JOB DESCRIPTION: Lead Teacher for the Forest Kinder Co-Op
Employment type: Part-time
Regular hours: Schedule and hours vary
Location: Glen Meadows Retirement Community, Glen Arm, MD
DESCRIPTION OF ROLE
Lead teacher works closely with co-teacher and children to facilitate outdoor classes with children ages 5-7 years old (home school children in grades K-1st) in the Forest Kinder Co-Op as an extension of Notchcliff Forest Preschool. Tasks include thoughtful curriculum design based on children’s emergent interests, on-going reflection about and assessment of children and the forest school program, and collaboration with other teachers and/or volunteers. We reference Roots and Blossoms and Wild Math loosely as home school curriculum as well. Lead teacher will manage support staff as needed. Lead teachers set the tone for learning as engaged, enthusiastic role models of nature-based education while maintaining a safe, positive atmosphere.
Position requires personal and programmatic reflection, collaboration with teachers and parents, open dialogue about children’s progress, and interfacing with Glen Meadows Retirement Community partners and residents. Position may also include writing content, providing data, or other supplemental information to assist in the grant-writing process. Specific targets and goals for grant tracking and evaluation may also be required.
About the Forest Kinder Co-Op
The forest is our classroom! Our playful, immersive outdoor program is a wonderful way for children to make lasting connections with the natural world as part of their home school study. Essential social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills grow as does a genuine love for nature. We cultivate gratitude, empathy, and appreciation of our diverse community and we honor our elders through an intergenerational approach with residents at Glen Meadows Retirement Community (naturalcommunity.org). This is a project of the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools (ERAFANS.org).
Goals of the Forest Kinder Co-Op are:
- To honor young children as independent, capable thinkers through child-directed, experiential, place-based approaches to learning;
- To engage in a rhythm of reflection, inquiry, observation, trial-and-error, risk-taking, perseverance, discussion, problem-solving, expression, and teamwork through a balance of emergent curriculum, intentional activities, and unstructured nature play;
- To offer opportunities for children to explore identity in the context of nature and the larger community, while cultivating kindness, empathy, compassion, and gratitude; and
- To model best practices and approaches to nature-based early childhood education
PRIMARY JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
- Responsible for planning and facilitating immersive outdoor classes for children ages 5-7 years old. This includes maintaining a safe, loving environment with safety routines that protect yet empower children.
- Nurture individualized needs of children while managing whole group experiences and unstructured play in the forest.
- Set-up/break-down program spaces (hands-washing station, campfire ring, toileting supplies, etc.)
- Collaborate with other teachers, volunteers, and /or parents.
- Utilize an emergent curriculum plan, ‘sketch of the day’ based on children’s and seasonal interests, and loosely refer to Roots and Blossoms and Wild Math home school curriculum.
- Partner on various program initiatives with staff and residents of Glen Meadows Retirement Community.
- Document emergent learning processes in many formats (written documentation, photos, content for blog/FB posts, Instagram, ERAFANS website, etc.).
- Manage materials and equipment; request/order new materials as needed.
- Participate in authentic child assessment, self-evaluation, and program evaluation.
Other duties that support families, children, staff, and/or residents in the program may be also assigned.
ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCE & EDUCATION
- Possess or in pursuit of bachelor’s degree in nature-based early childhood education, environmental studies, outdoor education, natural history, biology, elementary education, or closely related field
- Possess the following credentials, certifications, or licenses: Current first aid and CPR credentials (Wilderness First Responder preferred); Master Gardener or Master Naturalist certification preferred)
- Valid credentials to work in an MSDE-licensed preschool program (90-hour certificate)*
- Experience working with young children ages 2-6 years old
- Physically able to hike, carry gear, and carry a small child if needed (up to 50 lbs)
- Minimum of two years of experience leading outdoor education programs, with emphasis on coyote mentoring, directional teaching, flow learning, and emergent outdoor learning approaches (preferred)
- Naturalist background with knowledge of local ecology, flora, and fauna (preferred)
*The 90-hour certificate is made up of two 45-hour courses: one called Human Growth/Child Development and one called Curriculum Development/Materials and Methods (offered in person and online). Please indicate if you have or are pursuing this qualification.
Classes are entirely outdoors, so you must be experienced and eager to facilitate outdoor learning in all seasons!
MOST DESIRABLE QUALITIES
- Love of children
- Love of nature
- Patient, compassionate disposition
- Eager to grow and learn with others
ADDITIONAL SKILLS & TRAINING
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Proficient in Microsoft Office programs including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Proficient use of social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and FaceBook
- Excited to lead outdoor programs in all kinds of weather
- Flexible mindset and positive attitude
- Ability to work collaboratively as part of a team
This is part-time, hourly position with pay range between $17-18/hour.
HOW TO APPLY
For more information or to apply, email a cover letter, resume, and three references to Monica Wiedel-Lubinski at email@example.com.