Woodside nature program featured at international conference

Woodside Elementary School’s Timberwolf Trail and outdoor classroom were featured at the World of Wonder, an international nature-based early learning conference held in early August at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.Timberwolf Trail sign to path

Some 50 educators from throughout the country including 11 states and four countries visited Woodside as part of the conference’s Wisconsin Field Trip option. Former Woodside kindergartners led guests around the trail.

Woodside nature kindergarten incorporates the trail, a natural play area and several outdoor learning spaces. It was created in a previously unused parcel of oak savanna, prairie land behind the school building.

Woodside kindergarten teacher Peter Dargatz also presented “Nature-Based, Project-Based, Service-Based…Oh My!” at the conference. He described how cross-curricular integration of nature, projects and service enhances instruction and saves time for what matters most.

The World of Wonder conference was a joint venture between the Natural Start Alliance, International Association of Nature Pedagogy and Northern Illinois Nature Preschools Association. Their mission is to connect early childhood professionals to each other and advocate for high-quality, nature-based early education for all children.