Bright Ideas

Register Now for the Nature-Based Preschool Conference

Jenn Wright

The Nature-Based Preschool Conference is a professional gathering to provide nature-preschool educators with resources, connections, and inspiration to enhance the world of nature play and education. This year, the conference will be held August 20th-23rd in conjunction with the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) Annual Summit at the Kalamazoo Nature Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The goal of the conference is to create a forum for educators to share ideas around nature-based education for young children. Conference highlights include:


Wednesday, August 20 (at the Kalamazoo Nature Center)

  • Welcome evening reception


Thursday, August 21 (at the Nature’s Way Preschool)

  • Tour the new building at Nature’s Way Preschool and its outdoor areas
  • Concurrent sessions—Examples include:
  • Sticks and Fairies: A Waldkindergarten’s Perspective on Gender
  • Integrating High-Quality Early Childhood Methods
  • Parent Communication and Involvement
  • Engaging Parents and the Community Through Special Programs
  • Nature as a Catalyst for Emerging Curriculum
  • Demonstrating Children’s Learning: Student portfolios that support assessment and are fun and meaningful for children and families
  • Hands-on Creative Activities for the Nature Classroom
  • Preschool in the Woods
  • Spreading the Word on the Nature-Based Approach to the Early Childhood World


Friday, August 22 (at the Kalamazoo Nature Center)

  • Facilitated sessions on nature preschool topics such as:

  - Sticks as educational tools

  - Outdoor play spaces

  - Hiking with young children

  - Using public policy to advance the nature preschool movement

  • Panel Discussion: Diverse approaches to nature preschools and their near kin


Saturday, August 23

  • Off-Site Session Option (additional $25 for transportation): Visit Little Hawks Preschool at the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland, MI. Also visit several other natural play areas and learn about a recent grant the ODC received to help preschools “green up” their play areas.
  • On-Site Option (no additional charge): Open Space—participants can offer up specific topics to explore through group sharing and conversation.
  • Evening dinner with live music


For more information, download a conference brochure, or visit the conference website. Register by July 15th to avoid higher registration rates!





conference, professional development