Nature-Based Schools

Kid doing outdoor study

“It is safe to say that nature preschool teachers are learners first and foremost,” writes Natural Start Alliance Kit Harrington. Nature-based early childhood educators have a love of children, a passion for teaching, and a curiosity and focus on nature.

Nature-based schools center their curricula around outdoor experiences and exposure to nature. Many nature-based schools focus on early childhood, while others go all the way to 12th grade. They provide students with opportunities to learn and connect with the natural world, which can have numerous benefits for their physical, mental, and emotional health. These schools utilize outdoor spaces for learning activities, and their programs often include activities such as gardening, forest exploration, wildlife observation, and hands-on scientific experiments. Nature-based education allows children to explore, discover, and develop an appreciation for the natural world, and to understand their place within it.

Jobs in nature-based schools can vary depending on the specific school and its programs, but may include:

  1. Teacher: responsible for leading outdoor-based learning activities and facilitating student engagement with nature.
  2. Naturalist: specialized in teaching about the local environment, wildlife, and ecology.
  3. Program coordinator: responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the nature-based school program.
  4. Outreach coordinator: responsible for promoting the program and building partnerships with community organizations.
  5. Environmental educator: responsible for developing and implementing educational programs that engage students with the natural world.
  6. Maintenance worker: responsible for ensuring the facilities, equipment, and grounds of the nature-based school are well-maintained and safe for use.
  7. Office administrator: responsible for managing administrative tasks such as record-keeping, budgeting, and scheduling.

These are just some of the many roles that may be found in nature-based schools. Some individuals may also specialize in areas such as natural history, science, social studies, music and arts, and use these skills to engage students in nature-based education.