Outdoor Classroom Specialist
Knox County Head Start
The Outdoor Classroom Specialist is responsible for creating learning goals for children that support an inquiry and nature-based developmental program for preschool children. The Outdoor Classroom Specialist emphasizes the outdoor environment as a classroom learning opportunity and setting for children and utilizes nature-based play to encourage students’ awareness, understanding, appreciation and protection of the environment. Each child and all members of the child’s family, both related and not related, will be treated with respect and confidentiality will be maintained at all times by the person in this position.
The essential functions of the job are to:
1) Initiate an outdoor classroom environment that is rich in Conscious Discipline, empowering children to maintain safety and self-control while assertively making choices in support of a healthy school family. Facilitate the use of the space with the assistance of the classroom teachers or parents accompanying the children.
2) Develop daily lessons with input from New Hope Early Education Center’s classroom staff based on implementing a creative, emergent, nature-based curriculum that meets children’s individual interests and needs, while integrating the goals of the Creative Curriculum.
3) Provide support to the classroom teaching staff in the development of innovative curriculum and projects (based on children’s interests, inquiries, investigations and experiences in nature and the Outdoor Classroom) to be added to each teacher’s library of resources for continued use.
4) Model environmental education practices, and guide and support classroom staff with bi-yearly evaluation feedback.
5) Utilize teaching tools of observation, discussion and planning daily for individual children’s goals and small group learning communities for the children enrolled in the New Hope Early Childhood Education Center’s preschool and child care classrooms.
6) Assist the classroom teachers with the supervision, safety and well-being of children always, observing and moving around with adult/child ratios as they change locations throughout the classroom’s use.
7) Assist the classroom teachers with assessing the NHEEC children’s developmental learning and progress by sharing observations with the classroom teachers.
8) Recruit and oversee volunteers from the colleges and community, so that the Outdoor Classroom is an asset to the county.
9) Develop relationships with the Knox County Career Center, Central Ohio Technical College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University programs to enable prospective teachers to experience the Outdoor Classroom as an educational setting.
10) Arrange for use of the space by other Head Start program options, such as the Home-Based program and Family Child Care Partnerships sites, along with other early childhood programs in the community, being the lead facilitator during all visits.
11) Organize and maintain the Outdoor Classroom environment, equipment and supplies, notifying the Center Manager of safety hazards and needed supplies. Set up, take-down and maintain all activities and learning areas of the Outdoor Classroom environment.
12) Develop and participate in Outdoor Classroom events occasionally in the evenings and on Saturdays, to open the Outdoor Classroom to the community. The Saturday events will take place once per month; the evenings will be by request, for Head Start family events, or events planned for community groups, such as girl scouts.
13) Oversee the development of the next outdoor classroom to be built at another Knox County Head Start center.
14) May require the performance of other essential functions depending upon work locations or assignments.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- Environmental Education
- Child Development
- Social Emotional (inter-personal)
- Physical: Gross & Fine Motor
- Self Help skills
- Mental Health (intra-personal)
- Principles of early childhood development and the learning process
- Developmentally appropriate practices.
- Supervision and mentoring techniques
Knowledge of or Willingness to Learn and Apply:
- Head Start Program Performance Standards, Ohio Department of Education Early Learning Content Standards, the Ohio Administrative Code Child Care Center Rules and The Creative Curriculum
- Principles of Conscious Discipline
- Knox County community partners who may benefit from use of the outdoor classroom.
- Principles, practices, and objectives of Head Start preschool programs
- Mandatory reporting requirements in suspected cases of child abuse and neglect
· Working with small children.
· Mentoring adults.
- Using a personal computer and various Microsoft Office software packages.
- Make independent decisions and respond appropriately to the needs of children, emergency situations, and program needs.
- Demonstrate flexibility in scheduling, curriculum planning and thinking.
- Work cooperatively with parents, staff, and community members.
- Communicate effectively in the English language with children, parents, community members, and other staff.
- Be physically capable of safely and appropriately lifting and managing preschool and special needs children.
- Cope with stressful situations.
- Work comfortably with low-income families.
- Handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Comprehend and make inferences from written materials.
- Collect and analyze data and make concise, accurate reports, and recommendations.
- Communicate by telephone or in person in a one-to-one or group setting.
- Produce documents written in the English language with clearly organized thoughts using proper sentence construction, punctuation, and grammar.
- Perform the physical requirements of the job: sitting, standing, crawling, climbing, walking, running, stooping, kneeling, lifting up to 50 pounds, carrying up to 50 pounds, pushing up to 100 pounds, pulling up to 100 pounds, manipulating small objects, writing, talking, listening, seeing, reading aloud.
- Perform the mental requirements of the job: interpreting, analyzing, coordinating, persuading, delegating, independent judgment.
- Satisfactorily pass pre-employment and periodic health assessments, including TB test, as well as a pre-employment criminal background check and drug test.
Acceptable Experience and Training: Minimum of an Associate Degree in either Early Childhood Education or Environmental Education, with a four-year degree preferred. This position demands a strong knowledge base in both areas; the successful candidate will either have experience in both, or be willing to become professionally proficient in the non-degree area. One year of experience working with children in a preschool setting or one year of experience working in environmental education.
Job Type: Full-time
Pay: From $713.11 per week
- 401(k) matching
- Dental insurance
- Employee assistance program
- Employee discount
- Flexible schedule
- Health insurance
- Health savings account
- Life insurance
- Paid time off
- Parental leave
- Professional development assistance
- Vision insurance
- 8 hour shift
- Monday to Friday
- Weekend availability
Staff and children wear masks indoors and when outdoor physical distancing is not possible. All staff are required to be current on COVID-19 vaccinations including applicable boosters.
- Associate (Preferred)
Work Location: One location