About this Retreat
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 3-6 years old. Lunch is included on Saturday, but bring your canteen for drinks.
In addition to a fantastic roster of presenters, our hosts at the Children's Tree House at the National Conservation Training Center provide a tour of their nature-based childcare center and Nature Explore certified outdoor classroom.
Professional development certificate provided at the conclusion of the event. Please dress for the weather, as at least 50% of this event will take place outdoors, and don't forget your canteen!
Growing Up Wild Mini-Session
Ellen Murphy, Potomac Valley Audubon
This training will introduce you to Growing Up Wild curriculum. We will try out some of the activities, and have fun! Participants also get a copy of the activity guide and contact with a real, live person who can answer questions, even after you return home.
In the tradition of Coyote Mentoring and Tom Brown, Jr. tracking, Joe introduces bird language to help children develop greater awareness, observation, and connection with the natural world.
Finding Your Path: Map-making and Personal Directions
Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS)
This two-part session features how to create maps of your grounds with young children. We will include a reflective component for self-study (one's own map), during our time as well.
Welcome to Tinytown and Dragonville
Nickie Haines, Children’s Tree House
Venture into the woodlands to our little worlds of Tinytown and Dragonville. Come see how the children explore the forest, use tools, and natural play things to connect with nature.
Primitive Skill Share
Amy Moore, Potomac Valley Audubon Society
Join PVAS's Lead Naturalist to learn how to build fires, forage for food, and whittle wood. All can be used to build eye-hand coordination, learn safety, and develop a keen sense of observation. This is a great overview of basic survival skills for kids of most ages!
Tour of the Children’s Tree House
This informal tour gives you an opportunity to ask questions and see how the team at the Children’s Tree House help young children build skills and develop an appreciation for nature. Visit includes indoor tour of classrooms and Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom.
Jade Garcia, Unified Earth Vision
Teaching children to be mindful of their surroundings helps guide them to be more conscious of themselves. We will practice being more intimate in our relationship with nature, while discovering how it impacts our relationships with our peers and our environment. We will use our senses for basic plant ID as we draw closer to nature.
Making Learning Visible in Forest & Nature Schools
Emma Huvos, Riverside Nature School, WV
“So all you do is play outside?” If you’re in this field, chances are you’ve heard that question more times than you can count. Whether you’re trying to enroll new students, secure grant funding, convince administrators to get on board, or simply explain what you do at a cocktail party, you won’t want to miss this comprehensive overview of ways to make learning visible through photo, video, and authentic documentation of student work. We’ll leave time for group discussion and individual planning, ensuring that all participants walk away inspired and ready to put their learning into action.