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In Bloom in Keene: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education
May 12 all-day

In Bloom in Keene: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education

Thursday, May 12, 2016

9:00 am – 4:00 pm

kid holding frog

Please join us for our fifth In Bloom in Keene: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education conference! If you’re busy on May 12, there are two additional In Bloom conferences in New England this Spring. We will be gathering with a number of innovative Maine early childhood educators in Kittery on Saturday, March 26 for our first conference at the Eyes of the World Discovery Center. And our second In Bloom in Vermont conference will convene exemplary early childhood educators from downtown to down on the farm at Shelburne Farms on Monday, June 13. Then spread the word to your West Coast friends to keep their eyes open for In Bloom in Santa Barbara in October. Each conference will feature unique nationally recognized keynote speakers and workshops by local practitioners. All events will focus on the educational and health benefits of being in the natural world with children.


Open a Conference Brochure pdf  here.

9:00 am Opening Circle

9:15–10:15  Morning Keynote

Balanced and Barefoot: Why Outdoor Play is Important

Angela Hanscom, TimberNook Inc.

As we continue to decrease children’s time and space to move and play outdoors, we see a simultaneous rise in the number of children presenting with sensory and motor deficits. Classroom teachers note more and more children having trouble with attention: kids fall out of their seats, move clumsily, and act aggressive during playground games. How can we reverse this alarming trend of sensory and motor issues in children? How can we ensure that children are fully engaging their bodies, minds and all of their senses?

Using the same philosophy that lies at the heart of her popular TimberNook program—that nature is the ultimate sensory experience, and that psychological and physical health improves for children when they spend time outside on a regular basis—Angela Hanscom offers strategies to help children thrive in outdoor environments using a therapeutic approach to outdoor play.

Angela Hanscom is a pediatric therapist and the founder of
TimberNook, an internationally recognized program in the United States and New Zealand. She frequently contributes to the Washington Post about the importance of outdoor play and movement, and her new book, Balanced & Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children, will soon be published by New Harbinger.

Morning Workshops

  • Integrating the School Garden into Your Curriculum
    Jenny Ettelson Coy, The Common School, Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Children Who Challenge Us, Liza Lowe, Wild Roots Nature School at Stonewall Farm, Keene, New Hampshire
  • Caterpillars All Around, Sam Jaffe and Liz Kautz, The Caterpillar Lab, Keene, New Hampshire
  • Stick Play: The Power of Imagination, Anne Stires, Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education, Alna, Maine
  • Art In Nature, Jenn Murphy, New Hingham Regional Elementary School, Chesterfield, Massachusetts

1:00 – 2:00 pm  Afternoon Keynote

Nature Play: Risky Business

Ken Finch, Founder, Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood

Strongly rooted in both research and emotion, the nature play movement has grown rapidly. Yet significant challenges remain, including difficult questions of effectiveness and the vexing fears of risk. Veteran environmental educator Ken Finch will consider the ranging benefits of nature play, from immediate opportunities for children to the formation of lifelong conservation values. He’ll also explore its risks, and suggest ways to address common concerns about injuries and liability.

Afternoon Workshops

  • Mudsuits & Mittens
    Ellen Martyn & Kat Ellison, Marlboro School, Marlboro, VT
  • Unveiling the Therapeutic Potential of Outdoor Classrooms
    Angela Hanscom, Timbernook, Inc., Barrington, NH
  • Caring for Caterpillars
    Sam Jaffee & Liz Kautz, The Caterpillar Lab, Keene NH
  • Interconnections: A Natural History Exploration for Educators
    Ted Watt, Naturalist, Hitchcock Center for Environment, Amherst, MA
  • All the Wood’s a Stage: Cultivating Your Inner Storyteller
    Melissa Blake, Ithaca Forest Preschool, Ithaca, NY


Co-sponsor Logos 600

Every Blade of Grass–Westchester, NY
May 17 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm

kids balancing on logEvery Blade of Grass

A Jewish Early Childhood Conference About Natural Environments

Antioch University New England is partnering with the Jewish Education Project to support their new outdoor conference experience for early childhood educators. David Sobel and Ellen Doris of Antioch’s Education Department (and the Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate program) will present keynotes at the conference. Outdoor venues and a hands-on format will enable educators to discuss and participate in powerful learning experiences that are inspired by our natural environment and the Reggio philosophy. Participants will learn with local and national experts in the field.

Info & Registration