Nurture in Nature

Nurture in Nature is a professional development program for early childhood educators that helps incorporate nature-based play into their programs.

Program details

  • Priority area: Wellbeing (social and emotional)
  • Primary audience: Educators
  • Delivery mode: Group training, online, professional services, resources (books, kits, manuals)
  • Strength of evidence: TBC
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Emotional maturity anxious and fearful behaviour
    • Emotional maturity aggressive behaviour
    • Emotional maturity hyperactivity and inattentive behaviour
    • Social competence responsibility and respect
    • Physical health and wellbeing gross and fine motor skills
  • Item cost: Moderate ($200$2,000 per person/item) to High ($>2,000 per person/item)

Program description

Nurture in Nature is a professional development program that builds early childhood educators’ capacity to embed nature-based play into their day-to-day programs. The program focuses on supporting educators to grow their knowledge, skills and confidence in enhancing social and emotional learning through nature-based play. It guides educators in supporting children to have regular, meaningful, developmentally-appropriate and inclusive nature connection opportunities that support their wellbeing.

There are 3 program packages available: Sprout, Grow, Thrive plus additional program options. All program operate over a 12-month period. Each package has been designed to support access by up to 2 teachers/educators at a service.

The Sprout package includes:

  • Strong Foundations for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) through Nature Based Play’. A self-paced online learning course including 8 modules, each with 1520 minute videos and reflection questions.
  • 4 one hour online group Sprout mentoring and reflection sessions.
  • Twelve-month membership to ‘Treehouse Educators’ Nurture in Nature’s online Professional Learning Community. This provides access to live online recordings and monthly theme materials.
  • Downloadable workbooks and program resources.
  • Whole of service group professional development: 1.5 hours online session ‘Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Learning and Development Through Nature Based Play’ open to all educators from same service.

The Grow package includes:

  • Everything included in the Sprout package, plus
  • ‘Taking SEL Outside Supporting Children’s Social And Emotional Development Through Nature Based Play’: a self-paced online learning course including 10 modules, each with a 1520 minute video with reflection questions.
  • Four 60-minute online whole of Grow program group mentoring and reflection sessions.
  • All access package (up to 2 program participants will receive individual log in and individual access) to the current year of Nurture in Nature’s annual online ‘Campference’.
  • Whole of service group professional development: 3 hour in-person professional development session on-site at the service (or off-site at a location arranged by the service): ‘Taking SEL Outside: Nature Based Play In Action For Supporting Children’s Wellbeing’, open to all educators from the same service.

The Thrive package includes:

  • Everything in the Grow package, plus
  • Attendance at the current years’ ‘Campference’ Teacher Nature Conference for up to 2 educators from the same services. This is Nurture in Nature’s in-person professional development conference, held once per year, running Friday to Sunday, and the venues changes every two years. Enquire with the provider for dates and locations for the current year.
  • All access package recordings (individual access) from the previous year online ‘Campference’.

Additional program options which can be added to any package or accessed as standalone options include:

  • Attendance at 'Campference' Teacher Nature Conference.
  • Attendance at 'Campference' Where Nature Meets Story Conference.
  • 12-month individual membership to 'Treehouse Educators Membership Community'.
  • Nurture in Nature Professional Development Sessions (In-person or online).
  • Nurture in Nature Children's Nature Based Play Sessions which includes active educator involvement and 15-minute mentoring post-session (onsite at kindergarten service. A variety of activities and topics are available based on the service needs. Contact the provider for more information.
  • Nurture in Nature Based Play Family Workshop: 'How Nature Based Play Helps Support Your Child's Learning and Development'. This includes active educator involvement and 15 minute educator reflection mentoring post-session (online or on-site at kindergarten service). Please contact the provider for session options and pricing.

Detailed cost

  • Sprout package: $3,300 including GST (for up to two educators from the services)
  • Grow package: $6,600 including GST (for up to two educators from the services)
  • Thrive package: $8,800 including GST (for up to two educators from the services)

Please contact the provider directly for details and prices for additional teacher/educators to access package options.

Additional program elements:

  • ‘Campference’: Teacher Nature Conference: $770 per person including GST (In-person annual conference. Includes all workshops, activities, accommodation and meals).
  • ‘Campference’: Where Nature Meets Story Conference: $75.90 per person including GST (Online Conference. All access package).
  • 12-month individual membership to Treehouse Educators' Nurture in Nature’s Professional Learning Community (Online): $330 per person per year including GST.

Please contact the provider for session options and pricing of:

  • Nurture in Nature Professional Development Sessions (in-person or online).
  • Nurture in Nature Children's Nature Based Play Sessions.
  • Nurture in Nature Nature Based Play Family Workshop.

Additional costs to service:

  • If travel required by presenters/facilitators/mentors 75c per km, adjusted with current years' ATO rate.
  • If accommodation required by presenters/facilitators/mentors to be agreed directly with service.

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: teachers and educators.
  • Program/practice descriptions and details: packages are a combination of self-paced online courses, participation in group mentoring and reflection sessions, engagement with learning communities, accessing downloadable resources ;and a commitment to whole service professional development.
  • Program adaptability: access to three tiers of service offer, option to add additional program elements to packages or access some parts as standalone options.
  • Staffing: each package is designed to support up to two teacher/educators from the same service. The time commitment for an educator to participate over a 12-month period is estimated as:
    • Sprout: 50 hours
    • Grow: 100 hours
    • Thrive: 170 hours
  • Training requirements: each program package and additional program elements can be completed without prior experience in nature-based play or having completed a previous course or package within the Nurture in Nature program.
  • Tools and systems: access to outdoor/indoor play areas, natural loose parts, and space to complete in-person sessions (if applicable) is required to effectively implement this item. Participants will need access to the internet, email and Zoom for the online training component.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Respectful Relationships and Responsive Engagement
  • Integrated teaching and Learning Approaches

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing