ChildCare Education Institute Launches CUR139: Incorporating Nature-Based Learning Experiences

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), one of the largest online training providers dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is pleased to introduce its newest course, CUR139: Incorporating Nature-Based Learning Experiences, authored by Dr. Rachel A. Larimore.

Due to many factors, children are spending much less time outdoors, playing and exploring nature. Scientists have repeatedly documented the benefits of nature on both physical and mental health. This course will explore the benefits of spending time in nature. Learners will discover how early childhood educators can structure the day, prepare learning spaces, plan activities, and engage children in nature-based learning experiences.

Early education program leaders worldwide are becoming more enthusiastic and enlightened about the benefits of nature-based programs. According to the Natural Start Alliance, a professional association of nature-based early childhood educators, there are more than 850 nature-based preschools in the United States today. These are programs that self-identify as nature being core to their curriculum.

The great thing about nature is that it is all around us, whether in an urban, suburban, or rural community. Teachers can encourage learning with nature by ensuring children have frequent, positive experiences outside. Further, teachers can build on those experiences throughout the day, including when the group returns indoors.  The key is to find open-ended, developmentally appropriate activities for young children and connect to your place in the world. After all, nature-based education is rooted in play and place.

“Whether your setting is rural or urban, outside often or outside only occasionally, my goal with this course is that you’ll be inspired to connect young children with nature and to provide you tangible ideas to make it happen,” says Dr. Rachel A. Larimore.

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. She has written multiple books including Establishing a Nature-Based Preschool, Preschool Beyond Walls: Blending Early Childhood Education and Nature-Based Learning, and the forthcoming Evaluating Nature: Evaluating Natureness: Measuring the Quality of Nature-based Classrooms in Pre-k Through 3rd Grade. Rachel is the founder and Chief Visionary of Samara Early Learning, an organization focused on helping early childhood educators start nature-based schools or add nature-based approaches into their existing program. Prior to founding Samara, she spent more than a decade starting and directing one of the first nature-based preschools in the United States.

CUR139: Incorporating Nature-Based Learning Experiences is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion.  Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information on these courses, as well as CCEI’s entire catalog of 200+ offerings, click here or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

About ChildCare Education Institute, a StraighterLine Company

ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 200+ English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition approved training partner, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and as an IACET Accredited Provider, offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. Visit for more information.