Professional Development Opportunities

Resources

ONGOING

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.

2017

March

March 31, 2017 to April 2, 2017
New Canaan Nature Center
New Canaan, CT
This Summit at New Canaan Nature Center is an event for nature-based early childhood practitioners who want to recharge and celebrate! Learn nature-based best practices from passionate experts and enthusiastic newcomers alike.

April

April 8, 2017
Gilsland Farm
Portland, ME
At Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth, Maine, this 5-hour workshop introduces early childhood educators to Growing Up WILD materials, activities, and strategies. All Participants receive curriculum guides, background information.
April 8, 2017
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Denver, CO
The earth beneath our feet holds an amazing amount of information about our natural world and about human history. Paleontologists find and study fossils (including dinosaurs!), archaeologists excavate sites and study human artifacts, and soil scientists interpret the chemistry, biology and physics of soil. Join us as we take an inquiry approach to all three sciences with playful explorations, literacy connections, and hands-on lesson ideas that you can use in your class tomorrow!
April 14, 2017 to April 15, 2017
Teton Science School
Jackson, WY 83001
Children need time in nature! This Friday evening and Saturday workshop will provide teachers with the practical skills and the philosophical knowledge needed to connect children to the outdoors. Participants will learn how to prepare and plan for meaningful experiences in nature with young children, and how to bring the natural environment into the classroom and curriculum. Come play in the woods with us!
April 15, 2017
Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center--Visitors Center
Mansfield, GA
Join us in Mansfield, GA for a Growing Up WILD workshop from 9am to noon. You will learn to use and receive the Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children 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.
April 18, 2017 to April 21, 2017
Vancouver,
Join us in in Vancouver, BC, Canada for inspiring keynotes, expertly-curated workshops, field trips, and action labs designed to support and advance the work you do to connect children, families and communities to nature. Look for a special room/hub for early childhood educators!
April 20, 2017
Tenafly Nature Center
Tenafly, NJ
Growing Up WILD is a program for exploring nature with children ages 3–7, and builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Participants will receive the Growing Up WILD activity guide that includes conservation activities, reading and math connections, music and art activities, and much more. Participants will also experience Project Learning Tree's Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood that is designed especially for educators and adults working with children ages 3-6. Activities highlight the importance of kinetic learning and differentiated instruction, including opportunities to incorporate music and movement.
April 22, 2017
Eyes of the World Discovery Center
Kittery, ME 03904
Join Antioch New England’s 2017 In Bloom in Maine conference and learn from cutting edge educators who are redefining what’s possible in early childhood education. Keynotes are Amy Butler of North Branch Nature Center speaking about "A New Path in the Forest: Moving Beyond the Classroom for Exploration, Creativity and Growth"; and Rachel Larimore, founder of the Chippewa Nature Preschool in Midland, Michigan, whose talk is titled, "rom Preschool to Early Elementary: Learning from One Community’s Journey with Nature-based Education."
April 28, 2017
1715 Charlton Street
West Saint Paul, MN 55118
Dodge Nature Preschool is offering this one-day conference to give educators an opportunity to observe and learn about nature-based education. Find inspiration, engage in dialogue with colleagues and learn practical ideas to help incorporate nature-based education into your classroom and school environment.
April 29, 2017
Cincinnati Nature Center
Cincinnati, OH
Young Children in Nature, a Saturday conference at the Cincinnati Nature Center for early childhood teachers and administrators on April 29, 2017, features keynote speaker, Dr. Louise Chawla. Workshops will be taught by teachers and staff from the CNC Nature Preschool, the lab school at the University of Cincinnati's Arlitt Center for Education, Research, & Sustainability, and 4C for Children. The conference offers opportunities to connect with other early childhood education stakeholders and extend one's own professional learning. A concurrent research roundtable symposium will be facilitated by Dr. Chawla and Dr. Victoria Carr. It is sponsored by the Children, Youth & Environments Network which disseminates knowledge and stimulates discussion to support inclusive, sustainable, and healthy environments for children and youth everywhere (cyenetwork.org). For more information about the research roundtable symposium, please contact victoria.carr@uc.edu.

May

May 3, 2017
Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, IL
Join this professional development event featuring keynote speaker Chip Donohue, Ph.D., dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of the Technology in Early Childhood Center at Erikson Institute. Come away with practical and effective ideas for incorporating nature play into your early childhood programs and curriculum.
May 11, 2017
Antioch University New England
Keene, NH
Join Antioch New England’s 2017 In Bloom in Keene conference and learn from cutting edge educators who are redefining what’s possible in early childhood education. Keynotes are Joan Almon, Alliance for Childhood, Annapolis, Maryland who will speak about “Crisis in the Kindergarten: An Urgent Need for Nature, Play, and Experiential Learning;” and Meghan Fitzgerald, Education Director of Tinkergarten, whose talk is titled: “Is Today a Tinkergarten Day?”

June

June 3, 2017
The Morton Arboretum
Thornhill Education Center
LISLE, IL
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 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 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

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 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.