For the Love of Learning – Nature Based Learning – Epi#87


Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode 87

Nature Based Learning

Monday December 19, 2016  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday December 20, 2016 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST


Rachel Larimore
Claudine Mossberg
Dana Lenahan
Kerri Haack





In this episode we are going to discuss Nature-Based Learning. Nature play is important for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, families, staff, and communities. Nature based education stimulates the diversity of children’s play experience and contribute to their healthy development.

In the past decade, the benefits of connecting to nature have been well documented in numerous scientific research studies and publications. In a paper published by North Carolina State University called – Benefits of Connecting Children with Nature: Why Naturalize Outdoor Learning Environments – The Natural Learning Initiative, cite a body of research that shows that children’s social, psychological, academic and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Positive impacts of nature based education include the following:

  • Supports multiple ares of development including intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and physical development
  • Supports creativity and problem solving.
  • Enhances cognitive abilities.
  • Improves academic performance.
  • Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms.
  • Increases physical activity.
  • Improves nutrition.
  • Improves eyesight.
  • Improves social relations.
  • Improves self-discipline.
  • Reduces stress.

With all of these benefits, why hasn’t nature based education been integrated into all children’s education programs across the planet? We’ve got a lot to talk about and an amazing panel to explore these issues with.

Rachel Larimore

Rachel Larimore created the Nature Preschool at Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, Michigan, one of the leading nature-based preschools in the U.S., and administered that program for 10 years. Her experiences inspired Larimore to author the handbook Establishing a Nature-Based Preschool, published by the National Association for Interpretation. In addition to doing private consulting in the nature-based preschool field, she is a doctoral student in Michigan State University’s Department of Teacher Education. She currently co-chairs Natural Start Alliance’s Council for Nature and Forest Preschools. For more about Larimore and her work visit


Claudine Mossberg


Claudine Mossberg’s foray into the world of unschooling came as a natural response to watching her girls, now 6 and 3, grow and learn. Noting the joy found in organic learning and natural rhythms, Claudine and her husband Keith delayed their daughters’ traditional education in exchange for a gentle life learning process – only later learning of terms like “unschooling.”

With a family passion for outdoor play and exploration, a move from New York City to suburban NJ led Claudine to build a community network of unstructured outdoor play. With an overwhelming response to back her initiative, Claudine joined forces with two of her trusted friends, who were also like-minded mothers, to form Forest School for All (FSFA). Together they help to build and support communities for natural outdoor learning throughout the US.

​When not working to provide one-on-one coaching to FSFA leaders or leading the original group in Essex county, NJ, Claudine enjoys slow traveling with her family, supporting local mothers as a LLL leader, and building their local unschooling community.
To learn more about Claudine’s work in community outdoor play, visit Forest School For All at

Dana Lenahan

My name is Dana Lenahan. I am a 23 year old graduate student at Kean University. I am scheduled to graduate with my Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology in May, 2017. Before graduate school, I attended Towson University where I earn my Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology. Before that, I grew up in Piscataway, New Jersey and attended public school from the age of 5-18 years.
I was a competitive swimmer starting at age 4 and swam until my sophomore year of college. With my swimming career spanning my whole life, I was always happy to be running around (usually my summer pool club) and playing outside with my friends. I was lucky enough to have a stay at home mom who was always around to play outside and encourage me to explore. Between my mom letting me play in the mud, and my dad helping me catch my first fish, outdoor activities have always been an integral part of my life. Now, as newlyweds, my husband and I are constantly researching ways that we can incorporate nature into our lives and planning to include outdoor play and travel in the lives of our future children.

Kerri Haack


Kerri Haack is a homeschooling/unschooling mom of two children, six and four.  She credits her love of the outdoors to her childhood, growing up on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest where she’d play with the neighborhood children to build forts, pick blackberries and “swim the creek” to the local park.  As a parent, she loves giving her children the “yes” zone of the outdoors where they can explore and understand the world on their terms, while testing their body’s resiliency on ever higher tree branches.
Outside of co-leading the Orange County, NY, Forest School, Kerri also serves as the IT person for the Forest School For All movement, encouraging all families to get out and play in the woods.  Additionally, she writes and does technical work for the mom entertainment blog, and is the sole writer behind where she actively does anything she can to avoid cleaning the house.  She and Bleeping Motherhood creator Audrey Saracco also wrote a book, Bleeping Motherhood’s Would You Rather? A book of hilarious parenting choices.


This episode is produced by Anne Boie

Episode Hosted by Lainie Liberti




Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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