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Where: University of California, Santa Cruz
When: 14-16 July 2016
Who:  Anyone who believes that children have a right to learn with nature
Register: 2016 CLN Registration Now Open

The Children Learning with Nature Institute is an amazing teacher training program that is based on the simple premise that just as children learn best by doing, rather than being shown or told abstractly what to do, adults do as well. The CLN Institute is quite different because more than half of the program is held outdoors, and much of the program is in small group experiential workshops.

The Institute is three full days, it’s intense and it will provide an unforgettable experience.  Come prepared to get your hands dirty, to play hard and to learn many invaluable skills for working with children. More than 93% of our participants rate the CLN Institute as “Excellent” or “Best Conference Ever” so you know it has to be great.

The skills you will learn are immediately applicable to your work with young children and because you have had an opportunity to experience these activities for yourself you’ll have more confidence and understanding in your work with children. We provide you will a myriad of tools for bringing a rich nature experience into children’s lives. The activities you experience at CLN are relevant whether your center or school is in a urban setting, the suburbs, or out in a forest.

Workshop topics include: Mud Kitchens; Water Explorations; Fire; Cooking with Children; Ephemeral Art; Infants and Toddlers in Nature; Plant Dyes; Small Worlds & Fairies; Music; Managing Risk in Nature; Designing with Nature; Den Building, and more.

Our team of workshop leaders come from around the world.  These are the “best of the best” and they are passionate about working with children. Most of the presentation team is with us for the entire institute so you get a chance to mingle and get to know them, and the other participants over three days. We keep the Institute small by design, limited to no more than 160 participants. Most of the outdoor workshops have only 20-25 attendees so the learning experience is personal and powerful.

The site of the CLN Institute is truly inspiring.  The UC Santa Cruz campus is beautiful sitting up on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Most of the Outdoor Workshops take place at the Arboretum on campus which has a wonderful mix of environments from forest to desert. This year in addition to the Arboretum we will have workshops down on the beach at Natural Bridges State Park and at the UC Living Lab which offers a garden based program in agriculture and sustainable ecology for children, parents & teachers. In the afternoons we use the facilities at Porter College for indoor and outdoor workshops. Our accommodations are apartments on campus at College 8 which lies between the Arboretum, Porter College and the Living Lab.

Register today and then come join us this summer for an extraordinary experience in Santa Cruz that you will never forget.


Program overview

The Children Learning with Nature Institute is three full days of educational insight and discovery.  At CLN we provide a foundation in working with nature through experiential workshops.  All workshops sessions are 90 minutes long with some topics being a double workshop program of three hours.

Each day after breakfast at College 8 we will spend the morning in two sessions of outdoor experiential workshops down at the Arboretum, and one other site which varies each day (Natural Bridges State Park and the UCSC Living Lab).

After lunch at College 8 we head over to Porter College for two or three afternoon indoor and outdoor workshops plus a keynote presentation. Our keynote speakers this year are: Claire Warden, Rachel Larimore and Paul Roberts

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