Getting to Know...the Natural Start Alliance


Knowing that no one is ever too young to begin their journey in environmental education (EE), in 2013 the North American Association for Environmental Education initiated the Natural Start Alliance, a network of organizations, educators, and parents committed to connecting young children to nature and the environment through education.


Since its creation, the initiative focuses on the goal of helping “ensure that environmental education begins with our very youngest learners: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers,” the NAAEE explains. “In these early years, environmental education is rooted in play and inquiry and is focused on introducing children to nature and the environment in ways that are connected to the places where they live and foster positive feelings about the natural world. The Natural Start Alliance brings the field together to work toward the shared goal of ensuring that all children receive the benefits of nature-based education in early childhood.”

As the NAAEE’s backbone organization focusing and amplifying the collective impact of the people and organizations that share this common vision, the Alliance works to

  • promote EE that is engaging, effective, safe, and inclusive

  • increase the competencies of early childhood environmental educators to meet the needs of children with different abilities and from a diversity of backgrounds, including young people of color and those from underserved communities

  • foster and support early childhood environmental education communities of practice

  • advocate for policies that support nature-based early childhood education settings and programs

  • promote research that informs early childhood environmental education practice and advocacy

  • promote the value of early childhood environmental education to educators, policymakers, and parents


Work for a school or organization that’s interested in joining Natural Start? Membership is free, and the benefits are numerous! Learn more about the initiative and the ways you can get involved here.