Skip to main content
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

In Bloom in Maine: Promising Practices in Nature-based Early Childhood Education

April 27, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT

Student with magnifying glass

Antioch University New England hosts three In Bloom east coast conferences this spring:

  • In Bloom in Vermont (Brattleboro, VT) – Saturday, March 23, 2019
  • In Bloom in Maine (Kittery, ME) – Saturday, April 27, 2019
  • In Bloom in Western Mass (Amherst Massachusetts) – June 8, 2019

We are co-sponsoring a similar conference in partnership with the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming:

  • In Mud in Wyoming (Jackson, Wyoming) – April 27, 2019

In Bloom In Maine

Morning Keynote:

Nancy Striniste, Landscape Designer and Early Childhood Educator Director of EarlySpace, Washington, DC

Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World

Nature play can awaken children’s senses, challenge their bodies, inspire their imaginations and build self-confidence. In order to grow up healthy and happy, children need abundant, unstructured time to play and explore in the natural world, but we know that today’s children rarely have the opportunity to roam free outdoors. Bringing nature to the places where children spend their time is an answer.

Well-designed nature play spaces are inviting and endlessly engaging for children AND good for the planet. With rich, inspiring images from around the world, Nancy explains why and how to bring the beauty, adventure, and sustainability of nature play to backyards, schoolyards, churchyards, neighborhood parks, early childhood settings, and more.

Nancy Striniste

Nancy Striniste, founder and principal designer at EarlySpace, LLC, has a unique background as both a landscape designer and an early childhood educator. She has worked since the mid-80’s with schools, childcare centers, municipalities and organizations to create sustainably designed natural play and learning spaces.

Ms. Striniste is the author of Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children to the Natural World. She is faculty at Antioch University New England in their Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate program, serves on the Maryland Partnership for Children and Nature’s Nature Play Workgroup, and on the Leadership Team of NoVA Outside.

Morning Workshop:

The Pedagogy of Silence
Brandi Cartwright, Co-founder, Raintree School, St. Louis, MO

An Emergent Curriculum For All Seasons
Dawn Jenkins, Director, Eyes of the World Discovery Center, Kittery, ME

Rhythms in the Woods 
Judy Nielsen, Professional drummer, Tai Chi master, Whitefield, ME
Fletcher Boote, Sound artist, Yoga teacher, Educator, Alna, ME

Raising Readers and Writers Outdoors? No problem!
Anne Stires, Founder and Director, Juniper Hill School for Place-based Education, Alna, ME
Faculty, Antioch University New England

Promoting Social and Emotional Intelligence through Forest School
Jessica Labbe, Director, Eyes of the World Discovery Center, Kittery, ME

Gonna Get Myself Connected!
Liza Lowe, Director, Wild Roots Nature School, Chesterfield, NH
Adjunct Faculty, Antioch University New England

Afternoon Keynote:

Girls on the Edge of Wildlands

Brandi Cartwright, Director, Raintree School, St. Louis, MO

As girls lead increasingly online lives, their sense of self and the definitions they create to define themselves become more and more embedded with the reactions, response, and critiques from social media.   There is a need for girls to integrate experiences in wildlands with the ways in which they define what it means to be human and what it means to be a girl. In her typical storytelling fashion, Brandi Cartwright explores the lives spent outdoors for girls and the creative, academic, and social-emotional value of wild nature experiences.


Brandi Cartwright

Brandi Cartwright has spent her professional career honing a progressive teaching style and philosophy congruent with her goal of acting as an agent of change in the education system. As a certified teacher, she holds degrees from Northwestern University and St. Thomas University and has taught at the pre-kindergarten, middle school, and secondary education levels. Brandi co-founded Raintree School in 2007 and continues to spread the message of empowerment-based learning approaches and the importance of learning in the wild.

Afternoon Workshop:

Building a Magical Bamboo Bower
Nancy Striniste, Landscape Designer and Early Childhood Educator
Director of EarlySpace, Washington, DC

One Classroom’s Story of Weaving Magic
Robin Huntley and Sarah Schrader, First and Second Grade teachers, Juniper Hill School, Alna, ME

Process Art in Nature for Children and Teachers
Brady Nickerson, Artist and Teacher, Painting with Spirit, Newcastle, ME

A Journey Through Sticky Mud
Faith Masterson and Amanda King, First Grade Teachers, Dondero Elementary, Portsmouth, NH

Montessori Outdoors
Kate Connelly, Director, and Nicole Gallagher, Teacher, Camp Ketcha Montessori Preschool, Scarborough, ME

Wild Play on the Man-Made Playground
Yasmin Azel, Preschool Teacher, Breakwater School, Portland, ME

Registration Information

Workshop sign-ups will be done at the registration check-in on the morning of the conference. Please read the conference brochure in advance to determine your preferred workshops. We will open registration at 8:00 am. Morning beverages and refreshments will be available.


  • Working Professional: $125
  • Group Rate: (per person for 3 or more from the same organization) $100
  • AUNE Alumni and Co-Sponsors: $75
  • AUNE Students: $50


Antioch University New England accepts credit cards and checks as payment. If your school/organization is paying by check, please complete the business section of the registration form for invoicing purposes.


April 27, 2019
9:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT


Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH 03431 United States
+ Google Map
Skip to content