Your Guide

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Kathleen has been an occupational therapist for 23 years, trailblazing new paradigms of therapeutic intervention and working with children in the outdoors for even longer. She has raised two highly spirited daughters who are forces of nature in their own lives. Kathleen is a visionary; founder of RxOutside, the Nature-Led© Approach to growing and healing humans, co-founder of the Central Coast Village Center (DBA as a non-profit organization, she consults with public and private schools, she works privately with families and offers training to professionals and parents. You can find her at

Questions? Comments? Email me!

About this course

"When we respond to the natural world as a reciprocal conversation, rather than a tool to use, miracles happen!" - Kathleen

Best practice for human development includes the brilliance of nature. 

What if we could live in a world where looking into the eyes of children was like seeing lights for a better future?

The Nature-Led Approach guides children in becoming whole again. By using this approach, you will witness children become curious, resilient, joyful, humans who will be capable of solving the problems our world faces.

The Nature-Led Approach Certification is a training and mentorship like no other. In this fun and easy to digest training, I weave together science, immersive nature connection, developmental research, and the neurological needs of children. This comprehensive workshop and 9-month mentorship gives you the insight, tools and language you need to access all nature has to offer for your program, class or family.

"This is precisely the knowledge and skill set that any professional working with kids (or people, really) needs to meet the demands of this societal and environmental moment and to create a hopeful, healthy future."  - participant

AND, I make it fun, accessible, and easy to digest.  It will change you AND the way you practice or parent. 

Do you want to love what you do? Do you want to enjoy your own children more?  Do you want children to be so deeply connected with nature that they want to save it in the future? Do you want children to remember that nature is us? 

The Nature-Led Approach teaches simple yet profoundly effective processes that create a powerful alignment of human and nature. This alignment helps resolve many of the behavioral, developmental and soul deficits children and teenagers face today.
What to expect

The Nature-Led Approach teaches simple yet profoundly effective processes that create a powerful alignment of human and nature. This alignment helps resolve many of the behavioral, developmental and soul deficits children and teenagers face today.

"This course of study has changed me and the manner that I will perform occupational therapy, in a profound way." - participant and occupational therapist

The Nature-Led Approach Certification is a training and mentorship like no others. It combines science, immersive nature connection experience, neurological needs and fun into an accessible and easy to digest course. Beginning with a four day onsite immersion, followed with a 9-month distance mentorship. This program is designed to give you a solid foundation in the art of connective practice outside as well as the therapeutic use of nature. 

The program provides doable learning activities so that each person is 'met' at their own level of skills, and support is given to stretch or grow from that individual place. The mentorship is a journey of skill building and connection, and teaches each participant how to access the connective developmental and therapeutic opportunities that nature offers. 

Here is what participants from the 2018/2019 cohort are saying:

"Thanks to this course, I can do what I do, better.

Through theThe Nature-Led Approach Certification program I am now able to design my programs with greater confidence, deliver a more effective and transformative experience for the young people I serve, as well as communicate my methods more readily to parents, teachers, therapists, and the public. 

The Nature-Led Approach has helped me develop an understanding of the science and showed me how to apply it in a way accessible to myself, my staff, parents, and the public."

Christopher Green, Co-Owner of the Guelph Outdoor School, Ontario, Canada 

"As an occupational therapist and nature connection mentor working with kids, the Nature-Led Approach training is the most meaningful learning I have done to inform my practice. Kathleen’s integration of current scientific evidence, human development, deep nature connection, and healthy cultural practices is comprehensive and visionary. This is precisely the knowledge and skill set that any professional working with kids (or people, really) needs to meet the demands of this societal and environmental moment and to create a hopeful, healthy future." 

Megan Barrow, MOTR/L, Nature Connection Mentor, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

"This course of study has changed me and the manner that I will perform occupational therapy, in a profound way. Kathleen has distilled together the essence of nature connection and the wisdom of years as a pediatric occupational therapist into a work of art.  I highly recommend this course." 

Mary Ann  Hull - School based occupational therapist of 25 years, New Mexico.

The Nature-Led Approach is informing me on how to be more human.

Robyn - Musician, music teacher, and outdoor mentor, California.

"I have very much enjoyed and learned so much from participating in this course! I am most grateful for the new perspective I have gained regarding how we can better provide meaningful and relevant support to  the children we work with.  Each session builds on information that is extremely valuable and applicable to our daily interactions with our students and nature."

Marcela Ponce, Small business owner and nature connection mentor, Cambria California.


All the details:

What will I learn in this certification?

  • Human Development - backed by the most recent research, you learn how nature shaped every system the human body has and how to support optimal development.
    • gross motor, fine motor, attention, focus, emotional regulation, visual and auditory processing, spatial processing, conflict resolution, 
  • Sensory development - What it is. How and why it is important, and how to facilitate it in nature.
  • Effective techniques for facilitating group dynamics. 
  • Emotional and physical regulation techniques outside. 
  • How to translate "nature connection" into a language that others value. 
  • Core routines, strategies and activities of developmental and therapeutic nature connection. 
  • How to re-language, re-frame, and create healthy behavioral patterns for yourself and others. 
  • The natural learning cycle - structuring a program to capitalize on the human's natural intelligence with nature. 
  • How the neurological system is designed by nature and what can be done in any setting to support this connection. 
  • Hazards, risk, and safety - how to assess what is risky versus hazardous.
  •  Healthy boundaries - freedom and sovereignty are built on trust and connection. 
  • And so much more. 

When: Summer and Fall dates announced soon. 

Location: Morro Bay, California

Investment: $2888.00 (payment plans available)

Distance Mentorship dates: The first Saturday of every month beginning in the month directly following the immersion and ending 8 months later.

The program is completed after demonstrating competency through assignments, quizzes, and a final project (to be determined at participants first 1:1 mentoring session with Kathleen.)


Frequently asked questions:

Q: Who is this retreat/workshop for?

A: If you work with children in any capacity, this is for you.  Occupational Therapists, Counselors, Teachers, Outdoor educators, Behaviorists, administrators, parents.

Q: How is this different than say Forest School training  or other therapeutic training programs and franchise’s?

One could say that most forest school trainings and outdoor franchise programs give you a recipe, while the Nature-Led Approach teaches you how to cook. Getting kids excited to play outside is the first step, the second is understanding how the outdoors supports development and therapeutic opportunities, that is often where those trainings end. The third step is  developing a reciprocal relationship with the forms, patterns, and rhythms of the natural world in a way that fulfills our original neurological design. 

Our program takes you on a journey through our original design. This design is nature’s intelligence weaved into our humanity. 

Other training end when you leave the workshop, ours is designed to support your entire first year journey after the workshop. The ongoing mentorship also teaches about communication, group dynamics, behavior and physical and socio-emotional learning.

Q: What does my investment include?

A: The initial onsite training (camping, food, all activities), a workbook, a resource library, a nine month mentorship,.

Once coursework is satisfied participants can apply to be listed on the  RxOutside website as Nature-Led Approach Certified.

Q: Do I have to develop my own curriculum?

A: Yes and no. You will not be alone, but, because this is a “connection” program and is by design Nature-Led, meaning nature takes the lead, you will learn to work with the landscape of your specific local. You will have the option to be part of a membership site (49.00/month) where there will be ongoing support and content with suggestions, handouts, and continuous resources as well as live Q&A sessions monthly.  The ultimate goal is to teach you how to cook so that you can be deeply connected to your landscape, thus modeling this connection and supporting the kids to develop this foundational need.

Q: Will I need to get insurance to run a program?

A: If you plan to start and run an outdoor program with other people's children, then yes, you will need general liability insurance and we will share resources and point you in the right direction. It’s not as scary as it sounds!

Q: Will I be competing with other Nature-Led Approach Certified providers?

A: There are almost 8 billion people in the world and we need all hands on deck. We operate from an abundance mindset and believe that there is an abundance of need out there, with no shortage of kids to sign up for your program. We create a supportive environment where graduates of the program are supportive of each other and the work each person is bringing into the world.

 “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Shakespeare

Q: I am an occupational therapist.  How will this training help me?  

A: Aaaah. I am so excited about sharing this with other occupational therapists- our profession is poised to be the nature connection specialists of the future - helping childhood reclaim it’s true potential!  This will help you in more ways than I can list, but most obviously, it can serve as a conceptual model of practice; one that is deeply meaningful for both you and your clients.  Finding meaningful, functional activity for our clients is essential and there is nothing more meaningful than facilitating a therapy session, using a nature-led approach.   

Q: After I participate in this retreat/workshop can I advertise that I use the Nature-Led approach?  

A: Not yet, but close.  Because we intend this as a game changing, life-force giving, paradigm shifting, approach, we want to be sure that you are supported and practiced in its implementation.  You will need to complete the 9-month distance mentorship, with fun, task oriented, integrative lessons, that can be practiced in your current setting.  

Q: I work in a traditional school setting, is this an appropriate workshop for me?

A: Yes.  Our Nature-Led Approach is not just about re-learning to connect with nature, it’s a life-style reset and redesign, and a therapeutic grade approach to teaching, interacting, sensory processing, social-emotional regulation, communication, and a generally more meaningful and functional way of approaching the way you interact with children. You will never see the world the same again!  

Q: I already work with kids in nature.  Will I learn anything new in this workshop?  

A: Yes.  We hope so.  If you don’t, we will give you your money back and then probably beg you to work with us! Our intention is to show you ‘kids in nature’ in a profoundly different and more integrated way than you have seen it before; one that will bring greater value, more inspiration, deeper insight and renewed passion for what you do. 

Q: Do I need to bring my own camping gear?

A: Yes.  and No.  It is preferable that you have your own camping equipment but if you don’t we still want you to participate so, let us know, and for an additional fee, we can set you up.  

Q: Will there be someone to help set up my tent?

A: If camping is not your normal thing-that’s OK!  We’ve got your back.  You will have help when you arrive- We are all in this together.  :)

Q: Do I realllllllly have to camp?

A: Perhaps there is a physical limitation that makes sleeping on the ground difficult. If this is your reality, please contact us to hear alternatives.

You just don’t see yourself as a camper? 

Wellllllll, to receive the full immersive experience we have planned for you, camping is preferable.  However, we want to stretch your comfort zone but not throw you off a cliff! If you can’t stand the thought of being caressed by the wind, swooned by the stars, and serenaded by the morning chorus of birds, then by all means we can supply you with a list of great lodging options- and we pinky swear promise, to love you the same as the campers :)   

Q: What if I come and don’t love it?

A: We highly doubt that will happen, but if you are not sure yet, feel free to go to our scheduling app HERE and sign up for a free15 minute consultation slot. We can chat about your interest and concerns and determine if we are a good fit.  We want everyone to leave happier than when they arrived sooooo, if at the end of the weekend, you are not in LOVE with all that you have experienced and learned, we will refund your $$ less our costs of providing food, camping and gear (if applicable). 

Q: After attending this retreat workshop and completing the 9-month mentorship, then what?  Am I on my own?  

A: Nope.  There are four ways you will continue to receive support:

  1. You are now part of a larger community of parents and professionals who use the Nature-Led Approach and will have life-time access to a private online community forum. 
  2. For two months, you will have access to a once a month conference call to ask questions, share stories and celebrate successes.   After two months you have the option of participating in our membership site (a minimal monthly fee) to receive ongoing support: live video sessions, resources including seasonal ideas, community and parent handouts, forms, activity sharing, and much more. 
  3. You will receive discounts for two years on all other courses, workshops, 1:1 mentoring, and periodically get ‘free stuff’ offered only to past participants.

WANT TO TALK WITH KATHLEEN? Email her at with subject "next cohort."