Overview of the course

Key topics for badge-seeking participants

Four evening sessions run synchronously, three hours each.

Early Childhood Education

  • Pedagogy behind the physical and emotional growth in early childhood – including the latest research on early learning and brain development.
  • Importance of positive, early learning experiences and the social-emotional skills required for building healthy relationships and communities.
  • Industry guidelines, principles and assessments in early childhood education
  • Designing age appropriate early childhood experiences for children ages 1 to 6. 

Environmental Education

  • Introduction to a myriad of teaching resources and tools for environmental education and outdoor exploration.
  • Exploring the concept of biodiversity – identifying native flora and fauna, understanding the elements of an ecosystem and discovering the importance of habitat quality.
  • Analyzing the systems and cycles of nature to understand our role within them and how they can be models for early childhood experiences.
  • Identifying age-appropriate natural concepts for children six and under and how those concepts are essential for future scientific learning.

Urban Nature-based Early Childhood Education

  • Explain the benefits of Nature-based Early Childhood, the importance of outdoor play in learning and the advantages of embracing emergent curriculum.
  • Enumerate the preparations for leading urban outdoor exploration – including proper scaffolding of information, group management techniques, establishing clear boundaries, appropriate outdoor clothing, essential supplies list, and risk vs. hazard assessments.  

Additional modules for credit-seeking students

Distinguishing Urban Nature-based Early Childhood Education

  • Recognize the unique challenges of those living in densely populated urban areas.
  • Focus on education for those with limited access to nature by highlighting the need for inclusive programs based on trauma informed care and customized experiences for children with special needs.

Urban Nature-based Early Childhood Activity Design

  • Appropriate use of indoor spaces to introduce and recapitulate NbEC concepts and outdoor experiences.
  • Breaking down NbEC teaching materials and lessons into vicarious, indirect, and direct experiences.

Developmentally Appropriate Urban Nature-based Early Childhood Activity Design Continued

  • Effective ways to interpret essential aspects of the natural world and seasonal change for children under 6 years old.
  • Design developmentally appropriate nature-based lessons around best practices in the field of NbEC using current guidelines and best practices.

Register now for an online introduction to nature-based early childhood education (NbEC)

Discounted registration for groups of three or more is available.



The Urban Ecology Center Institute is an effort to share the model developed in Milwaukee. With three distinct branches in Milwaukee, the UEC connects people in cities to nature and each other.