Nature-Based Early Learning Conference


Thank you to all that attended the 2019 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference! We will be sharing updates about the 2020 Conference as we have them, so stay tuned. We hope to see you at next year's conference! 


July 31-August 3, 2019, Manchester, New Hampshire

The Natural Start Alliance's annual conference is the nation's largest professional event for teaching, administration, research, and advocacy in nature-based early learning. Join us for engaging presentations, experiential workshops, site tours, and professional networking with nature-based early childhood professionals from around the country and beyond. 

Download the 2019 Conference Program for full details.


The conference helps you to:

  • Plan, run, and advocate for nature preschools, forest kindergartens, Forest Days, and other nature-based early learning programs
  • Learn about strategies, curricula, and documentation in nature-based early learning settings
  • Improve fundraising, marketing, and other administration tasks associated with nature-based early childhood programs
  • Learn about the latest research on early childhood environmental education and best practices in teacher preparation
  • Network with nature-based early learning professionals from your region


Keynote Address

Mother Nature's Pedagogy: How Children Educate Themselves Naturally Through Free Play and Exploration
Peter Gray, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He is the author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine, and is a founding member and president of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, which aims to create a world in which children’s natural ways of learning are facilitated rather than suppressed.


Registration for the conference is now open.

Subscribe to the Natural Start Alliance Newsletter to receive all conference-related communications. Questions? Reach us at [email protected] anytime.


Check out the highlights of each day and what your registration covers.

Peruse the list of sessions confirmed so far!

Visit model programs and participate in a professional development workshop or the inaugural nature-based early learning Higher Education Summit.

Learn about the conference venue and reserve a room at our special group rate.

Information on continuing education credits, finding a roommate, and more.

Showcase your services and support for nature-based early learning professionals.