Professional Development

NLI provides professional development and training in the theory, principles, and techniques of design for natural play and learning, with an emphasis on the role of the natural environment in healthy child development. Of particular interest is the role of educational programming, playwork, and cultural animation in landscape design.

Applications include informal environments such as community parks; nonformal educational institutions such as children's museums, zoos, and botanical gardens; formal educational institutions such as child development centers and schools; urban neighborhoods and the independent mobility networks that provide young people access to experiences in the broader community.

NLI education and training programs are delivered in live conferences, symposia, and hands-on workshops, as well as webinars and an upcoming distance learning certificate course. The capacity and resources for distance learning provided by NC State University will be utilized to disseminate the resources of the Natural Learning Initiative to the furthest corners of the State of North Carolina and beyond. Participants include:

  • Landscape architects and designers
  • Landscape contractors
  • Park and recreation professionals
  • Horticulturists
  • Early childhood educators
  • Formal and nonformal educators
  • Special education professionals
  • After-school program coordinators

View selected projects here.