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Connections to Nature

How do you support connections to nature in early years programs? Explore hands-on learning opportunities inspired by nature that can be created within your own program space. Discover how providing positive experiences for children in nature can have an effect on their overall development.


The Reasons Why

Natural Environments That Engage Our Senses

  • Some of your fondest childhood memories may be of times spent in nature looking for bugs, going on a crab hunt at the beach, building forts with logs, making mud pies or creating your own magic potion with twigs, leaves and flowers. Can you recall how natural surroundings supported your development as a young child?

Bringing The Outside Indoors

  • The indoor space would be reflective of the outdoor natural setting as well as the cultural environment

  • Blurring the line between indoor and outdoor space to create a connection to nature and our community

  • The indoor learning environment reflects the values and philosophy of the program

Inquiry Based Learning in Nature

  • Nature provides inquiry based learning and emergent curriculum opportunities for children. Experiences that encourage discovery, exploration and wonder.

Presentation of Materials

  • The Presentation of materials makes a difference of how children may or may not resound to them

  • Are they esthetically pleasing?

  • Is the arrangement of the material orderly?

  • Does it suggest possibilities for use?

  • Baskets, mats, child safe mirrors, wood rounds and or wooden boards can define spaces

  • Avoid the cluttering effect. Offer sets of materials that match

  • Try offering items at different heights by propping trays and platforms for children to work


Book an ECE Workshop

Are you interested in booking an Inspired ECE Workshop? Simply click the button below to schedule a workshop now.

ECE Workshops for Individuals

Inspired ECE understands that not everyone can participate in our professional development workshops as part of a group or team. We do our best to accommodate everyone’s needs. Periodically, we run ECE workshops for a group of individuals when we have enough interest.

Watercolour Garden
Julie Hansen, Early Childhood Educator, Consultant and Author

Julie Hansen

Early Childhood Educator, Consultant and Author

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I have been an Early Childhood Educator for 24 years, having received my Diploma in Early Childhood Education from Douglas College. Since then, I have gained experience in a variety of areas within the field of Early Childhood Education: Director of a preschool, supervisor of after-school care as well as 3-5 and Infant Toddler programs and centre management. My primary focus has evolved to encompass team leadership, management training and program development. I have had articles published in provincial and national ECE journals on the topic of emergent curriculum and leadership. My goal as an Early Childhood Educator and facilitator is to support fellow educators and early years professionals in providing high-quality early learning experiences for children and families.


ECE Publications

Canadian Child Care Federation
Canadian Child Care Federation
Urban Baby & Toddler Magazine
The Early Childhood Educator BC
The Early Childhood Educator BC


Management and leadership courses offered by an Early Childhood Educator truly is a gift in this line of work. Julie Hansen’s insight and understanding of childcare and early learning dynamics developed my skills and confidence as a manager. Her ideas are innovative, thoughtful and easy to implement for myself and my team. I enjoyed my one to one coaching calls, team workshops and leadership series I have taken with Julie. I recommend her to any new or veteran ECE or ECE Manager.

À:lmèlhàwtxw Early Education Centre - Stó:lō Service Agency

We were blown away by how amazing Julie's Skype workshop was! She is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about early childhood education.

Assistant Director
Oakbank Kids Korner Co-op Inc.

I would recommend Julie Hansen, Inspired ECE to anyone in the Early Childhood Education field! Julie has been a positive influence in my life with all of her workshops and resources. Julie has so much knowledge of all of the areas of Early Childhood Education and quality early learning experiences. I always walk away with something new and many ideas to take back to my own programs after attending a workshop with Julie . I've also done a consultation with Julie regarding recruiting ECE's and she had so much advice to offer. Thanks to Julie's advice, I was able to hire not one but TWO Educators for my center. If you're looking for professional development opportunities and/or professional consulting, I highly recommend connecting with Julie! 


Early Childhood Educator
Colour My World Childcare

Thank you Julie for sharing your wisdom, time and resources with me.
I truly appreciate it.

Early Childhood Educator

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