About this Nature-Based Training
Join ERAFANS at Robinson Nature Center for this 6-clock hour Professional Development Institute (MSDE approved). With a focus on nature-based learning, we will spend the day immersed activities centered on the Winter Solstice. 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.
Note: We strive to make our training events zero waste, so please bring your canteen for drinks. Light breakfast and lunch are provided.
Who Should Attend?
This training is ideal for educators, caregivers, and others working with young children. Our participants 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.
This retreat is packed with topics you will love! You can look forward to engaging, immersive sessions on the topics you need to learn, play, and explore with children outside.
Shine A Little Light on Me: The Magic of Light and Winter Solstice Play
Brittany Woodward and Molly McLain, Wild Child Association
Across the world Winter Solstice brings a sense of renewal and awe in our natural world. Celebrations of light spark joy as we bid farewell to the shortest day, making it the perfect time to share that awe with each other! Following an introduction to child-friendly solstice themes from across world cultures, join Brittany Woodward and Molly McLain in three light-based provocations to de-light the inner (and outer) child.
Winter Solstice Activities to Warm Your Heart
Katie Rooney, Irvine Nature Center
Hark, ho! The longest night of the year is nearly here! Join Katie Rooney in an exploration of activities, books, and song to prepare for and celebrate the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year and the start of Winter. Just as the natural rhythm of nature is drawing inward towards the long quiet winter of reflection, we’ll walk a Solstice Spiral and explore the use of light as a uniting celebration of each child. We’ll consider how to adopt such a tradition for your program and the families you serve. This workshop will be hands-on and interactive, so grab your gear and get ready to play!
Let's Experiment with Winter Science
Daje Reeder, The Eco Experience
Science is all about experimenting and exploring! Join Daje Reeder to explore what makes ice melt, how to make frozen bubbles, why the temperature in the meadow is different than in the woods, how to read a thermometer, and how animals adapt to colder temperatures! Participants will experiment with ice, snow, temperature and animal adaptations.
Winter Tree & Plant ID
Nature is abundant with food, medicine, and more - even in winter! Join Bodhi Vasilopoulis as explore Robinson and learn to identify trees in winter and meet a few plant allies. Bodhi will share some basics of field herbalism, ethical and sustainable harvest practices, forest ecology, and more.
Creative Nature Arts Inspired by Winter
Robinson Nature Center
Explore creativity in the winter landscape and learn about how you can plan for art projects outdoors, even in chilly temperatures! From snow inspired process art to icy mandalas, Robinson Nature Center staff will leave you with easy and fun ideas to take back to your indoor or outdoor classroom.
Winter Woodland Tea Time: Wild Tea Recipe Swap Around the Yule Log
Cozy up by the fire, share your favorite wild tea recipes, and connect with other nature-based educators to close out the day! In keeping with Solstice traditions, we’ll wild-craft our own Yule Log and add it to the fire to celebrate the return of the light.