CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Upcoming events

    • Wednesday, September 01, 2021
    • 9:30 AM
    • Friday, May 27, 2022
    • 12:30 PM
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    Register

    Notchcliff Forest Preschool is a joyful way for young children, ages 3-5 to play and explore in nature. This is a drop-off program led by two caring teacher guides with a maximum of 10 children. Class options include Mon./Wed. Chickadees class, Tues./Thurs. Spotted Fawns class, or Forest Fridays from 9:30-12:30 p.m. Classes take place outdoors, although we have access to a classroom in the main building of Glen Meadows Retirement Community in case of extreme or inclement weather.

    Community Building: Families participate in our learning adventures! We welcome you into the forest to play during select Family Forest Days. We also offer monthly opportunities for families to attend a local outing at a nearby wild space. These outings allow families to develop kinship while we discover many more gems in our community. We also use this time to plan special activities with our 'grand friends' at the retirement community. (See program calendar.)

    Tuition: Rates are based on what you might otherwise pay a sitter! Please note that enrollment is for the full program year (Sept. 2021 - May 2022). If space is available, we may offer a pro-rated January-May session.

    Payment schedule: First payment is due upon enrollment and is non-refundable; second payment due Nov. 1, third payment due Feb. 1, and final payment due Apr. 1. Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due.  If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition.

    Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be three years old by Sept. 1 of the program year s/he begins. Toilet-training is not required, but please let us know about this sensitive topic in advance so we can best support your child's needs.

    We honor the diverse background and abilities of everyone in our learning community. We work closely with families to ensure that every child receives necessary accommodations to thrive. Please reach out to Monica if you have specific questions about our approach to inclusion director@erafans.org.

    Family Agreement & Handbook: Immersive outdoor learning means just that - we are outdoors in all kinds of weather! Please read and sign the handbook and Family Agreement to acknowledge important policies that guide our program. 

    Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email. We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

    • Thursday, September 09, 2021
    • Thursday, May 26, 2022
    • 3 sessions
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    • 4
    Register

    Notchcliff Forest Kinder Co-Op is for families who want to balance home school or online distance learning with social play and nature connection in a small group setting. While most of the children's time is devoted to nature play, we also translate our adventures into activities that align with grade level expectations and standards. (Learn more at www.naturalcommunity.org.)

    Classes meet from Sept. 9 - May 26, 2022 on Thursday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. entirely outdoors, rain or shine! You will receive complete details about gear and policies when you register. Your child must be five (5) years old by September 1st to meet the age requirement.  Offered for grades K-2nd.

    Enrollment options include:
    Full year (Sept 9 - May 26, 2022)
    Autumn semester (Sept. 9 - Dec. 16, 2021)
    Winter/Spring semester (Feb. 17 - May 26, 2022)

    Exploring Our Natural Community (Autumn semester)
    Science inquiry and social studies include map-making, basic ecology concepts, plant and animal ID, tracking, and learning about Indigenous communities. Stories that connect to our seasonal adventures are infused throughout.

    Nature Arts & Handcrafts (Winter/Spring semester)
    Creative arts, music, and dramatic play collide with primitive skills as we explore natural materials through the arts. Stories that connect to our seasonal adventures are infused throughout.

    Co-Op agreement: By joining the Forest Kinder Co-Op, your family agrees to join us for 1-2 classes per semester and submit to background checks. (One or both parents may attend and you are welcome to bring younger siblings.) Parents provide helpful support to teachers and get a bird’s eye view into their child’s learning experiences. This is an important way we build community, share one another’s successes, and work together to encourage meaningful learning.

    Tuition:  This is based on less than you might otherwise pay a sitter (about $10/hour).  If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition.  If you are experiencing financial need, please reach out. We have limited aid for those who qualify.

    Payment schedule: First payment is due upon enrollment and is non-refundable; second payment due Nov. 1, third payment due Feb. 1, and final payment due Apr. 1 (depending on class option). Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due.

    Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be five years old by Sept. 1 of the program year s/he begins. 

    Family Agreement & Handbook: Immersive outdoor learning means just that - we are outdoors in all kinds of weather! Please read and sign the handbook and Family Agreement to acknowledge important policies that guide our program. Family Agreement_Notchcliff Nature Programs.pdf.

    You can find our COVID-19 Policies here, which are subject to change. Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email.  We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

    • Friday, December 17, 2021
    • Saturday, December 17, 2022
    • online!
    Register

    *Please note, this is a recorded webinar

    Discover the distinct perspective of running a Nature-based Day Care or Preschool with a family child care license. Are you currently running a home-based Day Care or preschool but want to incorporate more of a nature-based pedagogy? Are you looking to start up a nature-based program? Resources will be provided for those considering starting their own program or adding nature-based approaches to their existing home-based program. Come see how two different educators created indoor and outdoor classrooms, incorporated regular visits to natural spaces, and attracted clients into state-licensed programs. Bring all your questions so we can discuss it as a group at the close of the presentation.

    ABOUT THE PRESENTERS:
    Jessica Clayton, Riverside Rhymes Nature Playschool, Brick, NJ 

    Jessica Clayton runs a licensed home based nature play school called Riverside Rhymes Nature Playschool. She is a NJ certified preschool through third grade & Kindergarten to 5th grade teacher. She is the secretary for the Eastern Region Association of Forest & Nature Schools, and was the honored recipient of their Wonder Award in 2017. She serves on her local board of education and runs the Facebook group, Nature Preschool Ideas & Community.
     
    Rhonda Pollock, Pollywogs Nature Playschool, Nantucket, MA
    Rhonda Pollock  is the director of Pollywogs Nature Playschool, which is a licensed nature-based preschool at her home. She also runs a forest school program, an after-school nature club, and a summer nature camp. Rhonda has extensive experience in early childhood education as well as child social services. In August 2018, Rhonda earned her Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten Teacher Certification at Cedarsong Nature School on Vashon Island, WA with the esteemed Erin Kenny, which further inspired her approach to immersive outdoor nature play. She currently she serves on the Early Childhood Advisory Council for the Nantucket Community School and on the Board of Directors for Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College.

    • Wednesday, December 29, 2021
    • Sunday, March 06, 2022
    • Online!
    Register

    As spring begins its approach, some look to the maple tree as a source of food and inquiry. Discover the delight of tapping maple trees and sugaring with young children in this online primer. Under the lens of working with young children, we will introduce the process of maple sugaring and help participants feel comfortable bringing this experience to their own programs and practice. We will introduce basic winter tree identification, address the cultural and historical relevance of sugaring, share best practices and responsible harvesting, discover the science behind the sugaring process, and share tips and tricks for engaging children in the process.

    Participants will demonstrate proficiency in the different aspects of the sugaring process and, in turn, receive an ERAFANS sugaring badge representing their understanding of the practice, along with a professional development certificate. If you want to introduce sugaring to your program or personal practice with intention and authenticity but are not sure where to start, then this primer is for you!

    Your course facilitators is Emily Woodmansee, ERAFANS Professional Development Coordinator and director of Among the Ferns.

    ONLINE LEARNING FORMAT
    You can register for this course anytime now through March 6, 2021.

    This on-demand course is offered in three 45-minute segments that you can watch at your own pace. The course is hosted on the Thinkific platform and lessons can be accessed sequentially. Additional materials will be provided to help you lead maple sugaring activities with your students. Upon registration, we will provide you with a list of suggested reading and materials.

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
    This course is ideal for teachers in preschool, childcare, and elementary school settings who want to learn about the process of maple sugaring.

    • Thursday, December 30, 2021
    • Friday, December 30, 2022
    Register

    Training is MSDE-approved for three (3) Core of Knowledge clock hours in curriculum.

    What does it mean to facilitate child-led learning outdoors? How do teachers connect the dots between unstructured play and intentional skill development? How can your teaching team prepare for emergent learning without structured lesson plans, yet still address key learning goals? This engaging workshop will explore these important questions and practical solutions for nature-based educators. 

    Please note that you must attend both live webinars to receive a professional development certificate with MSDE-approved clock hours.  

    • Friday, December 31, 2021
    • Saturday, December 31, 2022
    • Online!

    *Please note, this is a re-recorded webinar.  You will receive details on how to access the recording upon registration. 

    The founder of Montessori education, Dr. Maria Montessori, envisioned a model based on child-led inquiry, self-paced exploration, developmentally appropriate materials and activities, and play. Beautiful classroom environments support experiential learning and choice. Well-trained teachers spark the children's interests through these enriching learning environments, stretching the children's abilities and imagination. These principles of Montessori programs are kindred to practices in nature-based education, also ripe with hands-on, child-directed learning in natural settings. This workshop highlights practical ways to incorporate outdoor learning and natural materials in harmony with the overall vision of Montessori education. 

    This session is presented by Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, ERAFANS Executive Director, and Susan Chlebowski, ERAFANS Forest Days Guide. 

    • Wednesday, January 12, 2022
    • Tuesday, March 29, 2022
    • 3 sessions
    • Online!
    Register

    We have partnered with Academic Experiences Abroad (AEA) to design a virtual Forest School Exchange! This innovative program offers real-time networking with other nature-based programs across the United States and from around the globe. The time commitment is three consecutive (online) discussions during January, February, or March 2022. Pricing is on a sliding scale and available at no charge for schools who operate in Title 1 areas of the U.S. 

    The forest preschool exchange is an interactive program that allows educators to share and discover methods and approaches to outdoor learning in various place-based contexts. This cross-cultural exchange provides a bird’s eye view into each of the participating schools’ nature pedagogy and invites discussion of challenges and successes regarding curriculum, assessment, risk management, family involvement, staffing, and other topics suggested by participants. You can expect to learn from nature-based programs in different parts of the United States and from other parts of the world. We will provide a 6 clock-hour professional development certificate upon successful completion of this experience.

    SCHEDULE
    Please select the month that works best with your schedule from the registration options. Registration is for ONE 3-week session (see dates). Once cohorts are established, your facilitator will confirm times in further correspondence.

    Session 1: Wed., January 12, 19, and 26, 2022
    Session 2: Thurs., February 10, 17, 24, 2022
    Session 3: Tues., March 15, 22, 29, 2022

    Because meetings are held among several participants across different time zones, we will establish firm meeting times to avoid schedule changes. Upon registration, we will provide you with a list of recommended reading for the course and other important details (online meeting links, etc.) Note: Meeting times are listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

    We look forward to an enriching learning experience with you!

    • Friday, January 28, 2022
    • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    • Irvine Nature Center, Owings Mills, MD

    If you'd like to know more about maple sugaring, bundle up and join us! A naturalist will walk us through how to find and tap trees for maple sugaring, along with great tips to teach young children basic concepts. The afternoon session will feature more ideas for active winter nature play! Note: Please bring your canteen for drinks; lunch is provided.

    While this workshop is open to educators working with children of all ages, the content will be geared towards those working with children ages 3-6 years old (however, everything can be adapted to meet the age of your students!). 

    ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event. This session has MSDE-approval for 6 clock hours of PD. Please dress for the weather because we will be outside, rain or shine, for a large portion of this training.

    • Tuesday, February 01, 2022
    • Thursday, March 10, 2022
    • 18 sessions
    • Online!
    Register

    We are thrilled to offer our Nature-Based Teacher Certification as an online option! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices as you earn this introductory credential. 

    Our 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We draw from experienced educators with diverse perspectives to help you hone your own approaches to nature-based ECE. 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. 

    SCHEDULE
    Tuesdays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Thursdays:  Guest presenters with Q&A

    Course meets from 7-8:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. There is a total of 24 hours direct learning through 6 consecutive weeks of online sessions with presenters and within small cohorts. An additional 12 hours of flexible, self-directed learning will take place centered on outdoor skills and experiences, which you must provide documentation of.  Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    We are delighted to share this course with our international friends and those who cannot travel for training at this time. Please take a look at this FAQ page and feel free to reach out to Emily with questions!


    • Thursday, February 10, 2022
    • Thursday, February 24, 2022
    • 3 sessions
    • Online!
    Register

    As an administrator,  how are you adapting your program in light of the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic? How are you offering support to families and your staff as a whole? How have you adapted programming to support the needs of your community, now and looking into the future? What are you doing for yourself, in terms of self-care, to keep moving forward during this stressful, uncertain time?

    Each networking call provides space to lean on one another from the unique perspectives we share as directors of nature-based programs and schools. We share challenges, strategies, resources, and practical solutions to help each other. This is a great place to air frustrations, ask questions of colleagues, or just listen and gather ideas. Encouragement and support is a given! This is a networking call, not a presentation, so plan to interact and share.

    We will cap the discussion for each call; your confirmation email contains a link for all up-coming scheduled Zoom calls.


    • Saturday, February 26, 2022
    • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    • The Playgarden by the Sea, Jacksonville Beach, FL
    • 45
    Register
    The New Year is here and we are ready to learn, play, and explore together! Join us as we discover best practices and approaches to nature-based education. Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based programs.


    This training is ideal for educators, caregivers, and others working with children three to six years old. Attendees work in all kinds of settings, from nature-based schools and forest kindergartens to public schools, traditional preschools, HeadStart programs, childcare centers, daycare, and more. Breakfast and an afternoon snack are included, but pack a zero-waste lunch and bring a 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 training takes place outdoors, rain or shine.

    As regulations for COVID-19 continue to shift, we will maintain health policies to keep everyone safe and healthy. We currently ask that masks are worn inside, but masks outside will be at each individual's comfort level (please keep in mind that this retreat will take place almost entirely outside). We will have a Health Check form (to complete prior to arrival). We also ask that participants bring an outdoor camping chair or blanket to physically distance during the training.  Your confirmation email contains further details.

    • Tuesday, March 01, 2022
    • Tuesday, April 05, 2022
    • 6 sessions
    • Online
    Register

    This course develops core routines, which are habits that help us draw closer to nature. As teachers and outdoor guides, we must nurture our relationship with and as part of the natural world to better help children do the same. This course takes inspiration from Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown (2010). We share a seasonal journey integrating core routines and nature connection practices in our own lives, complemented by suggestions for sharing core routines with young children. Be prepared for self-directed experiences you will do outdoors between class meetings.

    CLASS MEETINGS
    Mondays from March 1-April 5, 2022 from 7-9 pm EST.

    FLOW OF CLASS SCHEDULE
    Each class is a mini-retreat! The format of this interactive course is a combination of facilitated discussion, work in a smaller cohort of teachers, and asynchronous independent learning experiences. 

    -Facilitated topics centered on core routines
    -Outside experiences/break
    -Cohort discussions and small group experiences
    -Reflection and closing stories

    There is a total of 12 hours direct learning through six (6) online sessions with course instructor and within small cohorts. Additional self-directed learning will take place centered on topics we discuss as a group. Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
    This course is ideal for anyone who wants to explore the core routines described in Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature as it relates to sharing nature with young children outdoors. Attendees may include: teachers in preschool, childcare, or elementary school settings; naturalists, environmental educators, or outdoor educators; wilderness survival enthusiasts; and parents.


    COURSE FACILITATOR
    Lynn is a Nature-Based Mentor, Certified Life Coach, naturalist, archetype enthusiast, ceremonial facilitator, and passionate gardener. She is also a contributing author to Discover Your Woman Within: A Journey to Wholeness. With a degree in Biology from Quinnipiac University, an apprenticeship with the Vermont Wilderness School, and a husband busting to co-create transformational, nature-based experiences for individuals and communities. Her life’s work is to support mission-driven people to stay focused on their quest to make the world a better place and find joy in the process. 

    • Wednesday, March 02, 2022
    • Saturday, March 12, 2022
    • 4 sessions
    • Online & Carrie Murray Nature Center (1901 Ridgetop Rd, Baltimore, MD 21207)
    • 33
    Register

    This 12-hour course pairs benefits of outdoor learning with strategies for implementation in your preschool, daycare, public or private school setting. As we move through the course, you will examine the physical spaces in your program (indoors and out) and explore ways to harness them for healthy outdoor play and learning. We will also identify ways that outdoor learning aligns with curriculum and discuss how to demonstrate the benefits to stakeholders such as fellow staff, administrators, maintenance crew, and parents. We will explore practical approaches to moving class outside and help your team transform teaching practices to confidently teach in outdoor settings. This includes considerations for sites in urban and rural settings, guidance on risk management, planning for diverse learner needs, and low- or no-cost options for materials. Taking cues from nature-based programs and forest schools, we will highlight resources and research throughout as models of outdoor learning. Participants will leave with strategies, tools, and a supportive network of colleagues to make outdoor learning a reality this fall! The format of this interactive course is a combination of facilitated discussion, work among a small cohort of teachers, and asynchronous independent learning experiences with a culminating project that you will be able to share with fellow teachers at your school. Guest presenters include Jessica Wong of John Spry Community Elementary School, Chicago and Heather Quinn from Hummingbird Hill Nature Preschool in Reisterstown, MD.

    The format of this interactive course is a combination of facilitated discussion, work in a smaller cohort of teachers, and asynchronous independent learning experiences.  This course includes 6 clock hours of virtual course time along with 6 clock hours live and in person at the Carrie Murray Nature Center (1901 Ridgetop Rd, Baltimore, MD 21207)

    RECOMMENDED READING (not included)

    Barefoot and Balanced: How Unrestricted Nature Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela Hanscom

    Nature-Based Learning: Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Budget by Julie Powers and Sheila Williams Ridge

    A Forest Days Handbook by Eliza Minucci

    Nature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Learning Experiences in All Seasons by Monica Wiedel-Lubinski and Karen Madigan

    SCHEDULE

    This is a 12-hour course, spread out over two weeks, offered both online and in-person. Participants engage in facilitated discussions and meet with a small cohort of teachers to explore various topics during the course. Full participation will include interactive outdoor experiences that are documented and shared throughout. (See details below.)


    Wed., March 2 (online) from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    Mon., March 7 (online) from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    Wed., March 9 (online) from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    Sat., March 12 (live) from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

    The live session on Saturday, March 12th will take place at the Carrie Murray Nature Center (1901 Ridgetop Rd, Baltimore, MD 21207). Lunch will be provided but please bring your own canteen and any snacks. 

    All attendees will receive a professional development certificate for successful completion of this course. This course qualifies for 12 MSDE clock hours. 

    WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
    This course is ideal for teachers in preschool, childcare, and elementary school settings who want to move learning outside! Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    *Thanks to PNC grant funding this course is free to any Baltimore City early childhood educator or director working with children ages birth-5 years. 

    • Tuesday, April 05, 2022
    • 7:00 PM
    • Thursday, May 12, 2022
    • 8:30 PM
    • Online!
    Register

    We are thrilled to offer our Nature-Based Teacher Certification as an online option! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices as you earn this introductory credential. 

    Our 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We draw from experienced educators with diverse perspectives to help you hone your own approaches to nature-based ECE. 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. 

    SCHEDULE
    Tuesdays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Thursdays:  Guest presenters with Q&A

    Course meets from 7-8:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. There is a total of 24 hours direct learning through 6 consecutive weeks of online sessions with presenters and within small cohorts. An additional 12 hours of flexible, self-directed learning will take place centered on outdoor skills and experiences, which you must provide documentation of.  Upon registration, we will provide you with a complete list of materials needed for the course.

    We are delighted to share this course with our international friends and those who cannot travel for training at this time. Please take a look at this FAQ page and feel free to reach out to Emily with questions!


    • Friday, June 03, 2022
    • Sunday, June 05, 2022
    • 3 sessions
    • Anne Close Springs Greenway, Fort Mill, SC
    Register

    The Natural Wonder Summit is a very special gathering for nature-based educators, administrators, and childcare providers. This three-day event is a joyful way to explore nature-based early childhood education and personal natural connection. We recharge with old friends and new as we celebrate outdoor play and learning! 

    Situated in Fort Mill, SC, Anne Close Springs Greenway is the backdrop for our three-day gathering from Friday, June 3 to Sunday, June 5, 2022. Our summit features sessions for educators working with children ages three through eight years old (preschool - 3rd grade).  We are grateful to our partners at the Nature Preschool at the Anne Close Springs Greenway for helping organizing this incredible training event!

    Each year the Natural Wonder Summit features a Friday night keynote session that highlights important topics in nature-based education. This year, we will hold a campfire networking event following the keynote. Saturday includes in-person presentations and experiential outdoor workshops on the Greenway. On Sunday, there are optional
     tours (additional cost) to area nature-based programs and an opportunity to experience a place-based natural wonder at this location. ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event. Please dress for the weather, as most of this training will take place outdoors, rain or shine. 

    Drink and s'mores included Friday evening; light breakfast and lunch are provided on Saturday.  Bring a brown bag for optional Sunday tours. We strive to minimize our carbon footprint during training, so please bring your own reusable canteen or water bottle for drinks.

    OPTIONAL SUNDAY TOURS

    Lake Haigler Kayak Launch Private Kayak Rentals9 am-11 a.m.

    $10 per person

    Follow this link to register

    Greenway Gateway Private History Hike, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

    $10 per person

    Follow this link to register

    • Monday, June 27, 2022
    • 8:30 AM
    • Friday, July 01, 2022
    • 4:00 PM
    • Waldorf School of Baltimore, 4801 Tamarind Rd, Baltimore, MD 21209
    • 30
    Register

    We are excited to learn with you once again during the Level 2: Intermediate Nature-Based Teacher Certification! (Registration is for live, in-person certification.)

    This five-day, 36-hour course builds on what you learned during the Level 1 introductory course, diving deeper into best practices and helping you hone approaches to nature-based early childhood education specific to your learning environment. The intermediate course examines more nuanced facets of running a nature-based program, managing/mentoring teachers, and promoting your program.  We continue to draw from experienced educators and explore diverse perspectives in NBECE throughout the week. You will also take time to enhance your personal nature connection as an extension of this deep, important work. (Note: Attendees must complete the level 1 introductory course prior to taking level 2; see web for complete description.)

    Monday: 8:30 - 5 p.m.
    Full day of workshops; breakfast and lunch provided daily

    Tuesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m.
    Optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.; full day of workshops

    Wednesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m.
    Off-site tours and workshops

    Thursday: 12 - 8:30 p.m.
    Lunch followed by sessions, evening sessions include dinner and campfire

    Friday: 8:30 - 4 p.m.
    Optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m. , closing sessions and conclusion of the course

    • Monday, June 27, 2022
    • 8:30 AM
    • Friday, July 01, 2022
    • 4:00 PM
    • The Waldorf School of Baltimore, MD
    Register

    We are thrilled to offer our Nature-Based Teacher Certification! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices as you earn this introductory credential. (Registration is for live, in-person certification.)

    This five-day, 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education to prepare you for meaningful outdoor learning experiences. We draw from experienced educators with diverse perspectives to help you hone your own approaches to nature-based ECE. 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. (See web for complete description.)

    Monday: 8:30 - 5 p.m.
    Full day of workshops; breakfast and lunch provided daily

    Tuesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m.
    Optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.; full day of workshops

    Wednesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m.
    Off-site tours and workshops

    Thursday: 12 - 8:30 p.m.
    Lunch followed by sessions, evening sessions include dinner and campfire

    Friday: 8:30 - 4 p.m.
    Optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m. , closing sessions and conclusion of the course

    • Wednesday, September 07, 2022
    • 9:00 AM
    • Tuesday, May 23, 2023
    • 1:00 PM
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    Register

    Nature is the foundation of our holistic approach to immersive, nature-based homeschool for children in K-2nd grade (5-7 years old by Sept. 1, 2022). Flexible options are available Monday thru Thursday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Choose from one day each week or join us for all four! (The overlapping time frames are ideal if you have a younger child who attends Notchcliff Forest Preschool from 9:30-12:30 p.m.) 

    Class Options: Choose up to four-days/week with Monday-Thursday class options from 9 - 1 p.m.

    Monday: Hands-on Science and Social Studies Inquiry
    Tuesday: Language and Literacy Exploration
    Wednesday: Wild Math and Outdoor Cooking
    Thursday: Creative Nature Arts: Music, Art, and Dramatic Play
    Friday*: Discover Day/Community Service (optional)

    *We will include a schedule of suggested meet-ups for seasonal field trips and community service projects on Fridays. This provides an option for co-op families to keep learning together.

    Our curriculum is emergent and holistic. When you enroll for a specific topic, your child will still be exposed to language, math, science, and creative arts as we naturally do during outdoor play and exploration. Your registration for a specific daily focus means that we offer intentional activities and experiences to learn about the topic, but please note this does not exclude any of the rich interdisciplinary learning that always occurs.


    Each day provides a different daily focus, allowing teachers to balance intentional learning experiences with emergent, child-driven explorations. We reference MSDE’s curriculum standards to ensure that children meet homeschool requirements (see MSDE’s homeschool info or components of homeschool instruction video here). The children’s nature journals, photos, and other learning artifacts will provide you with documentation to support your child’s learning adventures at Notchcliff. While much of the children's time is devoted to nature play, we also translate our adventures into activities that align with grade level expectations and standards. (Learn more at www.naturalcommunity.org.)

    Co-Op Agreement: Parents play an integral role in learning. We staff each class with a forest school guide/lead teacher to oversee and facilitate daily experiential learning, paired with one parent support. This framework invites parents into the learning process, which includes unstructured, child-direct exploration and intentional projects and activities. All parents must attend an orientation prior to volunteering during class and will receive a schedule of dates to assist throughout the semester/school year, which you will schedule in advance. The more children in the class, the fewer times you may participate. Most parents will volunteer 2 times/month if you are enrolled in two class days or more. As we get to know the talents among our learning community, we will utilize parents as important resources who also have much to share with the children.

    Tuition:  The program is for the full program year and cost is based on less than you might otherwise pay a sitter.  If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition.  If you are experiencing financial need, please reach out. We have limited aid for those who qualify.

    Payment schedule: First payment is due upon enrollment and is non-refundable; second payment due Nov. 1, third payment due Feb. 1, and final payment due Apr. 1 (depending on class option). Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due.

    Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be five years old by Sept. 1 of the program year they begin. 

    Family Agreement & Handbook: Immersive outdoor learning means just that - we are outdoors in all kinds of weather! Please read and sign the handbook and Family Agreement to acknowledge important policies that guide our program. Family Agreement_Notchcliff Nature Programs.pdf.

    You can find our COVID-19 Policies here, which are subject to change. Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email.  We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

    • Wednesday, September 07, 2022
    • 9:30 AM
    • Friday, May 26, 2023
    • 12:30 PM
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    Register

    Notchcliff Forest Preschool is a joyful way for young children, ages 3-5 to play and explore nature. This is a drop-off program led by two caring teacher guides with a maximum of 12 children. Class options include Mon./Wed. Chickadees class, Tues./Thurs. Spotted Fawns class, or Friday Foxes class from 9:30-12:30 p.m. Because we are a forest preschool, we are immersed in nature! 100% of our class time takes place outdoors.  (In case of sudden severe weather or emergency, we have access to a classroom in the main building of Glen Meadows Retirement Community.)

    Community Building: Place-based education nurtures the very roots that connect us to our community, which is why our focus is on discovering local wildlife, traditions, culture, and natural history.  Each month, there are opportunities to join us in the forest classroom, attend events with Glen Meadows residents, or go on a local field trip. These special experiences encourage kinship among our learning community including our 'grand friends' at the retirement community. (See program calendar, which is sent in August before the start of the new school year.)

    Tuition: We strive to keep rates affordable for families while offering a living wage for staff. Rates are based on what you might otherwise pay a babysitter. (approximately $12/hour). Please note that enrollment is for the full program year (Sept. 2022 - May 2023). When space is available, we offer a pro-rated January-May session.

    Payment schedule: Initial, non-refundable payment is due upon enrollment. Second payment is due Nov. 1; third payment is due Feb. 1, and final payment is due Apr. 1. Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due.  If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition. If you prefer monthly billing, we are happy to set it up for you.

    Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be three years old by Sept. 1 of the program year s/he begins. Toilet-training is not required, but please let us know about this sensitive topic in advance so we can best support your child's needs.

    We honor the diverse background and abilities of everyone in our learning community. We work closely with families to ensure that every child receives necessary accommodations to thrive. Please reach out to Monica if you have specific questions about our approach to inclusion director@erafans.org

    Our Handbook, Family Agreement, and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email. We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

Past events

Friday, December 17, 2021 Birding in Winter for Kids & Families: Participating in the Christmas Bird Count & Great Backyard Bird Count!
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Thursday, October 21, 2021 Feel a Song, Write a Song, Sing a Song
Monday, October 04, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (FL)
Thursday, September 30, 2021 The Natural "Nature" of Children
Monday, September 20, 2021 Autumn Outdoor Preschool Teacher Series
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Monday, August 09, 2021 What Do You Notice? Building Connection & Fostering Learning Outdoors
Thursday, August 05, 2021 Archaeo-botany for Recovering our Ancestors
Monday, July 19, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (OH)
Monday, June 28, 2021 SOLD OUT! Nature-Based Teacher Certification: Level II
Monday, June 28, 2021 SOLD OUT! Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Monday, June 21, 2021 Edible Earth!
Monday, June 14, 2021 Summer Outdoor Preschool Teacher Series!
Saturday, June 12, 2021 Self-Care for Educators
Tuesday, June 08, 2021 Summer Forest Friends
Friday, June 04, 2021 Natural Wonder Summit
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 Spring Rains and Daisy Chains: Making the Most of Outdoor Learning
Sunday, May 16, 2021 Gratitude, Mindfulness, & Loving Kindness
Sunday, April 25, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification: Level III
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 Forest and Nature Preschool Boot Camp!
Saturday, April 17, 2021 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 Outdoor Learning in a Nutshell: Taking Learning Outside
Sunday, April 11, 2021 Spring Sing Along with Megan Fox!
Tuesday, April 06, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 Transforming Your Program by Centering Narratives and Roles of Indigenous, Black and People of Color in Nature
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 Forest School as a Path to Math
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 Supporting Young Children with Diversabilities in Outdoor Learning Environments
Monday, February 22, 2021 Nature Connection Practices
Tuesday, February 02, 2021 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Monday, February 01, 2021 Train-the-Trainer Module for Nature-Based Teacher Foundations Course
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 Networking Call for Nature-Based Educators
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 Outdoor Preschool Teacher Series
Sunday, January 17, 2021 Winter Sing-Along with Megan Fox
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 Forest and Nature Preschool Boot Camp!
Saturday, January 09, 2021 The Resourced Teacher: Mindfulness, Self-Care, and Trauma-Informed Teaching
Monday, December 21, 2020 Winter Solstice Ceremony
Friday, December 18, 2020 Not If, But How: Inclusion and Advocacy in Nature-Based Programs
Friday, November 06, 2020 Members Gathering
Thursday, October 22, 2020 Chesapeake Nature Play & Learning Conference
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Tuesday, October 06, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 Edible Earth, Art Therapy, and Natural Apothecary
Monday, September 14, 2020 What are Forest and Nature Schools?
Friday, September 04, 2020 Notchcliff Forest Preschool
Thursday, September 03, 2020 Notchcliff Forest Kinder Co-Op
Monday, August 24, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Wednesday, August 12, 2020 Forest and Nature Preschool Boot Camp!
Tuesday, August 04, 2020 Starting a Forest or Nature Preschool Program? Free advice!
Friday, July 24, 2020 Starting a Forest or Nature Preschool Program? Free advice!
Monday, July 20, 2020 Outdoor Learning in a Nutshell: Taking Learning Outside
Monday, July 20, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Monday, July 20, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (Intermediate Level 2)
Monday, July 06, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (Intermediate Level 2)
Monday, July 06, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Monday, June 29, 2020 Spiritual Development and the Environment as a Third Educator
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (online course)
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Nature-Based Educators Networking Call
Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Wild Life: Exploring Nature With Children
Friday, June 12, 2020 SC State Chapter Meeting
Tuesday, June 09, 2020 Director's Series
Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Nature-Based Learning, Inside and Out
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 Creating Your Nature-Based Preschool
Friday, May 22, 2020 [Virtual] Open House for Notchcliff Forest Preschool
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Nature-Based Educators Networking Call
Monday, May 18, 2020 Creating Your Nature-Based Preschool
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Wednesday, May 06, 2020 Dramatic Play-Based Learning in Nature
Tuesday, May 05, 2020 Nature-Based Learning, Inside and Out
Monday, May 04, 2020 The Abundance of Spring: Plant ID and Foraging Basics
Sunday, May 03, 2020 Local Networking Meeting (VA)
Sunday, May 03, 2020 Local Networking Meeting (MD)
Thursday, April 30, 2020 Virtual Forest School? A Facilitated Discussion
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Thursday, April 23, 2020 [Virtual] Open House for Notchcliff Nature Preschool
Friday, April 17, 2020 Drip Drop Fun: Simple Water Play Activities
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Director's Series
Sunday, April 05, 2020 Staying Connected Through Nature Play & Learning
Thursday, April 02, 2020 Virtual Forest School? A Facilitated Discussion
Wednesday, April 01, 2020 Forest & Nature Preschool Director's Call
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Gentle Yoga for Grounding
Monday, March 23, 2020 Reframing the Meaning of Community in Changing Times
Friday, March 06, 2020 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, February 15, 2020 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, February 01, 2020 SC State Chapter Meeting
Sunday, January 26, 2020 Naturally Ready For Kindergarten (ONLINE COURSE)
Sunday, January 19, 2020 Creating Your Nature-based Preschool
Saturday, November 09, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, November 02, 2019 SC State Chapter Meeting
Saturday, October 12, 2019 VA State Chapter Meeting
Saturday, October 05, 2019 Tender Sprouts Caregivers Workshop
Saturday, September 21, 2019 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Friday, September 06, 2019 Forest Fridays at Notchcliff Nature Preschool
Sunday, August 18, 2019 Family Nature Play Day!
Monday, August 12, 2019 Nature-Based Teacher Certification NC
Monday, July 15, 2019 Nature-Based Teacher Certification (Intermediate)
Monday, July 08, 2019 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Saturday, June 08, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat OH
Saturday, May 18, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, May 11, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, April 27, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 UK Forest School Study Tour
Friday, March 15, 2019 Natural Wonder Summit
Saturday, February 23, 2019 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, January 12, 2019 VA State Chapter Meeting
Saturday, October 27, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, October 06, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat NY
Monday, July 09, 2018 Nature-Based Teacher Certification
Monday, June 11, 2018 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Friday, June 01, 2018 Natural Wonder Summit
Saturday, May 05, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat at Common Ground, New Haven, CT
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Saturday, April 14, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat VA
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 Outdoor Teacher Retreat
Saturday, February 10, 2018 Winter Workshop & Retreat
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 Naturally Ready for Kindergarten
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Gratitude, Mindfulness, and Loving Kindness
Saturday, November 11, 2017 Outdoor Teacher Retreat at Painted Oak Nature School, NJ
Saturday, October 07, 2017 Toast the Teachers!
Saturday, September 30, 2017 Outdoor Teacher Retreat, Westminster, MD
Friday, September 29, 2017 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Thursday, September 14, 2017 Back to [Nature] School Basics
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 Nurturing Communication in Your Learning Community
Monday, August 21, 2017 Loose Parts, Props & Tools
Friday, August 11, 2017 Summer Webinar Series, Part 3: Water
Monday, July 17, 2017 Planning Your Natural Play Space
Friday, July 07, 2017 Summer Webinar Series, Part 2: Fire
Friday, June 23, 2017 Complete Summer Webinar Series: Mud, Fire & Water
Friday, June 23, 2017 Summer Webinar Series, Part 1: Mud
Friday, May 05, 2017 Webinar Series, Part 3: Loose Parts, Tools and Props for Outdoor Learning
Thursday, May 04, 2017 Webinar Series, Part 2: Planning Your Natural Play Space
Thursday, April 20, 2017 Webinar Series, Part 1: The Value of Natural Play Spaces
Thursday, April 20, 2017 Complete Spring Webinar Series: Natural Play Spaces
Saturday, April 01, 2017 Natural Wonder Summit
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