FARMINGTON – The University of Maine at Farmington is pleased to announce its next Public Forum event featuring Dr. Patti Bailie and her presentation on “Partnering with Nature: An Introduction to Nature Based Education.”
This Public Forum event will take place at 6:30 p.m., November 15, 2023, in the Performance Space in the Emery Community Arts Center on the UMF campus.
The UMF Public Forum is a University event series sponsored by the Office of the President. Each lecture will be followed by a discussion and a reception with light refreshments. It is free and open to the public.
An associate professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Maine at Farmington, Bailie has worked in the field of early childhood environmental education for 30 years. Her presentation will feature a comprehensive look at nature based education. What is nature based education and its value to a child’s educational development? How can it be integrated in schools and early childhood programs?
Bailie will introduce the ideas that contribute to nature based education, explore the variety of programs that incorporate these ideas, share the benefits that nature based education provide for children, and discuss how nature based education has been embraced at UMF with a new graduate certificate program and at the new Sweatt Winter Childcare Center and Lab School.
“There are so many benefits for children when they spend time in the natural world in all domains of development,” said Bailie. “The most obvious is physical development as they balance on logs, climb trees and pick up acorns, helping with gross and fine motor skills. But also in their social/emotional development as they build their confidence through appropriate risk taking. They develop empathy by caring for wildlife and cooperating with others to build a fort. These are just a few of the many benefits.”
Bailie has extensive experience in the field of early childhood environmental education. She has worked at three different nature centers in the Midwest. She was the assistant director of the Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate Program at Antioch University New England; founding director of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Preschool in Milwaukee, Wis.; and co-director of the Early Childhood Outdoors Institute in Omaha, Neb.
She is co-author of “Partnering with Nature in Early Childhood: A Guide to Outdoor Experiences” and “Evaluating Natureness: Measuring the Quality of Nature-based Classrooms in Pre-K through 3rd Grade.”
She also contributed two chapters to David Sobel’s book “Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens: The Handbook for Outdoor Learning” and was part of the writing team for the “Nature-Based Preschool Professional Practice Guidebook.”
Her consulting work includes working with Sesame Street on nature based programs for young children. She initially contributed nature based programming ideas to their writers for their 40th anniversary season and more recently for a new venture called “Nature Explorers,” that has not yet been released.
Dr. Bailie has presented widely on the topic of nature based education and serves on the advisory board of the Natural Start Alliance.
She enjoys spending time outdoors with her two year old granddaughter.