Interpretation for children – Exploring Cornell´s approach of sharing nature in relation to IE quality standards

Interpretation for children – Exploring Cornell´s approach of sharing nature in relation to IE quality standards


18:00 - 19:00

Event Type

One of the principles of Heritage Interpretation written by Freeman Tilden is: “Interpretation addressed to children (say up to the age of 12) should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults but should follow a fundamentally different approach. To be at its best it will require a separate program.”

How to captivate, motivate and enthuse children and youth for heritage interpretation is a huge challenge for interpreters working with this age group.

Joseph Cornell, the founder and president of Sharing Nature Worldwide, (, is one of the most revered American nature educators in the world today. The nature awareness methods featured in Cornell’s Sharing Nature book series are used by millions of parents, educators, naturalists and youth leaders all over the world.

Cornell’s highly effective outdoor learning strategy, Flow Learning, was featured by the U.S. National Park Service as one of five recommended learning theories. Flow Learning is a sequence with four stages for games and activities that, regardless of a group’s age, mood, and culture, always seems to work best. This sequence provides a simple framework that allows you to structure the experience for best effect through stages that flow naturally from one to the next. Each stage contains activities that are easy to play, joyful, intellectually stimulating, and highly engaging. Flow Learning can be used successfully in sessions lasting from 30 minutes to all day. Although it was originally developed for teaching outdoor nature classes, it can be used to interpret any topic, indoors or outdoors.

The FLOW LEARNING sequences:
Stage One: Awaken Enthusiasm
Stage Two: Focus Attention
Stage Three: Offer Direct Experience
Stage Four: Share Inspiration

Janja Sivec loves words, stories and creating programmes for her inner child. She is a freelance interpreter, IE trainer and storyteller. For the last decade she has been involved in creating and leading programmes for children and youth at heritage sites. From acting, storytelling, art workshops, handicraft workshops, sustainability, geology, bees to scavenger hunts about nature in the baroque.

Dr. Urša Vilhar is a senior researcher at the Slovenian Forestry Institute, dealing with the topics of forest ecology and hydrology. She is also an IE CIG and an educator with a long track record of delivering workshops for children and families, training courses, seminars and teaching resources on environmental education aimed at kindergarten and schoolteachers, guides and other outdoor educators. She is also co-author and co-editor of several didactic materials on environmental education, including the Handbook for Learning and Play in the Forest.