Nature as a teacher – eco-centric development in Youth work

Training course – Nature as a teacher – eco-centric development in Youth work, 22-31.05.2017, Gudevica, Bulgaria

This training course is built around the process of eco-centric development, inspired from the Wheel of Life/Medicine Wheel concept and is aiming at creating an educational frame which will contribute to the holistic development of youth.

During the training process we will explore and experience a wide variety of concepts such as holistic development, working with vulnerabilities, therapeutic practices, spirituality, connections, rituals and relations with nature.

Through this training we support the participants in exploring these concepts within the context of their personal and professional life. The practices which will be experienced during the course will be translated into educational tools, methods and activities to be used in the youth field, for the personal and professional development of young people.


Throughout the years we have observed that in many international projects (youth exchanges, courses and other actions) there is a certain point or limit which is not crossed by the youth leaders, trainers or facilitators of the learning process. We could see how the participants involved in such projects are exploring only the surface of their characters and true beings, thus making only small personal and professional changes. But, we believe that sustainable and authentic change is coming from working with young people at deeper levels, addressing deeper personal issues and tackling deeper life topics. In this way the youth can become who they are meant to be.

The youth workers nowadays have the challenge of supporting and empowering young people who are caught in the trap of finding and maintaining unsatisfying jobs in order to make a “normal” living. But the world we live in offers more and more challenges and pushes the youth in areas of insecurity and confusion.

Through Nature as a teacher, we want to give new perspectives, solutions and tools for youth workers so they can create authentic and sustainable personal changes in young people. Solutions that are rooted in ancient wisdom, in natural laws and strong experiential learning.

Thus Nature as a teacher aims at stimulating personal and professional development of Youth workers by experiencing and exploring innovative methods for self-discovery based on modern psychology and ancient nature-based practices.



The training course is built on a flow which combines elements of practice/experience, reflection, theory and application. Thus, we are aiming at:

  1. Developing attitudes towards nature based youth work;
  2. Exploring therapeutic and psychological practices for personal support;
  3. Creating pedagogical tools for self-discovery based on eco-centric psychology;
  4. Delivering knowledge about eco-centric development and spirituality;
  5. Developing competencies to recognize young people’s strong and weak sides, and be open to their vulnerability and personal development;
  6. Developing practical skills for planning, organizing and implementation of local workshops for personal development, self-discovery and reconnection with nature.


  • Eco-centric and holistic development –exploring and understanding the concept and elements of Wheel of Life/Developmental Wheel(a contemporary concept, based on the principles of Medicine Wheel –an element of Native American cultures)and how it can be used in youth work, in order to facilitate authentic development and transition from adolescence to adulthood.
  • Vulnerability and therapeutic practices –working with personal limitations, vulnerabilities and expectations (personal, social groups), finding strengths and qualities, being open, accessing inner resources.
  • Connection with nature –connecting with nature within, nature without, other people, the outside world (deep ecology), exploring the natural elements (water-earth-air-fire), web of life, nature based methods.
  • Spirituality –exploring secret-sacred things, sharing experiences, understanding human spirituality in different cultural backgrounds, exploring rituals and ceremonies.
  • Art and Dance as s tools for communication and self-expression – tools for communication and self expression base on dance and art therapy.


  • Wheel of Life/Developmental Wheel
  • Working with vulnerabilities
  • Therapeutic practice
  • The Way of Council
  • Connecting with nature
  • Experiential learning
  • Baking bread
  • Hero’s Journey
  • Fasting
  • Solo time in nature
  • Sharing, peer-to-peer learning, transferability
  • Living as a community (cleaning, cooking etc.)
  • Network of eco-centric youth workers



The project Nature as a teacher – eco-centric development in Youth work is funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union. The project is funded through Bulgarian National Agency (HRDC) under the number – 2016-3-BG01-KA105-035201.

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