Professional Development Opportunities

Resources

ONGOING

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.

2019

February

February 25, 2019 to June 10, 2019
Toronto, Canada,
Get ready to go deep in assessing the benefits of risk in the outdoors and how to build adventure into your day. Learn how to use tools with children, and how you can incorporate risk benefit assessment into daily routines. There are two 2018-2019 workshops to choose from.
February 25, 2019 to May 27, 2019
Toronto, Canada,
Dive into ‘loose parts play,’ nature games, and storytelling that you can use right away. Explore creative and cost-effective approaches to setting up your outdoor nature play space. We can help you make it happen! There are six 2018–2019 one-day workshops to choose from.
February 25, 2019 to March 25, 2019
Toronto, Canada,
Explore how story-telling and games connect children to nature. Reflect on your experiences, and learn approaches and language that will help you build support for your outdoor practice with fellow educators and parents. There are two 2018-2018 workshops to choose from.

March

March 20, 2019 to March 22, 2019
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center & Douglas-Hart Nature Center
Mattoon, IL
The Environmental Education Association of Illinois (EEAI) is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the 2019 Conference and Annual Meeting, to be held in Mattoon, Illinois. EEAI invites you to submit proposals now through November 30, 2018. Submitting presenters will be notified of the outcome of the proposal review process no later than December 15, 2018. EEAI is a statewide, nonprofit, professional organization with the purpose of maintaining a vital network that supports and advances quality environmental education throughout the state. Our membership consists of classroom teachers, non-formal educators, natural resource professionals, professors, university students and nature enthusiasts. Participants attending the 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference will attend sessions designed around the theme “EE: Rooted for Life.” We invite you to participate by submitting a proposal for a session that can impact educators from across Illinois. The Conference Chairs are specifically looking at proposals that can possibly fit one of the following strands: administration/management, formal educators, and non-formal educators. ​ Concurrent speakers will present Friday, March 21 or Saturday, March 22 at the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. For more information, please contact Pam Evans, Conference Program Chair at [email protected] Visit www.EEAI.net for conference updates. Call for Presenters
March 23, 2019
Academy Elementary School
Brattleboro, VT
This year we’re expanding our focus from pre-school & Kindergarten to pre-school through 3rd grade in response to the many 1st through 3rd grade teachers who are moving their curriculum out into the woods and fields around their schools. We’ll be focusing on how to work with children outdoors in winter at this event.
March 30, 2019
River Arts Center, 74 Pleasant St
Morrisville, VT
This is an opportunity to explore and expand your personal and professional experience related to food and nutrition programming while building and strengthening community connections. You’ll immerse yourself in hands-on, child-centered learning experiences like making humus, taste testing, and wool felting! Activities are aligned with practical discussions for community networking with local farmers and food system experts. Learn how Farm to Early Childhood concepts promote children’s learning, social emotional well-being, healthy eating habits, family engagement, and community building.

April

April 13, 2019
Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
Mansfield, GA
This workshop will explore both the Project WILD and Growing Up WILD curriculums. The Growing Up Wild Curriculum Guide contains 27 hands-on, multi-disciplinary and instructionally sound educational activities for 3-7 year olds. The Project WILD curriculums contains 154 hands-on, minds-on activities for grade K-12th. You will participate in hands-on activities highlighting wildlife populations, habitats and ecosystems, interdependence of animals on each other and the land, and adaptations animal have to survive.
April 18, 2019
Watershed Education Training Institution
Millersville, PA
This workshop will focus on lessons and activities for early childhood environmental education from the Stroud Water Research Center and Pennsylvania State Parks, including activities from the Growing Up WILD curriculum. Activities will be hands-on and outside, so please dress for the weather and wear good walking shoes. Dinner will be provided.
April 23, 2019 to April 26, 2019
Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, IL
NatureStart™ is a professional development program that trains informal educators in museums, zoos, aquariums, and nature centers, along with other professionals who interact with young children and families, to develop and facilitate early childhood nature play programs, create play settings for nature-based early learning, and engage and interact with young children and their families to foster lifelong connections with nature.
April 23, 2019 to May 3, 2019
Scotland and England,
Join us for the first UK Forest School Study Tour offered by ERAFANS! We will visit several nature-based early learning programs in Scotland and England during our adventurous 10-day trip. This study tour takes place during the school year so that we can observe children and UK practitioners engaged in outdoor learning. We will also participate in professional development workshops offered by select nature-based programs. Don't worry, we've built in some time for you to explore on your own, too!
April 26, 2019
Duluth, MN
We invite you to attend a research symposium focused on early childhood outdoor play at the University of MN Duluth, from noon to 3:30 PM on Friday, April 26th. The event will include lunch, presentations, and discussion about international perspectives on outdoor play in early childhood learning and development. Four researchers will highlight research and programs from China (Anji Childhood Education Research Center); University of Oulu, Finland; Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education, Norway; and the Duluth Nature Play Collaborative/University of MN Duluth in Minnesota. We are looking forward to an engaging afternoon of lectures and dialogue with other researchers and practitioners in the field of outdoor and nature-based play and learning. The day following the research symposium (Sat. April 27) will be a practitioner-oriented workshop, hosted by Duluth Nature Play Collaborative and MN Early Childhood Outdoors. RSVP by Friday, March 1 to Aaron Crowell ([email protected])
April 27, 2019
Teton Science Schools
Jackson, WY
This In Mud workshop is co-sponsored with the Teton Science School. Check back for more information coming soon.
April 27, 2019
Wildrock, 6600 Blackwells Hollow Rd
Crozet, VA
You can expect a hands-on day of outdoor fun in nature! Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based programs. Training is ideal for educators working with children ages 3-6 years old. Light breakfast and lunch are included on Saturday, but bring your canteen for drinks.In addition to interactive workshops, our hosts at the Wildrock offer an informal tour of their center and grounds over lunch. Presented by ERAFANS.
April 27, 2019
Kittery Community Center
Kittery, ME
This year we’re expanding our focus from pre-school & Kindergarten to pre-school through 3rd grade in response to the many 1st through 3rd grade teachers who are moving their curriculum out into the woods and fields around their schools. We’ll be working with the vibrant nature-based early childhood community in Maine. We look forward to a lovely warm spring day to celebrate the end of Earth Week! This conference has always filled to capacity, so plan to register early.

May

May 1, 2019
Chicago Botanic Garden
Glencoe, IL
Inspiring Nature Play is an annual conference geared toward enabling access to developmentally appropriate nature play experiences for an early childhood audience (birth through age 8). Attendees of the conference include 200 formal and informal educators, administrators, and parents with a range of early childhood and environmental education backgrounds and expertise.
May 18, 2019
Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary
Mattapan, MA
Discover ways that nature-based learning enhances skill development during a hands-on day of training! Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based programs. Training is ideal for educators working with children ages 3-8 years old. Also includes a tour of our host's Pathways to Nature Preschool and plenty of time to explore the wildlife sanctuary and grounds. Light breakfast and lunch are included. We will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event, too. Please dress for the weather, as at least 50% of this event will take place outdoors, and don't forget your canteen!
May 22, 2019 to May 24, 2019
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
Tampa, FL
NatureStart™ is a professional development program that trains informal educators in museums, zoos, aquariums, and nature centers, along with other professionals who interact with young children and families, to develop and facilitate early childhood nature play programs, create play settings for nature-based early learning, and engage and interact with young children and their families to foster lifelong connections with nature.

June

June 8, 2019
The Hitchcock Center for the Environment
Amherst, MA
This year we’re expanding our focus from pre-school & Kindergarten to pre-school through 3rd grade in response to the many 1st through 3rd grade teachers who are moving their curriculum out into the woods and fields around their schools. Join us at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment where we are confident that the clematis, iris, peonies, AND dandelions will all be in bloom!
June 22, 2019
Carrie Murray Nature Center
Baltimore, MD
This day-long event is a great primer to help you start your nature-based preschool, childcare, or home-school program. We will discuss a range of topics including business structures, staffing/hiring, curriculum development, insurance, enrollment procedures, partnering with other organizations, and more. We will invite you to submit three questions during registration so we can tailor our presenters specifically to your needs. Breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack will be provided. Most of the session will take place outdoors, so please dress for the weather and bring a canteen.

July

July 8, 2019 to July 12, 2019
Waldorf School of Baltimore
Baltimore, MD
We are thrilled to offer a five-day Nature-based Teacher Certification! This 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. Whether you are in a formal school or childcare setting or working in a nature or forest preschool, this course is designed to meet the needs of early childhood educators working in any setting. The introductory certification course covers a range of skills and approaches crucial to implementing nature-based early childhood pedagogy.
July 15, 2019 to July 19, 2019
Waldorf School of Baltimore
Baltimore, MD
We are thrilled to offer a five-day Nature-based Teacher Certification! This 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. Whether you are in a formal school or childcare setting or working in a nature or forest preschool, this course is designed to meet the needs of early childhood educators working in any setting. The intermediate course is intended for participants who have already completed the intro credential. During the registration process, you have the opportunity to include special topics for deeper study.
July 31, 2019 to August 3, 2019
700 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
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 on July 31-August 3, 2019, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire for engaging presentations, experiential workshops, site tours, and professional networking with 400 nature-based early childhood professionals from around the country and beyond.

August

August 12, 2019 to August 16, 2019
Wildflower Learning Community
Chapel Hill, NC
We are thrilled to offer a five-day Nature-based Teacher Certification! This 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. Whether you are in a formal school or childcare setting or working in a nature or forest preschool, this course is designed to meet the needs of early childhood educators working in any setting. The introductory certification course covers a range of skills and approaches crucial to implementing nature-based early childhood pedagogy.