Monday, May 4, 2015


I attended the In Bloom in Boston conference in March.This conference,co-sponsored by Antioch University and
Mass Audubon, is held in four different locations: the first was in Boston;New Haven Connecticut on April 25
Keene, NH on May 14;
and Shelburne, VT on June 10. 
Each conference has unique and nationally recognized keynote speakers and workshops lead by local practitioners.
The Boston conference was held at the 
Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary which is  on the grounds of the former Boston State Hospital. The sessions were held in the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center, the first “green” municipal building in Boston, a perfect venue with lots of natural light and views of the landscape. 

I learned much more about the nature preschool and forest kindergarten concepts in early childhood education now sprouting up in our communities but have been in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Europe since the 1960’s. Of particular interest to me, because of the work I do, was the keynote speaker Ken Finch, president and founder of Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood.  His session, "Nature Play: Risky Business”, focused on facts and misconceptions of risk in nature based play. Safety is always an issue with parents and administrators when incorporating nature based play and learning opportunities for children.  Did you know that:

"nearly 90,000 U.S. children are injured annually on stairways. In fact, a U.S. child under
five is treated in an emergency room for stair related injuries every six minutes!" 

So,are stairs prohibited in homes because of these injuries?
It all comes down to perspective. If you are interested in more information about this topic download his paper “Risk and Reward in Nature Play". 

I left this conference with an even deeper appreciation and understanding of what is possible in offering nature based early childhood education opportunities in our communities. This knowledge will help make the environments I design for children more responsive to their needs. The educational and health benefits of children being outside in nature cannot be denied.
Nature is the true natural playground!

There is still time to attend this conference. I hope that you will take some time to look at what is still being offered this year. If you can't fit it in this year put it on your radar for 2016. 

Back to "Planning Your School Garden" 

later this month...

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