Introductions | eePRO @ NAAEE

The home of environmental education professional development


Hi everyone,

I am excited to be one of the new Early Childhood EE group moderators. You can read more about me here: I am looking forward to getting to know other members of this group, sharing resources and ideas, and learning from each other. If you’d like, please take a moment to reply, introduce yourself, and answer these questions:

1. What are you hoping to get out of this group?
2. What would be helpful from me as a moderator?
3. What age group do you work with?



P.S. Here's a picture of me at Forest Friday with my first graders!

Hi Nathalie! Salutations to all !

I am also a new moderator. I am still finding my way around the site. I can see there is a lot of interest for best pratices in the classroom. My interest is focused on very young children from birth to 5 years old or so... I will be writing about best practices in environment education for babies and toddlers. Was wondering if any of you have their little one nap outside? Is it still done? Some people still use this practice even in winter when it is below the freezing point.

Love to hear from you.


Hi Natalie & Suzanne,

Wonderful to "meet" you both. My name is Ellen Bashor and I am the program coordinator for the Center for Nature and Place-based Early Childhood Education at Prescott College in Arizona. I also teach EE in the undergrad program. In addition, I recently received the ee360 Community Fellowship for a collaboration with Natural Start to create an Affiliate Network to grow local support systems for early childhood educators across the country.

1) I am always hoping to get new research & resources to share with the early childhood educators (birth-8) in our ECE/ECSE teacher preparation program (36 credit nature & place-based infused cert path) as well as in our professional development workshops & institutes. Right now I'm specifically interested in more on:
- Inclusive & equitable practices, materials, & resources for educators
- Resources for educators working with infants & toddlers
- Information on Head Start & public school initiatives & public school resources
- ECEE/nature/place-based teacher preparation & PD efforts & resources

2) As a moderator, it would be helpful to follow-up on inquiries when the membership base does not.

3) Currently, I work primarily with early childhood educators of all ages and my undergrads.

Hi Ellen,
Congratulations on your ee360 Fellowship - it sounds great!

I used to work with the Boulder Journey School in Boulder, Colorado, and if you don't know their work, should check them out. They have done some really wonderful work in the ways that you are interested in, including with teacher training. I have written several reports with them through Growing Up Boulder and also feature their work in several places in our recent book titled Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Sustainable Communities. The book also includes many other public school initiatives in the age range you are interested in. I'm attaching a few things here in case they are of interest. Kind regards, Tori

PDF icon derr_ruppi_and_wagner_honoring_voices_osmp.pdf1.62 MB
PDF icon placemaking_flyer.pdf721.1 KB
PDF icon chawla_rivkin_2014_early_childhood_nature.pdf639.19 KB

Hello Ellen,

for ressources you should check the Canadian Child Care Federation. They have a lot of tools as well as documents about ethics and scientifc articles. I used many of them with my students at the university.

Thanks, Tori! I had not heard of the Boulder Journey School and I just looked perused their site--they have some great programs--I appreciate the tip. I also appreciate the resources. Is it okay to share the ECE chapter 16 with students? And, congratulations on the book! I actually encountered it on Amazon the other day and am now certain I need a copy. Thank you for all your contributions to the field! Warmly, Ellen

Victoria, thank you. I had that first resource but I did not have the essays one--much appreciated!

Natalie, thank you for the link! It also reminded me to mention that there's a group of folks (from Natural Start, C&NN, and other organizations) and we are working on identifying & consolidating ECE-specific research and setting a research agenda. I just looked through all the forums and didn't see one that was research-based; maybe this would be a good addition? (ex. a collaborative informal annotated bibliography, identifying gaps in research, or maybe something that helped practitioners and researchers connect?)

Hi Ellen,
Louise Chawla will be at the conference, and I think would be interested in hearing more about the ECE work you are proposing. She has an author's corner for our book during the opening reception, 5-6:30 on October 10 - look for her!

Thank you Victoria & Natalie--and I definitely want to be clear it's not 'my' work in any way, just a collaborative effort by a lot of incredible folks and everyone is welcome to join the effort! We'll be reconvening about the work at the 2019 Children & Nature Network conference. And yes, I think I meant discussion thread if that's something people might be interested in? What do you think?

And Victoria, I'll be sure to stop by--thank you for the tip! I'm fairly certain she knows about the work but still very exciting to stop by and speak with someone whose work I admire and teach regularly!

Thanks to you both,

Hi Ellen,
Great idea. I'm happy to start a discussion thread about this, or I'd also encourage you to start one yourself if you feel comfortable doing so!

Hello Natalie, Suzanne, and other members,

Thank you, Natalie and Suzanne, for your service in this role!

Regarding the post from earlier this month regarding introductions, my name is Julie Ernst, and I am a Professor in/director of our graduate environmental education program at the University of MN Duluth. I also teach an undergraduate course, Young Children, Nature and Sustainability, that is a requirement for our undergrad environmental/outdoor ed majors, and also part of a new early childhood studies undergraduate program. We are currently planning toward a subplan within our Masters of EE program that would focus on young children and nature. One of the wonderful things about Duluth is that we have strong momentum in the region regarding nature play and a very strong grassroots collaborative (Duluth Nature Play Collaborative, they have a facebook page). As part of this, we have a growing number of nature preschools that are serving an important niche in early childhood learning and care for our region, but also are serving as learning sites for our undergrad and grads (sites for student teaching, practicums, internships, etc.) And they have been wonderful research partners! We have a series of research studies underway and recently completed focusing on a variety of constructs such as total protective factors/resilience, creative thinking, executive function skills, curiosity, peer play behaviors, and learning-to-learn skills. Thus, I would describe my main role as a researcher in this field, but then also a practitioner/teacher with audience being higher ed (grad and undergrad). I look forward to learning from all of you and staying up to date on new ideas, programs, trends, issues, research needs, etc.

Hi Julie!
I'm super interested in what you're doing at the university regarding children and nature. Would you be willing to share the Young Children, Nature and Sustainability syllabus? I also want to hear so much more about your new early childhood studies undergraduate program and the subplan within your Masters of EE program that would focus on young children and nature! Such great work.

At Prescott College we recently revamped our entire undergrad & Masters ECE/ECSE teacher certification pathways so that they're fully inclusive-based and now integrate nature and place-based philosophies & approaches throughout many of the classes. Including a specific course called Pedagogy of Nature and Place. Our handbook is almost finalized and I'd be happy to share it when it is!

Cheers, Ellen

Hi Ellen, I will email you directly to correspond more about your questions and also your work. I have been following the exciting things at your program as well! I am finding it a bit challenging to navigate back to the page to respond within the thread, and maybe will be more responsive to communicate the "old fashioned" email way :)

Hello everyone,
It is exciting to see these conversations and exchanges. Thank you to those that shared various publications and resources - I am looking into all of them! Special hello to Suzanne who taught me some courses at the Université de Montreal!! I live in Calgary, Alberta and am a 3rd year PhD student at Lakehead University. My supervisor is Connie Russell. My main research area is Forest School programs in Canada. I am particularly interested in how these programs may help children develop care and empathy towards nature. I am using multispecies ethnography and looking at the programs through a "common worlds" angle (see so hopefully bringing something new to the research. Some of my research last year was around insects and early childhood education... chapter attached if anyone is interested!
I also sit on the board of the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication ( We run conferences every year in different parts of Canada and I am trying to bring in a focus on early childhood. For example last year for the first time we had an ECE category for our awards.
I teach early childhood education at the Grande Prairie Regional College in Alberta, and hope to be able to develop and deliver an EE course for the students at some point so I am very interested in what others have come up with in terms of pre-service training for early childhood educators. Looking forward to keeping track of the discussion and learning about all of your great work :)

PDF icon boileau_and_russell_2018.pdf196.95 KB

Hello Elisabeth! How nice to hear from you. The work you are doing is very interesting. I will read your article for sure. Wonder if you had a chance to read Deleuze & Guattari who explained the process of ''terrritorialisation and deterritorialisation'' in the construction of a body of thoughts. What they mean to explain is a mental process where thoughts lay over layers of thoughts and come away keeping bits and pieces. Thoughts (and so empathy) follows the patterns of biological evolution. The authors use the great image of the wasp looking like the orchid or the orchid looking like the wasp.
Hope to read you soon and follow your work! Suzanne

Hello Elizabeth,
Nice to know and hear what you are currently doing— it’s quite impressive. Being an early childhood educator, I am finding your research interests in the topic very relevant. I am glad that you are speaking at conferences. I am looking for board membership opportunities, if you are aware of any in Canada who would be willing to consider USA candidates let me know, since I will be interested. Hope to meet you at some ECE Conference! ' Keep up your good research work.