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Bluestem Hall Nature School

Assistant Teacher  *email us to inquire about any open assistant teaching positions


School mission: Bluestem Hall Nature School fosters rich learning, place-based literacy, and a deep and lifelong sense of belonging to the natural world through slowness and freedom. In modeling healthy relationships that establish trust of self, trust of others, kindness, empowerment, and body autonomy, our students will have the support to be their authentic selves. Please refer to our philosophy + guiding principles pages on our website to learn more about what drives our school!


Position: An Assistant Teacher will be an engaged, driven, and warm presence in the classroom helping guide the education of children 3 – 5. Helping facilitate custom teaching practices for the school, this position will work closely with our Director of Education and Lead Teacher. This position may be 2-5 days a week, in the classroom 830-130 and helping with administrative and facilities after school on requested days 130-230. A typical day for this position will include assistant teaching at outdoor field stations on a 120-acre state protected prairie preserve as well as indoor classrooms in a restored 1963 machine shed. All staff must be prepared to spend the majority of the teaching day outside in a variety of seasons and weather conditions.



  • Showcase an authentic drive to create a physically and emotionally safe learning environment for children.

  • Assistant in the early education of preschool and kindergarten mixed age students with both emergent and planned curricula, recognize and follow child-led interests, and lesson plan with play-based philosophies in mind.

  • Maintain (or develop) a thorough understanding of the native species (plant, mammal, bird, insect) present in the Barnhart Prairie Preserve, as well as a basic understanding of regional forest, river, and lake flora and fauna.

  • Demonstrate the ability to establish healthy relationships with enrolled families including easy and clear communication in person. Understand the goal is to celebrate the small community and closeness our school has with all families but from a place of professional boundaries and good decision making.

  • Attend (as scheduled and requested by the Lead Teacher) any additional family conferences required to meet the social/emotional/physical/cognitive needs of all students.

  • Establish individual relationships with all students to ensure you can recognize their unique form of learning and can foster custom opportunities for growth.

  • Willingness to develop a sincere understanding of the Bluestem Hall Nature School Philosophies and Guiding Principles in order to fulfill our education goals.

  • Assistant Teachers shall work under the direct supervision of the Lead Teacher and shall not assume full responsibility for a group of children except for no more than one hour while the children are on their cots.

  • Show initiative in the maintenance of the indoor and outdoor classrooms

  • The end of the work day will include assistance in requested cleaning duties to help restore all used spaces (classroom, library, hallways and transition spaces, bathrooms, kitchen, dressing cubbies and benches, porch, playground, field stations, entry way, chalkboard, sidewalks etc) to the condition they were in before school may include but not be limited to: sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, surface cleaning and sanitization, arranging toys and objects, dusting, and general upkeep to maintain a presentable and clean school environment.

  • Acknowledge and respect diversity and promote inclusion of all people regardless of ethnic, cultural, linguistic backgrounds, gender identity, sexual orientation, and physical and mental disabilities.



Bluestem Hall Nature School will be under the permit/licensure of DCFS as a Daycare Center and all staff must fulfill licensed position requirements.

  • A degree in Early Childhood or Elementary Education is preferred, but not required

  • Experience working in an early childhood education setting such as a school, preschool, or daycare is preferred.

  • Must have the knowledge of principles and techniques in early childhood education, or the sincere willingness to learn, and the ability to implement this knowledge through developmentally appropriate teaching.

  • Experience working in Environmental Education is preferred.

  • An understanding of the ecology, geology, botany, and zoology of our native midwestern prairie landscape or a willingness to learn is required.

  • Prior CPR and first aid certifications, or willingness to obtain.

  • Ability to sit, stand, crawl, lift children, hold children, and walk on uneven terrain will be essential. Reasonable accommodations for these physical requirements can be made to enable the right candidate.

  • Complete all DCFS required paperwork, including trainings, registrations, background check, health + personal documentation etc. in a timely manner before your first day.


The Assistant Teacher exemplifies a genuine interest in the wellbeing of children. The ability to listen, engage, teach, and communicate with children of all ages and developmental levels and with the adults in their lives is necessary. Working with a small, tight-knit team of both supervisors and supporting staff will be crucial; this position will be under the supervision of the Director of Education and Lead Teacher. Cultivating parent relationships and representing our program well through verbal communication will be required. The best candidate must be able to showcase the flexibility to work as a cohesive team in our small nonprofit organization.


Job Type: 5 - 6 hours a day, 830 – 130/230

5 days a week

Salary Range: $15/hour

Start Date: august 28, 2023

Contact Person: Abbie Frank, Executive Director


Address: 1401 E Old Church Road Urbana, Illinois 61802


How to Apply:

Please email your resume and a paragraph introducing yourself, highlighting your unique interest in nature-based education, and sharing your personal philosophies on teaching. We want to get a sense of who you are!


Non-Discrimination Statement:

Bluestem Hall Nature School will not base assignment and promotion decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person's race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Bluestem Hall Nature School is committed to being a site of equal opportunity for employment and education.

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