CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Upcoming events

    • Monday, July 20, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Friday, August 07, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 9 sessions
    • Online!
    • 12
    Registration is closed

    This 12-hour course pairs benefits of outdoor learning with strategies for implementation at your preschool, daycare, public or private elementary 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 discuss 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!

    Your course facilitators are:
    Heather Quinn, director of a nature-based preschool at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, MD and Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, director of ERAFANS and coauthor of Nature Play Workshop for Families. Guest presenters include Jessica Fong, a preschool teacher in Chicago public schools; Seth Mbanazare, a playworker and outdoor educator in Cananda; and Caylin Gans, a seasoned Forest School educator, author, and founder of Forest Schooled.

    The format of this interactive course is a combination of facilitated discussion, work in a smaller cohort of teachers, and asynchronous independent learning experiences.

    SCHEDULE
    Mondays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Fridays:  Facilitated discussion with select guest presenters

    There is a total of 12 hours direct learning through 3 consecutive weeks of online sessions with presenters 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 teachers in preschool, childcare, and elementary school settings who want to move learning outside! Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    • Tuesday, August 04, 2020
    • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (EDT)
    • Online
    Register

    In the age of COVID-19, many people are rethinking what education can and should like, especially for young children. Forest and nature preschools offer tremendous benefits for healthy growth and overall child development, including fresh air, sunshine, and active child-directed play. If you are exploring the idea of starting a nature-based preschool or program, feel free to bring your questions!

    Join Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, director of ERAFANS, founder/cofounder of three nature-based preschool programs in Maryland, and consultant to countless others, for candid advice to those just getting started. Check out her new book, Nature Play Workshop for Families for more inspiring ideas about nature play, too.

    • Wednesday, August 12, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Friday, August 14, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Online!
    • 50
    Register

    If you are starting a new forest or nature preschool program this fall (including childcare and home school classes), our intensive 12-clock hour Forest and Nature Preschool Boot Camp can help you get started! We address a range of topics including:

    • Honing your vision, mission, and educational philosophy
    • Establishing program basics like daily rhythm, class sizes, schedules
    • Business planning/determining a business structure
    • Locations and partners 
    • Licensing considerations
    • How to set tuition, compensate staff, and create a program budget
    • Policies and practices for your parent handbook
    • Creating greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in your program
    • Safety and risk management, including liability insurance needs
    • Finding and hiring great staff
    • Marketing your program
    • Evaluation

    Your course facilitator is Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, director of ERAFANS, founder/cofounder of three nature preschool programs in Maryland, coauthor of Nature Play Workshop for Families, and consultant to countless others starting forest and nature schools in the U.S. and abroad. Guest presenters will also share perspectives for select topics during the three-day course.

    The format of this interactive course is a combination of facilitated discussion, small group work among participants, and asynchronous independent learning experiences. As you might imagine, this is an intense course because we cover so much ground in a short span of time. You will want to plan time between our sessions to consider what we discuss. Please note this is not a prerecorded, on demand course. It is interactive so we can learn together! Are you ready to take the leap?

    SCHEDULE
    Wednesday: 
    Self-directed reading/planning for one-hour
    Facilitated discussion and topics, 6-9 p.m. (EST)

    Thursday:
    Cohort meeting for one-hour (TBD based on group needs)
    Self-directed reading/planning as needed
    Facilitated discussion and topics, 6-9 p.m. (EST)

    Friday:  Cohort meeting for one-hour (TBD based on group needs)
    Self-directed reading/planning as needed
    Facilitated discussion and topics, 6-9 p.m. (EST)

    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 establishing a forest or nature preschool program, which may include a child care or home school model. Whether your program is in a rural or urban setting, this course will offer essential information so you can get right to it. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    • Monday, August 24, 2020
    • 1:30 PM (EDT)
    • Wednesday, September 30, 2020
    • 3:00 PM (EDT)
    • Online!
    • 88
    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
    Mondays:  Facilitated discussions on key topics
    Wednesdays: Cohort meetings
    Fridays:  Guest presenters with Q&A

    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. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    • Thursday, September 03, 2020
    • 1:00 PM (EDT)
    • Friday, May 28, 2021
    • 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    • 3
    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. 3 - May 27, 2021 on Tuesday/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. 

    Co-Op agreement: By joining the Forest Kinder Co-Op, your family agrees to join us for 1-2 days each month and submit to background checks. (This may be one or both parents and may include 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). Please note that enrollment is for the full program year (Sept. 2020 - May 2021). 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; 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. 

    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.

    Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email. Further correspondance will communicate our COVID-19 policies (mid-August) and details about our September 3rd family orientation. Our first day of drop-off class is Tuesday, September 8. We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!

    • Friday, September 04, 2020
    • 9:30 AM (EDT)
    • Friday, May 28, 2021
    • 12:30 PM (EDT)
    • 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 adult guides with a maximum of 10 children. Class options include our Tuesday/Thursdays Fawns class from 9:30-12:30 p.m. or Forest Fridays from 9:30-12:30 p.m. Classes take place primarily outdoors, though we also access 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: This is based on what you might otherwise pay a sitter! Please note that enrollment is for the full program year (Sept. 2020 - May 2021).

    Payment schedule: First payment is due upon enrollment; 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. 

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

    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 Preschool.pdf.

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

    • Saturday, October 03, 2020
    • 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (EDT)
    • Painted Oak Nature School, Hopewell, NJ
    Register
    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. Light breakfast and lunch are included, but bring your canteen for drinks. 

    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!

    • Tuesday, October 06, 2020
    • 6:00 PM (EDT)
    • Thursday, November 12, 2020
    • 7:30 PM (EST)
    • 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

    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. Feel free to reach out to Monica with questions.

    • Friday, October 16, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Saturday, October 17, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 3 sessions
    • Pratt Nature Center
    Register

    Get a bird's eye view into two CT nature-based programs on Friday followed by a full day of professional development on Saturday.

    Friday begins with a visit at the nature preschool at the New Canaan Nature Center from 9:30-11 a.m. followed by a reflective discussion with Q&A and lunch. Next, we travel to the NatureYear Program at Common Ground (with children ages 5-12) for a visit from 12:30-2 p.m., followed by more facilitated discussion about the learning environments and practices we observe. Our day will conclude at 3:30 p.m. at Common Ground in New Haven, CT. Transportation is not included, so we encourage you to carpool. 

    *Note: We have a cap on the number of attendees who can join the Friday observation tours; don't delay if you want to join us!

    On Saturday, we will gather at Pratt Nature Center in New Millford, CT. We will explore a range of topics that will inspire and equip you to more fully support children's connections with nature and DAP in nature-based ECE. You can expect hands-on sessions that are indoors and out! Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based program settings. 

    This training is ideal for caregivers, educators, and others working with children three to seven years old. 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!

    On Friday, lunch is included; on Saturday, light breakfast and lunch are included. (You can specify dietary restrictions during registration.) We strive to reduce our carbon footprint, so please bring your canteen for drinks on both days and carpool, if possible.

    We thank our hosts at New Canaan Nature Center, Common Ground NatureYear Program, and Pratt Nature Center for making this training possible!

Past events

Friday, July 24, 2020 Starting a Forest or Nature Preschool Program? Free advice!
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
Thursday, July 02, 2020 Lessons From Home: Nature-Based Day Care and Preschool at Home
Monday, June 29, 2020 Spiritual Development and the Environment as a Third Educator
Friday, June 26, 2020 Supporting Young Children with Diversabilities in Outdoor Learning Environments
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
Friday, June 05, 2020 Natural Wonder Summit
Friday, June 05, 2020 Not If, But How: Inclusion and Advocacy in Nature-Based Programs
Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Nature-Based Learning, Inside and Out
Monday, June 01, 2020 Forest School as a Path to Math
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
Tuesday, May 12, 2020 Unpacking Emergent Curriculum
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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