CLN Institute 2019 Speakers

Here are some of our workshop leaders that come from around the world. These are the “best of the best” and they are passionate about working with teachers and children. Click on their profile to learn more about them.
Max Christie

Max Christie

Max Christie lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand at Childspace. He is passionate about early childhood education, nature, music, storytelling and play!

Max Christie




Max Christie lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand at Childspace. He is passionate about early childhood education, nature, music, storytelling and play!

Max is currently Kaiarahi (Leader) of Te Ngahere ( the forest) programme at Northland Childspace. He enjoys encouraging young children to challenge themselves, take-risks, and connect holistically with all the elements of nature. Max is heavily influenced by the values of Te Āo Māori (the indigenous culture of New Zealand) which focus on interdependence, community, unity of purpose, integrity, honesty, spirituality, and teaching and learning as being one in the same.

Max is currently studying for his Masters in Early Childhood Education. He is a talented musician whose album, Play nicely, has been widely celebrated and he enjoys the creative expression of storytelling with young children.
Ben Clark

Ben Clark

Ben loves learning with and playing alongside young children and values supporting their development and learning through these crucial years. He is passionate about getting children outside, connecting with nature and taking risks.

Ben Clark




Ben Clark was born and still lives in, Wellington, New Zealand where he is a father of two and a passionate Early Childhood Educator. He came to Early Childhood Education late in life after having done many different jobs over the years including work on the movies Avatar and The Hobbit . Ben considers the best years of his life as the 6 years spent at home with his two children.

Ben loves learning with and playing alongside young children and values supporting their development and learning through these crucial years. He is passionate about getting children outside, connecting with nature and taking risks. Ben is equally passionate about providing the nurturing and love that underpins healthy development in all areas.

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (Māori proverb – What is the most important thing in the world? The people, The people, The people.)
Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts

Paul is passionate and articulate speaker on the rights and needs of children. He is an Architect by training, based in San Francisco Bay Area involved in all aspects of developing spaces for children and training for teachers.

Paul Roberts




Paul is passionate and articulate speaker on the rights and needs of children. He is an Architect by training, based in San Francisco Bay Area involved in all aspects of developing spaces for children and training for teachers. Over the past seven years since beginning the Columbia College Child Development Center in Sonora, CA, he has been on a journey of learning and immersion in the realms of children- indoors, outdoors and beyond.

One of the Founders of the World Forum’s Global Collaborative OnDesign for Children, Paul was instrumental in organizing and leading the group’s first conference in 2012 which attracted more than 130 attendees from sixteen countries around the world; He is also part of the World Forum’s Nature Action Collaborative. A frequent presenter at workshops and conferences around the country, he has also been involved teaching with the Outdoor Classroom Project and with Nataure Explore.

Paul after having trained in Scotland and Norway, is now the Claire WardenTM Educational Consultant for the USA. He is inspirational, motivating and listens well. Paul is currently in the process of developing his own Nature based Preschool and National Training Center in Vallejo to help further this movement of bringing children back in contact with nature. A proud Californian, he loves to be outdoors and is particularly excited to be a part of this training institute.

Amy Butler

Amy Butler

Amy Butler is the Director of Education at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont and has been connecting adults and children with the natural world for 20 years.

Amy Butler





Amy Butler is the Director of Education at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont and has been connecting adults and children with the natural world for 20 years. She founded Vermont’s first forest preschool and has nurtured it’s growth to serve the needs of local children and their families. In 2010, Amy founded ECO (Educating Children Outdoors), a standards based nature immersion program that serves 9 public schools in the central Vermont area. Each week Amy and her team facilitate outdoor learning with students and support teachers in extending their classroom into the outdoors.

By advocating for every child to have access to the natural world, Amy strives to help children develop a strong sense of who they are and where they come from. She believes that by simply teaching children how to care for themselves, how to care for others and how to care for the earth, that they will become active citizens, choosing to hold Vermont’s beauty in their care. Amy lives at the base of Spruce Mountain with her family and loves back country skiing, tending her garden and birding by ear from her.
Roberta J. Goldberg, Ph.D.

Roberta J. Goldberg, Ph.D.

Director of the Community Outreach Department at the
Frostig Center, Pasadena, CA, which provides consultation and professional development for teachers and other professionals...

Roberta J. Goldberg, Ph.D.



Dr. Goldberg is Director of the Community Outreach Department at the Frostig Center, Pasadena, CA, which provides consultation and professional development for teachers and other professionals serving preschool through high school students who have special needs. She has conducted the Disabilities Strand training for Head Start/Early Head Start in the San Gabriel Valley and provides consultation to numerous early childhood education programs in the area when concerns arise. She speaks frequently to audiences locally and internationally concerning children's learning and behavior and is an active member of the World Forum Working Group on Inclusion. She publishes regularly in the area of longitudinal studies of children with learning disabilities and Success Attributes. Dr. Goldberg received her Doctorate in Developmental Psychology and School Psychology from the University of Minnesota and holds a current Clinical Child Psychologist license in California.
Kate Hookham

Kate Hookham

Kate Hookham is Mindstretchers Senior Consultant and the Co-ordinator of Living Classrooms. She has developed and delivered key notes, training and CPD courses.

Kate Hookham

Senior Consultant for Mindstretchers Ltd



Kate Hookham is Mindstretchers Senior Consultant and the Co-ordinator of Living Classrooms. She has developed and delivered key notes, training and CPD courses. She is responsible for the operations of our Forest School qualification, including the delivery, assessment and quality assurance in the UK and beyond. At Living Classrooms Kate built community capacity through informal education programmes for refugees, ethnic minorities, the elderly and youth. She now coordinates the International Association of Nature Pedagogy and our Erasmus projects. In addition, Kate supports Auchlone Nature Kindergarten staff and children through hands-on mentoring.
Anne Sivanathan

Anne Sivanathan

Anne Sivanathan has been an advocate for inclusion over the past twenty-five years. Her most recent endeavor is the Inclusive Outdoor Classroom which is a first in her native country of Malaysia.

Anne Sivanathan




Anne Sivanathan has been an advocate for inclusion over the past twenty-five years. Her most recent endeavor is the Inclusive Outdoor Classroom which is a first in her native country of Malaysia. Typically developing children and children with special needs learn alongside in nature to make inclusion a reality.

Anthony Morris

Anthony Morris

An Early Childhood Educator who has been teaching in inner city Melbourne since 2006. He completed the Claire Warden Nature Pedagogy Course, and presented alongside Claire at the CLN Conference in Santa Cruz, USA.

Anthony Morris




Anthony Morris is an Early Childhood Educator who has been teaching in inner city Melbourne since 2006. In 2015 Anthony completed the Claire Warden Nature Pedagogy Course, and presented alongside Claire at the Children Learning with Nature Conference in Santa Cruz, USA. Anthony’s passion for Early Childhood nature education was fostered during his own childhood family holiday adventures to the beach and bush.

The Boy Scouts gave Anthony an awe inspiring respect of nature, and taught him how to play safely with knives and rope. Anthony uses the passion fostered in his childhood adventures, and the knowledge gained from his teaching studies, to take children in Early Childhood settings out into the natural/beyond spaces/environments that can be found in inner city Melbourne.

Anthony has a young family, whom spend much of their spare time in nature and the outdoors. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. Anthony acknowledges the Wurundjeri people, of the Kulin Nations, as the traditional custodians of the land on which he lives, learns, works, and plays.

Linda Barker, M.A.

Linda Barker, M.A.

Linda Barker is currently the Early Childhood Education Specialist in the Community Outreach Department of the Frostig Center, Pasadena, CA.

Linda Barker, M.A.




Linda Barker is currently the Early Childhood Education Specialist in the Community Outreach Department of the Frostig Center, Pasadena, CA. She consults regularly on behalf of young children with special needs in local private, parochial and public preschools. With Dr. Goldberg, she conducts professional development for Early Childhood Educators and parents on topics such as Early Warning Signs, Challenging Behavior, and Including Children with Special Needs, Engaging Young Children and Parent/Teacher Relationships. She has a Master’s Degree in Marriage, Child and Family Counseling, a Pupil Personnel Credential and a background in teaching and directing preschool.

Linda Barker and Roberta Goldberg recently collaborated on the article, “The Director’s Toolbox for Including Children with Special Needs” in Exchange Magazine which helps Directors of early childhood programs assess their readiness to include children with special needs in their programs. They have developed the Including Children with Special Needs in the Outdoor Classroom sequence for the Outdoor Classroom Project™.

About The Childplay Institute

The mission of The Childplay Institute is to improve the education and lives of children around the world working with children and training teachers, parents and others to help children learn and grow.

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