Wauhatchie School

Teacher Training

Outside on all sides

Ellen Kinney, a teacher from Memphis, Tennessee enjoys learning with Wauhatchie School Forest Kindergarteners during a training session.  “Thank you for this wonderful experience!  I have officially fallen in LOVE with Forest Kindergarten!  I am excited about pursuing a career in a forest school setting.  This is only the beginning.”  Ellen Kinney

Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training

As the Forest Kindergarten concept continues to spread across the United States more and more teachers are looking for training as FK teachers.  Many also want to learn how to establish a stand-alone program or how to incorporate the principles and philosophy of nature-emersion education in a pre-existing program.   Dr. Jean Lomino has worked with dozens of teachers over the past two years to meet these needs.   She is uniquely qualified for this task with 50 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, environmental/outdoor educator, nature center director, university adjunct professor, teacher trainer and consultant.   She recently spent two months in Guangzhou, China as a Forest Kindergarten consultant and has returned with many new insights and a greater sense of purpose to help build this global movement.  

This summer Dr. Lomino developed and taught two graduate level classes in Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training for the MS Ed in Outdoor Education program at Southern Adventist University (www.southern.edu).  These same courses will be taught again next summer for those interested in receiving academic credit.  Certificates awarded for completion of the Wauhatchie School Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training are endorsed by the MS Ed in Outdoor Education Program at Southern Adventist University. 

Training Sessions

The following training sessions are conducted at Wauhatchie School, with a Level 3 option to spend one day at a local public school Forest Kindergarten site.

Level 1 Introduction to Forest Kindergarten

This two-day session (5 hrs. per day) provides 6 hours of direct observation at Wauhatchie Forest Kindergarten and 4 hours of class discussion and debrief. The fee is $400 per person.  Each session is limited to five participants. The session is designed to provide an introductory experience for teaching in a Forest Kindergarten setting.  After the 10-hour training is concluded, each participant will receive a Level One Forest Kindergarten Teacher Certificate of Completion.  Fee includes a journal and class materials.

Level 2 Forest Kindergarten Practitioner

This session includes four full days (6 hrs. per day): 12 hours of direct observation and teaching practice at Wauhatchie Forest Kindergarten, 8 hours of class discussion and 4 hours of nature training provided by a professional naturalist.  The session is limited to 5 participants and is designed to provide more in depth understanding of teaching philosophy and strategies, beginning naturalist skills, plus hands-on teaching practice. This training will prepare a trainee to be a lead teacher in a Forest Kindergarten setting.  The cost for this 24-hour session is $800.  After the training is concluded, each participant will receive a Level Two Forest Kindergarten Practitioner Certificate of Completion.  Fee includes a textbook, journal and other class materials.

Level 3 Master Forest Kindergarten Teacher (Email Dr. Lomino to schedule)

This is a five-day (6 hrs. per day) intensive.  The 30-hour training session includes 15 hours of observation and teaching in the Forest Kindergarten, 10 hours of class discussion (including the basics of establishing a stand-alone program,) and 5 hours of naturalist training.  One day’s session can be scheduled at a local public school Forest Kindergarten site.  The fee is $1000. After the training is concluded, each participant will receive a Level Three Master Forest Kindergarten Teacher Certificate of Completion and follow-up consultations.  Fee includes a textbook, journal, and all other class materials.

Level 4 Forest Kindergarten Leader (Email Dr. Lomino to schedule)

This is a three to five-day individualized session that will take place at the participant’s Forest Kindergarten site. Dr. Lomino and/or other members of her consulting team will contract with the school to provide help with the following:  fundamentals of non-profit management, site development, business planning, staffing, parent communication and marketing, and other topics as determined by the school and consultant team. The goal for this service is to help the participant/school complete necessary preliminary work including proposal writing, donor recruitment and business plan to establish a Forest Kindergarten or Forest School.  Additional services may include:  follow-up consultations for six months, resource guides, curriculum development and other reference materials. A certificate of completion will be provided for the Forest Kindergarten Leader.  (Transportation and lodging for the consultant are additional costs.)

2017-18 Training Schedule

 Level 1                                                                             Level 2

September 18-19                                                             September 25-28

October 2-3                                                                     October 9-12

November 6-9                                                                 November 6-9

February 1-2                                                                    February 5-8

March 1-2                                                                       March 5-8

April 9-10                                                                        April 16-19

May 3-4                                                                          May 7-10

Educator’s Tour

A two-hour Forest Kindergarten observation followed by a Q & A session with the Wauhatchie School Director or Lead Teacher is available for groups of no more than five. Tours can be scheduled according to participant and school availability.  The fee is $100 per person.   

Application and Payment:

To reserve your spot, complete and mail or email the teacher training application and mail in a deposit equal to 50% of the training fee. The remainder of the fee is due two weeks before the session is to begin.  The complete deposit will be refunded if participant cancels within two weeks of the scheduled event.  A school purchase order will be accepted in place of payment, with payment due within 30 days of services. 

Forest Kindergarten/Forest School Consultant Services

·      Site visit:  site evaluation/survey and recommendations for development

·      Professional presentations for potential funders, parent groups, school boards and others

·      On-site observation and mentoring of Forest Kindergarten teachers

For additional information concerning teacher training and to receive the application--email jlomino@mac.com.

Teacher Testimonials

I was amazed at the beauty and creative spaces Dr. Lomino and Diana have formed in their Forest Kindergarten (Kid Wonderland!)  I was fortunate to have two days of observation and discussion with these passionate educators and found the groups of children entirely engaged in their learning. The children were highly independent and confident in their environment which had them climbing rocks, jumping over sticks and logs, wading and splashing in the creek, digging for fossils, stirring mud and forming different 'buildings' with their sticks, rocks, grasses, and flowers.  Whatever they wanted to create, they did so.  I think the most special thing to me was hearing children as young as three years old identify by name the world around them:  a sycamore tree was a loved tree, purple violets, redbuds, dogwood flowers, deer tracks, salamander eggs, ant hills, millipedes.  I believe when something has a name it can become loved and cared for.  I love that these children will surely be protectors and lovers of our earth.  I would love to see all children have the opportunity to know their natural world as the ones I observed at Wauhatchie.”  Tara Winterbotham

“Thanks again, Jean. I had a wonderful time with you, your staff, and your kids. We were blessed with good weather and exciting nature finds all around. I will drive back to Asheville tomorrow inspired and grateful for this experience!”  Erika Harrison

Outdoor Education Consulting

Dr. Jean Lomino, Dr. Carl Swafford and their team of outdoor education experts will help schools and teachers implement outdoor education into their curricula and into their school grounds. Fees for services will be determined on a sliding scale, and based upon the number of teachers and sessions needed. Most training will occur at the client’s school site, but the Wauhatchie School site and other outdoor venues will also be available. All sessions will be planned and facilitated by THINK NATURE team member(s).

Consulting services

May include all or some of the sessions from the following menu. 

  1. Teacher Inspiration—Teachers will participate in naturalist-led easy hike, canoe trip or other low-risk outdoor adventure. They will learn to observe, using all their senses and record their observations in a nature journal.  This experience is designed to inspire teachers to see the benefits of using nature as a classroom. This session can occur at the school or nearby natural area. (One half-day or a full day)
  2. Visioning—Teachers and other school stakeholders will work together to brainstorm ways to develop their school’s outdoor education-centered curriculum. They will discuss various ways to incorporate outdoor education in their students’ learning. (1-2 two-hour sessions)
  3. Outdoor Classroom Site Development—Based on the vision that is established for their school, teachers and other school stakeholders, will determine the best places for outdoor classroom sites. Then together with local experts they will complete a site assessment including an ecological survey. They will determine what enhancements and constructed/landscaped features are needed to fulfill their vision. They will develop a conceptual plan and begin implementation of the project. (1-3 full days sessions)
  4. Outdoor Education Proposal Development—A team of teachers, parents, board members and community members will create a proposal that includes teaching objectives, goals, budget, funding, maintenance plan and 5-year implementation plan with development phases.  If needed, they will develop a list of potential donors and business partners. (2-5 two-hour sessions)
  5. Curriculum Development—Teachers will develop a school-wide theme with coordinating grade-level projects and specific learning activities—project based outdoor education-based and interdisciplinary. (2-5 full day sessions)
  6. Professional Presentations—Parent Orientation Meetings, Presentations to administrative teams, school boards and donors, Other events as needed

Outdoor Teacher Training

(Training can occur at school site or at other locations.)

Teachers will learn and practice outdoor teaching strategies including:

  • Discovery learning strategies
  • Place-based education
  • Behavior management in the outdoors
  • Experiential education teaching strategies

Training Sessions for subject areas (can be planned for specific grade levels):

  • Living Lightly on the Land: conservation and principles of sustainable living (1 day)
  • Nature Journaling Across the Curriculum (2 days)
  • Literature and Writing in Nature (3 days)
  • Art in Nature: ephemeral art, nature printing, and using other natural materials (1 day)
  • Math in Nature (1 day)
  • The Naturalist’s Toolbox: How to conduct a nature hike and be prepared for teachable moments
  • Developing Service Learning Projects (1 day)
  • Health in Nature (1 day)
  • Using the Outdoors to Teach Social Studies (3 days)
  • STEM learning in the Outdoors (3 days)
  • Teaching Science Outdoors—biology, geology, chemistry, physics (2 days)
  • Map-making in the School Yard

Each day is 8 hours. Session time frames can be adjusted according to school schedules and objectives.

For additional information concerning school consulting email: jlomino@mac.com