ECO: Educating Children Outdoors
Working together with public schools to build lasting relationships with our environment.

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Professional Development

Professional Development

eco institute

ECO Summer Institute
Standards Based Nature Immersion
Graduate Courses for Educators

Location TBA, near Montpelier, VT

eco instituteThe ECO Institute for Teachers is a five-day nature immersion course for elementary teachers, assistants, aides and administrators. During the week, a leadership team of professional nature immersion specialists guides teachers in direct application of outdoor classroom routines as well as ways to incorporate NGSS and Common Core into those routines. All courses are held in an outdoor setting so come prepared to spend the entire day outside. The North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, VT hosts our group on 28 acres of diverse and abundant land.

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ECO Institute Level 1, Session 1- June 26-30, 2017
ECO Institute Level 1, Session 2 – July 24-28, 2017

This week-long course will introduce teachers to core routines which create the structure for a successful outdoor classroom experience.. Through the practice of storytelling, playing, building, creating and reflecting, you will become a student of the day-long outdoor experience. As a group, we will participate in standards-based lessons embedded within the day long outdoor experience. This learning mirrors the experience of students during a typical day of ECO. Our day includes discussion, philosophy and planning with school teams with the oversight of an experienced instructor. We invite you to leave all technology at home. We will provide you with electronic documents at each day’s end. Preschool teachers are encouraged to attend Session 2. Cost: ECO Level 1 $1,160 with no credit, $1,510 for three graduate credits

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ECO instituteConference Schedule
ECO staff will be presenting at these conferences in 2017:

In Bloom in Maine
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Eyes of the World Discovery Center,
Kittery, Maine

Keynote Speakers:
Amy Butler of North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, VT
A New Path in the Forest: Moving Beyond the Classroom for Exploration, Creativity and Growth
Rachel Larimore, founder of the Chippewa Nature Preschool in Midland, Michigan
From Preschool to Early Elementary: Learning from One Community’s Journey with Nature-based Education (website)

The conference 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 locations and conference topics. For more information, visit the website or contact Peg Smeltz, 603-283-2301.

Photos by Sadie Fischbeck

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm Street, Montpelier VT 05602
(802) 229-6206

Open Monday - Friday, 9am to 4pm
Trails open every day
Directions to the Nature Center
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