April 4, 2017

Unity College Center for the Performing Arts to Host “Why Kids Need Mud Puddles” Place-Based Nature Education Forum

Why Kids Need Mud Puddles

The Dirt on Place-Based Nature Education Sprouts program and panel to explain the Forest Preschool Movement

UNITY, Maine —  The Unity College Center for the Performing Arts will host a forum on place based nature education with panelists from Unity College and the Broadreach program “Sprouts”.

The forum, “Why Kids Need Mud Puddles,” will provide parents, educators, college students and community members with a deeper understanding of the Forest Preschool Movement. Guests will learn about the Movement’s goals, practices and therapeutic applications. This model is currently used in Unity for children of all abilities including those with special needs, and guests will have an opportunity to see examples of the model as it is currently practiced, and offer suggestions about how the program could be modified to serve a wider audience.

Deb Hensley, Director of the Early Childhood Program at Broadreach, will serve as the monitor of the forum. Hensley says, “We are interested in having conversations that matter about the value of providing a preschool model that restores children’s right to play outside,  gives them regular access to and interaction with the natural world, and how such a model benefits children’s physical, social emotional and creative development.”

Panelists will speak briefly about their involvement in the program and respond to questions from the monitor and the audience, who are welcome to contribute their ideas to the discussion.

Child care will not be provided at this event, so while parents are welcome to come with children, children should remain with parents throughout the evening.

The forum begins at 6 p.m., Monday, April 24th. This forum is free to attend. For more, visit the Unity College Center for Performing Arts website.

Please RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/o6Oi5G2ORBTVioBG2


About the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts

Built from a 100-year-old barn with attached farmhouse, the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts (UCCPA), is a vibrant cultural and arts center that offers an eclectic mix of music, films, art, lectures, and more. Since opening in 2000, the UCCPA has seen many events including world-renowned musicians, award winning speakers, and memorable community gatherings. The UCCPA is also home to the Leonard R. Craig Gallery featuring up-and-coming as well as renowned artists throughout the year.

February 18, 2016

Broadreach co-sponsors Fostering Reading Readiness Through Place-Based Nature Education Training

Nature to Nurture Program on February 26

Susan Bennett Armistead
Dr. Susan Bennett-Armistead


Broadreach Family & Community Services has been diligently working to move its Early Childhood Education model to incorporate nature-based programs in its classrooms in Waldo County. A recent grant from the Davis Family Foundation is allowing the organization to bring an exciting program, “Where Nature Meets Nurture…Fostering Reading Readiness Through Place-Based Nature Education” to Belfast on Friday, February 26th from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm with featured speaker Susan Bennet-Armistead. Ms. Bennett-Armistead is an Assistant Professor of Early Literacy and holds the Correll Professorship in Early Literacy at the University of Maine.

The program is co-sponsored by the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, also the location for the session which is open to the public. The cost is $39 per person and includes lunch. The program offers five training contact hours for education professionals.

The Davis Family Foundation grant is designed to provide a series of rigorous professional development opportunities to early childhood educators. It will give teachers a deeper understanding of the rationale, methods and therapeutic value of implementing nature-based programs for children of all abilities. It is intended to help educators locate and carry early language and literacy learning experiences into natural settings.

Deb Hensley, Director of Broadreach’s Early Childhood Education Services shared, “We are excited to be able to open this program to the community and to our colleagues in other schools and programs. With the success of last summer’s Unity Sprouts summer program; we have been moving forward with our place based nature programming. Literacy, language skills, numeracy, science, general developmental and social skills have all been successfully provided in an outdoor setting for young children of diverse abilities.”

Susan Bennett-Armistead, the speaker for this event, will be drawing on her twenty years as a preschool teacher, parent educator, program administrator, and her doctorate with an emphasis in early literacy. She speaks nationally to educators and parent groups on the role families can play in their children’s early literacy learning. For more information, please contact The Hutchinson Center at 338-8034.