1st Edition

Reimagining the Role of Teachers in Nature-based Learning Helping Children be Curious, Confident, and Caring

By Rachel Larimore, Claire Warden Copyright 2024
    160 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    160 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    Learn how to integrate nature-based pedagogy in this practical and inviting book. Nature-based teaching is getting more attention in early childhood education settings and can positively impact the development of young children’s curiosity, confidence, and care. You’ll learn to not only identify but also embody the many roles teachers play when implementing nature-based strategies. Chapters lay out the research and theory behind each role, specific language or behaviors of what that role looks like in practice, and reflexive questions to help educators reflect on their practice. This is perfect for in-service early childhood educators including infant, toddler, preschool, and elementary providers interested in more intentional use of nature in their teaching.


    Meet the Authors

    About the Book



    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Why confident, curious, and caring?




    What is nature pedagogy?

    Inside: Our individual & internal world

    Outside: Our relationships with people & planet

    Beyond: global community and the unobservable

    Theory of social constructivism--The role of interactions in children’s learning

    Organization of this book

    A note about language

    Chapter 2: Provider of space

    Space to be in large groups

    Space to be with one or two peers

    Space to be alone

    Shelter from the elements

    Movable spaces

    Circular spaces


    Chapter 3: Provider of time

    Providing time for different purposes

    Time for play

    Time to notice

    Time to fail and try again

    Time to experience and sit with emotion

    Time to build relationships

    Time to just be

    Time to be in and learn with the natural world

    Time for silence

    Embracing the pace of children and nature

    What is Sounds Like: Examples of Language Related to Providing Time


    Chapter 4: Provider of materials

    Types of materials and their play opportunities

    Selecting materials for the classroom

    Authentic materials

    Developmentally appropriate materials

    Materials which value diversity

    Nature-related materials

    Sustainable materials

    Creating versus purchasing materials

    Introducing materials to the classroom


    Chapter 5: Facilitator of experiences--Planning for children’s learning

    Stage 1. Noticed something and made a change to resources

    Stage 2. Noticed something; took action; changed resources over a number of days

    Stage 3. Noticed something; took action; changed resources over a number of days; adult was actively engaging in the area

    Stage 4. Noticed something; took action; changed resources over a number of days; adult was actively engaging in the area; analysis of the learning


    Chapter 6: Holder of memories--Documenting children’s learning

    Outdoor documentation

    Documenting curiosity, confidence, & care

    Quality documentation

    Floorbooks ™as an approach to documentation


    Chapter 7: Relationship builder--with self and others

    Relationships Inside, Outside, & Beyond

    Inside: Relationships with Self

    Outside: Relationships with Others & the Natural World

    Beyond: Relationships with Something Bigger Than Themselves

    Caring for children is foundational to relationship building


    Chapter 8: Conversationalist

    Questions and statements within a conversation

    Affect during conversation

    Emotion and tone of voice


    Deep listening


    Chapter 9: Manager & modeler of risk-taking

    Modeling Risk-Taking

    Intellectual risk

    Social-emotional risk

    Physical risk

    Providing Opportunities for Risky Experiences

    Opportunities for intellectual risk

    Opportunities for social-emotional risk

    Opportunities for physical risk

    Managing Risky Experiences

    Managing intellectual and social-emotional risk

    Managing physical risk

    Supporting Children to Assess Risky Experiences for Themselves


    Chapter 10: Provocateur

    What do we mean by “provocation”?

    Always being aware of the potential and possibilities of play

    The Pedagogical Dance of child-led and teacher-led

    Supporting curiosity, confidence, and care

    Provocation through resources (i.e., living and nonliving)

    Provocation through experience (e.g., storytelling, farmer visit)

    Provocation of interaction


    Chapter 11: Mentor, guide, and leader

    Apprenticeship approach

    The importance of concepts, skills and knowledge

    Helping children apply skills and core knowledge to practical situations

    Mentoring as a bridge–from here to there and now to then


    Chapter 12: Advocate

    Advocating Inside, Outside, & Beyond

    Defenders of childhood


    Chapter 13: An invitation for deeper exploration

    Exploring the character aspects educator roles


    Open to new ideas with a personal growth mindset


    Willingness to step back



    Intentional–A thinker






    Your work matters

    References & Resources

    Glossary of Terms


    Dr. Rachel A. Larimore is an educator, consultant, speaker, researcher, and author. Her work focuses on the intentional integration of nature to support young children’s holistic development by learning with nature to expand their worlds and live rich, full lives.


    Dr. Claire W. Warden is an educational entrepreneur, researcher and author of over ten books including her most recent Green Teaching-Nature Pedagogies for Climate Change and sustainability.