Professional Development

We offer standard and custom-designed professional development trainings to help prepare educators for the revised Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Framework. Focus is on strengthening content knowledge and teaching methods in earth, life, and physical sciences, while incorporating the best practices of environmental education in your classroom. See listing below for upcoming and ongoing professional development offerings.

Free online curriculum units

Hitchcock Center education staff have developed the following comprehensive curriculum units to teach environmental concepts to young people:
The Pond Ecosystem – Grade 3
Energy is Electrifying!! – Grade 4
Hydroshphere, Water and How We Use It – Grade 5

In Bloom in Western Massachusetts

Saturday, May 15, 9am–4pm
with Antioch University New England

As we’ve learned from the 2020-21 school year, it has been healthier to have children outside. But how do we successfully open up the doors and turn school inside out?

Join the Hitchcock Center as we host Antioch University New England’s In Bloom in Western Massachusetts on May 15, 2021 from 9am – 4pm. The maples, sassafras and inspiring ideas will be flowering by this time in the spring.

Morning and afternoon workshops will be held in-person outside and geared to preschool through third grade teachers, so invite your elementary teacher colleagues.

We’ll have regional presenters leading workshops, giving the keynote and leading panel discussions, and will continue to spotlight the work of Antioch University New England faculty members who teach in the Nature-based Early Childhood Certificate program.

COVID-19 Considerations

We look forward to seeing you at one of this year’s spring In Bloom. We will be following Massachusetts and Hitchcock Center’s guidelines for COVID-19 and program flexibility will be determined by the conditions at the time of the event. There is a limit of 50 attendees. Portions of the conference will be held indoors, limited to 25 attendees at a time, socially distanced and with windows open. Registrants will receive additional information prior to the conference.

NEW for Spring 2021! Teaching STEM Outdoors During COVID-19

10 teachers in Grades K-5
One 90 minute session
Fee: $300.00 plus travel

Are you looking for creative and innovative ways to transition back to in-person teaching at school? What new techniques will you need to have in your toolkit to create a supportive structure for your class? According to medical experts, COVID-19 transmission decreases outdoors, making outdoor education a safe alternative to strictly indoor learning. Being outdoors is also known to reduce anxiety and increase focus in children, as well as increase their interest in the environment.

This teacher workshop will model CDC guidelines while extending the classroom to the outdoors. Learn how you can use your school grounds to teach science, math and literacy. We will model active explorations of:

Math and writing practices as well as literature connections will be woven throughout our outdoor discoveries. You will leave with many tools and best practices to share with your colleagues.


Note: These trainings are available in-person only and for that reason they are temporarily on hold due to COVID-19.

The following trainings are designed to assist teachers in implementing curriculum units that have been  developed by Hitchcock Center educators and can be custom-designed to meet your school’s professional development needs, whether it be a two, six or 10+ hour training. These units are aligned with the national NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and are environment-based. They aim to make learning relevant to students’ lives and to prepare them to be critical thinkers and 21st century problem solvers. Workshops can be held at your school site or at the Hitchcock Center.

Program Fees
Professional Development Training: $200 per hour + travel fee
Consulting Fee: $120 per hour + travel fee

Registration and Questions
For more information on trainings, please contact Helen Ann Sephton, School Programs Coordinator via email or 413-256-6006.

Implementing New Science Units in Your School
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Hitchcock Center for the Environment