Lead Teacher - Nature-based Preschool

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Deadline to Apply:

Saturday, April 15, 2017, 11:45pm



Holland, MI
United States

Job Category:


Job Type:


Job Description:


The Little Hawks Discovery Preschool is a nature-based preschool operated by the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway (ODCMG). The ODCMG a nonprofit organization focused on educating children and families about our natural resources, providing educational programming throughout West Michigan. The ODCMG, which has been in existence for nearly 15 years, manages over 500 acres of property. The preschool is located on the ODC Nature Preserve. The Little Hawks Discovery Preschool provides preschool opportunities for children aged 3-5, building academic skills within a unique natural environment with an emphasis on nature based inquiry and outdoor exploration. 


The Lead Teacher will provide a high quality, developmentally appropriate nature-based preschool experience for children ages 3-5 who are enrolled in the Little Hawks Discovery Preschool.

Primary Responsibilities:

Program Planning and Development:

Work with instructional team to:

  • Design daily nature-based developmentally appropriate preschool lessons/units of study guided by mission, principles, Creative Curriculum and practices for quality early childhood programs.
  • Design and implement an outdoor learning environment where open-ended play is the focus.
  • Identify curriculum resources.
  • Design and set up classroom space based on guidelines for program evaluation through Great Start to Quality and Great Start Readiness Program’s Program Quality Assessment (PQA)
  • Collect and analyze assessment data (Teaching Strategies GOLD, PELI, etc.) to measure/facilitate student growth and improve program quality
  • Work actively with ODCMG staff to ensure children have a strong connection to nature.

Teaching and Evaluating:

  • Serve as lead teacher for designated classes of Little Hawks Discovery Preschool
  • Work cooperatively with team to incorporate nature into daily curriculum.
  • Facilitate cooperative/interactive approach to planning and teaching within instructional team
  • Lead teaching team for assigned sessions to determine instructional goals, plans, activities and materials
  • Assess programs based on current research and developmentally appropriate practices and make recommendations for improvement
  • Assure compliance with all relevant governmental rules and regulations. Be aware of and responsive to best practices within the early childhood profession.
  • Determine professional learning needs and opportunities


  • Work with Program Director to train, supervise, and evaluate Associate Teachers on instructional team
  • Work with Program Director to train, supervise and evaluate preschool volunteers.
  • Maintain open communication with ODCMG staff and coordinate programming with naturalists.
  • Maintain open and regular communication with Program Director and Preschool Administrator.

Creating Community:

  • Ensure that parents are informed and involved in their children’s experiences and progress.
  • Plan and facilitate parent and volunteer involvement in programs.
  • Participate with other staff members in developing collaborations with other preschools, including nature-based preschools, Ready for School, community and professional organizations.
  • Promote the importance of early childhood nature education to parents, caregivers, teachers, funders, etc. through articles, newsletters, interviews, Facebook page, etc.

Professional Responsibilities:

  • Maintain educational and training requirements for licensing and quality program assessments
  • Supervision/Evaluation
  • Supervision and evaluation will be provided by Little Hawks Discovery Preschool Program Director

Desired Education/Experience:

  • Teaching certificate with early childhood emphasis, ZS endorsement preferred OR Degree in Outdoor Education with teaching certificate
  • Two or more years of experience in working at a nature center and with young children, preferably experience at a Nature-based Preschool.
  • Background/experience in nature-based instruction, outdoor education or similar field.

Other Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated interest in young children and early childhood education
  • Interest in nature and being outdoors
  • Willingness to spend a significant amount of time outdoors each day, in all types of weather
  • Demonstrated good character, responsibility and suitability to meet the needs of children
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team
  • Must pass complete background check, including fingerprinting
  • Current certification in First Aid/CPR desired, training will be provided if needed

Physical Demands:

This position requires the following physical activities: pushing, pulling, climbing, walking, standing, squatting, stooping, kneeling, twisting, reaching, sitting, lifting, bending, finger dexterity, grasping, repetitive motions, talking, hearing and visual acuity. The work/teaching is performed indoors and outdoors.

Equipment Operated:

Must be proficient with Microsoft Office applications, Google, and the operation of general office equipment

These job responsibilities represent only the essential and most significant duties of the position. This job description does not exclude other work assignments, directives and responsibilities not mentioned above.

How to Apply:

Applications should be sent to:

Travis Williams, Executive Director

Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway

4214 56th Street

Holland, MI 49423


Timeline: Applications should be submitted by April 1, 2017
Job starting date: No later than August 14, 2017