At The Garden, we are committed to hiring guides who are passionate about progressive education, positive discipline and nature-based learning. Our guides have either previously trained/are undergoing with high-quality, accredited Teacher Education Programs or are provided with ongoing school-specific training as described below.
In addition, all staff complete a two-part, 4 hour detailed orientation to familiarize themselves with the school policies, emergency and safety procedures, routines, grounds, expectations, philosophy and mission. Staff must provide a current CPR certificate and undergo EPI Pen Training prior to working in any classroom.
Accredited Montessori Teacher Education Programs
(at least one of the following TEPs is required for Montessori Toddler Community lead guides)
American Montessori Society
Association Montessori Internationale
Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education
Montessori Assistant Teacher Training Programs
(both courses are required for Montessori Toddler Community assistant guides)
Trillium Montessori Toolkit
CGMS Montessori Beginnings
Wild Hearts School-Specific Training Programs
Seeds & Roots Support Staff Training
This staff training program is designed for Wild Hearts floaters, substitutes, volunteers, interns and support staff. An introduction to the foundations of Wild Hearts Nature School, this training offers valuable guidance and resources for learners who are new to Montessori, Nature-Based Learning and/or early childhood education in an easily accessible format. This self-paced, independent study course includes:
- Philosophies of Early Childhood Development
- Basics of Child Development
- Being an Effective Support
- Behavior & Discipline
- Observation & Documentation
- Cultural Awareness
Staff participate in meaningful readings, viewing and discussions and complete reflections and assignments based on the materials in each module and are assigned a mentor to learn alongside during their training. Learners are also asked to compile a portfolio over the course of the training and will attend monthly check-ins with mentors to review their growth and ensure progress.
Grow & Guide Nature Guide Training
Grow & Guide is a unique training course that presents a variety of learning materials that offer a deep and comprehensive exploration of the concepts behind the Wild Hearts program. Lead and Assistant Guides are required to complete a variety of meaningful assignments which relate directly to their classroom experience and provide opportunities for practical application of the course material. Guides meet weekly with coaching administrators and fellow staff to work on projects, collaborate, study and share reflections to build a rich and supportive learning community providing additional opportunities for integration of course topics.
Wild Hearts Nature School is a truly unique, blended program and deserves a training program that reflects its distinctive nature. While we partner with other training programs like ERAFANS, AMS, NAREA, NAEYC , Positive Discipline (and more!), the focus is more on gaining a true understanding of the “why” behind our school practices and asks learners to take a deep look inward to find their passion and bring it to the children in front of them. Learning modules look at specific materials, teaching and planning strategies, but also invite guides to consistently reflect on their own unique teaching and learning style and experience. At Wild Hearts Nature School, the child is at the center of the curriculum, so it is essential for nature guides to have a deep understanding of the ideas that make-up the foundation of this program so they can contribute to its growth and the growth of their students. We have developed a rich training course which integrates components of Montessori Philosophy, Nature-Based Learning, the Reggio-Emilia Approach along with all of the best practices for early childhood education as reflected in the most up-to-date research in order to address the training needs of our one-of-a-kind program. Some of the main resource components of each Learning Module include webinars, videos, recorded lectures, texts, articles, visuals, podcasts and tools for classroom use based on the following topics:
- Preparing the Environment
- Positive Discipline
- Early Childhood Development
- Educational Philosophy & Pedagogy
- Outdoor Classroom Materials & Planning
- The Science of Observation & Documentation
- Creating an Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist & Culturally Aware Learning Environment
- The Importance of Music & Movement
- Exploring and Understanding Process Art
- Self-Reflection: The Guides Journey
- Making Meaningful Family Connections
Learners participate in a variety of hands-on assignments and reflection in each module to demonstrate their growth. Regular meetings and reviews with coaching administrators are prioritized and a final project is submitted at the end of the course.