young child playing in the mud

In Mud: Nature-based Early Childhood Education

Get inspired to work with children in our natural environments through this in-person workshop!

In Mud: Nature-Based Early Childhood Workshop

Date: Saturday, May 6, 2023

Time: 8:45 am-3:30 pm MST STARS credit for 6.5 hours

Fee: $100 for the day

There is an option to stay overnight at TSS on Friday, May 5, 2023. For those who stay on Friday evening, lodging and breakfast the following morning will be an additional $125.

Format: In-person based at Teton Science Schools’ Jackson Campus

Description: Spring in the Tetons begins with mud! Join us for our fifth annual In Mud Workshop. We are looking forward to exploring the dirt together back in person! Following a welcome and keynote address, participants can explore either of our two campuses (Jackson, WY or Victor, ID) to learn more about growing food and connecting children to their natural surroundings!

For participants traveling to the Jackson area, lodging is available on Friday, April 22 with breakfast included on Saturday at the TSS Jackson Campus for an additional $150. 

Recommended for Early Childhood Educators: preschool through lower elementary school.

Carla Beebe Comey’s Keynote: We ARE the Salamander: Connecting to the Natural World Through Imagination, Story, and Movement

When we take our approach to teach directly from the young child, we find the world
filled with clues that imagination, story, and movement are the gateways through which
true understanding arises. How then, do we inspire understanding through the story, spark
the imagination as a teaching tool, and cultivate learning through movement? And is it
possible to bring all three of these approaches into one lesson? Yes! Carla will share
practical examples from her 30 years of leading movement journeys with young

Carla is currently a faculty member of the Education Department of Antioch University
New England where she teaches in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education and
Waldorf programs, and is the Director of Waldorf Teacher Education. Prior to joining
AUNE in 2016, she spent over 25 years teaching a wide variety of subjects, including
movement and outdoor education, in PK-8th grade, primarily in Waldorf schools. She
has developed a particular love for the movement and storytelling work, and has
continued to lead movement journeys with children, and teach others how to create
them, throughout her career.

In her workshop, Carla will lead participants on various movement journeys. She
will then share guidelines for their creation developed over thirty years of teaching.
Participants will leave the workshop with practical examples and a framework for
creating journeys for their own classrooms.


Facilitator Workshop Title Description
Lulu Orne Playing with Fire: ‘Fire Play’ What support, experiences, expectations, boundaries, and scaffolding do children need in order to ‘play with fire’? What do we, as educators, need to authentically say ‘yes’ to fire play? What are the benefits of fire play for children?

Play with fire as we discuss our own risk tolerances around fire and children. We will brainstorm ways to support ourselves and our children in ‘fire play’ as we experiment with burning different materials, creating art with fire, and maybe even dancing with fire smoke!

‘Animal skin gloves’ (leather work gloves, kincos, etc.) are encouraged, though we will have a few extra! Non-meltable top layers are encouraged as well (cotton, wool, canvas), though we will have a few extras to wear over any plastic-based top layers.

Carla Comey Storytelling and Movement In her workshop, Carla will lead us through the process of creating movement journeys. This developmentally appropriate method can be adapted to a variety of situations, such as introducing the natural world or teaching a skill. You will leave with the tools to create a movement journey unique to the goals you have in mind for your lessons.
Paige Fisher The Power of children moving their bodies in the natural world: risk-taking How can we provide healthy risk-taking in the outdoors for children? In this workshop, we will discuss and model what healthy risk-taking looks like for children and the steps needed to create an environment where both children and teachers feel good about the decisions being made. We will also make connections to the importance of how this influences their movement through a natural landscape and discuss how observation and documentation can be used as tools to deepen our knowledge of the stories children are telling and creating while spending time outside.  
Elise Pierce Storytelling for resilience, routine, and connection in the outdoors How can we use storytelling to support children in building routine, resilience, and connection in the outdoors? Practice and experience strategies for supporting and building a connection to the outdoors through a story. Learn strategies to support children in building their own routines and resilience through their storytelling, imagination, and memory.  
Katie O’Connell Projects through Play: How play is a crucial part of student-led project work in Kindergarten and First Grade In her workshop, Katie will discuss how project work can be chosen and guided by student interest. She will lead participants through a reflection of what play we see our students engaged in and how that play can turn into continued learning opportunities through a meaningful project. 

Register for the courseBook Lodging