FREE Webinars

We are thrilled to offer a range of great online topics here to help you gain valuable perspectives on nature-based education. The following content is FREE to you, thanks to ERAFANS members whose annual membership donations make it possible. If you're not a member, consider joining us today!

Staying Connected: Nature Play & Outdoor Learning
Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 2PM (EST)
Encore live broadcast!

Presenters: Ayana Verdi, Verdi EcoSchool; Monica French, Wild Haven Forest Preschool; and Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, ERAFANS

Originally presented live on 3/18/20
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Let's re-frame this hiatus from the coronavirus as an opportunity for more healthy nature connection with children! This free webinar will explore the many wonderful possibilities afforded by nature play and learning for parents, teachers, and of course - kids! We will consider how to stay connected as a community by interacting with nature and examine ways to use technology to bring us closer to nature and each other.

Join champions of nature-based education Ayana Verdi, founder of Verdi EcoSchool and homeschool mom in Melbourne, FL; Monica French, co-founder and director of Wild Haven Forest Preschool & Childcare in Baltimore, MD; and Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, founding director of ERAFANS and co-author of Nature Play Workshop for Families (Quarto Press: 2020) to discuss ways we can stay connected through nature play and learning.

Gentle Yoga for Grounding
Wednesdays, starting March 25, 2020 at 7:30 PM (EST)

Presenter: Simona Lederman, Nature PlaySchool


This is a gentle yoga practice to ground and release any energy that doesn’t serve us right now and connect back to our inner voice. Simona draws on her experience as a certified trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator to guide you through a gentle practice focused on choice and interoception.  

Simona Lederman is a registered yoga teacher, a certified trauma-sensitive facilitator (TCTSY-F), a Certified Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide, and a Forest School teacher. Simona is the founding director of Nature Playschool, an organization that utilizes nature as a space for children, adults, and families to learn, connect, and heal. As a Kripalu Mindful Outdoor Guide (KMOG), Simona supports groups and individuals in mindful connections with nature and their bodies through movement and meditation. She blends her knowledge and experience with her intuition to support each participant in reconnecting with their body and regain agency. She primarily works with veterans with PTSD and active duty military and their families, as well as with women with childhood trauma, perinatal trauma or reproductive-related trauma. 

Forest & Nature Preschool Directors Call: Changing with the Season
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 from 4-5 PM (EST)
Stay tuned for the next call!

As an adminstrator, how are you adapting your program to provide support to families and your staff as a whole? How have you allocated staff time and resources to deliver meaningful care and learning from a distance? How will tuition payments and missed time off play out for your program? We will lean on each other during a networking call to share challenges and practical solutions that can help us all. Encouragement and support is a-given! This is a networking call, not a presentation, so plan to interact and share. We will cap the discussion at 30 participants.

Virtual Forest School? A Facilitated Discussion for Teachers
Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 3-4 PM (EST)
Stay tuned for the next call!

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Presenter: Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools

This Zoom call makes space for facilitated discussion surrounding the challenges and silver linings of today's state of quarantined and remote learning in our programs. There are many questions, concerns, and creative solutions! ERAFANS members have a special opportunity to connect, ask questions, and share one another's ideas for meaningful nature-based learning during a moment of intense stress. This is a networking call, not a presentation, so plan to interact and share. (If we hit our participant thresh hold, we will schedule a few more of these member calls.)

Monica Wiedel-Lubinski is the founder/cofounder of three nature-based early learning programs in Maryland, including Notchcliff Nature Preschool which she currently directs at a retirement community. She is also the founding director of ERAFANS and consultant to numerous nature-based programs and schools seeking training, guidance, and support. She is also co-author of Nature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Learning Experiences in All Seasons (Quarto Press, 2020).


FREE RECORDED WEBINARS

Drip Drop Fun: Simple Water Play Activites
Presenter: Katie Rooney, Irvine Nature Center
View free webinar and complete the assessment here

Looking for simple, fun, and engaging play ideas for young children? Join us for this webinar designed to help parents use water to connect, play, and learn together. Many wonderful ideas for teachers and caregivers, too.

Reframing the Meaning of Community in Changing TimesPresenter: Caylin Gans, Forest Schooled View free webinar (note: when viewing, begin at minute 25!)

We know the importance of community to our individual and collective health and wellbeing. Connecting with our loved ones and friends is linked to an increase in “feel good” hormones like oxytocin and serotonin, helping us feel a sense of calm and belonging. In times of rapid change, and particularly with calls for social distancing, and in some cases isolation, connecting with others in the ways we’re used to may not be possible. 

But what if we broadened the meaning of community to include more than just other humans? What if we included the natural world too? After all, science has shown that time outdoors also increases “feel good” hormones and decreases stress. This webinar is an invitation to reframe the notion of social distancing and isolation as, instead, an opportunity for more-than-human community building to connect more deeply with the natural world. Whether you live in urban, suburban, or rural contexts, we will provide ideas for getting to know our natural neighbors to enrich our sense of community through these changing times.

Gratitude, Mindfulness, and Loving Kindness
Presenters: Monica French, Wild Haven Forest Preschool and Jessica Gruber, Little Moon Yoga
View free webinar

This webinar explores several approaches to help teachers foster values of kindness, empathy, gratitude, and compassion with young children. Discover how mindful practices can be seamlessly incorporated into your nature-based program, and why they greatly benefit the children in your care.

Naturally Ready for Kindergarten

View free webinar

“But will my child be ready for kindergarten?” We hear this question time and again as parents grapple with where to send their children to preschool. This webinar explores how nature preschools prepare children for future learning by supporting growth across developmental domains. Expert presenters discuss universal best practices in early childhood education to examine the question of ‘kindergarten readiness’ from a nature pedagogy perspective. 

This webinar is presented in partnership with the Natural Start Alliance. Presenters include co-hosts Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, founder and executive director of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS) and Amanda McMickle, director of the Will Smith Zoo School at the San Antonio Zoo.

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