Certificate in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education

Make nature your classroom.


Program Overview

The Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Certificate Program at Antioch University New England trains teachers, administrators, and founders of nature preschools and forest kindergartens. The forest kindergarten movement has been thriving in Europe for the last three decades and has recently taken root in the United States. Simultaneously, there has been a growing number of nature preschools in the United States. Both nature preschools and forest kindergartens have a uniquely different approach to curriculum than conventional indoor early childhood programs. The objective of the program is to make the courses as practical as possible. Therefore, the goal for each course will be to have each student generate a product that is tangibly useful in their work situation. This will include program brochures, policy development, business plans, curriculum documentation materials a la Reggio, grant proposals, and parent newsletters. Program faculty will provide assistance in content and tone so that founders of new programs can be supported in developing materials to launch their programs. This certificate is offered by AU New England.

Degree Requirements

Program Length

This is a teacher/administrator professional development option for current early childhood education professionals. The program takes 13 months and starts in the summer; courses are offered as continuing education credits or graduate school credits. Students are required to take 6 to 8 courses, and if the program is taken for credit, these courses will bear in the range of 12-15 credits. Participants who take these courses for credit will be able to transfer these credits into the Experienced Educators Program within five years if they are interested in a master’s degree (MEd).


This is a four-semester program. The program enrolls in the Summer or Spring term, with selected face-to-face weekend classes in Keene, NH, and required intensive face-to-face classes in Keene in July. Some elective classes are available online. Students take between 3 and 6 credits per term.

Take a look at the catalog for a full list of requirements and courses.

Looking for more than a certificate? Consider an MEd in Nature-Based Early Childhood Education.

Learning Outcomes

The goals of this certificate program are:

  • To provide training and professional development for teachers who wish to teach in nature preschools and forest kindergartens.
  • To provide training and professional development for entrepreneurs and administrators who wish to create and administer nature preschools and forest kindergartens.
  • To provide training and professional development for early childhood education professionals who would like to incorporate more nature/outdoors programming in their existing early childhood programs.
  • To create a network of nature preschools and forest kindergartens in New England to support visitation and support.
  • To create resources, (i.e. a website, policy books, parent education material) which support the development and evolution of these programs.
  • To create living examples, documentation, and research


Education Programs at Antioch University New England value colleagueship and strong learning communities. We offer a 10% discount for 3 or more students from the same school or school district who attend any of our AUNE Education MEd or Certificate programs at the same time. Specific limitations and conditions apply. You can find more information here.

How to Apply
  1. Complete the Online Application Form.
  2. Write and submit an Admissions Essay in a 1 – 2-page Word document answering each of the following questions in meaningful detail:
    • Why did you choose Antioch?
    • Why did you choose the program you are applying to?
    • What are your future plans, and how do you connect this program to your plans?
  3. Resume
  4. There are additional requirements for International applicants and applicants without a Bachelor’s degree.
  5. Request transcripts from all colleges and universities you have previously attended. Official transcripts must be sent directly to Antioch University New England in an unopened sealed envelope. We also accept e-transcripts at [email protected]. Please Note: You may submit unofficial transcripts for initial review of your application, but your application will not be considered complete until official transcripts are received.

Please submit all materials to: Antioch University New England Admissions Office 40 Avon Street Keene, NH 03431 All application materials submitted become part of an applicant’s file and cannot be returned.

Application Deadlines
SummerMay 1
FallAugust 1
SpringDecember 1
Application Requirements

Candidates Must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA.
  • Interview with a faculty member of the department to which you seek entry if selected. This can be in person, by phone, or via Skype.
  • Master’s and Certificate Programs do not require the GRE or any other standardized test for admissions. We consider all of your application materials, and evaluate your academic potential in a variety of ways.


Tuition & Financial Aid

A college education is an investment in your future.  Let us help you understand the costs and explore the resources available to help make your college education even more affordable. The majority of AUNE students finance their education through some form of financial aid. You may not be sure which federal, state, public, and private aid packages – such as loans, scholarships, and grants – are right for you. Our staff is here to help you, so you can focus on what’s most important: beginning your academic program at AUNE.


Foundations of Education (Experienced Educators) CertificatesTuition Cost per CreditTotal Program Credits
Problem Based Learning / Critical Skills Certificate $81615
Educating for Sustainability Certificate $81612
Place-based Education Certificate $81612
Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Certificate $81612
Mindfulness for Educators Graduate Certificate$8169
Integrated STEAM Education Certificate $81615
Certificate in Teaching and Learning$81615
Certificate in Dyslexia Studies $81618
Certificate in Reggio Emilia Approach $81618
Certificate in Trauma Informed Education$81618
View the Cost of Attendance Components
Tuition & Fees Financial Aid

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