OUTDOOR TEACHER RETREAT

Saturday, February 23, 2019 REGISTER NOW!

Elachee Nature Science Center
2125 Elachee Drive, Gainseville, GA 30504

About this Nature-Based Training    

You can expect a hands-on day of outdoor fun in nature! 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. Light breakfast and lunch are included on Saturday, but bring your canteen for drinks.

In addition to a wonderful slate of workshops, our hosts at the Elachee Nature Science Center and the Elachee Nature Academy will open up their preschool to preview their indoor learning environments, and we will have plenty of time to explore the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, too!

This training is pending GA training approval for 6 clock hours. ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate 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!

Workshop Descriptions   pdf of schedule

Because Bee’s Buzz: A Class’ Journey to Environmental Advocacy | 9:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Turning Sun School, Amanda McGee
This is the story of how one wasp nest launched a year-long classroom investigation into the many ways bees and humans interconnect and impact each other. Learning and working alongside local beekeepers, artists, and gardners, the class discovered personal connections to bees and a growing awareness of human ecological impact—culminating in the development of a pollinator garden and new appreciation for their ability to facilitate change as a group. Highlights include strategies for utilizing children’s interests as frameworks for development, emergent curriculum, theory and developmentally appropriate practices.

Cordage: The Unsung Hero of Human Invention | 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
Mark Warren, Medicine Bow

Learn to make rope from the fibers of inner bark from certain tree species. This skill is a hands-on activity that children love and results in a relic to be kept for the ages. “Tie” your class together (figuratively) with natural rope, one of the most important tools of history.

A Day In the Life Of Elachee Nature Preschool |10:15 – 11:15 a.m. and 11:25 – 12:25 p.m.
Elachee Nature Science Center

Tour Elachee Nature Center grounds and the preschool classroom while learning how ENA staff incorporate nature and a set theme, Trees in Winter. We will explore parts of a tree and tie in with our own body’s parts and functions. This is an indoor and outdoor program, so please dress for the weather.

A Day in the Life of Elachee Nature K-1st
Elachee Nature Science Center

Tour Elachee Nature Center grounds and the K-1 classroom while learning how to conduct a Trees in Winter themed program aligned with GA Performance Standards. This is an indoor and outdoor program, so please dress for the weather.

Stalking the Animals as an Inroad to Intimacy with the Forest | 11:25 – 12:25 p.m.
Mark Warren, Medicine Bow

Learn the ancient discipline of stealth as practiced by woodland hunters. This is a very physical activity that tests (and develops) strength, balance, patience, and focus. This skill may present the most important doorway through which a young student can pass to find his place in the world of nature.

Forest Kindergarten in a Public School Setting | 11:25 – 12:25 p.m.
Charity Burnett and Rebekah Cantrell, Gilbert Elementary School
This session will explore how to teach kindergarten students the necessary rules of the forest that keep them and the earth safe.  It will include developing moral education such as how to facilitate empathy, communication, self-reliance, independence and ownership among themselves and their forest community. The workshop will also touch on giving students a global perspective by teaching students to respect life and helping them to find importance in even the smallest of living things.  Lastly, simulations will be completed outside for educators to implement in their own classroom.

Networking with Nature & Art | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Janis and Melissa Dunkel, Caatinga Art & Nature Programs

Enjoy your own playful art-making experience using natural materials. This self-directed time provides space for attendees to connect with one another while getting ideas for nature-based projects and games to use with children.

Creating Your Nature Preschool | 2:35 – 3:35 p.m.
Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, ERAFANS

Are you thinking about starting your own nature preschool? If so, join ERAFANS director (and founder of two nature preschools) to ask practical questions and gain insight on how to move forward. This is an informal discussion that will cover a range of topics based on participants’ interests – bring your questions!

Stumbling Along the Path: Nature-Based Aftercare | 2:35-3:35 p.m.
Janis and Melissa Dunckel, Caatinga! Nature & Art Programs
Founders of Caatinga! Nature & Art Programs share their story, including the obstacles they have faced opening their aftercare business in Decatur, GA. Highlights and tips will be shared to help other new programs along the way.

Utilizing State Standards to Drive Outdoor Education | 3:40-4:40 p.m.
Chester Asher, Chatahoot
chee Hills Charter School
Outdoor learning has a plethora of benefits.  One of the benefits is increased, more exciting, deeper, and more rigorous learning.  In this session learn how to create meaningful and rigorous lessons in the outdoor environment that engage kids on a new and exciting level.  For kids in grades K-12.  

Growing a Garden From Scratch: Community Gardening in Urban Environments | 3:40-4:40 p.m.
Emily Howard and Mary Miller, School at North Decatur Preschool (SAND)

Have you thought about building an outdoor garden at your program? Explore the challenges and possibilities in designing an urban oasis. Leave with plans and resources to help you dig in to a new garden!

Final Gathering | 4:45-5 p.m.
Gather one last time to share stories from our time together. Attendees will return brief program survey and receive professional development certificates at this time, too.

Where to Stay

If you're traveling from out of town, the Fairfield Inn and Suites Gainseville is a great option.
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