Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in E-Course – Becoming a Natural Teacher | 25 comments

Welcome! Please Introduce Yourself

Becoming A Natural Teacher: A Road Map

I am thrilled that you are here and want to welcome everyone to Outdoor-Classrooms.com and our virtual classroom. I hope you have taken a tour of our members area and making yourself comfortable. This course, Becoming A Natural Teacher: A Road Map, is amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you. This work has transformed the way I think about education and challenged my own philosophy of education. Before we dive into the content, I would like to invite you to virtually introduce yourself to the group. I am a firm believer that we can be eachothers best resource. Therefore, I would like to take the time to begin with introductions.

Please post a little something about yourself and your hopes for this class below. Share a little about your Outdoor Classroom story, if you have one. I understand that not all students feel comfortable with this and prefer to be observers. So I leave that choice up to you. Needless to say, I highly recommend getting involved in the conversation and sharing your own journey of Becoming A Natural Teacher.

If you are feeling brave…take a picture of your Outdoor Classroom space and share it with the group here.

Welcome Aboard!

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25 Comments

  1. Hello!
    My name is Erin. I’m an art/birding teacher at a very small preschool in Rhode Island called Little Peeps Montessori-Naturskola. Naturskola is Swedish for nature school, so as you can probably tell by that (and by the fact that I teach ornithology) we are a certified nature school. I believe we are still the only nature certified school in Rhode Island. The school opened in 2013 and I have been teaching here since the beginning. The director and myself struggled at first with combining the Montessori work period with a nature one. It took us 6 years to get a good routine down! We teach nature lessons outdoors every morning, and have a Montessori work period in the afternoon. We also do Forest Fridays where we spend the entire day outside in the woods (we change woods locations each week.) It is quite the magical job! But it took us a lot of failed, eh, experiments? to get to where we are right now.
    We attempted an outdoor classroom – having materials outside on shelves, kind of like the Montessori work period but outdoors – for the first couple of years, but always struggled with it. The way we teach nature lessons now is by bringing materials needed outside for lessons. I would love to bring back the outdoor classroom and learn news ways to open up a small outdoor space.
    Although I am already a natural teacher, I am ALWAYS learning new things, and am also here for this reason. I would also love to learn new ways to bring the outdoors indoors! We have a great science area with natural objects for observation, but I think it’s missing something. Perhaps here I will pick up new ideas to bring inside as well as the outdoors.
    I am looking forward to furthering my education on natural teaching!
    Erin

    • Welcome! I am delighted to learn about your story and your Nature preschool in Rhode Island. It does sound magical and I am so glad you stuck it out to find the rhythm between Nature Preschool and Montessori. If you have any questions along the way, please do not hesitate to ask. Looking forward.

  2. Hi! My name is Kerry Liard and I am a new director for a day care that, for the most part, serves children of teachers in this town. They are a great program and one of the things that they wanted to implement was an outdoor classroom. My previous school was very much into nature based education and built and utilized a natural playspace and mud kitchen very successfully. I would like to try to bring that to my new center and provide the staff with background, support, and help them use it to the benefit of the kids and the program.

    • Welcome, Kerry! I am thrilled that you are here and looking forward to getting to know you and your vision for your program. This is a great e-course to start with. Please let me know if you have any questions along the way. Where is your program? What age do you serve? What existing outdoor space do you currently have?

  3. Hello, my name is Jen. I will be homeschooling my daughter for the first time this year. She is seven and has special needs. We have had bad experiences at other schools so I’ve decided to give home schooling a try. I am not a teacher, but I know my daughter and what works for her. She is drawn to the outdoors, so I thought setting up an outdoor classroom would be ideal. I’m hoping this course will help me with that.

    • Hello Jen! Welcome. I am thrilled you are here. How old is your daughter? This is the perfect place to start. Please let me know if you have any questions. Always happy to help in any way that I can.

  4. Hello everyone,

    I am Crystal, and i work as a Montessori teacher in Ma… we have a beautiful environment for an outdoor class room. I hope that this class will give me some direction for a starting point to improve it further and to use the space to its fullest!!

    • Welcome Crystal…I can’t wait to learn more about your outdoor space. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  5. Hi, my name is Annelise, and I live in Barrie, Ontario. In 2014 I graduated from College as a Registered Early Childhood Educator. I have been working in before/after school programs through the YMCA as the Program Coordinator for children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6. Last Summer I attended the Monarch Teachers Network workshop and the children loved the activities. During the Spring I attended the Project Wild and Below Zero workshops through the Canadian Wildlife Federation which also added to my resources for the classroom. My program is always very nature based, so I am excited to share what I have learned and gain new resources to continue bringing the classroom outdoors, and bring nature into the classroom. My father was a gardener/landscaper, and I grew up working in the Nursery and Greenhouses, and we lived on a hobby farm, so I guess I come by my love of nature honestly. Last point…..I’m the grandmother to two beautiful boys who I love sharing my love of the outdoors with – and this summer introduced them to the joys of bird watching.

    • Welcome! I would love to learn about your experiences in the Project Wild and Below Zero workshops. Fantastic!

      • I have been on leave taking care of my mother while we await a bed in a nursing home, since shortly after signing up for the course, so have not been able to participate. I am still primary caregiver for my mother, but as she is now palliative, I have been able to devote some time to online courses that I had previously registered for. I am looking forward to working my way through this course so I will be ready to hit the ground running when I am finally able to return to work.

      • The workshops were amazing, and were conducted during on a weekend that brought freezing rain on top of the snow we already had. However, we were still outside to learn about the environment, to see what was available as natural resources, and played numerous outdoor games that emphasized the impact of humans on the environment. I think one of the best parts of the workshop was the Instructor telling us that there was no wrong way to approach being in the outdoors; just to enjoy what nature provided. The resources that we were sent home with were phenomenal; including two very large guides that had incredible activities; ideas and research. I am looking forward to getting reacquainted with the outdoors as soon as I am able, and am really excited to bring some of these resources into my program when I return. I would highly recommend any of these workshops for those interested in working in, with, and advocating for nature play.

  6. Hi, I’m Jill and I’m in my first year as a lead teacher of a primary class in a Montessori school in MA.
    I have a strong desire to connect children to the outdoors and am so happy to be able to engage with this program to help me learn how! I love being outdoors myself and would love to become more of a naturalist and guide for the children in my 3-6 year old classroom.

  7. Hi, My name is Jeanne. I have a family day care, and work with children 3months to6 years. We have always had a garden, but haven’t spent nearly enough time learning outdoors. I am so inspired by the Outdoor Classroom concept, and have been gradually increasing our experience. I am enjoying this so much!

  8. Hello,

    My name is Vanessa. I have been working with children that range from the ages birth – 5 for almost two years now. I facilitate a few of my programs S.T.E.A.M playgroups and am looking forward to learning new ways on how to involve the outdoors in the classroom! Once the winter is over, I am sure we will try to take the steps to create a garden of our own.

    • Hello Vanessa!
      Welcome! I am thrilled you are here. I know your program. These winter months are the perfect time to prepare and plan. You will come to learn that there is lot’s to do inside with kids and gardening.

  9. Hello my name is Carolyn I have a licensed preschool in AZ. I loved the outdoors as a child and camping. I am very excited to have outdoor classrooms. I created an outdoor nature playground and I love it
    as much as the children do! πŸ™‚

    • Hello Carolyn,
      I am thrilled that you are here! Arizona is such a beautiful place. What are the elements in your Outdoor Nature Playground? Looking forward!

  10. Hi,
    My name is Anne. I have been teaching three year olds for many years. Recently I have been interested in moving our classroom outdoors.We have enlarged our outdoor space and set up learning areas to include space for gathering, music and dance, building and a mud kitchen. This year we have nine rambunctious boys in our class and we were able to change our schedule to incorporate drop off, signing in and meeting, outdoors. I would love more ways to add nature to the classroom.

    • Hello Anne,
      I love that you changed around your schedule to meet the needs of your boys. I would love to see your outdoor learning spaces. Could you post a picture? I hope we will be sharing lot’s and lot’s of ideas in our virtual classroom! Welcome!

    • Hi Anne,

      Sounds like a beautiful outdoor classroom. I love the idea of having a mud kitchen! If you could share a picture of your classroom it would be much appreciated. Thank you! πŸ™‚

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