2017 UnConference: Get Dirty!

The natural environment is an immense learning playground for young children! PAEYC is proud to partner with APOST and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in presenting this UnConference.

Join us for fun and engaging outdoor learning where it is very possible we might get a little dirty! Using the outdoor amphitheater and classrooms at the newly built Frick Environmental Center (opened September 10, 2016), participants will interact with workshop presenters from various outdoor learning organizations such as the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and the Audubon Society of Western PA.

In addition, a Weikart training session “Building Community” will be offered. Plus, enjoy an in-depth tour of the Frick Environmental Center (FEC) and learn about this stunning sustainable, zero-waste piece of architecture. The day opens with a keynote speaker and closes with a wrap-up discussion.

These workshops are developmentally appropriate practice for educators, caregivers and after school providers.

Keynote Speaker

PAEYC is excited to host this UnConference with our partners at APOST and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The day begins with keynote speaker Marijke Hecht, PhD student of Learning Sciences and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education and graduate student fellow of the Center for Urban Education. Learn more about Marijke.

Workshop Descriptions

Download workshop descriptions.

Bird Journaling

Presented by: Scott Detwiler, Audobon Society of Western Pennsylvania

Birds are armon the easiest wildlife for a child to see in nearly any environment from country to backyard city. We’ll sample activities that introduce learners of all ages to birds, with an emphasis on hands-on, outside experience. After school providers and educators will learn strategies on how to use journaling with youth and develop literacy skills.

Explore! In Nature

Presented by: Kathryn Hunninen and Patricia Himes, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Come explore the forest floor with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy educators. We will discuss the importance of getting outside and how to plan and prepare for an engaging nature experience with children. Try out techniques, share your ideas, and receive tools and resources to help you connect children to the outdoors.

Weikart Training Session: Building Community

Presented by: Tiara Whitfield, APOST

Do you know what it takes to build an emotionally and physically safe space for youth? Building an emotionally safe community of peers and adults is essential fo youth to learn and develop as individuals. This interacitve workshop will introduce participants to a variety of activities designed to support the community building process.

What Do I Get?

6 hours of PQAS/DHS credits and Act 48
Light breakfast and lunch
Networking with colleagues new and old
Hands-on, interactive workshop sessions
Refreshed or refined thinking about our work with young children

Refund Policy

Refund requests will be honored if received by Thursday, September 7th.


A huge thank you to: our co-host, APOST and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy; our series sponsor, PNC Grow Up Great, and to our workshop partners, without whom this would not be possible!