Outdoor Teacher Retreat CT


Saturday, May 5, 2018 
Common Ground Environmental Education Center, New Haven, CT


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 3-7 years old. Also includes a tour of our host's nature-based preschool program. Light breakfast and lunch are included, but bring your canteen for drinks. You can indicate dietary restrictions when you register. 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!

Our hosts at the Common Ground Environmental Education Center and the NatureYear program offer nature-based education including an immersive outdoor learning program for children who home study starting at age 5. Located on the grounds of a charter high school and urban farm, this site provides an exemplary model of nature-based education. 

Schedule 
Here's the full schedule with breakdown of times. Session descriptions are as follows:

Embracing the Wild: Nature Immersion for Early Childhood Educators | 9:15-11:15 AM
Justin Pegnataro, Two Coyotes Wilderness School
We can only teach what we know, love, and embody.  Learning to embrace the wild is fundamental skill for nature-based early childhood educators.  In this workshop we will explore the wilderness of West Rock Ridge in search for our wild soul.  Be prepared to get dirty and have fun with mud between the toes, eating wild plants, making fire from sticks, and exploring the world with our senses.

Language and Literacy in Nature | 9:15-10:15 AM
Whitney McCarthy and M
arianne Kay, New Canaan Nature Center Preschool
How do we promote language and literacy learning in outdoor environments?  Discover approaches to each during this hands-on outdoor session.

Loose Parts & Your Sensory Science Table | 10:15-11:15 AM or 11:25-12:25 PM 
Lisa Combs, Stamford Museum & Nature Center
We will look through the eyes of children as we experience the seasons and their plentiful natural loose parts.   We will explore different ways to create and enhance a seasonal science table using natural and recycled materials.

Inquiry and Constructivism in a Forest Setting
 | 11:25-12:25 PM
Elaine Blanck, NatureYear at Common Grounds 
By integrating and implementing inquiry and observation systems into the forest school model, we instill compassion and stewardship into our culture.
During this workshop we will work on implementing systems of inquiry and observation which can be applied during any play, activity, or exploration time.

Best Practices for Tool Use | 11:25-12:25 PM
Cjet Raymond and Dan Decamilo, NatureYear at Common Grounds

Children take great satisfaction in doing authentic work with real tools.  At NatureYear, children saw and split wood, build with hand tools, whittle with knives, and garden with adult and child-sized implements.  Join us as we model best practices, talk about kid-friendly tools we like best, and of course, discuss safety.

Montessori in the Forest | 11:25-12:25 PM
Lanny Cheuck, Melanie Hernandez, Anna Robinson, and Madelyn Zins, wBees Forest School
Montessori Philosophy is a wonderful marriage with Forest School philosophy. We will introduce the different curricular areas of a Montessori classroom and how we bring natural materials into our Montessori classroom. We will introduce you to our language, sensorial, cultural, and practical life works. We will also introduce how you can bring practical life works to the outdoor classrooms of a forest school. We will bring real examples of works from out Montessori-inspired forest school for you to explore and think of ways to bring into your own learning spaces.

Nature-based Education in a Classroom Setting | 2:30-4:30 PM
Amee Borys, Earthplace Preschool

This session empowers programs to incorporate the principles of nature-based and place-based education into their curricula. Teachers and administrators will learn to use natural materials as a tool for inquiry and early literacy. By “bringing the outdoors in,” teachers will allow children the sensory experience of touching and exploring natural materials. Children can also use scientific tools for observation such as handheld magnifiers, specimen collectors, and nature journals. This session is geared towards educators with limited access to nature but want to maximize the benefits of nature-based learning with artifacts and natural materials indoors.

Being with Beings | 2:30-3:30 PM
Tim Dutcher and Tricia Mangold Heiser, NatureYear at Common Grounds

In this workshop, we will explore ways of interacting with other living beings we encounter in the course of our work.  Join our educators in the wetland, apiary (honey bees!), and chicken yards as we model ways of being with other beings, including philosophy of interacting with living things and practical tips on encouraging gentle hands and reducing fear in children and adults who are not yet confident in meeting insects and other small living creatures!

Three-fold Nature Play | 3:30-4:30 PM
Joylynn Holder and Charlie Foster, Brooklyn Forest School
The founders of a parent-child program in New York's Central Park and Prospect Parks will discuss teaching young children how to use their heads, hands and hearts to connect with nature.

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