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.


During the first six weeks of the program graduate students build a foundation of understanding, knowledge and  in preparation for their teaching practicum. You’ll establish a sense of place and community by learning with fellow grads about Bainbridge Island and its histories. Community building activities and discussions will help you get to know your peers, the faculty, and the broader IslandWood community. Typically, Orientation programming runs Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm, with some evenings and optional weekend activities.

Program Overview

This video gives you a peek at what our graduate program entails and what we hope you can do in the world by participating in it!


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 in several modalities from storytelling and songs to group games and night hikes with your field group.

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


IslandWood’s academic calendar closely parallels the UW’s, with the finalized IW academic calendar released each summer. This allows the EEC Team to develop a schedule and course selection specific to IslandWood that is as current as possible, responsive to the needs and feedback of the outgoing and incoming classes, community and world events, and reflective of our commitments to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion as best practice in education. 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. The Academic calendar for 2022-2023 is linked here. Courses marked with an asterisk are core courses, offered every year.


We believe that intentional, individualized mentoring plays an integral part in supporting our graduate students in their unique journeys. Our community of mentors brings a wide diversity of identity and experience to the pool of collective knowledge of teaching and learning in JEDI-centering environments, and works collaboratively to see, understand, and meet the learning needs of grads. Read more about what mentoring looks like in the program here.

Researcher in Residence

The Researcher in Residence (RiR) program provides opportunities for alumni and visiting scholars to conduct research at IslandWood. Researchers have the opportunity to connect with current IslandWood graduate students to conduct their research. In a reciprocal partnership, current grads can take part in a workshop to learn a new skill or pedagogical strategy while being exposed to a variety of research methods. Learn more about the program.

Applied Learning & Professional Development

Professional development in the form of Applied Learning Sessions occurs throughout the year during Synthesis Weeks. Some examples of sessions that have been hosted in the past include “Exploring & Challenging Bias in Children’s Books,” “Queering Environmental Education,” and “Building an Effective Professional Portfolio & Web presence.” In addition to stand alone professional development, we also regularly offer ongoing training and development opportunities in art and garden education.

IslandWood graduate students hold up children's books from the collection in Déana's office.