Professional Development Opportunities



Nature-Based Early Childhood Courses

January, Spring, and Summer Semesters at Antioch University, New England

The Nature Pre-School and Forest Kindergarten movement has been thriving in Europe for the last three decades and has recently taken root in the United States.  Currently, there is a lack of professional development, training, leadership, in this new field of nature-based early childhood education.  The Education Department at Antioch New England is initiating a new program to train teachers, administrators and founders of Nature Pre-Schools and Forest Kindergartens commencing in summer 2013. 

Project Learning Tree Early Childhood Workshops

Held throughout the country. Search webpage by state and by type (Early Childhood).

Project Learning Tree educator workshops are open to anyone, held at convenient times, and are offered for free or at a nominal charge. These workshops are designed to help you learn how to incorporate PLT activities into your current and future programming; meet other local professionals interested or already involved in environmental education; become part of a network that offers you follow-up resources and opportunities, and learn about environmental education.

Nebraska Growing Up WILD Workshops

Held throughout Nebraska for early childhood educators.  Scroll down and search for Growing Up WILD.

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. During the training workshop participants will sample activities and receive a curriculum and activity guide. 


Illinois Project Learning Tree Early Childhood Workshops

Held throughout Illinois for early childhood educators.

PLT Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood includes over 130 experiences that engage children in outdoor play and exploration and is specifically designed for educators who work with children ages three to six. During the training workshop participants will sample activities and receive a curriculum and activity guide along with accompanying music CD.


Illinois Growing Up WILD Early Childhood Workshops

Held throughout Illinois for early childhood educators.

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. During the training workshop participants will sample activities and receive a curriculum and activity guide.


Consulting Children:  Claire Warden's Interactive Online Courses

Available online for early childhood educators.

Claire Warden presents a selection of bite-sized online training through video, practical steps and downloads. These accessible courses take approximately one hour to complete providing quality, inspirational ideas, motivation, improved practice, and value for your money. There are 5 live courses now available including Floorbooks, Floorbooks and the Brain, Floorbooks and Talk, Nature Pedagogy and Risk It!


Nature Explore Workshops for Educators

Held throughout the country for adults who work with children.

Engaging, inspiring research-based Nature Explore educator workshops support comprehensive learning with nature. Designed for adults who work with children in many ways (from schools, to early childhood programs, to environmental education programs), each hands-on Nature Explore Workshop is offered regionally, or may be scheduled at your own site.


Kindergarten Teacher Training and Certification

Held monthly at Cedarsong Nature School on Vashon Island, Washington

As nature-based preschools and forest kindergartens become more popular, it is important that we maintain standards of excellence for this model. This 20-hour teacher training course prepares you to be the best forest kindergarten teacher or director possible.



June 2, 2017 to June 3, 2017
The Early Learning Institute is an annual event held each summer and began in 2015. The mission of the institute is to create an intimate, supportive, professional context for early childhood educators and natural leaders to collaborate and share nature-based practices and thinking. The aim is to connect, inspire, and encourage a variety of educators as they explore and cultivate pedagogy surrounding nature-based play and opportunities for young children, their families, and early childhood practitioners.
June 2, 2017 to June 4, 2017
Bath, ME
Join this retreat in Bath, Maine to learn to foster the holistic development of children and the creation of a more just, sustainable, and peaceful society. Deep Teaching – Growing Peace works with educators providing information, inspiration, and support for integrating experiences relating to peace, nature, and spiritual development into educational curricula and practices.
June 3, 2017
The Morton Arboretum
Thornhill Education Center
Join us at The Morton Arboretum on June 3rd, 2017, as we explore the many benefits of nature-based early childhood education. Learn from experts and peers in the field through sessions geared towards early childhood educators, students of early childhood education, and administrators. Discover how to incorporate nature into your educational practice and get tried-and-true ideas for encouraging nature play and outdoor learning.
June 3, 2017
Leila Day Nurseries
New Haven, CT
Join Antioch New England’s 2017 In Bloom in New Haven conference and learn from cutting edge educators who are redefining what’s possible in early childhood education. Keynotes are Ellen Doris, Faculty of Antioch University New England; Juliet Robertson, Director of Creative Star Learning in Scotland, speaking about “Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors;” and Anne Stires, founder and director of Juniper Hill School in Alna, Maine, whose talk is titled, “Following Chipmunks and Feeding the Fire: How Nature-based Curriculum Unfolds.”
June 6, 2017
Go Fish Education Center
Perry, GA
This educator workshop includes Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children, an early childhood education activity guide that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social and cognitive skills.
June 9, 2017 to June 10, 2017
Irvine Nature Center
Owings Mills, MD
Nature-based preschools are re-focusing the lens on early childhood education. Join us for the sixth annual conference to address the unique benefits and challenges of nature-based curriculum in early childhood programs. Attendees will participate in engaging workshops under the following strands: Nature Immersion and Wild Nature Play, Nature-based Learning in Urban Settings, and Best Practices and Curricula in Nature Preschools.
June 12, 2017 to June 15, 2017
Chippewa Nature Center
Midland, MI
This 4-day workshop, facilitated by CNC’s Nature Preschool staff and Rachel Larimore, author of Establishing A Nature-Based Preschool, will provide educators the information and skills to incorporate nature-based concepts into daily preschool routines while maintaining the integrity of their best practice curriculum. Participants will also observe Nature Preschool children and staff in a typical day of the program. Certificates or SCECHs are available.
June 12, 2017
Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, VT
Hey early childhood educators! Come experience the Farm’s garden, forest, or farm animals and explore how to utilize them to help your students connect to the land wherever they are. You’ll discover how to bring these connections back to your classroom and everyday curriculum for place-based learning at its best! Choose your track for the day to fully immerse yourself. Each track offers endless opportunities for learning!
June 15, 2017 to June 16, 2017
The Riverside Project
Charles Town, WV 25414
A two-day professional and personal opportunity for parents, teachers and mentors of children to learn how to apply the ethical framework of permaculture to design and implement place-based and community-oriented education based on the ethos: I am curious to learn about how our relationship with nature’s patterns weaves people and places together to nourish life. This course illuminates ways that permaculture can be applied to all aspects of teaching and weaves in best practices of both implicit and explicit permaculture methods as essential elements of your educational design. Therefore, it is not exclusively for outdoor, nature or garden educators, but rather is an opportunity for any educator working at any level, in any environment or specializing in any subject to learn how to integrate ethical, natural thinking tools, techniques and methods into children's education.
June 19, 2017 to June 23, 2017
Prescott, AZ
Explore the research supporting the developmental benefits to children's exposure to nature. Develop standards-based ECE activities that they can implement immediately in their setting. Consider new ways to create the space young people need to have positive nature experiences. Identify community resources to promote children's access to nature-based activities. Discuss models for assessing outcomes and advocating for nature-based activities in the home.
June 22, 2017
NH Fish and Game Headquarters
Concord, NH
Join us for a joint Project WILD and Project Learning Tree Workshop. If you are looking for quick activities to do with your summer or after school program this workshop is for you. We will be doing activities that can be done outside and help reinforce ecological concepts in a fun way. While this workshop is designed for use in camp, nature center, or after school programs, it is appropriate also for the classroom teacher. You will receive a copy of each guide. This workshop is being supported by EETAP through a grant from National Project Learning Tree. Workshop limit 20 attendees.
June 23, 2017 to June 24, 2017
University of Maine at Farmington
Farmington, ME
The University of Maine at Farmington is pleased to announce the second Nature Based Education Summer Institute. On Friday June 23, 2017 we will host pre-conference workshops, and on Saturday June 24, 2017 we look forward to a full day of conference sessions. Be sure to register soon--attendance is limited to 125 people.


July 11, 2017
Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, VT
Are you looking for new ways to connect your program to the community outside of your classroom? Join us at the Farm for hands-on, interdisciplinary activities and explore ways in which these can be adapted to your own learning community. Connect with other early childhood professionals to share best practices over these four days in a picturesque setting, leaving you energized and inspired to create even more meaningful opportunities and experiences within your program.
July 23, 2017 to July 26, 2017
Nebraska City, NE
Join with a growing community of natural outdoor classroom users and advocates to set intentions for positive growth and change. Gain practical ideas and inspiring information through presentations, hands-on activities, discussion groups and networking events. Meet two days in interest groups with people engaged in similar work and one day in a mixed group of professions to expand connections.
July 24, 2017 to July 28, 2017
North Branch Nature Center
Montpelier, VT
This five-day standards based nature immersion course is geared for PreK-12 teachers, assistants, aides and administrators. During the week, a leadership team of professional nature immersion specialists guides teachers in direct application of outdoor classroom routines as well as ways to incorporate NGSS and Common Core into those routines. NOTE: this week in July (considered Session 2) is specifically recommended for preschool teachers. Session 1 is held June 26-30.


August 3, 2017 to August 5, 2017
Seattle, WA
The 2017 Nature-Based Preschool National Conference will be held on August 3-5 at Seattle University in the heart of Seattle. Join us for engaging sessions, diverse site tours, professional networking, and connecting with nature.


October 7, 2017 to October 8, 2017
Raintree School
2100 S. Mason Rd
St. Louis, MO 63131
It's back again -- The 2nd Annual Forest School Congress of the Midwest! And this fall, we're spending the night in the forest with 120 of our favorite experiential educators and forest school practitioners. Bring your tent and sleeping bag - we're camping in the woodland for two beautiful fall days filled with fire making, tool making, storytelling, the theory and practice of forest school, and more! Experiential educators of every grade level, preschool through highschool, and forest school teachers of every skill level are invited to attend this year's micro-retreat.