CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Upcoming events

    • Friday, September 06, 2019
    • (EDT)
    • Friday, May 29, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 36 sessions
    • Glen Meadows Retirement Community
    Register

    Notchcliff Nature 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. The program is held on Fridays and takes place entirely outdoors. (If there is an extreme weather emergency, we have sheltered space at Glen Meadows Retirement Community in the "Chesapeake Room".)

    Family Fridays: One Friday per month, families attend a local outing with their children to a nearby wild space. These outings provide space for families to connect as a learning community while we discover many more gems in our community. (See attached program calendar.)

    Tuition: We offer a sliding scale tuition model for families to pay what they can. Please note that enrollment is for the full program year, Sept. 6, 2019 - May 29, 2020.

    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. (See attached copies of the Family Agreement and program calendar.) Family Agreement_Notchcliff Nature Preschool.pdf and Program Schedule 2019_2020.pdf

    Gear is essential for children to freely explore and play outdoors. Review the attached gear resource to make sure your child is prepared. Gear for Outdoor Exploration.pdf

    • Tuesday, May 26, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Thursday, May 28, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 3 sessions
    • Online!
    Register

    The nature preschool movement is in full swing because of people like you! If you're thinking about starting up your own nature preschool or forest kindergarten, this course offers specific information and tips to help you along the journey.  Module one covers planning basics; module two highlights strategies for marketing and community partnerships; and module three provides approaches to support children, families, and staff. Bonus documents include a sample business plan.

    • Monday, June 01, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • online!
    Register

    When you register, you get the link to this course for immediate viewing.

    This webinar introduces the foundations of forest school pedagogy as it applies to math curriculum in K-6 elementary education. We will discuss how it is possible to blend forest school with the teaching of specific curricula learning outcomes,  as opposed to being an ‘add-on’, which requires extra time within an already crowded curriculum. Focus is placed on K-6 math learning and shows how learning math in the forest is engaging for all (teachers and students). We will also examine how it can support students suffering from behavioral and motivation issues, who are often distracted and disengaged in class.

    ABOUT THE PRESENTER: CAROLINE BAILLIE

    Professor Caroline Baillie is a trained forest school leader (UK) and STEM educator with diverse multidisciplinary background. She shares her time between academic work at the University of San Diego, CA and work with ‘Waste for Life’, which she co-founded with partner Eric Feinblatt.  Caroline formerly ran an innovative ‘bush school’ in Australia with Noongar children using forest school pedagogy (see Bush school talk) and continues her work with Indigneous communities through her collaborative work with USD students and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Nation (see Kumeyaay). During 2018, Caroline also facilitated the development of forest school at Sullivan West Elementary school in Sullivan County NY, which focuses on supporting math learners in the outdoor classroom. Waste for Life's Standing People Together program is currently launching its ‘Forest Exploratorium’ which provides forest school sessions for K-6 age children in rural Sullivan County, NY. Learn more about programs and training with Waste for Life here.

    • Tuesday, June 02, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Thursday, June 04, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 2 sessions
    Register

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

    Discover ways nature-based concepts can enhance any early childhood curriculum. Teachers will explore hands-on approaches to inquiry and outdoor learning and consider ways to invite nature indoors to classroom settings. This lively training examplifies how you can enjoy nature-based learning inside and out.

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

    • Friday, June 05, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • online!
    Register

    (After you register, you get the link to this course for immediate viewing!)
    How do we build and expand nature-based programs and c
    ommunity that supports inclusive practices? How do we advocate for children who
    struggle with challenging behaviors to ensure support for every child? Explore solutions to some of the toughest questions facing nature-based educators today with Lisa Burris, director of Turn Back Time in Paxton, MA. 
    Note: Online link provided in confirmation email.

    • Friday, June 05, 2020
    • 6:30 PM (EDT)
    • Saturday, June 06, 2020
    • 7:00 PM (EDT)
    • Ashland Nature Center, Hockessin, DE

    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!

    This year's summit is held in partnership with the Delaware Nature Society at the beautiful Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin, DE. Our featured keynote presenters are Caylin Gans of Forest Schooled and Seth Mbanzare of Child & Nature Alliance Canada. Optional tours of Coverdale Farm and University of Delware's Labratory Preschool, as well as an opportunity to experience a natural wonder (spawing horsecrabs and shorebirds!) are available on Sunday.

    ERAFANS will provide a professional development certificate at the conclusion of the event; training is pending MD and DE approval of training hours. 

    Please dress for the weather, as at least 50% of this event will take place outdoors. A casual networking campfire takes place Friday evening with ice cream social; lite breakfast and lunch provided on Saturday with a campfire happy hour from 5-7 p.m. - don't forget your canteen!

    • Tuesday, June 09, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • Thursday, June 11, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 3 sessions
    Register

    This online director’s series explores some of the most asked questions about running a forest or nature preschool. In addition to informative webinars, course also includes templates and resources you can adapt for your program. Don't worry if you can't join us live - each part is recorded and sent to you.

    Note: We recommend taking our three-part webinar, Creating Your Nature-Based Preschool, as an introduction if you're new to developing a program. The Director's Series is a deeper look at relevant topics once you're on your way!

    Part 1: Handbook Basics
    What policies should you include in your handbook? What language can proactively address parent concerns and help inform them about what to expect? What licensing and accreditation components should you include? What health and safety practices should you include regarding outdoor eating, toileting, and handwashing?

    Part 2: Embracing Risk, Managing Hazards 
    How do you balance healthy risk-taking with the reality of safety considerations outdoors? What tools and practices can protect children, staff, and the program as whole? How do you talk to families about risks versus hazards? What can we learn from UK-based Forest School Association about risk management?


    Part 3: On-going Evaluation of Program, Staff, and Yourself
     
    What forms of evaluation can help your program thrive? How can you assess (and minimize) impact of your program on the natural environment? How do you evaluate staff in a supportive yet constructive manner? What resources and reflective practices can help you continue your own growth and professional development as a leader?

    • Friday, June 12, 2020
    • 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM (EDT)
    • Riverbanks Botanical Garden, West Columbia, SC 29169
    Register

    Join us for a FREE state chapter meeting and find your people!

    There is never a cost to attend an ERAFANS state chapter meeting. The purpose is to build networks across your state, and form localized networks of nature-based educators in your community. Each state determines priorities and goals for the chapter. You can make a difference in this grassroots forum for nature-based educators!

    Add your name to the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature School (ERAFANS) contact list to stay connected or become an ERAFANS member to save on nature-based professional development throughout the year. Feel free to reach out to your state chapter's organizers for more information.

    • Wednesday, June 17, 2020
    • (EDT)
    Register

    You get all three recordings when you register!

    Want to get fresh air, physical activity, relieve stress, keep minds active, and play outside? Then this series is for you! Here we explore a range of ways parents and teachers can experince the natural world with young children, no matter the setting. Part one examines STEM-based topics of science inquiry, technology use, engineering, and math ideas. Part two is focused on ways that nature-based play and learning supports literacy and language development. Part three is an explosion of creative arts experiences with natural materials. Supplemental materials and webinar recordings will be available to participants, as well as a PD certificate for three clock hours.

    • Thursday, June 18, 2020
    • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (EDT)
    • online!
    Register

    You can join the live webinar or get the recording and watch whenever you like!

    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.

    • Monday, July 06, 2020
    • 8:30 AM (EDT)
    • Friday, July 10, 2020
    • 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • McDonogh School, Owings Mills, 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. (Graduate credit available.)

    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. (breakfast and lunch provided daily)
    Tuesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m. (optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.)
    Wednesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m. (optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.)
    Thursday: 8:30 - 2 p.m. (tours and lunch), 2 - 8:30 p.m. (workshop and dinner provided)
    Friday: 8:30 - 4 p.m. (optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.)

    • Monday, July 06, 2020
    • 8:30 AM (EDT)
    • Friday, July 10, 2020
    • 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • McDonough School, Owings Mills, MD
    Register

    We are thrilled to offer an intermediate credential as an extension of our Nature-Based Teacher Certification! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices.

    This five-day, 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education. 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. Content builds upon practices shared during the introductory certification and involves additional reflection components. (See web for complete description.)

    • Monday, July 20, 2020
    • 8:30 AM (EDT)
    • Friday, July 24, 2020
    • 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • Verdi EcoSchool, Melbourne, FL

    We are thrilled to offer an intermediate credential as an extension of our Nature-Based Teacher Certification! You will gain a deeper understanding of nature pedagogy and practices.

    This five-day, 36-hour course provides in-depth study of best practices in nature-based early childhood education. 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. Content builds upon practices shared during the introductory certification and involves additional reflection components. (See web for complete description.)

    • Monday, July 20, 2020
    • 8:30 AM (EDT)
    • Friday, July 24, 2020
    • 4:00 PM (EDT)
    • Verdi EcoSchool, Melbourne, FL

    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. (Graduate credit available.)

    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. (breakfast and lunch provided daily)
    Tuesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m. (optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.)
    Wednesday: 8:30 - 5 p.m. (optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.)
    Thursday: 8:30 - 2 p.m. (tours and lunch), 2 - 8:30 p.m. (workshop and dinner provided)
    Friday: 8:30 - 4 p.m. (optional morning yoga at 7:45 a.m.)

    • 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!

    • 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, May 22, 2020 [Virtual] Open House for Notchcliff Forest Preschool
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Nature-Based Educators Networking Call
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 Supporting Young Children with Diversabilities in Outdoor Learning Environments
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
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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