Speaking Services

Professional learning for early childhood educators who want to implement nature-based pedagogy

Learning tailored for early childhood educators

Our professional development services are designed to help integrate nature-based approaches while also implementing best practices of early childhood education.

Dr. Rachel A. Larimore facilitates a range of workshops from a 45-minute keynote address to a multi-day workshop. These professional development workshops are fun and engaging, while also being informative and inspirational.

Keynote speaking

Inspire your early childhood conference attendees with a nature-based keynote

Dr. Rachel A. Larimore, Chief Visionary of Samara Early Learning, provides keynote addresses to inspire, challenge, and motivate your attendees. She’ll shift participants away from early childhood education detached from nature to embracing nature-based early childhood education. The goal with keynote addresses is to give you and your conference attendees the knowledge, skills, and motivation to begin implementing nature-based ideas on Monday morning—while also inspiring educators to dream big about what the future might hold for their early childhood program. Keynotes can be scheduled up to 1.5 hours, online or in-person, and include these possible topics*:

→ Learning Inside, Outside & Beyond: Why it Matters

→ Better Together: Strengthening Nature-Based Early Childhood Education

→ From Preschool to Early Elementary: Learning from One Community’s Journey with Nature-Based Education

→ Guided by the “Why?”—Making Intentional Decisions in the Nature-based Early Childhood Classroom

→ Preschool Beyond Walls: Moving Towards a Nature-Based Approach

→ Shifting from Teaching About to Teaching With Nature: Learning from the Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Movement

*These can be customized, so please don’t be limited by this list. Let’s talk about your needs and your conference theme!


In-person workshops

Professional development workshops focus on incorporating nature-based activities into your curriculum while maintaining high-quality early childhood practices. Together we will customize each workshop, from three hours to multiple days, to meet the needs of program and team’s needs.

We strive to ensure these workshops allow for active learning and collaboration. After all, we are social-constructivists who believe people learn by interacting with others. This applies to both young children and adult learners.

Online workshops

While in-person learning is ideal, we recognize there are factors that sometimes make this difficult to impossible. Thus, we also offer virtual workshops. These workshops can be synchronous, asynchronous, or some combination of the two—whatever makes the most sense for your situation.

For example, we could provide a pre-recorded presentation to your team and then schedule a workshop time to build off of those ideas. Another option is we could provide an entirely synchronous workshop with a presentation, breakout work groups, and Q&A session. There are lots of possibilities!

All of our virtual workshops are conducted via Zoom. Don’t worry—we handle the tech. (Yes, we can handle groups larger than 100.) We often utilize additional tech tools during the workshop for participant engagement.

Possible workshop topics

There are many possibilities for workshops, but here are a few topics to get your wheels turning:

→ Benefits of nature-based approaches for young children

→ Developing nature-based large and small group activities

→ Planning for emergent curriculum in nature-based programs

→ Integrating nature into your indoor environment

→ Communicating with parents about the nature-based approach

→ Leading excursions outside the play area

→ Developing natural play areas

→ Distinguishing between outdoor hazards, risks, & fears

→ Using nature to enhance science learning

→ Business planning for and administration nature-based preschools

And more—let’s talk about what would work for your needs!

Gift for your participants

If you'd like to provide your participants with a unique gift, or even an incentive for early registration, you can add copies of Rachel’s book Preschool Beyond Walls: Blending Early Childhood Education and Nature-Based Learning or Evaluating Natureness for a reduced rate. Be sure to ask us about this when you’re booking for your workshop!

About Dr. Rachel A. Larimore


Rachel is an educator, speaker, consultant, and author of three books including Establishing a Nature-Based Preschool and Preschool Beyond Walls: Blending Early Childhood Education and Nature-Based Learning. Her passion and expertise is intentional integration of nature into early childhood education for young children’s whole development.

Prior to establishing Samara Early Learning, Rachel founded one of the nation’s earliest nature-based preschools at Chippewa Nature Center (CNC) in Midland, MI. The creation of the preschool in 2007 was part of her 15-year tenure as the Director of Education. She continued as the director of the program until 2016 when, at her departure, the program served 140 children each year through public and private funding sources. In her tenure at CNC she also co-chaired the Nature Center’s $6 million capital expansion project, which was completed in 2010. The expansion included an approximately 5,000 square foot LEED Gold Certified preschool building. During her time at CNC, Rachel led the creation of a partnership with Bullock Creek Schools to create a nature-based kindergarten and first grade within the public school system.

Rachel earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State University’s Department of Teacher Education; a M.A. in Park and Recreation Administration from Central Michigan University; and a B.S. in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, with an emphasis in interpretation, from Colorado State University. Rachel has been recognized for her work by various organizations including the National Association for Interpretation Region 4’s in 2012 with the “Master Interpretive Manager” recognition; First State Bank’s “RUBY Award” in 2013 for professionals under the age of 40; and Exchange Magazine in 2015 with the “Promising Early Care and Education Leader” award. For even more about Rachel, visit www.rachel-larimore.com.

Click here to download Rachel’s speaker sheet.


What people have to say

Be sure to check out our on-demand workshops that can be scheduled at your convenience