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 meets many EYLF outcomes, including:

  • BUILDING NATURE CONNECTION

    Helping children to develop a relationship with nature (Outcomes 2.4 and 4.4)

  • INCREASING CONFIDENCE

    Helping children develop problem solving skills, imaginative play and creativity (Outcomes 4.1 and 4.2)

  • INCREASING PHYSICAL STRENGTH

    Supporting children to build greater core strength, enhanced balance and increased fine motor skills (Outcome 3.2)

  • CREATING STRONGER EMOTIONAL FOUNDATIONS

    Supporting children to build greater impulse control and sensory regulation (Outcome 3.1)

  • IMPROVING RESILIENCE

    Helping children develop an increased awareness of risk and an ability to persevere and overcome challenges and discomfort (Outcomes 1.2 and 4.1)

Why Nature Academy?

This course is designed and taught by knowledgeable Australian-based nature pedagogues, who are passionate and experienced in facilitating whole service training. Nature Academy has a unique format that puts YOU at the centre of your own learning, with inspiring and easily accessible content from a diverse range of presenters and perspectives.

What our training offers

This course is designed to help you develop your own connection to and relationship with the natural world, so that you can feel more comfortable and confident in implementing Nature Play practices at your service. Our experienced facilitators 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 understandings to inspire teachers, co-workers, managers, and families to join the Nature Play movement.

  • Nature Journaling

  • 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

Starting in Term 3.

Work through material at your own pace, supported by two online Zoom sessions which are tailored to the needs of your service.

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

    • Optional Mentoring Session

  • 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

    • Optional Mentoring Session

  • 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

    • Optional Mentoring session

    • WEEK THREE BONUS VIDEO

  • 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

    • Optional Mentoring Session

  • 5

    Week Five: Facilitating Nature Play - Planning & Practices

    • Week Five Outline

    • Presentation

    • Guiding Principles

    • Sit Spot Prompts

    • Setting Up A Nature Play Site

    • Optional Mentoring session

  • 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

    • Optional Mentoring session

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.

What past students say

LOVED SHARING THIS WITH MY TEAM!

Jamie Grant - ELC

"What an empowering course, run by passionate, knowledgeable and down to earth mentors. As a working mum of two, I was a little nervous when I first enrolled that I would not have the time to cover all the course material or that I did not have enough experience to add anything to group conversations. But, the mentors made me feel so welcomed and empowered, and there was zero pressure, they understood completely that life gets busy! There were three staff from my Early Learning Centre who completed this course with me, and since completing it we have been able to share what we have learnt with the rest of the team!"

A GREAT WAY TO ENHANCE YOUR SCHOOL

Alethea Johnston

"I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in nature in general or who is wanting to start or enhance their bush kinder/forest school. This course opened my eyes to the nature that is all around us and all that it has to offer. To have a respect for nature that allows us to then engage in nature."

PHILOSOPHICAL & HIGHLY PRACTICAL

“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.”

WONDERFUL!

“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.”

Sign up today

Work through the course at your own pace and have access to two online zoom sessions, tailored to the needs of your team.