Friday, 30 August 2013

Our Third Annual OPEN Conference

Open the Door to a Greener Space Conference

Saturday October 19th, 2013

9:00 - 4:00
Registration Fee $85
At Horticulture Centre of the Pacific
In partnership with:


9:00–10:00 – Registration & a chance to wander the gardens

10:00 - Meet at Registration desk

10:15–11:45 – Morning Experiences

12:15–1:30 – Lunch

1:30–4:00 - Keynote
Keynote Address

Cam Collyer --- Making places for caring kids: the connection between spaces,

program and child development.

Cam is a Program Director at Evergreen, a Canadian charity connecting people and nature

in cities. He oversees Evergreen's national suite of programs that connect children and

nature. Cam is a regular presenter at conferences, universities, and in the media on

topics of school ground greening and environmental education.
Conference Venue

Our conference this year is located on the beautiful grounds of the Horticulture Centre
of the Pacific, 505 Quayle Road, Victoria. We encourage you to visit for a

detailed map and for additional information.


There is parking available on the grounds. Bus route to the HCP is #8, 21 & 29.

Your outdoor experience will be outside rain or shine. Please ensure you bring weather

appropriate clothing / footwear, a water bottle and your morning refreshment.

It will be a buffet style hot vegetarian lunch catered by Nourish. We would encourage

participants to bring a water bottle and snack for the whole morning. Coffee, tea and

dessert will be served at lunch.
There will be many wonderful door prizes for you to enjoy!

Outdoor Experiences

Each participant will register for one morning experience. Please list your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

and 5th choices on the registration form.

Workshops will be on a first come first served basis.
1. What are the key ingredients for nurturing positive learning experiences in the

outdoors? --- Cam Collyer our keynote speaker, will draw on best practices in outdoor

learning as well as share a wealth of case studies from early childhood settings from

around the world.
2. Creative storytelling in nature --- Join Bridgitte Alomes and enter into an

enchanting world of storytelling outdoors and with items from nature. Experience the

magic, the wisdom, and healing of storytelling in the wonders of the outdoor natural

3. How students – of all ages – can be Taught, Encouraged and Empowered to grow

their very own Health-Friendly Organic Food --- Dave Friend aka Mr.Organic will

lead us through an interactive presentation and group discussion. This will be followed by

some hands-on tasks which will demonstrate how easy it is to grow food.
4. Historical and Traditional Threads --- Charlene George is from T’Sou-ke, a

community that bridges the Coast Salish and Nuu-Cha-Nulth territories. Charlene works

primarily in textiles. As a child, Charlene was lucky to spend time with Grandparents

learning culture, history and stories. These are the threads that she artfully weaves

through her life and teaching.
5. The Children - Plant Connection --- Paul Allison Gardening is a great way for

children to learn new skills and have fun. Gardening provides different forms of

engagement for children, including designing, planting, and tending their own plants;

harvesting, preparing, and sharing food; working cooperatively in groups; learning about

science and nutrition; and creating art and stories inspired by gardens. Paul will show you

how to connect children with plants give examples of gardening projects suitable for any

Mini Market Place

Natural Pod

After your morning spent in the great outdoors and hearing the latest research on

outdoor play, spend sometime within Natural Pod's inviting classroom experience. Now in
its 8th year of business, Natural Pod is Vancouver Island owned and operated, FSC

certified, and singularly commited to design and manufacture of toys and play

environments that support creative and imaginative open-ended play. In the past 3 years,

Natural Pod has served over 15,000 children in over 600 schools and daycare settings

across Canada and the world.

Within this natural space explore the open-endedness of an unencumbered learning

pallet. Reawaken your intuition to teach through space and invitation and watch the

children thrive. Bridgitte and Allan Alomes, co-creators and innovators in the world of

inspiring free play, will be on site for brainstorming and discussion.

As well as setting up an indoor environment, Natural Pod will have some items to

Check out their website at

Cedar Tree Children's Outfitter

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” In our wet coastal climate great

gear for kids is a necessity. Cedar Tree Children's Outfitter carries excellent quality

rain suits, rain pants and jackets, as well as, waders made just for kids! Julie Sweetnam

will be representing Oakiwear and has been using their gear for years with the children

in her preschool program on Salt Spring Island. The suits that will be available at the

conference are 100% waterproof and breathable, PVC free, and come with a 1 year

warranty. Lots of colours to choose from and sizes for children 1 to 7 years of age.

Let's go outside!
Email –

“Ask Your Teacher to Take You Outside” T-Shirts (Colin Harris)

Check out the website at

Registration Form



Phone:_______________Work Phone:______________Cell Phone:_______________


Centre or Organization:

1st choice: __________________________________

2nd choice: __________________________________

3rd choice: __________________________________

4th choice: __________________________________

5th choice: __________________________________

Registration Fee: $85.00

Please make payment payable to ECEBC Victoria Branch

Please mail your Registration to:

Stomping in the Mud

4244 Eastridge Cres

Victoria, V8Z 6B6

For questions and enquiries please email :

Spaces are limited and Registration will be on a first come first served basis.

Victoria Branch ECEBC membership forms will be available at conference.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Our Second Annual Conference

We are so excited to announce our Second Annual OPEN Conference. Last year's conference inspired people to think more deeply about their outdoor spaces and encouraged them to allow for some risk taking. This year's conference aims to give participants some practical and inexpensive ideas on how to incorporate nature play easily into their programs. 

Open the Door to Possibility Conference

8:30-9:00 ~Registration
9:00 - 12:00 ~ Outdoor Workshops
12:00 – 1:30 ~ Lunch
1:30 – 3:30 ~ Keynote Address: Ken Finch
3:30 – 4:00 ~ Questions and Discussion
Outdoor Experiences
From 9:00 to 12:00 we will have three outdoor experiences for participants.
1. Nature Kindergarten ~ a walk in the woods with naturalists through the woods of the nature kindergarten.

2. Land Art ~ Dr. Enid Elliot and Danielle Davis facilitate an experience in art and environment. What does art look outside the walls of our classrooms? Does art need to be permanent? What can we learn from artists like Robert Smithson and Andy Goldsworthy? We will explore these questions and the medium of using natural landscapes to create artistic and environmental statements.
3. Finding Nature Play Right Where We Are! ~Join Ken Finch, of Green Hearts INC, to explore our outdoor surroundings in search of great nature play opportunities that may be right in front of our noses, but too easy to overlook! Teams of participants will engage in a scavenger hunt to find good nature play features, and then share and discuss them with the other teams. 

Keynote Address

Restoring the Nature of Childhood
Presented by Ken Finch of Green Hearts Inc. of Omaha Nebraska
Throughout history, human children have grown up with nature as a favorite and powerful play partner but today that connection is vanishing amidst an onslaught of parental fears, over-scheduled childhoods, urbanization, and the addictive allure of plugged-in play. Using research data, anecdotes, discussion, and thematic cartoons, Ken Finch will discuss the diverse and significant impacts of nature-based play on holistic child development, as well as how nature play lays the foundation for life-long bonds with nature.
In this presentation we'll also consider whether good nature play requires acres of wild land right outside your classroom, or if can it be done in just a small, fenced playground. Finch will share slides of practical, inexpensive, and successful approaches to nature play that have been used in a
variety of early childhood settings. Participants will be asked to share their own ideas, barriers, and opportunities about nature play, and to begin formulating new plans for their own programs.

Ken Finch is the founder and president of Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood, a non-profit conservation organization focused on restoring the bonds between children and nature. Green Hearts teaches, speaks, writes, and consults about the power of nature-based play and how it can be restored to childhood. Green Hearts works extensively with both the environmental education and early childhood education professions, and promotes the synergy between them. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, Green Hearts works across the U.S. and internationally.
Ken has worked in environmental education for 38 years, and holds a Master's degree in that field. He has led two of the United States' largest nature centers, worked as a senior manager in two children's museums, and served as the Minnesota State Director for the National Audubon Society. His extensive volunteer experience includes service on many non-profit boards and advisory committees, as well as a term as the national President of the Association of Nature Center Administrators.

To get your own registration package click the link below.
Registration Package