This position will work part-time for the Brandywine Zoo in the Education Department. The Early Childhood Educator (ECE) will coordinate and develop classroom and outdoor early childhood programming, including toddler and PreK programs, nature play programming, and school-age programming to develop an affinity for wildlife and expose our guests to the benefits of outdoor play. The person in this position exercises proficiency in typical software, including MS Office, Google Drive, and registration/database management software. The ability to multi-task is essential and excellent independent work skills are required. The position must demonstrate the ability to interact professionally with the public, board of directors, zoo staff and volunteers. The individual must be a good team player and be willing to assist in other departments. The ability to establish working partnerships inside and outside the organization is essential. The position is expected to participate in school programming, outreach programming, nature play and early childhood programming, and most special events and fundraising activities. If you are seeking hands-on experience in informal environmental education, this is a great opportunity for you.

Primary Duties

  • Provide visitors with a memorable and positive experience in our nature playground.
  • Training interns and volunteers to facilitate nature play experiences and early childhood programming with our guests.
  • Develop and maintain nature play areas and interactive features, including sensory/pollinator gardens and opportunities that encourage exploration.
  • Create and deliver current and new early childhood programming focusing on natural history and STEAM, including our Virtual Science Cubs, Little Nature Explorers, Storytime, and other family programs.
  • Support additional programming, such as Earth Agents, a program to engage families in conservation.
  • Create and design workbooks, activity sheets, graphics, and virtual resources (videos, social media content) to accompany programming.
  • Create and manage department “products,” such as our Zoo Explorer backpacks or Discovery Guides, that support our education and conservation missions while also generating revenue.

This position will work with co-educators to develop and grow community programs. (30%)

  • This includes but is not limited to creating homeschool classes, developing family-oriented/multi-generational education classes and programs, and working to increase programming reach to diverse and inclusive communities.
  • Working with the Assistant Curator of Education to develop the Brandywine Zoo as a destination field or day-trip location for organizations in Delaware and the surrounding states.
  • Develop and teach virtual and in-person family and homeschool programming.
  • Develop resources for and teach family-oriented education opportunities and zoo membership-driving programming.
  • Create partnerships with local organizations to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion programming opportunities.
  • Community engagement in meaningful ways that responsibly support our current or growing conservation efforts.

This position will cover other programming areas and needs seasonally, including: (30%)

  • Work with co-educators to develop and deliver educational content to zoo special events and conservation holidays (like Earth Day), and support other programming areas (camps, scouts, school programs, outreach, virtual programming) as necessary.
  • Handling and presenting ambassador animals, staying up to date on policies and procedures for working with ambassadors, and training interns or other staff on handling animals.
  • Coordinate with zoo marketing staff to provide necessary materials and information for marketing programming.
  • Ensure a healthy learning environment – including maintaining appropriate hygiene, health, and cleanliness standards and safety and security of children.
  • The ability to handle live animals for public presentations, including a strong grasp of operant conditioning training methods, to present ambassador animals for programming needs.

Primary Qualifications 

The ideal candidate will have a B.A. or B.S. in Wildlife Conservation, Environmental Education, Biology, Wildlife Ecology, or Education, or two years of work-related, outdoor environmental education or zoo experience as an equivalent. A background in K-12 education in either a classroom or an informal environmental education setting is preferred, but not required.  The successful candidate will have excellent writing and communication skills, a positive attitude, enjoyment of the outdoors, customer service experience, and an ability to deliver engaging, energetic environmental education programs to both children and adults. A prerequisite to employment will be a criminal background check and other requirements of working with young children per the Beau Biden Act.