Carrie Murray Nature Center
1901 Ridgetop Road
Baltimore, MD 21207

We are thrilled to offer a five-day Nature-based Teacher Certification course at the Gwynns Falls Park in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland!  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.

About this Nature-Based Teacher Certification 

This introductory certification course covers a range of skills and approaches crucial to implementing nature-based early childhood pedagogy. Topics include: working in and with the local landscape; risk management and safety routines; developmentally appropriate practice outside; emergent curriculum; licensing considerations; outdoor inquiry, literacy, creative arts, math, and games; making learning visible through documentation and assessment; breathing nature in classroom spaces;  gear, supplies, and tools; honing naturalist skills and personal sense of wonder; and ways to support your learning community. We will also touch on relevant research, standards, NAEYC positions statements, and policy that impacts delivery of nature-based ECE.

Participants may also earn two (2) graduate credits from the University of Maryland, College Park for this certification as titled, "Nature Pedagogy in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education". Additional registration and fees are required through UMD for credit in addition to ERAFANS registration. UMD registration deadline: June 29, 2018.

We will gather from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, with an altered schedule on Thursday from 12:30-8:30 p.m. which includes morning observations and an evening campfire. Yoga is included on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 7:45 a.m. Complete schedule and training agenda will be provided upon registration.

How do I obtain Nature-based Teacher Certification status?

1) Complete the course, which is a live training event. (Sorry, an online option is not available. Because of its depth and significance, we don't believe an online offering can replace the value of a live training experience for certification.)  Successful completion is determined by:

Ÿ Active participation and attendance for the full training
Ÿ Completion of assignments including journaling/reflective practice, readings, and action plans
Ÿ Demonstrate thorough understanding of nature-based education and pedagogy based on training experiences

2) Proof of completion of early childhood training, often referred to as a 90 hour certification OR the equivalent Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.  This ensures that participants have basic knowledge of early childhood education principles, which is required to work in any licensed setting. NOTE: For educators working in non-formal and unlicensed settings, this may be waived.

3) Proof of current Infant/Child First Aid and CPR credentials. 

We will provide a training certificate at the conclusion of the course, provided you have submitted all documentation.

Who should attend?

Educators, administrators, and child care providers are ideal participants for the Nature-based Teacher Certification.  Others who could benefit include: parents, camp leaders, church leaders, retired teachers, scout leaders, after school youth programmers, etc. The course is designed for practitioners working in a range of learning environments including nature preschools, forest kindergartens, traditional preschools, public schools, childcare centers, or daycare settings. Participants will consider their unique locations to determine how to make the most of their indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Who are the trainers?

Experienced nature-based educators and naturalists from across the region will share their knowledge throughout the course. Highlights include: Amy Beam, seasoned practitioner of Ancestral Knowledge and Art of Mentoring approaches; Monica French and Mepi Neill, co-founders of the Wild Haven forest immersion program; Karen Madigan, director of the nature preschool at Irvine Nature Center; Lynn Trotta, naturalist and director of Sagefire Institute, and Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, director of ERAFANS. Additional guest presenters are still being confirmed, but you can count on outstanding expertise throughout the week-long experience.

Meals & Accommodations

Five-day course includes daily breakfast and lunch, Monday-Friday, with lunch and dinner only on Thursday. You can specify allergies and/or meal preferences when you register. Please be sure to bring your own canteen to use throughout the week!

Rustic camping is available in the Gywnns Falls Park with use of Carrie Murray Nature Center for restrooms and showering for a nominal flat fee of $50 (includes Sunday - Friday camp site). You must bring your own tent and rain fly. Directions, camping policies, and more info will be provided to those who select this option.

About this location

The Carrie Murray Nature Center was established by baseball Orioles hall-of-famer Eddie Murray in honor of his late mother. It sits on over 1200 acres in the Gywnns Falls Park, which is the largest urban park East of Phoenix, AZ and the third largest urban park in the United States! In addition to the amazing natural history and environment here, it is also the home base for Wild Haven, a forest immersion program for young children offered through Baltimore City Recreation and Parks. 

For additional information, contact the director, Monica Wiedel-Lubinski.

Spaces are limited for this session. Register now!

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