In Mud: Nature-based early childhood education

Spring in the Tetons begins with mud! Come join us for our 7th annual In Mud Workshop

Saturday, May 4th, 2024

8:30 am – 3:30 pm MT

Based on Teton Science Schools’ Teton Valley Campus (192 W Birch Street, Victor, ID 83455)

Price: $110

Spring in the Tetons begins with mud! Come join us for our 7th annual In Mud Workshop. We are excited to welcome Jen Selbitschka, teacher educator program director from Boulder Journeys School, CO as our keynote speaker this year! For In Mud 2024 we will be exploring the concept of using our environment as a third teacher and how when we craft them with intention they take an influential role on a child’s experiences and explorations of the world around them.


Following the morning keynote, participants will have the opportunity to peek into classrooms and then take a journey on our Teton Valley Campus in Victor, ID. Participants will learn more about creating intentional outdoor classrooms, engaging with the natural environment in meaningful ways, using the garden as a third teacher and the importance of intelligent materials through a variety of hands-on and exploratory workshops! Recommended for Early Childhood Educators: preschool through lower elementary school.


Description on keynote “The Environment as an Ecosystem and Third Teacher”

The keynote will support us in challenging our traditional notions of the environment as something that is purely physical and full of things. Instead, we will come to know the environment as a living, breathing organism, an ecosystem, with whom we participate and thrive together. Material within the environment become known as protagonists who play a crucial role in the experiences that unfold within. Along these lines, we will discuss concepts of Intelligent Environments and Intelligent Materials that have the potential to optimize such experiences. We will explore our own beliefs about what we find to be essential in an Intelligent Environment that is intended to embody the role of a teacher and commitments we have to these beliefs to ensure they are a part of our everyday practice with children. Finally, we will apply these ideas to the experience of working in the environment of nature and dismantle colonist ways of being in relationship with nature.

Jen Selbitschka is the Director of the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program, an MA/licensure program in partnership with University Colorado Denver and the Colorado Department of Education. Jen has been a part of the Boulder Journey School community since 1999 where she began as a toddler teacher and then transitioned into the position of Studio Teacher in 2005, working with all ages in the school, infants through kindergarten. She has been a part of the Teacher Education Program team since 2005 and took on the role of director for the program in 2018. In addition to her Director position, she supports the pedagogical work of the classrooms in the school and is Course Lead for four of the graduate courses in the Teacher Education Program as well as the Innovative Early Childhood Education program, a fully online MA program in partnership with University Colorado Denver. Outside of Boulder Journey School, Jen has served on numerous statewide committees and work groups focused on ECE workforce development, and has been a member of the Advisory Council to the Early Childhood Council of Boulder County since 2007. She received her MA in Educational Psychology in 2001 and PhD in Leadership and Innovation, with a focus in ECE, in 2009. She draws heavy inspiration from the work of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and values from the schools are interwoven in every aspect of her work. Outside of work, Jen loves hiking, cooking, snuggling with her dogs, listening to her 11-year old talk about anime, watching British crime drama with her husband, and laughing with friends.