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Inspiring Nature Play Session Proposal

We are no longer accepting session proposals.

Annual Conference
Inspiring Nature Play: Mindful Connections

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Chicago Botanic Garden

Register Now

Inspiring Nature Play is an annual conference geared toward enabling access to developmentally appropriate nature play experiences for an early childhood audience (birth through age 8). Attendees of the conference include 200 formal and informal educators, administrators, and parents with a range of early childhood and environmental education backgrounds and expertise.

This year’s 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., will present Nature Play and Brain Development: What’s the Connection?

Share your great work by leading a 45-minute breakout session.  

The format of these sessions can be a single person presentation, a panel of experts, or hands-on activity workshop. We encourage facilitators to design sessions that incorporate the latest research and best practices in nature play, as well as content and learning techniques appropriate for a mixed audience of professionals working in schools, nature centers, libraries, park districts, museums, etc.

Ideas for possible breakout session topics include, but are not limited to:

  • research in nature play and child development
  • nature play integrated into K – grade 3 school curriculum
  • nature play for infants and toddlers
  • technology to enhance nature experiences
  • communication techniques to advocate for the importance of nature play to parents, administrators, and peers
  • urban nature play
  • community engagement in nature play
  • ideas to support spontaneous, child-directed nature play
  • design of innovative outdoor play environments
  • classroom gardening
  • nature-related literature, arts, and music
  • STEM in nature
  • documentation and assessment
  • educational philosophies
  • risky play and risk assessment
  • inclusive and accessible nature play for different ages, abilities, and cultures

Proposals are due Friday, January 18, 2019. You will be notified of the acceptance of your proposal by February 1. The conference registration fee of $59 will be waived for up to two individuals on a presentation team. If you would like, you may purchase lunch for $22 per person. More information about lunch and day-of logistics will be sent to accepted facilitators in March. There will be 15 minutes between sessions. Following the event, a resource booklet will be distributed to all participants that will include presenter contact information.

Contact Eileen Prendergast with any questions.

Deadline: Friday, January 18, 2019

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.