Why Take This Workshop?
Spending time in nature enhances education outcomes by improving children’s academic performance, focus, behavior and love of learning. More specifically, studies have shown that Nature-based learning helps to reduce symptoms of ADHD and is associated with reduced aggression and better impulse control, as well as enhanced problem solving. Integrating a sensory focus with nature activities provides additional benefits such as developing greater self-awareness, reducing anxiety, improving immune system function and developing a sense of connection with nature that can alleviate feelings of isolation and depression.
Learn how to bring Sensory Nature-based learning to your students through this one-day workshop. You will experience a sensory nature walk that will allow you to discover for yourself the many benefits of combined sensory and nature activities for all ages. Helene Gibbens and Suzanne Weirich, both Certified Forest and Nature Therapy Guides and experienced educators, will provide you with the knowledge you need to introduce Sensory Nature-based learning into your classroom and an understanding of its many benefits. You will receive an activities kit to facilitate 5-15 minute indoor and outdoor sensory nature activities with your students. The workshop will include discussion and practice time to help you feel confident in using your new skills and knowledge.
Workshop Schedule – 7 hours (CTLE credits)
- 8:30am – 10am Introductions & Overview at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake Sensory Nature-based Learning history & research overview
- 9:40am – 10am Break
- 10am – 12:30pm Sensory Nature Immersion Forest Walk – This is a great and unique family activity. Your family is welcome to join this portion of the program at no extra cost. Children must be 6 years of age and up.
- 12:30pm – 2:30pm Lunch & free time – Participants are responsible for their own lunch.
- 2:30pm – 5:30pm Bringing Sensory Nature-based Learning (SNBL) into your classroom.
Essential elements of SNBL
- SNLB Activities Kit and activities practice sessions
- Developing a personal SNBL practice
- Group discussions, resources and Q & A
Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation with directions to BluSeed Studios as well as the location of our sensory nature walk.
Things to Bring
For your comfort throughout the morning experience outdoors, we recommend that you plan on wearing and/or bringing the following:
- Long sleeve lightweight shirt
- Extra top layer
- Long pants – even in hot weather
- Athletic socks
- Walking shoes or other closed toe shoes
- Rain jacket and rain pants if there is any chance of showers in the forecast
- Hat with a brim
- Water bottle
- Insect repellent – we will have extra on hand
About the Facilitators
Helene Gibbens has been teaching yoga and wellness for over 25 years. After growing up in Montreal, she found her heart yearned for open spaces. Settling in the Adirondack Park in 2009, she took her yoga practice out of doors and was naturally drawn to the practices of Forest Bathing and Riverwalking. She cherishes her time outdoors skiing, hiking and quietly re-kindling her sense of wonder for all the wisdom inherent in nature.Helene is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, NY State Licensed Hiking Guide and Certified Yoga Teacher. Six years in the training industry gave her a deep understanding of how to effect lasting change through skill based learning.
Suzanne Weirich grew up exploring the woods, streams and fields around the North Country. Her passion for nature has never left her. She spent much of her career as a classroom educator, bringing nature experiences inside and outside of the classroom, as well as leading youths on weekend outdoor excursions. She enjoys skiing, kayaking, gardening and spending quiet time in the woods. Suzanne is a Certified Forest Therapy Guide, NY State Licensed Hiking Guide and Certified Yoga Teacher.