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Learn our Nature-Connected, Creative Teaching Approach!
We are excited for you to discover a whole new world of wonder!
Journey into Nature with us and return ready to guide others to expand their creative perception, and ultimately, deepen their relationship with Nature.
About Strawtown Studio
Strawtown Studio was founded to keep authentic childhood learning alive. Since that time we’ve created thousands of opportunities for children to benefit and thrive intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically through time relating with the natural world in a creative, supportive community. We offer art, and natural and science programs for children and communities. As artists and naturalist educators teaching in outdoor classrooms, we realized it is not enough to take care of the children, we also need to take care of the world in which they live. Community environmental engagement is now a formal aspect of our mission as a place-based, art-based environmental education (AEE) not-for-profit. To read more about our teaching practices, please read this published article, Art is Rooted in Place.
About Strawtown’s Educator Workshop
This workshop will demonstrate the best practices of our nature-connected, art-based, place-based approach to education. Workshop topics include teaching in the local landscape, creative arts, emergent curriculum, outdoor inquiry, personal sense of wonder, expanding naturalist skills, safety routines in the outdoors, and ways to engage your learning community. As children’s learning is influenced by genuine relationships with adults and peers, this workshop will also highlight communication styles, mentorship, design of the experience, and the value of nature-connected and engaged guides. Participants will consider the natural surroundings of their teaching locations to determine how to make the most of learning environments. With the goal of providing participants with ways to guide children to discover their sense of self, sense of place, and sense of purpose, Strawtown staff will cover the following topic areas:
Preparing the Guide and Educator
Hone in on your own nature-connectedness—the guiding force behind inspiring others. This will be done through artful and innovative hands-on learning activities staged for exploration, followed by time for reflective practices and group exchange. Reflect on teaching styles, intentions, and perspectives for seeing and being with Nature, ultimately opening the way for Nature to become our teacher and inform our lessons. While the Strawtown education team demonstrates the innovative education practices of educating the whole child, you will observe the core values of a Strawtown educator: kindness, contribution, and collaboration. Focus will be given on:
- Increasing comfort level in the outdoors
- Tuning in to Nature as teacher
- Strategies for developing place-based, art-based programs
- New perspectives, including seeing the world through an artistic lens
- Designing programs that encourage discovery and questioning
- Working with the program design matrix
Developing Your Education Practice in Nature:
Learn how to set the stage for discovery, and design learning experiences that fully engage students in the natural world. Best practices will be shared on providing an authentic opportunity for children to discover the world and themselves. Focus will be given on:
- Mentoring children, including the components of attentive teaching and dialogue
- Guiding children’s various skills, interests, and discoveries in Nature
- How to set up outdoor classroom and bring Nature into the classroom
- Where to find (free and low cost) content and materials
- Hand crafts and nature art as part of hands-on-exploration of self and the world
- Staging for community programs
- Introduction to the studio “tool kit,” essentials, and more
Awakening to Natural Surroundings and Stewardship:
Learn new approaches to discovery of a local place. Personal connection with the elements, history, and living processes in one’s natural surroundings can be deepened through creating art and craft with the natural materials of the place. Experience shared exploration within a creative community, and learn to establish your own “studio” environments. Learn to see new opportunities for learning, skill building, and program content. Focus will be given on:
- Developing interesting lessons by using associative thinking skills
- Gathering local, regional, global place-based program content
- Using direct experience to teach and speak with greater impact
- Becoming a friend to a place by giving voice to a place
- Inspiring awareness and advocacy through art, education, citizen science, and governmental participation
- Widening your education reach to include families and the community
April 4 & 5: Saturday: 9am-5pm, Sunday: 9am-4pm
Strawtown Studio at Marydell Faith and Life Center is located at the base of Hook Mountain, on the Hudson River. This retreat setting features river, mountain, meadow, and woods. Address: 640 North Midland Ave., Nyack, NY
Founder/Director: Laurie Seeman and
Program Director/Lead Artist/Educator: Joanna Dickey
click for instructor info
We’ll gather from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The program includes time to connect, create, and discover together— in the studio and outdoors. Participants have the option of a one-hour post-workshop call with Director Laurie Seeman to further the application of the method in their work.
A more detailed schedule will be shared closer to the workshop.
What to bring
Comfortable clothes and footwear for indoor and outdoor wear. More details to come.
Who is invited
Our partners in education; those seeking to:
- teach with us at Strawtown or a partner location
- take new ideas back to a workplace
- support Strawtown’s mission through better understanding of our educational method
Rate: $250 per person. Cost includes all materials, instruction, and a one-hour post-workshop consultation.
Please inquire about lodging on site, and at local hotels.