Nature Niños New Mexico, along with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, is proud to announce that the second year of our WONDER-lings Nature & Place-based Early Childhood Education (NPbECE) Certification program is now open for registration! We are working toward a goal that every preschool & elementary school program in New Mexico have a certified Nature Niños Mentor that has completed the WONDER-lings Nature & Place-based program and is able to guide and mentor the other educators in their community to creating a academic space where nature is considered the Third Teacher.
Below are the details for the Fall 2021 cohort of participants; classes will start in August for this cohort. Registration will open again in November 2021 for our Spring 2022 cohort, which will start in January 2022 and follow the same course structure listed below.
The WONDER-lings program aims to assist professionals working with young children in discovering the joy of WONDER in nature together. We will learn how to support Wonder & Observation in Nature, as well as children's Discovery, Exploration & Reflection, using nature as a Third Teacher. Teaching with nature as an ally is proven to increase child health, creativity, problem-solving, and social-emotional growth. Nature Preschools and "Forest Kindergartens" are increasing in popularity across the United States and this is in part because parents, educators, program administrators, and even doctors / health professionals are remembering what has been true for millennia: Young children "naturally" learn best when their interests are honored, when they are given frequent access to nature, and while playing outdoors, year-round, in all weather, with peers and adults who wonder alongside them .
This training program, consisting of one topic module per month for six months, along with a self-selected "Harvest Project" completed under the mentorship of Nature Niños staff (if the certification path is chosen), will prepare the Early Childhood professional to bring nature into existing programs as a Third Teacher, as well as bring children out into nature, both nearby and further afield. The program is co-facilitated by two accomplished educators, with significant contributions shared by other local and national partners who work in the Nature and Place-based Early Childhood Education field.