up for two or more children and receive $50 off your total camp cost for each child.
  • Referrals: Refer a new family to Fiddleheads and receive additional $25 off your total camp cost. Please make sure your friend(s) reference your name and code FRIEND in the “How do did you hear about Fiddleheads” section of the application.
  • Extended care: Get 25% off extended care when you sign up for two or more camp sessions.
We provide such a generous financial aid that we can’t do make up sessions for sick dates.

Refund Policy:

  • **100% refund for cancellation at least two weeks before the start date for the session minus $100 deposit/admin fee
  • **50% refund for cancellation within two weeks before the start date for the session minus $100 deposit/admin fee (25% credit to be used for future group/camp session.)
  • **25% refund for cancellation after beginning of session minus $100 deposit/admin fee (25% credit to be used for future group/camp session.)
  • **$100 deposit is non-refundable, unless special arrangements have been made. If there had been no intake, $50 of the deposit can be used as credit towards a future session.