Bright Ideas

New England Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Gatherings in 2015

Natural Start

Photo by Bob Bailie

Antioch University New England has released the dates for its In Bloom series that explores promising practices in nature-based early childhood education. This year’s line-up of conferences includes gatherings in Boston, MA; New Haven, CT; Keene, NH; and Shelbourne, VT.
The conferences will explore topics such as risk management, designing natural play areas, integrating gardening into the curriculum, using natural elements to explore rhythm, and much more. See below for dates, locations, and conference topics. And for more information, visit or contact Peg Smeltz,, 603-283-2301.

Conference Dates and Locations

In Bloom in Boston
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
at The Boston Nature Center
Co-Sponsor: Massachusetts Audubon Society
In Bloom in New Haven
Saturday, April 25, 2015
at Leila Day Nurseries, New Haven, CT
Co-sponsors: Leila Day Nurseries, Inc.
Seedlings Educators Collaborative
Urban Resources Initiative at Yale University
In Bloom in Keene
Thursday, May 14, 2015
at Antioch University New England, Keene, NH
Co-sponsors: Sophia’s Hearth Family Center
Harris Center for Conservation Education
In Bloom in Vermont
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
at Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT
Co-sponsors: Shelburne Farms
Four Winds Nature Institute

Keynote Speakers

  • Patti Bailie, University of Maine, Farmington
  • Ellen Doris, Antioch University New England
  • Ken Finch, Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood
  • David Sobel, Antioch University New England
  • Ginny Sullivan, Learning By the Yard, The Conway School Graduate Program in Sustainable Landscape Planning and Design
  • Claire Warden, Nature Kindergartens, Scotland

Workshop Topics

  • Why We Build Fires: Cultivating Attention, Observation and Tenderness
  • Yucky and Dangerous: Risk Management in Nature-based Early Childhood
  • Playing with Natural Systems: Designing School Grounds
  • Storytelling on the Spot
  • On the Beaten Path: Utilizing Natural Materials to Explore the World of Rhythm
  • Little People and Little Bugs
  • The Dirt on Dirt
  • Integrating the Outdoors and Gardening into the Kindergarten Classroom Curriculum
  • Who Needs an Acre? Take 10 Steps Outside
  • Gardening, Worm Bins and the Science Curriculum
  • Starting a Nature Preschool
  • The Health Benefits of Outdoor Nature Play
  • Outdoor Cooking as Curriculum
  • Forest Fridays in a Public School Kindergarten
Download a save-the-date flier.