Common Ground is Hiring Nature Year Teachers (Full and Part Time Available)

Job Title:  Forest School Teacher in the NatureYear Program at Common Ground


Organization Overview


Common Ground is a center for environmental learning in New Haven, Connecticut. Farm meets forest meets city

on Common Ground’s 20 acre campus at the base of West Rock Ridge. The site abuts the 1800 acre West Rock

State Park, sharing hiking trails, wildlife, and diverse natural habitats with the surrounding forests. Common

Ground’s urban farm produces sustainably grown food for programs and our community, and is home to our

friendly farm animals. Common Ground’s Charter High School uses the site as an organizing principle of its

curriculum which is guided by an ecological framework highlighting the connection and interdependence of all

living and non-living things. Each year, more than 10,000 community members participate in festivals, field trips,

after-school programs, and other educational opportunities on site. For more information visit

Job Description

NatureYear connects a small group of children (ages 5 – 13) with a 10 month long intensive experience in nature.

Children come for one full day each week instead of attending their traditional classroom on that day. NatureYear

teachers use an emergent curriculum that follows the seasons and the interests of the children. Teachers provide

content based learning about science, nature, and the environment as well as facilitate and create opportunity for

adventure based play. NatureYear is conducted almost entirely outdoors in all weather, with indoor spaces

available only in severe weather.


This position requires exceptional behavior management skills, excellent judgement, adaptability, flexibility, and

the ability to make sound decisions on-the-spot. This position also includes regular verbal and written

communication with the parents of enrolled children.

Additional responsibilities:

This position is a member of the Community Programs Team and reports to the Director of Community Programs

Additional position responsibilities include:

  • Participation in ongoing staff development as a member of the Environmental Education team
  • Working as a member of the Community Programs Team, including regular meetings and work to support the overall operations of the non-profit programs.

Program information and videos are on our website, and lots of pictures are on Instagram (@CommonGroundNatureYear). Applicants should review available information, as NatureYear is a unique teaching opportunity that is amazing for the right applicant and is different from many traditional environmental ed programs.

Required Schedule

This position starts on Sept 3, 2019.

The PART TIME position requires a commitment of at least 2 days per week (weekdays) from September through early June.  Openings may be for 2, 3, or 4 days per week (15 – 30 hours per week), and exact schedule is to be discussed. Hours are 8:30 AM – 4 PM on each scheduled day. Summer work is also available but not a required commitment as part of this position.

The FULL TIME position works in NatureYear during the school year and as a member of our summer camp team in July and August. The position is 40 hrs per week, typically weekdays from 8:30 AM – 4 PM, but full time staff may have some variation in that and may also have occasional evening and weekend responsibilities.

Position requirements:
  • Significant experience with planning and leading activities for groups of children ages 5 – 13 in a

professional setting (school, preschool, nature center, etc).

  • A minimum of 3 years experience as an outdoor Environmental Educator, or in a school or other

educational setting with a significant outdoor component

  • Strong understanding of developmental needs of children ages 5 – 13 and experience in a teaching

position that is responsible for meeting social and emotional needs of young children.

  • A passion for Common Ground’s mission and commitment to equity, diversity and environmental


  • Strong critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Ability to work independently and be self directed as well as to compromise, communicate, be flexible,

and work closely with a staff team

  • Demonstrated prior experience with projects that require attention to detail and being highly organized

and efficient.

  • Commitment to working closely with a racially and economically diverse urban school community.
  • Strong communication skills, including speaking with children and adults as well as written

communications (newsletters, daily/seasonal child reports, etc).

  • Ability and desire to work outdoors in all weather, including rain and snow.
  • Commitment to child centered teaching and behavior management, with the ability and desire to meet

the needs of individual children.

Preferred (not required) qualifications:
  • Bachelor degree or higher in education, environmental education, or related field.
  • Interest in/knowledge of the Forest School model of learning
  • Current CPR and First Aid certification

$15 – $17.25 per hour, depending on experience.  The part time position does not include benefits.

Full time positions start at $34K (starting salary is fixed in the budget and not flexible) and include paid vacation and medical and dental insurance.

To Apply

Complete the online application HERE and email a resume to Rebecca Holcombe at

Application deadline: July 30, 2019

(interviews may start sooner and the position may be filled before the application deadline)


It has been the policy and will continue to be the strong commitment of the Common Ground and all contractors and subcontractors who do business with Common Ground to provide equal opportunities in employment to all qualified persons solely on the basis of job-related skills, ability and merit.  Common Ground will continue to take Affirmative Action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, mental disorder (present or past history thereof) age, physical disability (but not limited to blindness), marital status, mental retardation, criminal record, sexual orientation, gender identity and criminal record.  Such action includes, but is not limited to, employment, promotion, demotion or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation, and selection for training, professional development, attendance at conference or other opportunities for advancement.  Common Ground, its contractors and subcontractors will continue to make good faith efforts to comply with all federal and state laws and policies which speak to equal employment opportunity.

The principles of Affirmative Action are addressed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution, Civil Rights Act of 1866, 1870, 1871, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VI and VII of the 1964 United States Civil Rights Act, Presidential Executive Order 11246, amended by 11375, (Non-discrimination under federal contracts)< Act 1, Section 1 and 20 of the Connecticut Constitution, Governor Grasso’s Executive Order Number 11, Governor O’Neill’s Executive Order 9, the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Law (Sec. 46a-60-69) of the Connecticut General Statutes, Connecticut Code of Fair Practices (46a-70-81), Deprivation of Civil Rights (46a-58(a)(d)), Public Accommodations Law (46a-63-64), Discrimination against Criminal Offenders (46a-80), definition of Blind (46a-51(1)), definition of Physically Disabled (46a-51(15)), definition of Mentally Retarded (46a-51(13)), cooperation with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (46a-77), Sexual Harassment (46a-60(a)-8), Connecticut Credit Discrimination Law (360436 through 439), Title I of the State and Local Fiscal Assistance Act of 1972.

This Affirmative Action Policy Statement re-affirms Common Ground’s commitment to equity in the workplace and the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity.



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