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.



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 ( For more information about the research roundtable symposium, please contact


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 4, 2017
You know that natural play spaces have significant benefits for young children. But how do you go about creating one? This is a quick and dirty intro to planning a natural play space, no matter your setting. We will walk through important design considerations, features, and ways to mobilize your learning community for support. Webinar Part 3 is on May 5.
May 5, 2017
Yes, all the elements for meaningful learning are already right there in nature with no enhancement needed. But if you want to facilitate skill development in specific ways, then loose parts, tools and props can supplement outdoor learning experiences. This webinar explores a plethora of materials, tools and props with corresponding activities and processes that you will want to try!
May 5, 2017 to May 6, 2017
Adelaide, Australia,
This Global Conference in Adelaide, Australia will be an opportunity for members and those interested in joining the Association to bring together research, thoughts, and experiences through engaging keynotes and experiential workshops on Nature Pedagogy. Join Board Members, Claire Warden, Anders Farstad, Doug Fargher, and Wendy Lee with national colleagues for two days of inspiration.
May 6, 2017
Kortright Centre for Conservation
Vaughan, OR, Canada,
Join us for a day in the forest celebrating play and nature. Our keynote speaker is Marlene Power, Executive Director, Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. Marlene will be focusing on Forest and Nature-based learning in Canada and part of the keynote will include an audiovisual component with a video of what Forest and Nature School looks like in practice. After the keynote we invite participants to observe an EarthPlay pop up adventure playground in action! In addition there will be stations set up throughout the forest to visit and to play facilitated by Forest and Nature-based educators.
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 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 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 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.