Blog post and photos by Melissa Sheppard, Founder of Star Child Nature School, Shamung, NJ
My feeling of aloneness in my beliefs and in this field is apparently not unique. Upon discovering the term and philosophy “Nature Based Education” about a year ago, I thought it was well established and happening for years before I came across it and would simply be jumping on board.
As it turns out, teaching children through nature in school and child care settings is still very much in its infancy in the U.S. Yes, some schools have been teaching outdoors for years, but many more are just beginning. This means a great deal to me personally as I am older, and I often feel like I’m coming in later than everyone else. I see young faces and think that by the time they are my age they will know so much - yet I am just at the beginning.
Upon completing this five-day Nature-Based Teacher Certification, for the first time I feel hopeful to be one of many founders, which gives me confidence in my work and in myself. This week our whole group was given permission and encouragement to learn as we go. I can’t think of a better way to show respect, compassion and humility than learning together, side-by-side, with my students and am very much looking forward to doing so.