Feature Stories

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.

September 2019

Sunny Crandell

This article, written by Sunny Crandell, shares how The Oaks Parent-Child Workshop incrementally moved toward a nature-based learning model. Take away ideas for increasing children’s nature connectedness in just about any preschool setting.

July 2019

Emilian Geczi

More educators are looking for simple ways to bring the many benefits of nature-based education to their students. This article outlines three nature-oriented dispositions that educators can foster in just about any learning setting – traditional or nature-based – starting today!

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

June 2019

Catherine Koons Hubbard

The "between times" in a school day are much more than a way to transition from one activity to the next and are essential to children's learning and development.

May 2019

Mindy Beltramo

A big vision, an effective plan, and plenty of community support helped a New Hampshire public school build its dream outdoor learning space.

April 2019

Natalie Lucas

Natalie Lucas argues that, by listening to children and providing them with opportunities for exploration and meaning-making, educators can affirm their perspective, agency, and, indeed, expertise on caring for the environment.

March 2019

Emilian Geczi

By planning nature field trips that are developmentally appropriate for young children, we can bring joy, authenticity, and wonder to their growth and learning.

Image credit: Briana's Childcare, Tucson, AZ

February 2019

Monica Farmer and Tania Hinojosa

Books not only foster children’s literacy and language development but can also expand children’s understanding of the world and love of nature. Here are some tips for incorporating a range of books into your nature-based early learning program.