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Come one, Come all! We need you!

It’s been two years since ONbECE has formalized into a leadership team and, as we laid out in our initial organization, that means it’s time to welcome new people to the group!

Join the ONbECE Leadership Team!!!!

If you are passionate about promoting nature-based learning in the field of early childhood education and share the vision to build a sustainable network of relationships among professionals who share the belief that children thrive in the outdoors with authentic play experiences, then this is the opportunity you’ve been looking for! Our team meets every other month by Zoom at a time designated by participants and shares its work on a blog and the Facebook group. We also participate in partnership with Natural Start, Inside Outside, EECO, and the No Child Left Inside initiatives.

Leaders typically serve 2 year terms, meet every other month, and agree to community agreements.

Please email with: your name, role in NbECE, and something about yourself. Interested parties will be invited to the July zoom meeting to find out more.

Congrats to the NE Ohio folks for a wonderful meetup in April!

Fireside Circle for Nature-Based Educators & Pals

Hosted by Ohio Naturally June 23rd at Brukner Nature Center in Troy. Please register here!

NAEYC/DAP issues in Alabama

There is a new NAEYC/DAP issues in Alabama that warrants your attention. Developmentally Appropriate Practice, defined here, supports all kinds of families and has been targeted as too “Woke” by the Alabama governor. We copy here, Nature-Based leader Rachel Larimore’s email to her Samara Early Learning audience. Should you feel so moved, there is a call to action included.

On April 21, 2023 “Alabama Governor Kay Ivey forced Secretary of Early Childhood Education Dr. Barbara Cooper to resign over the use of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)’s book Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), 4th edition. A book which is foundational to our work in early childhood education!

The Alabama Reflector reported that the Governor’s office “received a complaint about the book teaching white privilege, structural racism and messaging promoting ‘equality, dignity and worth’ around LGBTQIA+ identities.” (Here is another report from the PBS News Hour.)

Thankfully, NAEYC responded to the events in Alabama with a statement including:

"DAP reinforces the power of relationships and underscores that every child has the right to equitable learning opportunities – in centers, family child care homes, or schools – that fully support their optimal development and learning across all domains and content areas."

I encourage you to share your support for DAP and young children by adding your name to the statement. NAEYC is accepting both individual and organizational support.”

Congrats to the NE Ohio folks for a wonderful meetup in April!

Save the Date

Ohio Voices for Learning: A Reggio Inspired Forum Fall Inspired Teachers' Institute: Working with children in our current complex context

Date: September 23, 2023

Location: Stingley Elementary, 95 Linden Dr., Centerville OH, 45459

Keynote speakers: Katie Thornton and Justin Moorman

Keynote title: The Road Back to Reggio: How Trauma Informed Care Leads Us Back to the Foundational Principles of Reggio Emilia in Response to Current Educational Culture

Arlitt Professional Educator Learning Series

STEM in the PlayScape Learning Modules. CEU credits: free, for Ohio Approved Hours contact Rachel Konerman (

Congrats to the NE Ohio folks for a wonderful meetup in April!

Summer annual meeting for all members that will be on Zoom!

Keep an eye out for an announcement, we are finalizing dates now

Accomplishments, Operations, and Goals

As the Ohio Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Collaborative shifts into a time of welcoming new members to the leadership team, we analyzed our original brainstormed list of work from YOU, our members. We are proud of our accomplishments and newly operationalized tasks and look forward to working with new folks on our future goals!

Accomplishments 2021-2023

  • Established Mission, Vision, and organizing norms for the group, matriarchal structure

  • Formalized operations and roles for the leadership team.

  • Gained clarity about what the group is and is not.

  • Have a national presence in conversations and movements

  • Support meetups and networking opportunities including one annual zoom meeting.

Moved into Operations

  • Sharing the workload across people

  • Elevating priorities and voices of practitioners

  • Create and Share professional development opportunities with our members

  • collective voice of nature-based ECE to promote, support and lead in areas of increasing access to safe places to learn in/with natural spaces and materials

  • Every other month newsletter/blog

Future Goals

  • Work to adopt a definition to define our field. Think about whether we host groups like camps or services, vendors, etc.

  • Legitimize to stakeholders around the state the quality and JOY in NbECE (OAEYC, ODJFS, ODE).

  • Increase the capacity of nature-based education.

  • Support capacity building in NbECE programs that accept children who qualify for publicly funded childcare

  • child-led in all settings.

  • Increase access to nature, even if not nature immersed (ex increasing bringing nature in to the classroom, field trips to nature)

  • connections with Ohio Department of Health, metro parks, and Soil Water Conservation Districts, and Friends of Old Woman Creek State NERR, NB Teacher training and certification at EHOVE (CTC) and Firelands BGSU, college pre-service teachers.(supporting NB programs in hosting student teachers) , CDA programs

  • Identifying and executing ways to diversify our workforce.

  • Advocate for Increased wages in NbECE to align with other public institutions.

Job Announcements

Do you have any job openings to announce? We have a few inquiries every month and get traffic on this page. If you would like to share, please email us at!

Congrats to the NE Ohio folks for a wonderful meetup in April!

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Programs in NE Ohio are looking to do a meet up this spring, keep an eye out for a facebook poll for NE meet up

Do you blog? We would love to feature member blogs on our website. If you would like to share, please email us at!

Can you believe it is time to start thinking about the Natural Start 2023 conference?

The plan is to now alternate online format with face to face format. A call for proposals has been issued, find out more here!

A question has come up both in our leadership team meetings and on the Facebook group recently regarding help with licensing questions. There is an agency meant to help you! Your local Resource and Referral Agencies are a great resource for troubleshooting, professional development and coaching. Find a listing here!

Working with young children is not only a calling for many here, but it is also a business in our mixed method delivery system. Team members highly recommend using SCORE or attending local business building measures such as this one in the Dayton region. Launch Dayton

On January 31st, Exchange Press is hosting an event with Rukia Rogers called Our Beloved Community: Supporting Children's Compassion, Kinship, and Activism. Here's the link for that:

And, for anyone interested in advocating for children, families, and the field of ECE, check out the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Public Policy Forum. There is a face to face event in Washington DC, and a virtual event that will be less expensive and more schedule friendly:

Deadline to register is January 24th

Here are some other great resources that came up during our discussions:

As your organizations are beginning enrollment and looking at staffing next year, please let us know if you would like to post openings. Our google analytics show that people are looking at those pages! To get something posted, email us at!

We are beginning to think about our next cycle of leadership, more information how to get involved will be coming out in May/summer.

Wishing you warm toasty fingers and toes this winter season. Keep changing lives!

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Here are our "tidbits" from our last leadership meeting:

Meredith Florkey, from Ohio Naturally LLC shared a land acknowledgment and invites others to engage with this work using the Land Acknowledgement Resources found with the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition.


She also shares this blog from a white Ohioan's perspective.

We are finding more and more central Ohio folks! Woot! ONbECE is looking for someone to organize in central/Columbus region. Is this you? Please email if you are interested in organizing an annual meet up based on your availability and generally encouraging dialogue in your region.

SW and NE meetups benign planned for 2023…stay tuned!

Recommended book:

Extra thanks to Sheila for timely postings in FB group for trainings, etc …be sure to check them out!

We want to hear from you! Tell us:

  1. What are your favorite things about teaching outdoors in Ohio Winter?

  2. What are your biggest challenges?

  3. Do you have a favorite process based art experience that you have been engaging in or will when you return to school?

  4. Do you have a favorite winter photo of your program, permissions secured, that we can share with our members?

A big year end gratitude to all of our members "old" and new who continue to engage with out community. Here's to a fantastic 2023!

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