Early Childhood Nature Resources


Early Childhood Nature Resources

This group is a place for all of us who love nature and young children to share resources we have found to be helpful and inspiring. Please post stories, programs, workshop materials, handouts for parents, books, links, and photos.

Website: http://www.hookedonnature.org
Members: 117
Latest Activity: Dec 6, 2017

Words of Wisdom

Teaching children about the natural world
should be treated as one of the most
important events in their lives.
Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense
of wonder, he needs the companionship
of at least one adult who can share it,
rediscovering with him the joy, excitement
and mystery of the world we live in.
Rachel Carson, A Sense of Wonder

Discussion Forum

Forest School Educators Training in Australia

We are opening a forest school in Port Macquarie, NSW and we're very interested and keen on having some training. It seems like Claire will only be back to Australia in September but is anyone else…Continue

Started by Sybil Juzwiak Doyle May 20, 2015.

Nature Preschools and Kindergartens 1 Reply

Nature Preschools and Kindergartens WorkshopJoin us for a great One-Day Intensive Workshop on Nature Preschools and Kindergartens.  Claire Warden and I will be hosting this workshop on Nature…Continue

Started by Paul Roberts. Last reply by Juliet Robertson Jan 11, 2013.

Nature Preschools 22 Replies

We are just about to start our second year of our Little Sprouts nature based early learning center and I just wondered if any of you guys are doing this and if you have any BIG ideas for us to…Continue

Started by Debbie Greene. Last reply by Janine Carpenter May 5, 2012.

Join us for our International Green Schoolyard Conference: Sept. 16-18, 2011, San Francisco Bay Area

As many of you know, the green schoolyard movement is growing rapidly and flourishing around the world.  Schools near and far are reimagining their grounds, replacing their extensive paved surfaces…Continue

Tags: environment, nature, conference, green, childhood

Started by Sharon Danks Jun 20, 2011.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Juliet Robertson on December 18, 2010 at 1:14pm
I think Scotland is a really interesting place right now in terms of it's development of outdoor play and learning. I think we have the potential to really be world class in what we are doing - thanks in part to Mindstretchers and a few other pioneers and politicians who have put forward far reaching policies. I don't know of any other country that has the development of state run nature kindergartens as a medium term priority and outdoor learning as a core part of the curriculum.

So in a few years time, it will be a very interesting country to visit. I feel lucky to be involved in it all. It like being at the beautiful dawn of a new day.
Comment by Christina (Tina) Person on December 18, 2010 at 7:17am

Thank you Juliet, I saw a BBC piece on Mindstretchers a couple years ago, I haven't checked out their website in a while. I have a connection in Scotland, my dream is to go to one of their training's!  Asphalt to Ecosystems sounds like its right up my alley, I think its important to start with the spaces we have for children, and literally grow them from their. Then Early Childhood programs might feel that its something they can do now. Thanks again!

Comment by Juliet Robertson on December 18, 2010 at 2:30am

I've got the Learning with Nature Idea book - it's got some nice ideas too. I bought it from Mindstretchers. This is Claire Warden's Early Education Consultancy and she has 2 nature kindergartens (95% outdoor all year round, all weather).


I'm also going to mention Sharon Dank's book "From Asphalt to Ecosystems" which is NOT about Forest Schools or Nature Kindergartens but has some international inspirational ideas for developing outdoor spaces with ecological design principals.

Comment by Christina (Tina) Person on December 17, 2010 at 7:53pm
Thank you all! Excellent infomation and resources, maybe I need to re-think the forest school. Wonderful!
Comment by Chris Kiewra on December 17, 2010 at 1:12pm

Thanks Brooke for letting folks know about Dimensions! I would just add that on the Nature Explore section of the website looking at certified outdoor classrooms can provide a range of ideas for creating spaces in lots of settings. The Learning With Nature Idea book can also be a helpful how-to guide.

Comment by Juliet Robertson on December 17, 2010 at 12:54pm


This reference is really interesting and useful. I see you had a major input - Congratulations! I hope you are pleased with the result too.


Everyone reading this thread - download a copy and share widely!

Comment by Bora Simmons on December 17, 2010 at 11:55am

The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has recently published Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence. These guidelines are part of the National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education and provide suggestions for the development and improvement of early childhood EE programs.  A PDF of the guidelines can be downloaded from NAAEE's EELinked site: http://eelinked.naaee.net/n/guidelines/topics/Early-Childhood-EE-Gu...

Comment by Brooke Levey on December 17, 2010 at 11:17am

I also agree that being outside and integration nature into all aspects of early childhood education is critical to the healthy development of children....I have three (8 and under). You might want to check out what the Dimensions Foundation is doing in Nebraska. They have a fabulous early childhood program. Two of my children attended their school before we moved to MD. They have a very nice natural play space for the kids....outdoor instruments, native plants, garden, huge sandbox, greenhouse....they do also have one play structure. www.dimensionsfoundation.org. Also, NYC has some fabulous slides, water play areas, etc in their public parks....I will check to see if I can find photo's and post them.

Comment by Juliet Robertson on December 17, 2010 at 11:05am

There are many urban forest schools. We have theGlasgow & Clyde Valley Forest Kindergarten Projectwhich is about using local (and often less than pristine) woodlands in urban spaces.


Also Cowgate U5 pre-school in the heart of Edinburgh has their Forest Kindergarten sessions just off the Royal Mile - tourists can look down and watch the activity! They eventually want to have a permanent outdoor nature kindergarten as a satellite of their main centre in an urban park.

Comment by Christina (Tina) Person on December 17, 2010 at 10:47am

Thank you Juliet and Ken, I'm familiar with Green Hearts but haven't seen the playground ideas. Also I love the work going on in Scotland, I was thinking I'd like to open a forest school, but that would not reach the children in urban areas. I will check out the resource page, and love any book plugs. Thank you so much!! How wonderful it is to communicate with people that think alike.

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