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. Learn more about each level of certification below.
See photos from the first cohort of teachers to participate July 2018 in Baltimore, MD.
Level 1: Nature-Based Teacher Certification course (online)
Dates: April 6 - May 13, 2021 meets on Tues./Wed./Thurs. from 7-8:30PM (EST)
Dates: June 22- July 29, 2021 meets on Tues./Wed./Thurs. from 2-3:30PM (EST)
Location: Maumee Valley Country Day School
1715 South Reynolds Rd, Toledo, OH 43614; additional off-site tours included*
The intermediate course is designed for participants who have already completed the intro credential. During the registration process, you may include special topics for deeper study. The intermediate course delves into more nuanced facets of running a nature-based program, managing/mentoring teachers, and promoting your program. Participants will document outdoor teaching practices for an online learning component as part of the culminating credential. The intermediate course addresses these topics:
Preparation of the Guide: Reflective practices for deep, rich personal nature connection; approaches to hone clarity of mind, intentions, and purpose
Teaching Practices & Outdoor Curriculum: Emergent and intentional curriculum; application of skill development across developmental domains in outdoor settings
Authentic Assessment & Documentation: Assessment of child growth and development in the context of outdoor learning
Administration: Shaping your program’s vision; key considerations for nature-based administrators; hiring; on-going staff mentoring; staff and program evaluation
Primitive Skills & Handcrafts: Practical skills using tools and local natural resources; fire-making, foraging, and cooking with young children
Risk Management: Health and safety topics; policies and procedures that protect children, families, and staff; special considerations for administrators
Land Values & Stewardship: Implementing and instilling sustainable approaches to sharing the land and its natural resources; local natural history, ecology, and conservation topics surround a given site; identification of native flora/fauna and ecological communities; cultural and ethical considerations about land use
We gather from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, with an altered schedule on Thursday which includes program observations, afternoon sessions, and an evening campfire (until 8:30 p.m.). Yoga is included on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 7:45 a.m. Complete schedule and training agenda will be provided following registration.
1) Complete the course, which is a live training event. (Level 1 is also offered as a six-week online option.) Successful completion is determined by:
Active participation and attendance for the full training
Completion of assignments including journaling/reflective practice, readings, cohort projects, and action plans
Demonstrate thorough understanding of nature-based education and pedagogy based on training experiences
We will provide a training certificate at the conclusion of the course to acknowledge either a "certificate of attendance" or "full certification". If you do not meet requirements stated above or some aspect is pending, we will award the certificate of attendance. If you would like the full certification, you may submit outstanding documents up to one year following the certification course for full certification status. Participants who successfully complete the training and provide required documentation will receive full certification.
Experienced nature-based educators and naturalists from across the region share their knowledge throughout the course. You can count on outstanding expertise throughout the week-long experience. Details will be forth-coming for registered participants.
How long is the certification current?
The certification is good for three years from date of completion. After that, you must take the Level 2 certification (good for another three years) or at least 12 clock hours of nature-based training with ERAFANS each year thereafter to remain current.
June 28-July 2, 2021 our home base will be at the Gramercy Carriage House on Koinona Organic Farm in Stevenson, MD. It is a beautiful campus full of outdoor learning spaces and conveniently located near the sites we will visit on Wednesday and Thursday.
July 19-23, 2021 our home base will be at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, OH. This private school features an expansive campus where they incorporate nature-based learning from age 3 through 12th grade in northwest Ohio.
Please note that all participants are required to complete this waiver during registration. Our refund policies are found here as well. Additional health precautions will be implemented to safeguard our learning community from the spread of COVID-19 based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations. For additional information, contact the director, Monica Wiedel-Lubinski.