About Us

Why We're Here

At the Natural Start Alliance, we believe in great beginnings. We know that hands-on experiences in nature help build stronger, smarter, and happier children, and we believe that quality education for young children includes regular opportunities to connect with nature and the local environment. We also believe that as children learn to care for themselves and others, they also begin to learn to care for the world around them. Experiencing and learning about the environment in early childhood builds a foundation for lifelong environmental literacy. 

Who We Are

The Natural Start Alliance is a coalition of educators, parents, organizations, and others who want to help young children connect with nature and care for the environment. Natural Start is a project of the North American Association for Environmental Education.

What We Do

Natural Start connects the people who teach young children—whether they are professionals or parents—with the tools they need to create great educational experiences that help young children explore the natural world, understand their environment, and build lifelong skills that will help keep them active and engaged in their communities. Specifically, we work on:

1. Building the Case
Natural Start serves as a clearinghouse for research-based evidence that demonstrates the importance of nature and other direct experiences with the environment in young children's development and education. Natural Start also supports new research to help us understand the most effective ways to design and implement quality early childhood education programs.

2. Providing the Tools
Natural Start provides inspiration, guidance, and support to people who connect young children with nature and their environment.

3. Promoting Access for All
Natural Start works to ensure that all young children enjoy access to high-quality education that uses children's local environments as a framework for learning, based on the latest research about what works in education.

4. Advocating for Children
Natural Start advocates for high-quality early childhood education for all children, recognizing that experiences with nature and the environment play a key role in high-quality early childhood education.

5. Creating a Community
The Natural Start Alliance is a community of individuals and organizations who share a common interest in creating high-quality early childhood education opportunities for all young people. The Alliance provides opportunities for its members to connect, share ideas, and support each other.