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Inspiring Nature Play

Mindful Connections
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Register Now

$59 Parking and lunch are included
CPDUs: 6, Gateways: 6
Grade level: Birth – Grade 3
Regenstein Center

Marilyn Brink  Jennifer Rosinia
Join 200 fellow educators, caregivers, and administrators at this annual conference, featuring sessions highlighting developmentally appropriate nature play experiences for early childhood (birth through age 8). Keynote speakers, Marilyn Brink, M.Ed., manager of professional development and early childhood at Brookfield Zoo, and Jennifer Rosinia, Ph.D., OTR/L, president of Kid Links Unlimited, Inc., address connections between nature play and brain development. You will gain practical ideas for incorporating nature play into your programs, research to support best practices, and have opportunities to connect with fellow professionals.

Session Descriptions

Schedule

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
LIBRARY TABLE
Martha Meyer, Evanston Public Library
Sheri Reda, Wilmette Public Library

8:30 – 9 a.m.  
CHECK IN & REGISTRATION

 9 – 9:30 a.m.
WELCOME & OVERVIEW OF THE DAY 

9:30 – 10:40 a.m.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS
Nature Play & Brain Development—What’s the Connection?

Marilyn Brink, M.Ed., manager of professional development and early childhood, Chicago Zoological Society
Jennifer Rosinia, Ph.D., OTR/L, president of Kid Links Unlimited, Inc.

10:50 – 11:35 a.m.  
CONCURRENT SESSIONS  

Building Nature Play Spaces in Chicago Parks
Sean Shaffer, Chicago Park District

Engineering Is for the Birds!
Colleen McVeigh, Field Museum

How Nature Can Support Children’s Mental Health
Gretchen Zagzebski, Inspire Counseling Center

Incorporating Environmental Education into Your Early Childhood Center
Meghan Bowe, Environmental Education Association of Illinois
Rachel Schaller, Elmhurst Academy of Learning

11:50 am – 12:35 pm
CONCURRENT SESSIONS  

Community Involvement Brings a Nature Playscape to Life!
Savannah Donovan, Anita Purves Nature Center, Urbana Park District
Chelsea Prahl, Anita Purves Nature Center, Urbana Park District

Hidden Treasures from the Garden: An Intergenerational Approach
Ana Nedelea, Sunshine Home Daycare

Intellectual Estuaries in Nature Play
Marilyn Brink, Chicago Zoological Society

Mindfulness Nature Camp
Deirdre Guthrie, Fernwood Botanical Garden
Colleen Spano, Fernwood Botanical Garden

12:35 – 1:35 p.m.
LUNCH & NETWORKING

1:35 – 2:20 p.m.
CONCURRENT SESSIONS  

A Cave in the Classroom
Jane Paha, Ancona School
Christopher Weber, Ancona School

Feeling Welcome in Nature Spaces
Meg Rock, Garfield Park Community Alliance
Lydia Van Slyke, Garfield Park Community Alliance

In the Moment
Jennifer Rosinia, Kid Links Unlimited, Inc.

Loose Parts in the Early Childhood Outdoor Classroom
Carla Gull, University of Phoenix

The Next Level of Nature Play
Karen Holmes, Crabtree Nature Center, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Michele Mottlowitz, River Trail Nature Center, Forest Preserves of Cook County

2:35 – 3:20 pm
CONCURRENT SESSIONS  

Forest Play: The Why, Where, and How of Nature Play in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Jacqui Ulrich, Forest Preserves of Cook County

Natural Wonders: Teaching Biomimicry
Courtnye Jackson, University of Illinois Extension

Nature Play: A Catalyst for Language Development
Jessica Fong, Chicago Public Schools

Outdoor Adventures: Tools to Support Children with Dynamic Sensory Profiles
Jenna Heinrich, Beth Osten and Associates Pediatric and Adult Therapy Services
Aliza Soler, Beth Osten and Associates Pediatric and Adult Therapy Services

Painting the Boulder Blue and Other Lessons in Publicly Managed Nature Play Sites
Robin Cline, NeighborSpace
Alex Enarson, Alex Enarson Design and Build

3:20 p.m.
EVALUATION AND CPDU FORM COMPLETION

Inspiring Nature Play is possible because of the collaborative effort among the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Alliance for Early Childhood, BackYard Nature Center, Greeley Elementary School, the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Natural Start Alliance (a project of the North American Association for Environmental Education), and Northfield Community Nursery School.