Create Your Own Outdoor Magic

Would you like your children to be more connected with nature?

Do you dream of having a natural outdoor play and learning space in your backyard, schoolyard, churchyard, or neighborhood but don’t know where to begin? Do you dream of having a natural outdoor play and learning space in your backyard, schoolyard, churchyard, or neighborhood but don’t know where to begin?

Are you concerned about:

  • The amount of time kids spend gazing at screens?
  • The growing numbers of children diagnosed with depression and anxiety?
  • A lack of unstructured free play in nature?

Children need nature.

But the reality is that today’s children are rarely having the sort of free-range childhoods YOU may remember.

That tells us that it is our responsibility, as parents and professionals teaching and caring for children, to provide great places worthy of nurturing those little spirits in our care.

How do you go from what you have—

A boringly manicured lawn in the backyard,
Or a weed-filled corner, an expanse of asphalt, and a static plastic climber in the schoolyard.

to what you dream of…

a beautiful, nature-filled outdoor space for your children;
a lush, green place that will invite them to explore, experiment, and discover;
a comfortable, well-organized learning setting that will draw teachers outside;
a rich, inviting place where children play happily so caregivers can stop policing and be the facilitators and resources they want to be.

You probably already understand the importance of connecting children to nature and providing good outdoor play and learning spaces.

Your big questions may be:

How do we make it happen for our children?
Can we do this on our own?

“I enrolled in Create Your Own Outdoor Magic hoping to come away with knowledge of how to design a space using interesting, aesthetically pleasing, nature-centered elements. Nancy’s program went beyond what I was looking for and included step-by-step procedures for breaking down individual parts of the project and helpful how-to’s for making and building things (like sandboxes, steppers, and log borders). It was very valuable to work with a designer, especially one who understands the importance of nature centered spaces for kids, the research about the importance of nature in children’s development and has experience and knowledge to share about working with schools and community groups. The space is wonderful now that it’s (almost) done. The kids adore it!”

Kate Van Slyck

Education Strengthens Families Public Charter School

Connecting children to nature and creating beautiful outdoor spaces is my passion. I’m an educator, designer, and author. I’ve designed hundreds of playful schoolyards and nature play spaces. For decades I’ve been teaching teachers and others about how best to arrange spaces to support healthy child development. My book, Nature Play at Home is a guide to creating sustainable, fun-filled spaces that connect children to the natural world.)

I love working with schools, families, park departments, and early childhood programs to create beautiful, magical, outdoor play and learning spaces.

But I understand that a custom design is just not affordable for some programs and young families. 

That is why I’ve come up with a way to help by sharing my expertise in a format that allows YOU to plan and build your OWN natural playspace—economically.  

Here’s what you get when you join me for this intensive learning opportunity:

Three information-packed presentations filled with inspiring images. Watch those whenever you want.

In these classes, you’ll learn a step-by-step process for creating your own natural play and learning space. You’ll discover:

  • How to understand your site – the assets and challenges
  • What your space could look like
  • How to decide what your children most need
  • How to create a layout for your space that makes sense
  • How to get it built

Your Outdoor Magic Toolkit:

A downloadable project binder packed full of resource lists, templates, checklists and exercises to help you (and your teammates) assess what you have, decide what you want, create a community of volunteers and organize great workdays.

Two ask-anything support calls:

You’ll get follow up access to me, with a group call after each presentation is sent. I am a professional landscape designer, and I’ll also be your teacher and your coach. I will be there to answer your questions AND you’ll have the chance to listen and learn from colleagues on the calls as they plan their outdoor spaces.

    Private Group Forum:

    You’ll get continued access to a committed group of colleagues as they build their outdoor spaces in a private online forum just for the participants in the Outdoor Magic Program. Here’s where you’ll communicate with like-minded colleagues, share resources, ideas, photos of your projects and support each other as you each build your own project. I’ll be in the forum, available to answer whatever questions arise as you go through the steps in the process. I’ve found this format to be a great way for everyone to learn from me AND each other.

      The team working on your playspace can be as big as you want, and your whole team can use the package, to guarantee that you’re all on the same page, inspired together and ready to make things happen together!

      This is everything you need to create outdoor magic!

      As a professional with almost 3 decades of experience designing spaces for children, I will guide you on the path to making the changes you envision and more.

      I am committed to giving you the information and resources you need to create a great natural play and learning space for the children in your care.

      “The Create Your Own Outdoor Magic program absolutely helped us to define what we wanted to do and how to incorporate the natural elements we knew we wanted into our existing space…We had our first workday within weeks of the end of the class. Ten dads came and worked and we accomplished a lot! Nancy is a wonderful font of information and it was such fun working with her.”

      Carol Keller

      Director | Fairlington Preschool | Alexandria, VA

      How will it work?

      The program will start in the winter so that by spring you’ll have your plan in place and be ready to dive into creating your own beautiful natural play and learning space.

      • Begin by assessing your current space. (I’ll teach you how!)
      • Learn about natural play and learning spaces—what they look like and what can happen there. (You’ll see images and great ideas from across the country and around the world.)
      • Create your own vision for YOUR play and learning space.
      • Plan your own layout (with support from an expert).
      • Get great ideas for finding resources in your community.
      • Learn, in a step-by-step way, how to plan a workday (or days) that are organized and fun, that build community AND that build your outdoor space!

      “Our team took the class as we head into a whole building renovation, in the hopes that knowledge gained in the Create Your Own Outdoor Magic program would help us to advocate for the outdoors to be an integral part of our new space. This class was a great start for a bonding process with our site. I now realize the potential for beauty that we have. Nancy provided us with a variety of tools which were very helpful (as long as I took the time to make use of them). The program helped me to decide that I really need/want an outdoor classroom and that it is vital to our early childhood program.”

      Darrel Smith

      Teacher | Horace Mann Elementary School | Washington, DC

      I can’t promise that this will be easy. But I can promise that you’ll know the steps to take, you’ll have resources to call on, and you’ll have lots of opportunities to get your questions answered.

      Who should consider taking part in this program?

      This program is perfect for you if:

      • You have preschool or elementary aged children
      • You have an outdoor space that needs to be better.
      • You are committed to rolling up your sleeves and making change.
      • You and others from your family, neighborhood, school or congregation are ready to dive in and learn.
      • You know there is untapped energy for children in your community.
      • You need expert direction, clarity and guidance to make this change happen.

      The Create Your Own Magic Program is not for you if:

      • You can’t make the time for do-it-yourself.
      • DIY doesn’t inspire you.
      • You have a complicated site with major drainage, erosion, or health and safety problems.

      “Great hands-on how-to’s, wonderful book selections and resources. I would recommend this training to other schools looking to make a beautiful space for their little explorers.”

      Ann Marie Douglass

      Fairlington Preschool | Alexandria, VA

      What are the details?

      This is the first time I’m offering this program online.

      This is your chance to join a group of like-minded colleagues who are creating their own outdoor play and learning spaces. I will be there to answer your questions, to hold your hand and to walk you through the process.

      If you’re ready to make your outdoor space greener and help your children become less stressed, more creative, happier learners, here’s what you need to know…

      Participants will be selected by application so that I can be sure to work with people who are really committed to making change. The program will start this winter so that you and your team will be ready to dive into working on your space as soon as spring arrives!

      Class starts on March 1. The last day to sign up is February 21.

      The reason I created this DIY Coaching Program is to help you make the world better for your children in an affordable way.

      When I work with schools to create custom designs, where I attend to every detail from educating and involving the community, to permitting, to construction, to teacher orientation it can be expensive. I know that a custom design is just not possible for some programs. This is my expertise and my passion and I want to share it with you as affordably as possible.

      Create Your Own Magic:

      • Three on-line classes (which will arrive in your inbox every two weeks starting February 28, 2019)
      • Outdoor Magic Toolkit
      • Two group support calls (which will happen on March 7 and 21 from 3-4 pm)
      • Private resource-sharing, problem-solving, support-each-other on-line forum. 

      The content is time tested (in live workshops over the past 5 years), incredibly rich and powerful BUT the technology is new and may include a few bumps so I’ve made the cost for this first online cohort extra affordable at only $895!

      ***You’ll have the content to revisit as often as you wish, so you can proceed with implementing change at your own pace.

      ***Your whole school, community, congregation, or family can watch, together or on your own, and learn the same great content, so you’ll all be on the same page, and able to work together to create the best possible nature play and learning space for your children.

      As A SPECIAL EARLY BIRD BONUS, participants who enroll by February 14 will get a free 1:1 phone consultation with me, anytime before March 31, to get focused attention on whatever you’d like to discuss.

      This is an investment in creating the
      beautiful space your children deserve.

      Contact info@earlyspace.com if you have any questions before filling out an application.

      Click here for an application.

      To our children,
      ~ Nancy

      PS. You can always keep putting it off… and keep using that space that you can’t stand, knowing there is unrealized potential. Knowing it could have been better for your children. Or you can decide to have a brand new space for this year!

      Get our free guide:
      Eight Essential Elements of Nature Play Spaces
      along with "nature Play News", our quarterly newsletter!

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      Our services don’t stop at great design.

      We offer great design AND...

      Our authorized contractors are available to build your playspace. 

      We check in often during the whole installation process, and when it’s done,
      we follow up with an orientation to the site, and a custom maintenance plan.

      We offer informative and empowering workshops and talks.

      Plus... our EarlySpace Shop has a carefully curated collection of nature play elements.