Feature Stories

December 2020

Natural Start Staff

We rounded up all the resources and book recommendations shared during our interactive Holiday Book Fair, now easily accessible all in one place. Browse diverse and inclusive children's books, wintery selections, and books recommended for adults to help you renew and reset.

Photo by: Berkeley Forest School

October 2020

Natural Start Staff

Natural start recently hosted a discussion centered on the challenges, positive outcomes, and unexpected moments that come with reopening nature preschools amid a pandemic. View the recording of the forum and browse related resources and reflections.

September 2020

Catherine Koons Hubbard, Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool, Milwaukee WI

Catherine Koons Hubbard, Nature Preschool Director at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, reflects on the anxious months leading up to reopening summer programs and shares some lessons learned along with the unexpected positive outcomes of operating an outdoor education program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

June 2020

Natural Start Staff

As nature-based early education programs are reopening, the Natural Start Alliance has been getting a lot of questions about how to use masks effectively. Hear from several nature-based programs that have either remained open, recently reopened, or plan to reopen soon on how they're using masks and what they've learned.

April 2020

Adrienne Hofmann

Nature-based educators across the country are adapting how they teach and connect with young children. In this month's Feature, Adrienne Hofmann tells the story of how educators at Juniper Hill School adapted and found light and hope in their new approach.

March 2020

Natural Start Staff

With children home from school, the nature-based community has shifted to provide learning opportunities from afar. We asked members of the Alliance, “What are you doing to connect with children and families and encourage nature-based learning at home?” Read a snapshot of how educators and organizations are approaching nature-based learning in a time of crisis.

February 2020

Rachel Franz, Twig & Thread Consulting

The concept of “fit” has been long discussed in the nature-based early education community: How do we know that our programs are a good match for certain students, and what do we do if we think they are not? Rachel Franz takes a closer look at this question.

Photo credit: Nancy Striniste

January 2020

Nancy Striniste

Natural places and spaces engage children's senses and inspire curiosity and a connection to the earth. Nancy Striniste, a landscape designer and dearly childhood educator, shares the importance of transforming children's everyday spaces into natural oases.

Photo by: Tiny Trees Preschool

November 2019

Kit Harrington

In October 2019, Washington became the first state in the country to license outdoor preschools. Kit Harrington, former director of Fiddleheads Forest School and founder of the Washington Nature Preschool Association, helped to develop Washington's outdoor preschool licensing standards. In our latest Feature Story, Kit reflects on what this development means for the field of nature-based early learning and how what's happening in Washington can serve as a model for future advocacy.

Photo from The Nature Preschool at Irvine Nature Center

October 2019

Amy Butler, Eliza Minnucci, and Natural Start Staff

As nature preschools and forest kindergartens continue to grow in popularity across the US, an increasing number of parents and educators are asking the question, “How can nature-based learning continue into elementary school?” While there isn’t any one answer to this question, we asked two veteran outdoor educators, Amy Butler and Eliza Minnucci, to facilitate small group discussions on the topic. Here you'll find a summary of what we discussed and suggested resources from Amy and Eliza.