Prescott College Center for Nature & Place

The Prescott College Center for Nature and Place was established to support and expand training for early childhood educators, preservice teachers, administrators, and program directors in developmentally appropriate nature and place-based pedagogy. Founded in 2016 with support from the George B. Storer Foundation, the Center is housed in and integrated with Prescott College’s Department of Education and Teacher Preparation in Tucson, Arizona.

The Center focuses on designing innovative nature and place focused college course curricula for Prescott College students in the Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education undergraduate and graduate programs. It also offers residential professional development institutes and outreach workshops that provide training and experiential learning opportunities for early childhood educators across Arizona and beyond, including the Summer Institute for Nature and Place-Based Early Childhood Education.

The Center provides opportunities and support for student research on the effectiveness of nature and place-based early childhood teacher education and outdoor learning activities in order to add to current professional knowledge in the field. The center actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with other higher education institutions, schools, and organizations in implementing nature and place-based teacher training initiatives and related research projects.

Learn more about our programs

Check back soon for updates on what's happening at THE CENTER!!!

Thank you for your patience while The Center and our website are “under construction”!

We promise that we have fun and exciting things in store for all of you amazing early childhood educators and families!

Introductory Workshop to Nature- and Place-based Pedagogy & Practice

Have you heard the buzz about the benefits of bringing nature and place inside the classroom?

Designed with the whole school in mind, this half-day workshop provides professional development to early childhood through elementary school teachers on nature and place-based learning. Workshop presenters work with administrators and teachers prior to the event to tailor discussion topics and resource materials to site specific needs and opportunities.

Possible topics include:

  • Academic and social-emotional benefits of providing students with access to green space
  • Methods for enriching the existing curriculum with nature- and place-based pedagogy
  • How to support children’s growth in developmental domains using natural materials
  • Nature play-scape design
  • Garden curriculum
  • Supporting students with special education needs, and more!

Contact us for more information or to schedule a workshop! Or, fill out this form to sign up now!

Online Professional Development Modules

Session 1: Inclusive Nature- & Place-based Math and Science Methods

In this 4-week self-paced module, participants will:

  • Identify connections among concepts in early childhood STEM and nature- and place-based experiences. Identify connections among concepts in early childhood STEM and nature- and place-based experiences
  • Describe practices for integrating nature- and place-based methods into early childhood STEM explorations
  • Create project-based curriculum that utilizes scientific exploration, mathematical modeling, technology tools, and engineering practices to expand on children’s nature- and place-based play in early childhood programs


Session 2: Curriculum Development – Guideposts to Learning

In this 4-week self-paced module, participants will:

  • Harmonize student-led inquiry with curriculum.
  • Gain knowledge on different ways to structure curriculum.
  • Collaborate with other like-minded individuals.
  • Create a week’s worth of curriculum.

These online professional development opportunities are designed with in-service teachers in mind. Upon successful completion of this learning module, participants will receive a certificate for 6 hours of professional development in nature- and place-based methods.

Cost: $35
Registration to open Summer 2021

Dirt Alert! A Podcast Connecting Research to Practice

The podcast that connects research to practice in the field of Nature-based Early Childhood Education. Episodes will expose listeners to a variety of introductory topics being explored in current nature- and place-based learning research as well as to a variety of programs using nature and place-based learning.

Episodes will identify major topics in the field of nature and place-based early childhood education, describe ways programs or schools can integrate nature and place-based learning in early childhood education (e.g. forest preschool, forest Fridays, gardens, nature and place-integration into the classroom, etc.), and discuss how to apply emerging research to teaching practices.

Check out the latest episodes and subscribe via your favorite app. 

ECE & ECSE Degree Programs at Prescott College

Prescott College offers a several online pathways in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.

Earn your B.A., post-baccalaureate certification, or M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education or Early Childhood Special Education! Nature and place-based learning topics are integrated throughout courses in these programs, giving graduates a one-of-a-kind experience to bring to their teaching practice!

Learn more about these and other online degrees from Prescott College.

Emergency Rescue Webinar for Parents

“How do I educate my student? I’m their parent, not their teacher.” Prescott College Academic Dean, Dr. Centae Richards, leads this webinar on how to maintain your children’s school progress, when the school is your own home.


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Meet our staff

Paul J. Ohm

Paul J. Ohm

Center Administrator / Associate Faculty

Paul has been a public school educator for over 30 years.  He began his career as a paraprofessional working with children with severe sensory impairments.  Upon graduating from Prescott College with an undergraduate degree in special education, Paul taught elementary and pre-K children who possessed an array of special abilities.  Paul obtained a master’s degree in elementary education from Prescott College which led to several years teaching general elementary education.  After graduating with a second master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in educational leadership, Paul became an administrator, first overseeing the early childhood special education programs in the Tucson Unified School District, and later in the Sunnyside District in Tucson where he created a district-wide early childhood center built on the foundations of developmentally healthy practices in a fully inclusive, equitable, nurturing learning environment.  Paul believes that every child has the inalienable right to thrive and to positively influence the future of our world.  
Wendy Watson

Wendy Watson

Associate Faculty

Bio coming soon!

Interested in partnering with the Center or supporting the work we do?