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Professional Development

The Outdoor Learning Association offers cutting edge professional development opportunities for early childhood educators, primary teachers (K-3), and college and university students focused on outdoor learning and early childhood education. We offer 2-hour workshops, 1/2 day workshops as well as one or two-day workshops. Please contact us to book a workshop or guest speaker for your conference,  staff professional development day, or to design a workshop specific to the needs of your learning community. We are based out of Victoria, BC but are happy to travel!

Level 1: Song-Games for Reading & Writing Success!

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1-2 Educators, & Parents


Singing English is a research-based oral literacy program for children of all abilities ages 2-8. Singing English supports recent research emphasizing the importance of orality as a prerequisite to literacy success. 


At this workshop educators will learn:

  • Powerful tools, techniques and easy to implement lessons for using song-games to create a strong foundation for reading and writing success.

  • How to use song-games to create an inclusive learning environment for children of all abilities.

  • How to balance 'teaching' song-games in a child-directed program.

  • No music experience necessary!

  • And yes,  song-games can happen inside or out!


Level 2: Sound to Symbol Methodology & Techniques

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1-2 Educators, & Parents


This training program is designed for participants who have completed Level 1 Training and allows participants to expand upon the song-games they have learned in Level 1 Training to explore how to apply Singing English techniques and the Sound to Symbol Methodology to their literacy and language lessons.


At this workshop educators will learn:

  • A deeper understanding of the connection between song- games and development of literacy skills.

  • Sound to Symbol techniques such as song-maps, tapping & song-dotting.

  • Developmentally appropriate language and literacy activities that are easy to implement both indoors and outdoors.

Nature School 101-Making it Happen

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1-3 Educators, & Parents


Saturday, May 25th, Victoria, BC  REGISTER HERE!

At this workshop educators will learn:

  • The 'must haves' when choosing an outdoor site.

  • No walls? -How does that affect classroom management and safety?

  • Risk Management -Being prepared for the unknown; writing a risk management plan

  • What does the first day of a nature program really look like? What routine works best for your students?

Nature School 101-Part 2

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1-3 Educators, & Parents 

At this workshop educators will learn:

  • How to connect outdoor activities to curriculum expectations.

  • Games and activities that promote routine and outdoor learning.

  • How to assess and document learning in an outdoor classroom.

  • How to help students have ownership over behaviour when in an outdoor classroom.

  • How outdoor classrooms can make a teacher's life easier!

Outdoor Learning in the School Yard!

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1-3 Educators, & Parents 

At this workshop educators will learn:

  • How to engage teachers, parents, and the community in creating more nature play spaces in a school yard.

  • Outdoor learning activities educators can be used in a current school yard, no matter how little nature is currently there!

  • How to include students in the design process for creating more nature play spaces on the school yard.

  • How and what to share with teachers, students, parents, and the community regarding the importance of connecting with and learning in nature.

Taking Literacy Outside -Yes You Can!

Designed for preschool, K, Grade 1-3 Educators & Parents

At this workshop educators will learn:

  • Developmentally appropriate activities such as Singing English song-games that create strong literacy foundations for reading and writing success.

  • Classroom management tips for literacy activities in an outdoor classroom with no walls, chairs or tables.

  • How to extend a child's interest into reading and writing fun!

Nature Play: What is it & how to make it happen!

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1/2 Educators, & Parents


At this workshop educators will learn:

  • Why children need to play outside.

  • How to create opportunities for physical and emotional risk-taking in nature play.

  • Practical strategies for safely taking children outside.

  • Games and activities for using nature play as part of any program.



Risky Play -Where to draw the line!

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1/2 Educators, & Parents


At this workshop, educators will learn will learn:

  • the benefits of taking risks

  • how to assess risk; where to draw the line

  • and how to chose and/or create the ideal natural environment for maximum benefits!

  • Games and activities that help children learn to manage choices during risky play opportunities.

Coyote Mentoring & Forest Fun!

Designed for Preschool, K, Grade 1/2 Educators, & Parents


Jay Roberts, founder of  Tofino Nature Kids and Bonnie Davison, founder of the Victoria Nature School team up to offer a day of inspiring sessions.


At the morning session educators will learn: 

  • An introduction to the Coyote Mentoring approach to Nature Education.

  • How the Coyote "teacher-trickster" inspires a compelling need to know, guiding the passion of the student to his or her own learning.

  • Coyote Mentoring Theory, interwoven with practical applications such as fun games and songs.


At the afternoon session educators will learn:

  • How routine is important even in a child-led program.

  • Songs and activities that help promote routine and safety in a forest or nature session.

  • Songs and activities that promote literacy as well as curiosity for nature.



The following is a list of local and not so local professional development opportunities for educators and outdoor enthusiasts interested in learning more about forest school programs, nature programs, outdoor education and outdoor learning.

Coyote Guide- Wilderness Awareness School

Based out of Washington State this school provides many varied wilderness programs. From 9 months long to weekend courses there are many options for adults interested in outdoor learning and education.


Forest School Canada – Forest and Nature School Practioner Course

“This course is an intensive, self-directed professional learning opportunity for educators and early childhood educators who want to start up their own Forest and Nature School programs in their places of work. The course takes most educators, 8-12 months to complete, and educators must commit to completing all course content in order to become a certified ‘Forest and Nature School Practitioner’ through Forest School Canada.Please see their website for more details.”


Fresh Air Learning

North Vancouver Forest School Program offers many professional development opportunities. Please see their website for more information.


If you know of other professional development courses please emails us the information so that we may include it on our website!

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