Title: Playful Nature Explorers Educator
Employer: Ithaca Children’s Garden (ICG)
Location: Ithaca NY
Supervisor: Erin Marteal, Executive Director
About Ithaca Children’s Garden
Ithaca Children’s Garden (ICG) is a non-profit organization driven by a mission to connect children to nature to create a more beautiful, resilient, and just world. Our vision is that every child has the basic human right to play, learn, and grow outdoors, and develops a life-long relationship with the living world. We do that by fostering child-directed, hands-on learning and play in the living world by serving as a demonstration and training hub for those seeking ways to get more children outside.
1. ICG is CHILD-CENTERED by employing playwork philosophy and practice and embracing the 4 core values of the Circle of Courage: independence, mastery, belonging, and generosity to foster positive youth development.
2. ICG is INCLUSIVE, SAFE, and committed to becoming a MULTICULTURAL organization that challenges racist power structures.
3. ICG is COLLABORATIVE by partnering with community agencies, individuals, and other field leaders to develop synergies and build on collective strengths.
4. ICG is INNOVATIVE by continuous development, evaluation, learning, reflection and improvement in our work, bringing a spirit of positivity in all things.
5. ICG is ECOLOGICALLY- CENTERED by practicing and demonstrating ecologically sensitive methods of land-care and people-care and interpreting the benefits of such practices to visitors and program participants.
Ithaca Children’s Garden seeks candidates for Co-Teachers for Playful Nature Explorers, ICG’s garden-based, outdoor preschool. Following the rhythm of the seasons, Playful Nature’s play-based, child-centered curriculum allows the natural curiosity of children ages 2.5-6 to lead their explorations and creative expressions. Based at Ithaca Children’s Garden, Playful Nature spends most of their time outdoors. . The two Educators serving as co-teachers work directly with preschoolers supporting their curiosity, play, development, and independence. Educators will build off of a flexible seasonal curriculum to plan weekly themes and daily activities. They will be responsible for supervision and well-being of children in the program.
This is a part-time, academic year position (Sept-June) at 20 hours/week. Must be available Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-12:30pm. Occasional additional hours may be required for planning and training with notice. The compensation rate for this position is $17.50/hour. The option for year-round employment is available with ICG’s preschool summer camp program, with increased hours per week.
ICG is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to building a diverse staff as per our stated value #2: to be INCLUSIVE, SAFE, and committed to becoming a MULTICULTURAL organization that challenges racist power structures. ICG strongly encourages applications from candidates of color. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law, where applicable.
This is a permanent, part time position. September – June, 20 hours/week. Anticipated start date January 2021. Applications will be accepted through November 2nd or until the position is filled. *If year-round employment is desired, summer employment is possible with ICG’s preschool summer camp program at 30-40 hours/week
Compensation & Benefits
The hourly rate is $17.50/hour. The position is a permanent position and provides access to benefits as set forth in the ICG Benefits Policy, including paid time off. Health insurance is not currently offered. Short term disability and paid family leave are provided as mandated by NYS.
- Support IN-PERSON, child-led, nature-based play, primarily outdoors.
- Responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of all children in the group, including maintaining covid safety protocols for well-being of children, staff, and families
- Plan weekly seasonal themes and daily activities based on a responsive, established curriculum. Contribute curriculum ideas, new themes, and activities to continue developing the program.
- Create a welcoming family environment for all children, and effectively communicate with parents and families individually and in groups.
- Track the development of individual children, assess needs, and plan based on those needs in cooperation with co-teacher and education director.
- Engage in reflective practice with fellow co-teacher and ICG’s education team in order to problem-solve, share successes, and evaluate the program.
- Help assure compliance with program policies, state regulations, and best practices of early childhood education.
- Communicate with program families regularly about program details and their child’s participation.
- Support recruitment and communication for prospective families.
- Take part in professional development as appropriate
- Other duties as assigned
Qualifications & Experience
- An unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality outdoor, nature-based program to preschool aged children
- Experience supporting children ages 2.5-6 in a child-centered, developmentally appropriate program
- Experience and comfort supporting children outdoors, engaged in the natural environment in all weather
- Experience assisting children in daily life activities and transitions
- Active interest in the natural world and a commitment to its use as a central learning topic and context for play and discovery
- Ability to communicate clearly, positively, professionally, and in a timely manner with children, families, and co-workers, both verbally and in writing
- Ability to work both collaboratively and independently and to creatively problem solve.
- Commitment to punctuality, reliability, and providing consistency for program participants
- An understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities.
- Current certification in First Aid and CPR, or willingness to pursue certification
- Familiarity and/or training in Playwork Philosophy
- Basic knowledge and experience in ecology, plants, animals, gardening, music, art, or other related topics
Education and Experience Required
- High school diploma and at least two years related experience
- Or Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in a related field plus at least one full year of related experience
How to Apply
Please email your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Nature Preschool Educator” in the subject line. Cover letters may be addressed to Richard Lansdowne, Operations Manager. ICG Phone: 607-319-4203. Successful finalists must complete and pass the required NYS background checks.
In your letter, please speak directly to your experience, your interest in working with Ithaca Children’s Garden, and your experience serving and working with diverse audiences. ICG is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under federal, state, or local law, where applicable.