Nurturing Through Nature - York County Early Childhood Conference

Nurturing Through Nature - York County Early Childhood Conference

from 28.00

Saturday, October 19th


York County Community College, Wells, ME

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$35 General Registration

$28 for MaineAEYC members, FCCAM members, and Students

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Are you a Student or MaineAEYC or FCCAM Member?:

This event is sponsored by a collaboration between the York County Early Childhood Coalition, the United Way of York County, the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network.

Conference Schedule

8:00 - Registration, Refreshments & Networking

8:30 - Opening Remarks

9:00 - Morning Breakout Session #1

10:40 - Morning Breakout Session #2

12:15 - Lunch (included in registration fee)

1:00 - Afternoon Breakout Session

2:35 - Panel, Door Prizes/Raffle

3:00 - Adjourn

Opening Remarks:

Suzanne Kahn, Education Director, Wells Reserve at Laudholm, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells ME

Panel: Three Journeys in Bringing Nature into Our Programs

Marisa Penney, Assistant Principal, RSU 57

Michelle Goulet, Kidz Go Eco

Brendle Johnson, Family Child Care Association of Maine

Breakout Sessions:

Books into Action: Create a Story Walk, York County Let’s Go! Program York County

Let’s Go! Coordinators, Casey Marcotte, Kelly Roberts and Cassie Ring along with Maria Richardson, Children’s Librarian at Kennebunk Free Library, will share resources on how to obtain affordable story walks for your program. Reading outside in nature can add many new elements of learning and exploration to your program. Participants will have the opportunity to explore three story walks Let’s Go! has available for partnering sites to borrow. Copyright laws will be discussed along with how to create book walks for children in your program to enjoy. An abundance of library books themed around nature, nutrition and movement will be on hand for participants to read and explore. This will be a fun and interactive session. Each participant will leave with a make and take book walk.

Geocaching for Kids, Eric Lawson, Director of Technology & Libraries

This is an introductory course for kids geared towards an introduction to GPS units, orienteering skills, and Geocaching (treasure hunting with GPS units). We will be using technology to integrate some family fun activities and get outside to practice our skills by playing games and hunting for a geocache hidden near the campus.

How to take Learning Outdoors, Even in the Winter! Marisa Penney, Assistant Principal, RSU 57

Taking learning outdoors throughout the school year is a great way to develop hands-on learning experiences while enjoying the beauty of our natural world. Recently, Shapleigh Memorial School incorporated outdoor learning experiences during the winter as a culminating activity to our kindness celebrations. The experiential learning opportunity allowed our entire school community to inspire an appreciation of the environment, ignite the spark to continue learning and exploring the natural world and focus on our school goals around kindness, wellness, collaborative learning, and STEM.

Learn the Importance of Worm Composting – Take Part in Creating Worm Bins, Jock Robbie, Owner, Mainely Worm Bins

Jock spreads the word of the importance of vermaculture (worm composting) through his passion, hobby and outreach program. Jock’s workshop is a highly interactive hands on workshop where he will provide information and proof of the benefits of vemaculture. He started his first worm bin in 2008 and now does presentations throughout Maine about the value of vermacomposting. Within each workshop, participants will engage in building five worm bins. At the end of each presentation, he gives away five free of cost, complete worm bin setup, including the worms. He will ask only interested participants to sign up to win the actual worm bins but anyone can attend the workshop to help build and learn more. Jock will extend an invitation to the worm bin owners to have him join them in harvesting their bins about three months after first receiving them at the conference. When he meets worm bin owners at that time, he will show them how to harvest and use the worm castings for use in their gardens or houseplants.

Making the Most of Your Outdoor Space, Casey Marcotte, Coordinator, Let’s Go!

Let’s Go! Coordinator, Casey Marcotte will share knowledge and tools to improve the quality of early childhood outdoor learning environments. Participants will learn how outdoor environments can be designed with a diverse mix of manufactured and natural materials, objects, and settings to support creative play, learning, and development in children of all ages. We will explore ways in which improving the quality of outdoor environments can positively impact physical activity, encourage healthy eating, and motivate learning in young children. Participants will receive a measurement scale to help assess their current outdoor environment and help sites plan and organize goals for their space. They will also gain inspiration to apply methods for creating and managing high quality outdoor environments to support experiential learning.

Nurturing the Parent, Patrice Leary Forrey, Director, Kids Free to Grow

Read, Touch, Talk and Play as a reminder to engage your children in the wonderful world of childhood dreams and fantasies. This presentation will have a hands on component and will include a make and take for participants.

Observing Children through Play, Karen Genest, Owner/Provider, Little Ducklings Family Child Care

Participants will gain useful tools to improve their practice of observing, recording and planning for children of all ages through the use of the CDC Learn the Signs, Act Early! Developmental milestones. Discover the usefulness of organic and/or structured observations as well as using the information that you record to open the door to better communication with families.

Pollinators and Wildlife Gardens, Suzanne Craig

We will discuss the importance pollinators play in our ecosystems, how to support pollinator populations, and review plans to create pollinator gardens using native and common plants. Time permitting, we will discuss other simple indoor gardening projects and ideas. Topic is suitable for all ages and all providers and educators.

Positive Discipline 101, Dorothy Mathews & Heather Ewing, Certified Positive Discipline Educators

Join us for a crash course in Positive Discipline, a fun and effective way to help children learn cooperation and responsibility. You will participate in activities designed to help you “get into the child’s world” and leave with tools and strategies to encourage and empower your students!

Scaffolding Stewardship: Nature-Based Science with Preschoolers, Molly Woodring, Maine Audubon

Young children are born ready to explore the natural world, but sit still? Not so much. Working with a preschooler’s love for repetition, collection, and imaginative play, however, can lead to engaging science learning that also supports social, emotional, and physical development. With this in mind, we’ll deconstruct several tried and true activities for preschoolers and discuss ways to adapt them for toddlers, families, and other settings or content.

Strengthening Maine Families, Patrice Leary-Forrey, Director, Kids Free to Grow

Strengthening Maine Families supports child care providers to help parents become stronger parents. Child care providers learn to approach parents as the experts on their own children, to listen openly to their concerns and ideas, and to work together with parents to find answers to questions and concerns about child development. Strengthening Maine Families is grounded in the research that recognizes how children develop and has identified the important protective factors that strengthen every growing family:

1. Parental Resilience: taking care of self and learning to manage stress

2. Social Connections: creating natural parent support

3. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: understanding leads to better parenting

4. Concrete Support in Times of Need: helping parents learn where to go when they need help

5. Social and Emotional Competence of Children: helping children to communicate and understanding how tohelp them develop appropriately

6. Healthy Parent Child Relationships: giving children the love and respect they need

Transitioning to an Outdoor Classroom, Brendle Johnson & Bridget Barden, Family Child Care Association of Maine

Bringing nature into your curriculum and classroom environments can be very intimidating and overwhelming. Our goal is to demystify nature so that all educators and administrators can feel comfortable and confident making their classroom a nature-based classroom. There is endless research that provides information regarding nature’s benefits for children’s development. We strive to incorporate nature in our spaces and teaching. We hope to help teachers and administrators learn more about outdoor classrooms and how to make it a primary learning space. There will be materials and resources to explore and interact with at the end of the presentation.