Baby Roots Nature Camp

Welcome to Baby Roots

  1. Baby Roots provides a toddler specific context for fostering Executive Function and supporting a Growth Mindset by helping adults put all preconceived ideas aside. Nature Camp asks adults to suspend their disbelief about what is possible.
  2. The toddlers themselves help design the curriculum as the Outdoor Classroom is dynamic and changes with the seasons and weather
  3. Two unique populations are served simultaneously, the Little Ones and their Grown Ups. Both group’s development is equally the focus of the program.
  4. Unlike other parent/child programming in which the entire encounter is taken up with the parent/child population focused on the leader’s content delivery, Baby Roots philosophy embraces the Birth Roots value of Deep Community Building to facilitate relationships that last beyond the time period of the program. Parents are prompted to share specific anecdotes during a group check in process.
  5. Testing their limits is their job, keeping them safe is our job. In the Outdoor Classroom we find the middle of that Venn Diagram.
Parent Topics
  • The Mudkitchen Mindset: Sensory-Rich Habitats for Child-led Exploration
  • Spotting & Scaffolding Toddlers’ & Babies’ Risky Play: Alternatives to “No” & “Be Careful”
  • Tools Not Toys for Toddlers & Babies, natural materials & [safe] loose parts
  • Family Folklore & New Narratives, Place-Making, Identity Foraging 


  •  Participating parents reported feeling more relaxed about not interfering with risk-taking, experimentation, and play that involved making messes and getting dirty.
  • Parents of toddlers said participation in the Outdoor Classroom allowed them to re-envision the materials they make available to their very young children.
  • Parents were given opportunities to evaluate their “Yes/No” response to children’s impulses and developmental exploration of the world.
  • Parents reported feeling supported to embrace a less stifling response to their children’s curiosity as a result of being around other parent participants and hearing their stories.
  • Parents were able to articulate new and emerging narratives about their own parenting identity and philosophy expanding to incorporate the Nature Camp “5 S’s” 1. Slowing Down, 2. Spotting, 3. Scaffolding, 4. Social Skills, and, 5. Seven Senses Integration (Proprioceptive & Vestibular development).

The Outdoor Classroom is a thoughtfully curated space
designed to highlight the importance of unstructured play —  play that isn’t organized or directed by adults and doesn’t have predetermined outcomes. 

The 5 S’s of Toddler-Scaled, Nature-Paced Play

1. Slowing Down: The nervous system of person under the age of 36 months needs plenty of time to sort and file sensory input, to make meaning, relevance and interconnection. Many toddlers have a long observation period before they jump into a new situation. Slowing down to a toddler’s pace can sometimes feel boring to adults, like maybe nothing much is happening. In reality, so much is happening. While waiting for them to take a next step that might seem obvious to you, try 3 slow breathes as a way of checking in with our own nervous system (which might have been hurried when we were their age).

2. Spotting: Providing enough assistance to an unsafe activity to turn it from a No to a Yes. Example, spotting a 1 year old while they master going down the stairs forward facing, see scaffolding

3. ScaffoldingOffering the least amount of intervention (or clues) for how to solve a problem. Also, incorporating important safety concepts into playful rituals, for example, playing “freeze!”

4. Social Skills: Wherever two or more toddlers are gathered the topic of sharing emerges immediately. In the Outdoor Classroom we embrace a Sharing Policy that the person who currently has an item in their hand is NOT asked to surrender it in the name of sharing, they are told someone is waiting for a turn, and our attention goes to supporting the toddler who is frustrated that it isn’t their turn YET. It can be hard to wait and we want to validate that feeling, this is the work of emotional literacy, self regulation and resilience.

5. Seven Senses Integration/Sensory Diet: In addition to the 5 well-known senses, there are 2 additional senses (Vestibular & Proprioceptive) to be aware of. Opportunities to get better acquainted with them are woven into the Nature Camp experience. When parents of toddlers and preschoolers know how to provide a daily Sensory Diet that involves specific Proprioceptive & Vestibular input, Co-regulation is enhanced, which leads to Self-Regulation

Instructor: Leah Deragon, Program Director

Leah is one of the co-founders of Birth Roots, she has been teaching prenatal and postnatal classes for nearly 20 years. She grew up on a small farm on a dirt road in rural Maine. Her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all grew up in rural Maine too. Her own children, now 12 and 8, have both attended the Forest School in West Falmouth, the primary inspiration for Nature Camp. She consults with Pediatric Occupational Therapists to curate the Outdoor Classroom. She is the creative mind behind the Pollinator Parade, the Little Monsters Ball and the Little Gnomes Winter Garden.

All families registered for Nature Camp must read and sign our Outdoor Classroom Guidelines and Covid-19 Waiver prior to attending the first class. Please click the orange button below to review these policies.