OUTDOOR Teacher RetreaT

Saturday, November 5, 2022                          

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education           
8480 Hagy's Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128


About this Nature-Based Training

You can expect a hands-on day of outdoor fun in nature! We'll explore topics such as documentation in the outdoor classroom, aligning activities to standards and competencies, and more!  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 years old-3rd grade. A light lunch is included, but bring your canteen for drinks. 

ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event. Please dress for the weather, as 100% of this event will take place outdoors, and don't forget your canteen!


Schedule

Saturday, November 5, 2022 from 8:30 AM - 4 PM
Morning and afternoon sessions include learning about Schuylkill's Nature Preschool and Kindergarten, documentation, naturalist skills and more! The morning sessions will include a Preschool/Pre-K track and a Kindergarten+ track. 

Workshop Descriptions

This retreat is packed with topics you will love! You can look forward to engaging, immersive sessions on the topics you need to learn, play, and explore with children outside. 


Morning Sessions I 10:40 a.m.-12:10 p.m.


Preschool/Pre-K Track


Counting Birds and Reading Trees: Math and Literacy Nature School Style, Melissa Sheppard, Star Child Nature School

Math and literacy in nature is much more than counting acorns and writing with sticks, although that’s fun too! Melissa Sheppard founder of Star Child Nature School in Burlington County NJ will guide us in bridging academic learning with nature based learning. Utilizing a natural environment fosters sensory integration, physical and cognitive development and a hands on approach to learning that children really connect with. Melissa will share writing, reading and math activities that you can take directly to your classroom, nature space or home. Best for ages preschool-K.

From Morning Circle to Parent Pick-Up: A Nature Preschool Guiding Rhythm Round Table, Patricia Haddad, Painted Oak Nature School

Join us for a daily Rhythm round table discussion with emphasis on the rubber band energy concept and fostering deep connections between teachers and children and between children to build a cohesive and productive classroom community. Participants should feel free to bring a song or oral story to share.

Kindergarten+ Track


Documentation and Reflecting on Children’s Interests, Rachel Schwartzman

We all take a million photographs of children engaged in their work, yet those photos rarely get shared in meaningful ways. Through a dedicated practice of reflection meetings, teachers can grow an emergent curriculum based on the children's own interests and discoveries. By sharing images of the children's actual experiences reflected back to them, teachers are able to deepen the children's connection to the curriculum and to each other. In this workshop we will learn tools to simplify this practice for teachers, and explore the range of curricular connections our photographs afford.


Afternoon Sessions (choose from below) I 1:25-3:25 p.m.


Mushroom Moments: Fostering Childhood Connections with Fungi, Sam Bucciarelli, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (*this is a 2 hour workshop from 1:25-3:25 p.m.)

Tap into the mycelial web and connect with fungi through gameplay and exploration. This session will include group gameplay, a guided walk to search for mushrooms, tips for identifying and interacting with mushrooms, and a presentation on fungi education for children. Learn about the ways fungi can help students connect with nature, each other, and themselves.


OR


(A) Documentation and Reflecting on Children’s Interests, Rachel Schwartzman (*this is a one hour workshop from 1:25-2:25 p.m.)

We all take a million photographs of children engaged in their work, yet those photos rarely get shared in meaningful ways. Through a dedicated practice of reflection meetings, teachers can grow an emergent curriculum based on the children's own interests and discoveries. By sharing images of the children's actual experiences reflected back to them, teachers are able to deepen the children's connection to the curriculum and to each other. In this workshop we will learn tools to simplify this practice for teachers, and explore the range of curricular connections our photographs afford.


(B) Relationship Building & the Power of Storytelling, Michelle Feigenbaum, Painted Oak Nature School (*this is a one hour workshop from 2:25-3:25 p.m.)

A well run classroom is one that makes relationship building a priority. In this session we will talk about setting clear expectations in a way that makes it not only fun, but also builds a strong classroom community. Even with building relationships and setting clear expectations, sometimes children need a little extra support in strengthening their social & emotional skills. Thus, we will also share ideas for helping young children to strengthen these skills through the use of storytelling. This session is best for those working with children 2-5 years old.


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