The Pedagogy of Play in Nature

Event Description
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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.

May 06, 2017 at 10:00am - 3pm
Kortright Centre for Conservation
9550 Pine Valley Dr
Woodbridge, ON L4L 1A6
Google map and directions
Jaime Sidler · · 905-832-2289 ext 239
$125.00 CAD · Purchase tickets

Showing 4 reactions

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  • Ron S
    commented 2023-01-03 11:48:20 -0800
    Events like this, teaching youth the importance of nature, is so important. I’m so excited to participate in 2023. I’d also recommend getting speakers from arborist companies around Canada like in order to widen the scope of learning. Wild nature is great but we each have little nature sanctuaries in our backyards without knowing it and we can learn a lot from arborists.
  • Anonymous
    published this page in WORKSHOPS & EVENTS 2017-02-08 06:09:06 -0800
  • Anonymous
    is hosting. 2017-02-06 11:26:00 -0800
  • Anonymous
    published this page in WORKSHOPS & EVENTS 2017-02-06 11:26:00 -0800


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