Why Nature Play?

Levels of anxiety, stress, depression, ADHD, and poor physical strength in our young children are on the rise. Playtime in the natural world offers a powerful antidote and is proven to:


    with an increase in focus & decrease in ADHD symptoms


    through problem solving skills, imaginative play and creativity.


    including greater core strength, enhanced balance and increased fine motor skills.


    with greater impulse control & sensory regulation


    through awareness of risk, ability to persevere, overcome challenges and discomfort.

What you'll learn

This course will help you to understand the benefits of teaching and learning in nature, the risks and hazards you’re likely to face and how to communicate these to inspire families, co-workers and managers to join the nature play movement. Together we can get more kids enjoying and benefitting from being outside in nature!

  • Nature Journalling

  • Mindfulness In Nature

  • Theoretical frameworks underpinning Nature Play

  • Program design and planning

  • Identifying play urges in young children

  • Reading landscapes & wild spaces

  • How to set up a base camp

  • Conducting a Risk Assessment

  • Appropriate tool use for young children

  • Introduction to bird language & animal tracking

Start anytime and choose to do the course at your own pace

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Week One: Wilding The Self - We Are Nature

    • Presentation

    • Starting Our Journey

    • Week One Outline

    • How To Do Sit Spots

    • How To Journal

    • Rewilding Our Children

    • What is Nature

    • BONUS CONTENT - Kids In Nature

    • BONUS CONTENT - How to play in nature

    • Literature Review

    • Live Session - via Zoom

  • 2

    Week Two: Wilding The Self - Mentoring In Nature

    • Week Two Outline

    • Presentation

    • Dialogues With Nature

    • Mentors Glossary

    • Sit Spot Prompts

    • Mentors Glossary

    • BONUS CONTENT - Kids In Nature Week 2

    • Live Session - via Zoom

  • 3

    Week Three: Engaging Through Elements of Nature

    • Week Three Outline

    • Presentation

    • Inner Nature

    • Music In Nature

    • Mentor Glossary

    • Sit Spots & Prompts

    • WEEK THREE BONUS Material

    • Live Session - via Zoom


  • 4

    Week Four: Engaging Through Environmental Knowledge

    • Week Four Outline

    • Introduction to Bird Language

    • Core Routines

    • Predator Tracking

    • Sit Spots

    • Sit Spots Prompts

    • Story of the Day

    • Honouring The Land

    • Course Summary

    • Live Session - via Zoom

  • 5

    Week Five: Facilitating Nature Play - Planning & Practices

    • Week Five Outline

    • Presentation

    • Guiding Principles

    • Sit Spot Prompts

    • Setting Up A Nature Play Site

    • Live Session - via Zoom

  • 6

    Week Six: Facilitating Nature Play - Implementing & Reflecting

    • Week Six Outline

    • Presentation

    • Nature Play Resources

    • Sit Spot Prompts

    • Creating a Risk Benefit Assessment

    • Sample Safety Checklist

    • Benefits of Nature Play

    • Live Session - via Zoom

Meet the team

Senior Instructor

Erin Chapman

Erin is an accredited early childhood teacher and plays, teaches, mentors and guides children in nature daily. She lives the life of a nature mentor, learning from the children and landscapes to develop spaces that foster growth and development for all. Erin has been an active nature playworker for over two years, spending an entire year in the bush with children of all ages. Erin and her team mentored children at beach, river and bush locations weekly in all weather! Currently the Director of Kalang Preschool Erin brings her knowledge of play and early nature connection to Nature Academy.

Senior Instructor

Lisa Siegel

Lisa is a founding member of the Centre for Ecological Learning (CEL) and a skilled environmental educator with over 20 years experience in developing and facilitating educational experiences for children, young people, and adults. Besides working with CEL, Lisa works as an Associate Lecturer in the School of Education at Southern Cross University, and is currently undertaking PhD research in environmental education. In her spare time she likes to hang out with her chickens.

Senior Instructor

Tanya Fox

Tanya Fox is a group facilitator, counsellor, bodywork practitioner and nature lover. She has facilitated groups in a diverse range of disciplines, including deep ecology, creative expression, trauma work, grief and loss, language training and bodywork. Currently, she works with Centre for Ecological Learning facilitating Despair and Empowerment workshops, Feel The Magic charity organisation leading young people through grief support and education, and at Elemental Nature Connection Retreats facilitating interpersonal and nature connection activities.

Still have questions?

If you would like to find out more about the course please get in touch

What past students say


“This course is for anyone who loves the outdoors and exploring their own relationships with the ‘natural’ world. It is also for anyone dismayed at the rapid changes happening to the beloved ecosystems around them and wondering how they can simultaneously deepen their understanding of what we call ‘Nature’ and help guide children to find their own relationship with it.”


“The Nature Academy training has been an amazing tool to increase my level of awareness and preparation to be a nature mentor. The structure of the course is very flexible and reasonable. The weekly Zoom sessions with all the students and the coordinators were immensely valuable. Thanks so much for a great experience of training and personal growth!”


“In these times of rapid ecological change, when so many of us are feeling distressed and unsure about what we can do- this course offers a solution that is both philosophical and highly practical - reconnecting ourselves and our children with the natural world.”

Sign up today

Choose to do the course at your own pace or join our next cohort and receive online mentoring via zoom. To make our courses available to as many people as possible we also offer Pay What You Can options.

We believe that part of creating a more ecologically balanced world includes creating a “green” economy, based on equity and justice.

Nature Academy offers this program on a “PAY AS YOU CAN” basis.

We have worked out that the full value of this six-week course is $300. This helps pay for our facilitators, the course development, and admin and running costs. It also allows for the development of future programming. However, if you are not able to pay the full value, we trust that you will pay what you can, whilst respecting the work that goes into offering a program like this. And if you can’t pay anything right now, we still welcome you! Our goal is to share this training with as many people as possible, no matter what their financial circumstances. If this is you, please get in touch with us to discuss accessing one of our scholarship places.