Educating Children Outdoors (ECO), Level 1 - Session 2

THIS SESSION IS NOW FULL, but a waitlist is being compiled. Please contact North Branch Nature Center, (802) 229-6206 if you wish to be put on the list.

Course Number: EDU 5627 C06
Instructor: Chip Darmstadt, Amy Butler, Mary Zentara, & Kenneth Benton
Location: North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street, Montpelier, VT 05658
Dates and Times: July 24-28, 2017 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Credits: 3 credits
Tuition: $1,510 with credit

Note: Please register directly with North Branch Nature Center. If you wish to take the course for Castleton credit, please notify North Branch who will then give you the Castleton online registration link.

Course Description

The purpose of ECO Level 1 is to apply integrated academic curricula beyond the classroom, while immersed in and participating with nature as a learning partner. The course provides inquiry-based learning through intensive experiential lessons, activities, and discussions entirely held outdoors. Participants will explore, create and experiment within specific ECO lessons catered to the daily topic. Daily reflection on one’s own personal growth is an integral part of the nature immersion learning model and will be practiced in the course. A successful nature immersion model allows for students to have choices, to be respected and trusted, and to take risks. Students will develop an understanding of risks vs. hazards as to prepare for and encourage safe risk taking in the outdoor classroom.
During this course, we experience a week-long rhythm of place-based curriculum within which is the daily rhythm of the core routines. This daily rhythm mirrors the experience of elementary students during a typical day of ECO. Participants will close the week envisioning integration of the philosophies and practices that are built into a nature immersion experience. This educational model holds the potential to advance one’s interdependence and enliven the sensory palette of its learners, promoting deep kinesthetic learning alongside theory.
All lessons given to participants to use in their own classroom will be aligned to Vermont State Standards, Common Core and NGSS when applicable. Curriculum meets elementary standards-based objectives when lessons and units are practiced outdoors. Please leave all technology at home.

Course Goals

In teaching ECO: Educating Children Outdoors, there are three primary goals:

1. To instill in teachers the core routines of an outdoor classroom so they feel competent managing their own nature immersion curriculum outdoors.
2. To facilitate focused lessons with seasonal themes which have been aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.
3. To engage participants in dialogue about methods of connecting children with their natural communities.

Secondary Goals

1. To practice safety protocols within the context of an outdoor classroom.
2. To conduct a site and risk assessment in an outdoor classroom as an example to teachers of how to conduct this assessment on their school’s terrain.
3. To address potential logistical challenges in starting a program.
4. To build upon existing strengths and opportunities within a school community to support learning outdoors.
5. To share games, stories, classroom extensions and technology integration to support the nature immersion curriculum.
6. To provide time for collaboration among participants in creating a project/program of their own.

For additional course and registration information

Amy Butler
(802) 229-6206

Register online now!