ECO Homeschool


ECO Homeschool Spring 2021 Session

Mondays, March 8 - April 12
Mondays, April 26 - May 31
8:30 am - 2:30 pm
$450 | Financial aid available
Two Age Groups:  6-8 years old and 9-12 years old
In-person at NBNC | Limit of 10 students in each group


or more than a decade, our ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) program has helped thousands of public school students throughout Central Vermont immerse in nature by using the outdoors as an extension of the indoor classroom.

Inspired by ECO, our ECO Homeschool program provides a meaningful and fun learning environment based in environmental education and a mentorship framework.  This year we are pleased to announce a full-day ECO Homeschool program with a wider age range to better meet the needs of our community.   

Each Monday, the woods and fields of North Branch Nature Center will be our classroom, where students will learn by doing, using all five senses to engage with the landscape through standards-based lessons led by our talented ECO education staff. Each session will include games, songs, stories, and activities designed to help students engage with our land and the organisms who share it.

A Peer-Mentorship Model for Learning

Our goal is to help children develop a lasting relationship with the natural world and foster a sense of place and stewardship in our local Vermont landscape. Our ECO Homeschool program now has two age groups, and we believe it is important that these two groups interact to build community while practicing leadership and mentorship skills. Whether at opening and closing circles, or through group games and shared activities, older and younger students will practice learning from one another's example and curiosity under the guidance of our expert educators.

Notes From The Forest  

Each family will receive Notes From the Forest, a weekly communication filling you in on all that happened in the previous ECO homeschool session and what’s to come in the next. This may include extensions to our lessons, extra tidbits of knowledge, and fun activities to explore as a family to deepen your connection to the session content and the natural world.

COVID-19 Note

All of our time will be spent outdoors, only coming inside to access the bathroom or in the event of hazardous weather.  Masks and social distancing will be required according to Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education guidelines. A health screening form will be required upon drop-off each day. Group size is limited to 10 participants. For more information, click on our COVID-19 protocols below.

COVID-19 Safety at North Branch Nature Center

(Revised March 24 2021)

At NBNC we believe that being outdoors in nature provides significant social, emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits for our children. Our educational programming practices a nature-based approach to learning that builds health, happiness, and resilience. During this pandemic, we provide a safe and nurturing environment where children can engage with their peers and the natural world. For more about our philosophy around nature-based teaching and learning during COVID times, please see our position statements:

Our protocols follow the most up-to-date guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Agency of Education, available here. This currently includes:

  • Performing daily health screenings at drop-off. 
  • Bathrooms and common indoor spaces are sanitized before the start of each program and at the end of each program. 
  • Staff and participants are wearing masks at all times whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Participants will be no less than 3 feet apart (pre-K - 6th grade) or 6 feet apart (7th - 12th grade) for sustained periods of time. Brief periods of closer contact may occur.
  • During snack/lunch or when a mask break is needed, all participants will be distanced, and staff will assist in establishing this distance.
  • Masks that are wet, frozen or unable to stay on a child’s face will be changed out for a new, clean mask (participants are required to have two extra clean masks).
  • Masks are always worn inside. If a program must come inside due to hazardous weather, and that period overlaps with lunch or snack time, masks may be removed for eating or drinking, provided that students are at least 3 feet (pre-K - 6th grade) or 6 feet (7th - 12th grade) apart. Masks will be worn during mealtimes when not actively eating or drinking.

 Our protocols are subject to change as Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education guidelines evolve. For more information, please see the resource upon which we base our protocols:

ECO Homeschool Handbook

This is a 100% outdoor program. To ensure a positive experience for everyone, proper clothing is essential. If your child is warm and dry, they will be happy and able to fully participate. If you need assistance obtaining proper gear, please reach out to us.

Before registering, please consult our NBNC ECO Homeschool Parent-Guardian Handbook for more information about policies, what to bring, and other details and expectations.


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North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206
[email protected]

Office Open Monday-Friday from 9 am to 4 pm
Trails Open 24/7