Natural Learning Initiative Design Institute, Raleigh NC 10/21-22/2015

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NLI-Design-Institute13th Annual Design Institute: The Whole Child in Nature

Designing and programming children’s outdoor environments for play, learning, and well-being. Join us and see how naturalized outdoor environments offer children opportunities to engage with the natural world (plants, animals, rocks, air, water, weather phenomena) through self-motivated free play and learning experiences.


NLI welcomes Ruth Wilson to the Design Institute this year for her presentation “Engaging the Whole Child in the Natural World”. Read her recent article Commons are for Kids!“. Dr Wilson is an educational consultant and curriculum writer. She holds a PhD in early childhood and elementary education and masters degree in special education, with an expertise in early childhood environmental education.

Topics and Speakers

  • Risk Literacy: A Holistic Approach to Risk Management
    Allen Cooper, MPP, JD, Director of State and Local Education Advocacy, National Wildlife Federation
  • Outdoor Environments for the Whole Child
    Nilda Cosco
    , PhD, Director of Programs, Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University
  • Nature Play and Physical Expression
    Lorie Barnes, 
    Executive Director, NC Association for the Education of Young Children (NCaeyc)
  • Go Digital and Get Outdoors with WGBH and PBS Kids’ Plum Landing!
    Jennifer Cutraro, Editorial Project Director, Science Education, WGBH TV Boston
  • Science Learning in the Outdoors
    Catherine Eberbach, Program Director, National Science Foundation, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings
  • Executive Function and the Environment
    Marcy Guddemi, PhD, MBA, President and CEO, Gesell Institute of Child Development, Yale University
  • The Whole Child in Nature: Do I Need to Teach That?
    Ronda Hawkins, 
    Professor and Program Coordinator, Early Childhood Education, Sandhills Community College
  • Early Childhood Environmental Education Programs: Guidelines for Excellence
    Christy Merrick, Director, Natural Alliance, A Project of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)
  • Learning to be a Planetary Lifeguard
    Robin Moore
    , MCP, Hon ASLA, Director, Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, NC State University
  • Nature = Nurture: The Relationship Between Natural Spaces and Children’s Mental Health
    Deborah Mugno
    , Ed D., Director of Education and Operations, Lucy Daniels Center
  • Engaging the Whole Child in the Natural World
    Ruth Wilson
    , PhD, Consultant and Author, Early Childhood Environmental Education and Curriculum

The deadline to reserve accommodations at the group rate is September 29.

To learn more details about the 13th Annual Design Institute, visit the NLI website.