Children have a right to their relationship with the outdoors
Learn more about the advocacy in Outdoor Education in Early Childhood
"A nature-based early childhood education program takes an immersive approach, putting nature at the heart of the program. In a nature-based early education program, nature is a setting for the program and an object of study. In addition, the care and protection of nature and the environment are regarded as a key outcome of the program, along with healthy child development. Some describe these nature-based early education programs as learning in nature, about nature, and for nature."
What Is Nature-Based Education?
Learning with nature (otherwise known as forest kindergarten, place-based education, or nature-based education) has been around for decades and offers children health benefits from time spent in nature along with the skills children need to succeed in school. Many of the physical, cognitive, and social developmental benefits that come with nature-based learning are unique when compared to what children experience and learn in a traditional indoor environment.
Access to the benefits of nature-based learning should be available to all. Currently, this is not the case and the “nature gap” often falls on racial and socioeconomic lines. Through the creation and implementation of a nature-based license, we create an institutional way to address financial, logistical, and cultural barriers and increase access for families.
Simply put, licensure will ensure that access to nature isn't simply a luxury for some but rather an educational option for all children and their families.
Who uses nature-based models?
A variety of program types can offer a nature-based approach to early education, and may be called nature preschools, place-based schools, nature kindergartens, or forest kindergartens. The programs may be located in nature centers, in homes, in community centers, in parks, on farms in public schools, or in a variety of other settings. Regardless of the setting, nature-based educations share key characteristics including: dual goals of promoting child development and environmental literacy, using nature as the central learning theme, spending a significant portion of the instructional time outdoors, employing a child-led play-based approach driven by children's interest, and recognizing the benefits of children's healthy appropriate risk taking.
-Natural Start Alliance
The Colorado Collective for Nature-Based Early Education is comprised of educators, coaches and parents across CO who have a passion for supporting the equity and expansion of nature-based education. The Collective began as a way of bringing professionals in the industry together and has grown as the mission and pathways to achieving equity and access to nature-based education have become more clear: licensing, coaching, professional development, networking, and an going reflective practice inclusive of parent feedback, practitioner feedback, and research.