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Planting the Seeds of the Future: Cleveland Metroparks Nature Preschool Speaker Series

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Nature-based early childhood education is growing in popularity in the U.S. Yet many parents and educators are wondering about this unique approach to teaching young children. How is it beneficial? Are children in these programs successful in kindergarten and beyond? I will answer these questions and more in my presentation as part of Cleveland Metroparks Nature Preschool Speaker Series. 

For more information contact Cleveland Metroparks at 440-734-6660.

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to Oct 14

Midwest Environmental Education Conference Keynote Address

The Midwest Environmental Education Conference (MEEC) is a professional development collaboration between four states—Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The EE Associations in these states invite all to join together for local field studies, educational sessions, trainings and workshops focused on environmental, cultural, and historical interpretation and education. MEEC is held every two years, and the 2017 conference is being organized by the Environmental Education Association of Illinois. I'm honored and excited to me one of this year's keynote speakers. I will also be providing a one-hour concurrent session "Developmentally Appropriate Practices--The Dos and Don'ts of Working with Young Children." 

Attendees must register for the conference. You can learn more and register here

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to Aug 5

Nature-Based Preschool National Conference 2017

I will be presenting a concurrent session with my colleague, Dave Catlin, on business planning related to starting up a nature-based preschool. I will also be presenting a research poster related to a project I've been working on with David Sobel and Dr. Lori Skibbe. Session attendees must be registered for the conference. For more information about the Nature-Based Preschool National Conference, click here.

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to Jun 15

Nature Preschool Institute 2017

I will be joining the staff of Chippewa Nature Center's Nature Preschool in facilitating this four-day workshop. The Institute allows preschool educators to see the teachers and students in action (three of the four mornings) while also learning about the philosophy and nature-based teaching practices. You'll walk away with the information and skills to incorporate nature-based concepts into daily preschool routines while maintaining the integrity of their best practice curriculum. Topics will include: 

  • Benefits of Nature Play
  • Real versus perceived outdoor risks
  • Naturalizing outdoor play areas
  • Integrating nature into indoor spaces
  • Seasonal activities to incorporate into the classroom

Fee ($400) includes snacks, lunches, handouts & take-home resources. Michigan SCECHs available (pending approval). Each day runs 8:30am to 4:30pm. 

To register call Chippewa Nature Center at 989-631-0830 or visit (Registration will be open January 2.) If you have any questions, contact Madison Powell at 989-631-0830 or You can also download the flyer here.

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to Jun 8

Nature-Based Education Workshop at Blandford Nature Center

Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, MI will be hosting this two-day workshop on nature-based education. We'll provide educators the information and skills to incorporate nature-based concepts into daily routines while maintaining the integrity of their best practice curriculum. Topics will include:

  • Benefits of Nature Play
  • Real versus perceived outdoor risks
  • Naturalizing outdoor play areas
  • Integrating nature into indoor spaces
  • Leading effective excursions
  • Seasonal activities to incorporate into the classroom (large & small group)

Participants will also observe West Side Christian Nature-based program in action and facilities.

Fee ($400/ $375 for the first 10 early bird sign-ups) includes snacks, lunches, handouts & take-home resources. Certificates and Michigan SCECHs available (pending approval). Each day runs from 8:45am to 4:00pm.

To register click: Nature-based Education Workshop. If you have any questions, contact Janet Staal at (616) 735-6240×23 or

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to May 27

Mindstretchers Study Tour Conference

I'll be joining Claire Warden and her Mindstretchers team as part of the conference portion of the May 2017 Study Tour. Join us! It is sure to be a fabulous week!

Mindstretchers explains: “The tour will allow you to feel nature pedagogy in action, develop your learning experiences, find out about emerging trends, develop your professional network with international colleagues, rekindle your motivation for nature pedagogy, gain confidence and energy through our workshops and lectures, and get an insight into the national and local culture of Scotland. You will also be given free time every night to allow for personal reflection and networking.”

Click here for more information or here to see the Study Tour flyer. 

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AMA Great Start Collaborative Preschool Conference

Looking forward to presenting three concurrent sessions at this event. (Also super excited to get to see Jim Gill's keynote!) Registration is required and is open April 24th through May 8th. If you have any questions, contact Angie Bruning at or (989) 354-3101, Ext. 124.

For the program guide, click here.

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8:00 AM08:00

In Bloom Conference: Promising Practices in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education (Keynote Address)

  • Eyes of the World Discovery Center (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

I am excited to be one of two keynote speakers and session presenters at the April 22 "In Bloom Conference" in Kittery, Maine, hosted by Antioch University of New England. The conference will feature morning and afternoon keynotes and two workshop timeslots to actively engage in the nature programming of your choice. All events focus on the educational and health benefits of being in the natural world with children.

My keynote is titled From Preschool to Early Elementary: Learning from One Community’s Journey with Nature-based Education. Amy Butler, of North Branch Nature Center, will be the other keynote speaking on A New Path in the Forest: Moving Beyond the Classroom for Exploration, Creativity and Growth.

Registration will open in mid-January. To register, or for more information, click here. To view the event brochure, click here

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8:00 AM08:00

Coming Together for Children Early Childhood Conference

I'm excited to be presenting a session titled "Integrating Nature into the Preschool Classroom--Both Indoors and Outdoors" at the Central Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children's (CMAEYC) annual conference.

This requires conference registration. For more information or to register, click here

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to Jan 28

Opening Minds Early Education, Child Care, and School Age Conference & Expo

I'll be joining Claire Warden at the Opening Minds Early Education, Child Care, and School Age Conference in Chicago as one of her U.S. Associate Trainers. Claire will kick off the session with a 1-hour overview of her Nature Pedagogy philosophy which is a nature-based approach to being with children inside, outside in play areas, and beyond into parks and forests. As Claire says, “Nature pedagogy is giving people an identity to be able to say that they are proud and skilled to learn with nature, anywhere in the world. Imagine Nature Pedagogues inspiring and connecting children, families and education across the globe, fabulous.” Other sessions will include:

Science: How does water move? Explore the properties of water; test theories of solid, liquids and gas as we create water systems in the room.

Technology: Why doesn’t the spider stick to the web? Use technology to look at the fascinating world of spiders and gecko feet to unlock how things stick.

Engineering: Who teaches a bird how to build a nest? Nature’s engineers are very skillful.  Explore how termites, bees and birds have amazing skills to be engineers, construct structures using nature as a provocation.

Math: Why is a banana curved? Is it possible that the natural world is actually mathematically designed?  Unlock the mysteries of spirals, curves and whorls.

In all the workshops you will:

  • Leave the sessions with more enthusiasm, knowledge and skills than when you came in!
  • Understand how to make scientific thinking visible through Floorbooks and Talking Tubs™
  • Have an awareness of how to respond to children’s interests and fascinations
  • Be able to see how to help children progress in their theories and ideas through the expressive arts
  • Receive a Nature Passport to share with others as a record of the thinking you have done at the start of your Journey into Nature to learn about S.T.E.A.M.

For more information or to register click here.

More about Claire Warden, B.ED (Hons):

International educational consultant, working across Australia, Canada, USA and Europe.
Founder of International Association of Nature Pedagogy & MD Mindstretchers Ltd

Claire’s approach to Nature Kindergartens has earned her international recognition as a pioneer in educational thinking. Her respect for children and families runs through the Floorbook approach that is used within Nature Pedagogy to incorporate children’s voices into intentional teaching. Claire Warden is one of the world’s leading consultants and writers on the use of consultative methods in education.

The centre for excellence she has set up in the UK is renowned for Auchlone Nature Kindergarten and the consultative Floorbooks used there.  Her own learning pathway as a teacher, involves working in a wide variety of settings (2-18 years), mentoring and advisory work, authoring over 14 books and designing resources and landscapes.

Claire is an international advisor to the Children and Nature Network, World Forum Foundation and the International School Grounds Group. She was voted Exceptional Master Leader in the field of Early Care and Education, is a Visiting Fellow at Strathclyde University and is currently engaged in a PhD exploring Nature Pedagogy.

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