Structure and Design


Structure and Design

IslandWood’s 10-month graduate certificate program runs from mid-August to mid-June on our Bainbridge Island campus. This intensive and rigorous program includes a teaching practicum paired with academic coursework, as well as regular evening programs, trainings, and professional development.


View our 2021 – 2022 Academic Calendar 


During your first six weeks, we build your understanding, knowledge, and skills in preparation for your teaching practicum. We also help you establish your sense of place and community by learning more about Bainbridge Island and its histories. Team building activities and discussions will help you get to know your peers, the faculty, and the broader IslandWood community. Plan on participating in workshops or classes at IslandWood Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with some evenings (no more than once a week) and occasional optional weekend activities.


From late September/early October through early June, graduate students settle into a predictable biweekly schedule. During this time, graduate students typically spend every other week facilitating learning experiences for a School Overnight Program (SOP) field group of approximately 10 fourth to sixth graders. During this teaching practicum, you will plan and prepare lessons, set personal teaching goals and student learning goals, develop assessment tools, use management techniques, and apply theory from graduate coursework.


The teaching practicum includes instruction of evening programs. During the teaching weeks, graduate students are expected to eat at the dining hall. Monday dinner through Thursday lunch are provided by IslandWood.


Graduate student Morgan Malley instructing School Overnight Program students in the forest.


Most professional development trainings are on Mondays and all 10 graduate level classes are typically held on Thursdays and Fridays. Up to 31 credits accredited by the University of Washington can be applied toward the completion of the M.Ed. at the University of Washington. In addition to stand alone professional development, we also regularly offer ongoing training and development opportunities in art and garden education.

“Perhaps the most important lesson I learned at IslandWood was that I didn’t need to have a background of sleeping in tents, participating in outdoor recreational sports, or hiking in national parks to be an environmental educator. I just needed to know that I could play a role in connecting people to the environments and communities around them.”

– Ilya Schmulensen, IslandWood Graduate Program Alum


You will also have your teaching observed by your mentor – an experienced educator on our faculty or staff – and meet with them individually to further your reflective teaching practice.