NatureStart is a professional development program focusing on skill development for informal educators in zoos, aquariums, and nature centers as they provide play-based nature education for children from birth to age 8 and their families in those institutions. NatureStart is based on principles and practices in use by the Chicago Zoological Society which are designed to develop competencies in eight core areas needed to develop a child-centered understanding of learning, play, and nature. These competencies form the foundation for developing nature-based and play-based learning environments and settings for young children and families in AZA institutions.
Participants will develop an understanding of and have the ability to demonstrate the eight competencies identified in NatureStart Professional Development program.
Marilyn Brink, Manager, Professional Development & Early Childhood - CZL - Brookfield Zoo
David Becker, Sr Manager of Learning Experiences - CZL - Brookfield Zoo
This course is designed for informal educators and other professionals in out of school science and nature-based settings such as zoos, aquariums, nature centers, children’s gardens, who are responsible for early childhood and family programs and/or interact with young children and families on a regular basis. To maximize success in implementing the concepts and programming discussed in the course, CZS encourages two individuals from each institution to attend the course together, if possible. Please note the half-price discount for a second participant from the same institution is available to encourage attendance by co-workers.
Chicago's Midway Airport (MDW) and O'Hare Airport (ORD) are both about 30 minutes from the hotel and Zoo. This course takes place at the Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL.
The Clubhouse Inn & Suites is the designated course hotel and a block of rooms is on reserve for NatureStart course participants. Please contact the hotel to make your reservations. We have secured a special rate:
$74.00 King/Double Queen with Hot Breakfast Buffet
$99.00 Suites/with Hot Breakfast Buffet
Please visit the hotel’s website, www.westmont.clubhouseinn.com for additional information and to make your reservation. Please do not book hotel reservations until you receive your registration confirmation.
Ground transportation to and from airport should be arranged by each participant. American Taxi Co. is the recommended transport company for Clubhouse Inn. Arrangements for pick-up and return trip to either O’Hare or Midway Airport can be made by calling 847-255-9614.
Shuttle provided by the Clubhouse Inn will transport participants to and from the zoo daily.
Your registration fee covers tuition for the course, books and other resources included, transportation to and from zoo and lunch each day. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and evening meals. You may register from the course website here.
Early Bird Rates
$750 for AZA Members, CZS members, NAI Members
$850 for Non-members
Early bird registration deadline: February 1, 2017
$950 for AZA Members, CZS members, NAI Members
$1050 for Non-members
Regular registration period: February 2 - March 31, 2017
For this course, a second participant from an institution pays half of the applicable rate. Discount will be applied at the time of registration.
For additional details please contact Marilyn Brink at 708.688.8210 or Cory Wilcox at 708.688.8361.