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OUtdoor Teacher Retreat 

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018
World House Community Supported Education at the Pearlstone Center
Reisterstown, MD

About this Retreat

Discover ways that nature-based learning enhances skill development during a hands-on day of training! Presenters share insights and activities based on their work in nature preschools, forest kindergartens, or other nature-based programs. Light breakfast and lunch are included, but please bring your canteen for drinks. You can indicate dietary restrictions when you register. 

This training features two tracks: one for educators working with children ages 4-7 years old, the other for educators working with children ages 7-10 years old.  Throughout the day, you can choose which sessions are the most useful to you. Dress for the weather, as at least 50% of this event will take place outdoors, and don't forget your canteen!

Our hosts at World House CSE offer nature-based home school programs, including a forest immersion program. Located on a picturesque farm, this is an inspiring opportunity to explore nature-based learning.  


We will get to know native flora and fauna outdoors, make fire, and discover ways to engage families and the broader community in nature-based education. Winter handcrafts and a pampering herbal spa treatment will round out the day.  View our schedule or read complete descriptions below. 

Workshop Descriptions

Keynote Remarks: The Role of Nature-based Learning in Community Supported Education
Jen Walker, PhD, World House CSE, Reisterstown, MD

Community Supported Education (CSE) is a model that involves children, families, teachers, volunteers, and community members who work together to make education a community endeavor. Inspired by “community supported agriculture”, community supported education delivers knowledge, not veggies! Some of the most exciting aspects of a CSE is the experiential nature of learning and multi-dimensional approaches to engaging content. At World House CSE, nature-based experiences play a significant role in the healthy development of young children. Dr. Walker examines the intersection of community supported education and nature-based education during this inspiring keynote.

Monarch Migration for Young Naturalists
Magan Ruthke, World House CSE
Learn the morphology, life cycle, importance, and migration habits of the monarch butterfly. Explore different types of milkweed and how to catch and tag monarchs during the migration seasons in Maryland. Learn how to construct a butterfly net and make butterfly symmetry art. 

Fire-making and Native Storytelling
Joe Murray, World House CSE/Pearlstone Center
Use of tools, including fire, has been essential to survival since the start of human communities. Joe tells captivating tales in the oral storytelling traditions of native people. In addition, he demonstrates safe, effective fire-making techniques. This session combines campfire stories with best practices and routines that are essential for fire-making in nature-based programs.

Nature Songs and Games
Monica Wiedel-Lubinski, ERAFANS
It feels good to raise our voices and move our bodies outside! Discover games and songs that inspire connection with native animals and the natural world. You’ll quickly see how we also nurture trust in our learning community when play together.

Insect Inquiry
Steven Mickletz, The GreenMount School, Baltimore, MD
Students from the GreenMount School lead you through three different stations that can be completed in the classroom or on the schoolyard with some of nature’s best teachers: bugs. Each activity can be an in depth, data driven experiment or a simple journey of curiosity. Come learn how the adaptations of insects and other bugs make the world go round!

Wild Edible Wander and Shelter Hike

Joe Murray, World House CSE/Pearlstone Center
Come learn some basic techniques for connecting to the land by identifying (and tasting!) wild edible and medicinal plants. We will also wander to a large group shelter and camp made by forest school children. (Geared for educators working with 7-10 year olds.)

Nature Crafting & Handwork
Erin Goodloe, Lake Roland Nature Center/Baltimore County Dept. of Recreation and Parks
Try your hand at making some nature-based games and activities for your program. Three stations offer wool work with wet felting and needle-felting, using a hand crank drill to make wooden games, and printing activity mats on canvas.

Community Buy-in: Outdoor Learning in a Traditional Preschool
Kevan Miller and Susan Parker, Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool, VA
Get familiar with the ins and outs for creating an accepting atmosphere for an Outdoor Classroom at your school. Who are key players to consider?  How do you create buy-in? When is the timing right?   Learn from  two Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool (AUCP) staff members and hear how they set the stage and executed an outdoor program for their cooperative preschool. 

Why the Naturalist Tells Stories Behind the Animals’ Backs
Peter Martin, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, MD
Participants add songs, stories and activities to their repertoire of strategies for teaching young children about natural history and conservation concepts. Come prepared to join in - no one gets to sit still or be quiet!  

Herbal Self-Care Session
This self-care is a relaxing way for teachers to network while they discover stress-relieving herbal treatments. You will also make a treatment that you can take home.

You can learn more about our payment and refund policies here. We look forward to meeting you at the Retreat!
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