CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Upcoming events

    • Monday, August 24, 2020
    • 1:30 PM (EDT)
    • Wednesday, September 30, 2020
    • 3:00 PM (EDT)
    • Online!
    Registration is closed

    We are thrilled to offer our Nature-Based Teacher Certification as an online option! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices as you earn this introductory credential. 

    Our 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We draw from experienced educators with diverse perspectives to help you hone your own approaches to nature-based ECE. 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. 

    SCHEDULE
    Mondays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Fridays:  Guest presenters with Q&A

    There is a total of 24 hours direct learning through 6 consecutive weeks of online sessions with presenters and within small cohorts. An additional 12 hours of flexible, self-directed learning will take place centered on outdoor skills and experiences, which you must provide documentation of.  Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    We are delighted to share this course with our international friends and those who cannot travel for training at this time. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    • Thursday, September 03, 2020
    • 1:00 PM (EDT)
    • Friday, May 28, 2021
    • 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    • 5
    Register

    Notchcliff Forest Kinder Co-Op is for families who want to balance home school or online distance learning with social play and nature connection in a small group setting. While most of the children's time is devoted to nature play, we also translate our adventures into activities that align with grade level expectations and standards. (Learn more at www.naturalcommunity.org.)

    Classes meet from Sept. 3 - May 27, 2021 on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. entirely outdoors, rain or shine! You will receive complete details about gear and policies when you register. Your child must be five (5) years old by September 1st to meet the age requirement.  Offered for grades K-2nd.

    Options include: full year (Sept 3 - May 27, 2021), half year (Fall/Winter 2020 from Sept. 3 - Dec. 22, 2020), or half year (Winter/Spring 2021 from Jan. 5 - May 27, 2021). 

    Co-Op agreement: By joining the Forest Kinder Co-Op, your family agrees to join us for 1 day each month and submit to background checks. (One or both parents may attend and you are welcome to bring younger siblings.) Parents provide helpful support to teachers and get a bird’s eye view into their child’s learning experiences. This is an important way we build community, share one another’s successes, and work together to encourage meaningful learning.

    Tuition:  This is based on less than you might otherwise pay a sitter (about $10/hour).  If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition.  If you are experiencing financial need, please reach out. We have limited aid for those who qualify.

    Payment schedule: First payment is due upon enrollment and is non-refundable; second payment due Nov. 1, third payment due Feb. 1, and final payment due Apr. 1. Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due.

    Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be five years old by Sept. 1 of the program year s/he begins. 

    Family Agreement & Handbook: Immersive outdoor learning means just that - we are outdoors in all kinds of weather! Please read and sign the handbook and Family Agreement to acknowledge important policies that guide our program. Family Agreement_Notchcliff Nature Programs.pdf.

    You can find our COVID-19 Policies here. Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email.  We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

    • Friday, September 04, 2020
    • 9:30 AM (EDT)
    • Friday, May 28, 2021
    • 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    Register

    Notchcliff Forest Preschool is a joyful way for young children, ages 3-5 to play and explore in nature. This is a drop-off program led by two caring adult guides with a maximum of 10 children. Class options include our Tuesday/Thursdays Fawns class from 9:30-12:30 p.m. or Forest Fridays from 9:30-12:30 p.m. Classes take place primarily outdoors, though we also access a classroom in the main building of Glen Meadows Retirement Community in case of extreme or inclement weather.

    Community Building: Families participate in our learning adventures! We welcome you into the forest to play during select Family Forest Days. We also offer monthly opportunities for families to attend a local outing at a nearby wild space. These outings allow families to develop kinship while we discover many more gems in our community. We also use this time to plan special activities with our 'grand friends' at the retirement community. (See program calendar.)

    Tuition: This is based on what you might otherwise pay a sitter! Please note that enrollment is for the full program year (Sept. 2020 - May 2021).

    Payment schedule: First payment is due upon enrollment and is non-refundable; second payment due Nov. 1, third payment due Feb. 1, and final payment due Apr. 1. Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due.  If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition.

    Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be three years old by Sept. 1 of the program year s/he begins. Potty training is not required, but please let us know about this sensitive topic in advance so we can best support your child's needs.

    Family Agreement & Handbook: Immersive outdoor learning means just that - we are outdoors in all kinds of weather! Please read and sign the handbook and Family Agreement to acknowledge important policies that guide our program. Family Agreement_Notchcliff Nature Preschool.pdf.

    Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email. We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

    • Tuesday, September 22, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Tuesday, October 06, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 3 sessions
    • Online

    Join Alicia Garcia, founder of Project Flourish, as we explore the intersection between cooking, nature/art experiences, and natural apothecary.  See session descriptions below.

    Sept. 22: Edible Earth: Plant-based Cooking Through Nature Play
    This session will share techniques and ideas for connecting children’s consciousness of healthful eating to nature’s harvest via play! We’ll consider food exploration with ingredients as loose parts, as well as, incorporating foraging to outdoor kitchen experiences.

    Sept. 29: Unplugged Wellness through Art Therapy in Nature
    The benefits of art therapy are plentiful. Highlighting nature as our setting, inspiration, and medium only enhance this experience for children. With modern life encompassing so much technology, unplugging is essential. We’ll discuss how and why adding these elements to your programming can be rewarding for all.

    Oct. 6: Natural Apothecary: A Playful Introduction to Self-Care for Children
    When we instill healthy habits and an awareness of self-care within children, they can reap lifelong advantages. Often when we look to soothe our selves, nature is the answer. In this session, we’ll connect the dots by exploring simple recipes for natural apothecaries that are playful, therapeutic, and creative ways for children to interact with nature.

    CLASS MEETINGS
    Tuesdays from 3-4 PM (Eastern Standard Time) for a total of three (3) clock hours

    COURSE FACILITATORS
    Alicia Garcia is a private chef, urban gardener, educator, and eclectic home school parent. Through her company Project Flourish, she offers classes and community gatherings with an emphasis on nature, wellness, and sustainability in a variety of creative green spaces. She is certified to teach plant-based nutrition and received her Nature-Based Teacher Certification with the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS). Through Project Flourish’s programming, she hopes families are inspired to connect, nourish their bodies and minds, and establish successful family rhythms… all the best conditions to thrive.

    • Tuesday, October 06, 2020
    • 6:00 PM (EDT)
    • Thursday, November 12, 2020
    • 7:30 PM (EST)
    • Online!
    Register

    We are thrilled to offer our Nature-Based Teacher Certification as an online option! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices as you earn this introductory credential. 

    Our 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We draw from experienced educators with diverse perspectives to help you hone your own approaches to nature-based ECE. 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. 

    SCHEDULE
    Tuesdays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Thursdays:  Guest presenters with Q&A

    There is a total of 24 hours direct learning through 6 consecutive weeks of online sessions with presenters and within small cohorts. An additional 12 hours of flexible, self-directed learning will take place centered on outdoor skills and experiences, which you must provide documentation of.  Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    We are delighted to share this course with our international friends and those who cannot travel for training at this time. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    • Wednesday, October 14, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Wednesday, December 09, 2020
    • (EST)
    • 3 sessions
    • Online!
    Register

    As an administrator, how have you adapted your program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? How are you offering support to families and your staff as a whole? How have you allocated staff time and resources to deliver meaningful care and learning, now and looking into the future? What policies and practices are helping your program weather this storm? What are you doing for yourself, in terms of self-care, to keep moving forward during this stressful, uncertain time?

    Each networking call provides space to lean on one another from the unique perspectives we share as directors of nature-based programs and schools. We share challenges, strategies, resources, and practical solutions to help each other. This is a great place to air frustrations, ask questions of colleagues, or just listen and gather ideas. 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 for each call; your confirmation email contains a link for all up-coming scheduled Zoom calls.

    • Thursday, October 22, 2020
    • 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • Online!
    • 50
    Register

    Discover a range of outdoor learning environments and approaches to natural play space design during this one-of-a-kind virtual event! Enjoy a day full of engaging workshops that highlight ways to take learning outdoors. If you are searching for ideas for your program's nature play space, or you'd like more information about the benefits of nature play, this conference offers a variety of examples from the Chesapeake region.

    A professional development certificate will be provided at the conclusion of the event (pending CEU approval from MSDE). 

    • Sunday, October 25, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Sunday, December 06, 2020
    • (EST)
    • 4 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    Core routines are habits that help us draw closer to nature. As teachers and outdoor guides, we must nurture our relationship with and as part of the natural world to better help children do the same. This course takes inspiration from Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown (2010). We share a four-week journey integrating core routines and nature connection practices in our own lives, complemented by suggestions for sharing core routines with young children. Be prepared for self-directed experiences you will do outdoors between class meetings.

    CLASS MEETINGS
    Sundays, October 25, November 8, November 22, and December 6, 2020. Each class meets or 3 hours between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (see schedule below).

    SCHEDULE
    Each day is a mini-retreat! The format of this interactive course is a combination of facilitated discussion, work in a smaller cohort of teachers, and asynchronous independent learning experiences. 

    10 - 11:30 a.m.  Facilitated topics centered on core routines
    11:30-1 p.m.  Outside experiences/break
    1-2 p.m.  Cohort discussions and small group experiences
    2-2:30 p.m.  Reflection and closing stories

    There is a total of 12 hours direct learning through four (4) online sessions with presenters and within small cohorts. Additional self-directed learning will take place centered on topics we discuss as a group. Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
    This course is ideal for anyone who wants to explore the core routines described in Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature as it relates to sharing nature with young children outdoors. Attendees may include: teachers in preschool, childcare, or elementary school settings; naturalists, environmental educators, or outdoor educators; wilderness survival enthusiasts; and parents. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.


    COURSE FACILITATORS
    Lynn is a Nature-Based Mentor, Certified Life Coach, naturalist, archetype enthusiast, ceremonial facilitator, and passionate gardener. She is also a contributing author to Discover Your Woman Within: A Journey to Wholeness. With a degree in Biology from Quinnipiac University, an apprenticeship with the Vermont Wilderness School, and a husband busting to co-create transformational, nature-based experiences for individuals and communities. Her life’s work is to support mission-driven people to stay focused on their quest to make the world a better place and find joy in the process. 

    Monica Wiedel-Lubinski is the founding director of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS). She shares more than two decades of experience teaching and learning in nature with young children. She is the founder/cofounder of three Maryland nature preschools including Notchcliff Forest School which is an intergenerational approach to nature-based education at a retirement community. As a teacher, author, and frequent keynote speaker, she encourages nature-based education take root wherever she goes. Her most recent book, Nature Play Workshop for Families, encourages families to share nature together (Wiedel-Lubinski and Madigan, Quarto Press: 2020).

    • Friday, November 06, 2020
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (EST)
    • Online!
    • 150
    Register

    Join us for our first virtual Members Gathering! Meet and network with other members, hear important updates, and collaborate to determine new directions for our association of forest and nature schools. This interactive meeting features guided breakout sessions for networking with local educators and a nature song sharing time.  Feel free to bring your favorite beverage and join us for a relaxed evening of sharing!

    Agenda and Zoom link provided upon registration.

    • Tuesday, February 02, 2021
    • 7:00 PM (EST)
    • Thursday, March 11, 2021
    • 8:30 PM (EST)
    • Online!
    Register

    We are thrilled to offer our Nature-Based Teacher Certification as an online option! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices as you earn this introductory credential. 

    Our 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We draw from experienced educators with diverse perspectives to help you hone your own approaches to nature-based ECE. 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. 

    SCHEDULE
    Tuesdays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Thursdays:  Guest presenters with Q&A

    There is a total of 24 hours direct learning through 6 consecutive weeks of online sessions with presenters and within small cohorts. An additional 12 hours of flexible, self-directed learning will take place centered on outdoor skills and experiences, which you must provide documentation of.  Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    We are delighted to share this course with our international friends and those who cannot travel for training at this time. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

Past events

Monday, September 14, 2020 What are Forest and Nature Schools?
Monday, August 31, 2020 Lessons From Home: Nature-Based Day Care and Preschool at Home
Friday, August 28, 2020 Forest School as a Path to Math
Friday, August 21, 2020 Not If, But How: Inclusion and Advocacy in Nature-Based Programs
Thursday, August 20, 2020 Supporting Young Children with Diversabilities in Outdoor Learning Environments
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 Forest and Nature Preschool Boot Camp!
Tuesday, August 04, 2020 Starting a Forest or Nature Preschool Program? Free advice!
Friday, July 24, 2020 Starting a Forest or Nature Preschool Program? Free advice!
Monday, July 20, 2020 Outdoor Learning in a Nutshell: Taking Learning Outside
Monday, July 20, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Monday, July 20, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (Intermediate Level 2)
Monday, July 06, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (Intermediate Level 2)
Monday, July 06, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Monday, June 29, 2020 Spiritual Development and the Environment as a Third Educator
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Nature-Based Educators Networking Call
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Wild Life: Exploring Nature With Children
Friday, June 12, 2020 SC State Chapter Meeting
Tuesday, June 09, 2020 Director's Series
Friday, June 05, 2020 Natural Wonder Summit
Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Nature-Based Learning, Inside and Out
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Creating Your Nature-Based Preschool
Friday, May 22, 2020 [Virtual] Open House for Notchcliff Forest Preschool
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Nature-Based Educators Networking Call
Monday, May 18, 2020 Creating Your Nature-Based Preschool
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 Unpacking Emergent Curriculum
Wednesday, May 06, 2020 Dramatic Play-Based Learning in Nature
Tuesday, May 05, 2020 Nature-Based Learning, Inside and Out
Monday, May 04, 2020 The Abundance of Spring: Plant ID and Foraging Basics
Sunday, May 03, 2020 Local Networking Meeting (VA)
Sunday, May 03, 2020 Local Networking Meeting (MD)
Thursday, April 30, 2020 Virtual Forest School? A Facilitated Discussion
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Thursday, April 23, 2020 [Virtual] Open House for Notchcliff Nature Preschool
Friday, April 17, 2020 Drip Drop Fun: Simple Water Play Activities
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Director's Series
Sunday, April 05, 2020 Staying Connected Through Nature Play & Learning
Thursday, April 02, 2020 Virtual Forest School? A Facilitated Discussion
Wednesday, April 01, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Gentle Yoga for Grounding
Monday, March 23, 2020 Reframing the Meaning of Community in Changing Times
Friday, March 06, 2020 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, February 15, 2020 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, February 01, 2020 SC State Chapter Meeting
Sunday, January 26, 2020 Naturally Ready For Kindergarten (ONLINE COURSE)
Sunday, January 19, 2020 Creating Your Nature-based Preschool
Saturday, November 09, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, November 02, 2019 SC State Chapter Meeting
Saturday, October 12, 2019 VA State Chapter Meeting
Saturday, October 05, 2019 Tender Sprouts Caregivers Workshop
Saturday, September 21, 2019 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Friday, September 06, 2019 Forest Fridays at Notchcliff Nature Preschool
Sunday, August 18, 2019 Family Nature Play Day!
Monday, August 12, 2019 Nature-Based Teacher Certification NC
Monday, July 15, 2019 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (Intermediate)
Monday, July 08, 2019 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Saturday, June 08, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat OH
Saturday, May 18, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, May 11, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, April 27, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 UK Forest School Study Tour
Friday, March 15, 2019 Natural Wonder Summit
Saturday, February 23, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, January 12, 2019 VA State Chapter Meeting
Saturday, October 27, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, October 06, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat NY
Monday, July 09, 2018 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Monday, June 11, 2018 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Friday, June 01, 2018 Natural Wonder Summit
Saturday, May 05, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat at Common Ground, New Haven, CT
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Saturday, April 14, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat VA
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, February 10, 2018 Winter Workshop & Retreat
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 Naturally Ready for Kindergarten
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Gratitude, Mindfulness, and Loving Kindness
Saturday, November 11, 2017 Outdoor Teacher Retreat at Painted Oak Nature School, NJ
Saturday, October 07, 2017 Toast the Teachers!
Saturday, September 30, 2017 Outdoor Teacher Retreat, Westminster, MD
Friday, September 29, 2017 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Thursday, September 14, 2017 Back to [Nature] School Basics
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Nurturing Communication in Your Learning Community
Monday, August 21, 2017 Loose Parts, Props & Tools
Friday, August 11, 2017 Summer Webinar Series, Part 3: Water
Monday, July 17, 2017 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Friday, July 07, 2017 Summer Webinar Series, Part 2: Fire
Friday, June 23, 2017 Complete Summer Webinar Series: Mud, Fire & Water
Friday, June 23, 2017 Summer Webinar Series, Part 1: Mud
Friday, May 05, 2017 Webinar Series, Part 3: Loose Parts, Tools and Props for Outdoor Learning
Thursday, May 04, 2017 Webinar Series, Part 2: Planning Your Natural Play Space
Thursday, April 20, 2017 Webinar Series, Part 1: The Value of Natural Play Spaces
Thursday, April 20, 2017 Complete Spring Webinar Series: Natural Play Spaces
Saturday, April 01, 2017 Natural Wonder Summit
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