While the York Region Nature Collaborative was founded in York Region,
events are open to all interested educators, parents and families.
An apple indicates that a YRNC event is focused on Professional Development and open to adults.
A heart indicates that a YRNC event is family friendly and open to both adults and children.
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Join the YRNC to celebrate Earth Day. Two amazing workshops offered! Register for one or both. Register here.
Morning Workshop 9-12:30pm ($80 +HST, light breakfast included)
Facilitated by Dr. Diane Kashin, RECE and Cindy Green, B.Sc, RECE
Risky Play is a hot topic in the world of early learning. While risk may be seen as something that is negative and should be avoided, it is extremely beneficial to children’s development. Children require environments that allow them to engage in risk-taking play. Risky play helps children learn about their world; test out what is and is not possible; learn about making mistakes; and discover new things about their space, place, and environment. Risk taking contributes to children’s in-depth problem solving and critical thinking skills. Children in over-regulated environments have significantly fewer opportunities to master the challenges that are available in active play spaces. Attend this interactive workshop to experience the joys and benefits of risky play, engage dialogue and recognize how our own attitudes may inhibit children’s opportunities for risk-taking and at the same time learn how to manage risky play by engaging in a risk benefit assessment.
Afternoon Workshop 12:30-3:30 ($50 +HST, lunch included)
Facilitated by Tanya Murray, YRDSB
StoryWalk® is an innovative and delightful way for children — and adults! — to enjoy reading and the great outdoors at the same time. Laminated pages from a children's book are attached to wooden stakes, which are placed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you're directed to the next page in the story. This YRNC workshop will set you up for success in making and delivering your first experiential-based StoryWalk®. It will provide an opportunity to co-create participant-centred delivery ideas and inspire you to take physical literacy – outside!
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
*Bring along a copy of your favourite picture book and we can incorporate a discussion about what makes some stories more effective than others.
Cindy Green, B.Sc, RECE
Cindy is a registered in early childhood educator in the province of Ontario in Canada. Cindy has been an active member of the York Region early learning community for many decades. She taught at Seneca College in the School of Early Childhood Education and has recently retired from the college. In her current role as an early learning consultant, Cindy’s passion and enthusiasm about learning through playful inquiry keeps her busy facilitating numerous sessions for educators and families. Cindy and Diane have been colleagues, critical friends and co-presenters for years. They both share a passion for Reggio-inspired practice, and all things play.
Dr. Diane Kashin, RECE
Diane is a registered early childhood educator in the province of Ontario in Canada. Diane taught early childhood education at Seneca College at both the degree and the diploma level. Diane has co-written two textbooks with Pearson Canada; Playing and Learning in Early Childhood Education (2012) and Empowering Pedagogy (2016). Diane retired from Seneca College in 2014 and is teaching part time at Ryerson University in Toronto. Diane is the co-researcher on a Lawson Foundation funded research project on outdoor play. Diane also writes a blog to support professional learning in early childhood education: http://tecribresearch.wordpress.com and loves to engage in continuous professional learning face to face and through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Diane presents workshops and keynote addresses in Ontario, across Canada and internationally. Her passions are emergent curriculum and supporting the forest and nature school movement.
Tanya Murray, YRDSB
Tanya is a graduate of Kinesiology from McMaster University and holds a Bachelor of Education degree from University of Toronto. She is an avid outdoors-person who is passionate about developing nature connections for learners of all ages. Qualified and experienced in 3 divisions (Primary, Junior, Intermediate), Tanya loves to learn alongside others in both conventional and alternative environments. She recently completed a Regional Term Position at Sibbald Point Outdoor Education Centre and led a Ministry Pilot focused on Environmental Inquiry.
She is a certified Outdoor Council of Canada Instructor and is currently working toward her Level 3 Forest School Practitioners Certification. Prior to classroom teaching, Tanya worked in the outdoor education field as a wilderness guide, adventure education facilitator, and spent 5 years at an independent school servicing vulnerable Toronto youth. Follow Tanya on twitter @InspireOutside.
Join us for a day in the forest celebrating play and nature. Our keynote speaker is Marlene Power, Executive Director, Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. Marlene will be focusing on Forest and Nature-based learning in Canada and part of the keynote will include an audiovisual component with a video of what Forest and Nature School looks like in practice. After the keynote we invite participants to observe an EarthPlay pop up adventure playground in action! In addition there will be stations set up throughout the forest to visit and to play facilitated by Forest and Nature-based educators.
The conference begins at 10am with registration at 9am and a light breakfast, an opportunity for networking and a marketplace. The pop up adventure playground will take place from 10 am to 2 pm. Lunch will be from 12 to 1 pm at which time you may also visit our marketplace. If participants would like to bring their children to the pop up they are welcome! Please note that spaces for the pop up are limited. We will have educators supervising your children in the pop up from 10 to 11 am. After 11 am your child is welcome to visit the stations in the forest with you, play some more in the adventure playground (under your supervision) and to join us for lunch (if you order a child’s meal or bring your own).
9:00 Registration and light breakfast, networking and marketplace
10:00 Keynote address – pop up begins
11:00 Invitation to visit the pop up and the forest stations
12:00 Lunch and marketplace
1:00 Invitation to visit the pop up and the forest stations
3:00 Conference ends
About the Keynote Address:
In this keynote address, Marlene Power will explore the possibilities and great potential for practice when we step outside, beyond four walls, and embrace a pedagogy of play with the children we work with. Marlene will weave stories about children mapping the forest, forts that become the ‘ultimate playground’ and four-season pirate ships, peacock feathers that lead to two week inquiries, owls that visit and carry with them messages of magic and hope.
The aim of this keynote is to inspire others to celebrate the unfolding work already happening across Canada in nature-based learning, and to make a strong case for a co-constructed and creative transformative learning experience that is rooted in play outdoors. Together we will ‘unpack’ and build the pedagogy of play, which supports a vision for the future where all Canadian children and youth play and learn in forests, parks, meadows and mud puddles from coast to coast to coast.
- To support educators and early childhood educators in their understanding of nature-based education, and to make a case for quality and transformative learning in nature that incorporates emergent, child-directed learning in the natural world.
- To INSPIRE!
Key Note Speaker
Marlene Power founded the Carp Ridge Forest Preschool, Canada’s first outdoor, nature-based Forest Preschool, and created Forest School Canada, a national initiative to promote nature-based education through Forest School and Nature School professional learning, policy and research. Marlene first developed Forest School Canada as an initiative under the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada (CNAC). In December 2014 she was appointed Executive Director of the CNAC and she continues to lead Forest School Canada as a key program of CNAC. She also runs the Ottawa Forest and Nature School, the headquarters for CNAC, delivering Forest School programs to the Ottawa Carleton District School Board as well as the community.
Marlene studied at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Dalhousie University, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Education at University of British Columbia, with a focus on risky play and student engagement. She has worked in a variety of settings, including community development, environmental education, and early childhood education. Marlene formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, as well as TD Friends of the Environment Fund.
Marlene is an avid outdoors-person, social activist, environmentalist, and an advocate of children’s right to play in the natural world. She attributes her resilience, creativity, love of nature, and environmental values to the freedom she was given to roam during her childhood. She learned so much by growing up connected to the beauty and nature around her in outport Newfoundland. She currently lives in Chelsea, QC, and spends many days roaming the woods with her dog, and her two children, Hazel and Emry.
The Rhythm of Learning in Nature is an opportunity offered by the York Region Nature Collaborative www.yrnature.ca for like-minded educators to come together in place to experience nature, Reggio-inspiration and forest school practices. The Swan Lake Centre serves as the backdrop for this week of professional inquiry. The week will follow an emergent curriculum framework, as we will invite both facilitators and participants to decide the direction of the work and the focus of our professional inquiries.
This year, we will provide an invitation to turn our venue, the beautiful Swan Lake Centre into a canvas to represent our inspirations from intelligent materials that speak to us in multiple languages. The magical outdoor environment at Swan Lake, coupled with the beautiful mansion for our indoor experiences, will invite and entice deep thinking and reflection about Reggio inspired teaching and learning
Everyone is welcome to join with us for the week whether you are new to Reggio-inspired learning or more experienced with the practices. We will honour everyone’s journey, context and gifts. This will be a week of empowering learning to support the development of a community of learners, researchers and teachers.
There will be a small forest school camp on the premises with two forest school leaders and a group of children. Rhythm participants, in small numbers, will be invited to observe and document the forest school experiences, and we expect that this will offer many prompts for dialogical learning. Registration to open soon for the Forest School Camp.
Click here to register for the conference.