2019 Conference

Save the Date!  This year’s Midwest Early Childhood Educator Symposium will be held on June 1st at The Morton Arboretum.

Midwest Early Childhood Educator Symposium
Lessons from the Forest: How Great Programs Place Nature at the Heart of Their Curriculum
Saturday, June 1, 2019, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Thornhill Education Center
The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL

The Northern Illinois Nature Preschool Association (NINPA), in conjunction with the Wisconsin Nature-based Early Childhood Association (WiNBECA) and The Morton Arboretum, is holding a symposium to bring together early childhood educators, administrators, and naturalists who are interested in nature-based learning.
Nature-based learning is one of the fastest-growing approaches to early education in the United States today.

Schools are increasingly bringing nature into the curriculum and taking learning outdoors. What do the schools at the forefront of this movement–nature and forest schools–have in common, and what lessons do they hold for other schools who are just starting to step outside? The Natural Start Alliance, a project of the North
American Association for Environmental Education, has been working with education leaders to develop a common set of practices for high-quality nature-based education. You’ll get a look inside this new resource to see how some of the best of these schools are bringing nature into their classrooms, and their classrooms into nature.

Keynote speaker will be Christy Merrick, Special Projects Advisor at the Natural Start Alliance. Christy launched NAAEE’s Natural Start Alliance in 2013, and is now working with education leaders to develop a common set of practices for high-quality nature-based preschool programs in the United States. Christy has worked in
environmental education and communications for over 20 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Yale University.

This one day event will allow attendees to build on their current skill set while they learn about new ideas and trends in the field. Professionals from across the Midwest will share ideas to advance nature and early childhood environmental education.

Call For Presenters

We are looking for individuals in the field who would like to present a workshop or facilitate a session at this event. Three sixty minute sessions will be offered, one in the morning and two in the afternoon. Presenters will receive complimentary registration to the day’s event, including lunch.

Content must be related to the topic of high quality practices in the field of Nature-based Early Childhood Education. Sessions should be geared toward those who work with young children and infants through age 8.

Proposals should also be consistent with NAEYC guidelines for developmentally appropriate practice. If you wish to be considered for a session, please complete the proposal form, attach your information and return to ninpainfo@gmail.com by January 14, 2019. All people submitting a proposal will be notified by February 12, 2019 . If you have any questions please contact NINPA at ninpainfo@gmail.com.

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