The Natural Learning Initiative will soon be helping to design a training program and early childhood nature play curriculum for use by education professionals at museums, zoos, aquariums, and nature centers, thanks to a grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Leading the grant is the Chicago Zoological Society, which will work in partnership with NLI, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Chicago Wilderness to complete the project, which includes developing a corps of early childhood nature play professionals across the country.
The grant will support pilot training programs and an online distance learning and peer support network. A minimum of 50 practitioners will complete the pilot trainings during the project period and, upon completion, these individuals will then provide training to 500 educators in their own organizations. The total grant award is for $198,000.
The Natural Learning Initiative is part of the Laboratory for the Design of Healthy and Sustainable Communities, the research and outreach arm of the NC State University College of Design.