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

December

December 6, 2017
“But will my child be ready for kindergarten?” We hear this question time and again as parents grapple with where to send their children to preschool. This webinar organized by the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools in partnership with Natural Start explores how nature preschools prepare children for future learning by supporting growth across developmental domains.
2018

January

January 26, 2018
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, IL
NatureStart™ regional model for professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers as they provide play-based nature education for children from birth to age 8 and their families in those institutions. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings. All three sessions on Jan.26, Feb.23, April 27, 2018 are required for completion.
January 27, 2018
Terrebonne, OR
This winter, spend two days (January 27th and February 3rd) at Smith Rock State Park for a special training for preschool educators. The training will increase your confidence and capacity to lead your students in outdoor exploration and learning. We’ll spend plenty of time engaging in hands-on, interdisciplinary activities, networking with colleagues, and learning about the wealth of community resources for exploring the natural world with young children. Participants will take home Growing Up Wild and Project Learning Tree’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood curriculum.

February

February 2, 2018
Bronx, NY
NatureStart™ regional model for professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers and early childhood educators as they provide nature play-based early learning opportunities for young children and their families in those institutions and programs.. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society, which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings. All three sessions on Feb 2, Mar 16, Apr 27, 2018 are required for completion.
February 3, 2018
Terrebonne, OR
This winter, spend two days (January 27th and February 3rd) at Smith Rock State Park for a special training for preschool educators. The training will increase your confidence and capacity to lead your students in outdoor exploration and learning. We’ll spend plenty of time engaging in hands-on, interdisciplinary activities, networking with colleagues, and learning about the wealth of community resources for exploring the natural world with young children. Participants will take home Growing Up Wild and Project Learning Tree’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood curriculum.
February 23, 2018
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, IL
NatureStart™ regional model for professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers as they provide play-based nature education for children from birth to age 8 and their families in those institutions. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings. All three sessions on Jan.26, Feb.23, April 27, 2018 are required for completion.

March

March 9, 2018
Shelburne, VT
Spend three days of hands-on, discussion and activity based learning and exploration of the Shelburne Farms campus, including the dairy, farmyard, garden, and forest classrooms. Workshop topics include: creating a safe learning environment, developing programs, resource sharing and networking among participants, and more!
March 16, 2018
Bronx, NY
NatureStart™ regional model for professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers and early childhood educators as they provide nature play-based early learning opportunities for young children and their families in those institutions and programs.. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society, which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings. All three sessions on Feb 2, Mar 16, Apr 27, 2018 are required for completion.

April

April 9, 2018 to April 14, 2018
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, IL
NatureStart™ is a professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers as they provide play-based nature education for children from birth to age 8 and their families in those institutions. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings.
April 9, 2018 to April 14, 2018
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, IL
NatureStart™ is a professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers as they provide play-based nature education for children from birth to age 8 and their families in those institutions. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings.
April 14, 2018 to April 15, 2018
Asheville, NC
Do you want to better understand the role of healthy play in a young child’s developing relationship to nature? Do you wish you could feel more calm and adept at handling children’s risky play? Join us in celebration of the genius of children’s natural play! The Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers, School of Integrated Living, and local partners invite you to join in an exciting weekend of hands-on, research-based, and anecdotal learning. The weekend conference is hosted at Earthaven Ecovillage. As always, the conference will be infused with songs, games, stories, and deeper nature connection. Reaching Nature Connection (RNC) is an annual, outdoor conference based on forest schools, wilderness awareness, and early childhood education. Participants will be linked to a diverse group of outdoor educators. This conference is designed for beginners and experienced educators alike, as well as therapists, administrators, homeschoolers, camp counselors, and parents. Reaching Nature Connection offers an opportunity to set your watch aside and allow the leaders of the conference to hold time for you. The rhythm of each day is designed to move between active and contemplative learning, with a thematic thread running throughout. We will flow between lecture, discussion, and hands-on components. CEUs are offered through Antioch University Santa Barbara.
April 27, 2018
Bronx, NY
NatureStart™ regional model for professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers and early childhood educators as they provide nature play-based early learning opportunities for young children and their families in those institutions and programs.. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society, which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings. All three sessions on Feb 2, Mar 16, Apr 27, 2018 are required for completion.
April 27, 2018
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, IL
NatureStart™ regional model for professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, nature centers as they provide play-based nature education for children from birth to age 8 and their families in those institutions. NatureStart™ is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based play and learning programs and environments for young children and families in informal science settings. All three sessions on Jan.26, Feb.23, April 27, 2018 are required for completion.

May

May 2, 2018
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
Join this annual professional development event geared toward enabling access to developmentally appropriate nature play experiences for early childhood (birth through age 8). Keynote David Sobel will focus on innovations in nature play for early childhood and early elementary age groups. Through interactive workshops, you will be inspired to push beyond your comfort zones to expand your concept of nature play and come away with hands-on ideas that can be immediately integrated into work with young children. Sessions will be led by a variety of early childhood and environmental experts.

June

June 25, 2018 to July 6, 2018
Bishop, CA
The Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers offers high quality, experiential, in-depth training and certification for current and up and coming early childhood educators dedicated to connecting children with Nature. In order to build a strong foundation in developmentally appropriate practices, deep nature connection and naturalist skills, we provide an active, engaging, and transformational curriculum. The Academy's comprehensive teacher training program provides our students with the theoretical, practical skills, knowledge, and magic to become exceptional educators and mentors in the field. The Foundation Course is open to everyone, from beginners to seasoned naturalists and educators. This course lays the groundwork for those on a journey towards Forest Kindergarten Teacher Certification. Level 1 participants may be experienced naturalists and educators. Level 1 also welcomes beginners, those with naturalist skills eager to understand early childhood development and practices, as well as those with an early childhood education background who want to develop naturalist skills to deepen their work. Early registration is advised. CEUs are offered through Antioch University Santa Barbara.