Monday, March 11, 2024
Virtual via Zoom

March ECHO Network - Merry Lea - Virtual

Interested in connecting with fellow educators?

The Early Childhood Hoosiers Outdoors (ECHO) Network is designed to support education practitioners wanting to get students into outdoor learning settings. We meet on the second Monday of odd months at 4 pm by zoom.

Kara will share what outdoor education looks like for Canterbury School Early Childhood. Students experience a weekly adventure in different areas of 70 acres. We also travel to nearby wetlands, nature parks, and local parks. We'll share some pictures and outline activities we enjoy. Our experience is from the private school perspective. Erika, Canterbury's Pre-K- 4th grade Science educator, joins our Pre-K classes once a month to extend our science knowledge. She will share outdoor science lesson ideas, including ideas for experiences with air, camouflage, and small wonders. Kara and Erika work together, along with other EC colleagues, to guide and enhance the experiences of our youngest scientists. Come and join in the discussion and fun!


Erika Meyer is the Early Childhood and Lower School Science Specialist and Science Department Co-Chair at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne, IN. The school’s emphasis on outdoor experiences continues to develop and Erika enjoys growing as an educator right along with the program. Erika focuses on designing, providing and facilitating experiences that intentionally lead students to their own discoveries, wherever they are. This is Erika’s 10th year at Canterbury. Previously, Erika taught students in Grades 5-8 in Chicago, making sure they had outdoor experiences, including trips to Merry Lea. She grew up tagging along on outdoor botany field studies with her father’s college students. Erika loves the many ways art and science tangle with each other and believes strongly in the restorative and informative impact of natural outdoor experiences.

Kara Alverson is the Junior Kindergarten Teacher (Pre-K: 4-5 year olds) with 19 years EC teaching experience. Kara attended a week-long ERAFANS (Eastern Regional Association of Forest and Nature Schools) training workshop in 2021 that changed her life! (Kara has given a presentation at ECHO on that before.) Kara loves teaching Outdoor Education once a week and wishes she could do it daily! Working with Erika Meyers for more Science input has been an incredible experience.

The purpose of this network includes: - A group of peers: Connecting educators and administrators for support, guidance, encouragement, troubleshooting, etc. - A common space for sharing resources and best practices - Opportunities for professional development - Shared advocacy and continuing education around nature- based programs - Program observation - and more!

The network was inspired by a surge of interest in program formats such as Nature Preschools, Forest Kindergartens, and Forest Schools; however, it is an inclusive group for those working with young children in any format. Our interests center on developmentally-appropriate educational opportunities for children in outdoor settings, whether in the woods, on the prairie, or in the schoolyard.

We want this network to be dynamic and responsive to emerging needs of participants. We encourage you to join us on this journey of mutual exploration and learning!

If you are interested in knowing more, sign up below to join. Participants will be added to a Google group to get email updates for monthly meeting times and to post question to others within the group.

Cost: Free!

More details: px? activitykey=3015062&orgkey=4606&ReturnURL=//goshen.doublekno

Contact: Kaitlyn Sproles, phone 2607995869, email