Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way by Erin K. Kenny was published on August 31, 2013 and the Book Release Party is scheduled for Sat. Oct. 5, from 6-7:30pm, at the Vashon Land Trust Building. Come celebrate this monumental event; hear Erin read excerpts from her book and have your own copy personally inscribed.
Erin K. Kenny, a longtime Vashon island resident, has spent twenty years designing environmental education programs for children with the goal of creating positive connections to the natural world that lead to lifelong activism. Erin has a BA in environmental education and a JD environmental law. In 2007, Erin established the nonprofit Cedarsong Nature School and developed the first U.S Forest Kindergarten based on the German waldkindergartens. With 7 years of experience running the Cedarsong program, Erin has become an internationally recognized expert in the Forest Kindergarten early childhood education model which is distinguished by its commitment to 100% outdoor time, interest-led flow learning, emergent curriculum and inquiry-based teaching style.
Erin’s heartfelt, exciting and wonderful book is both profound and pragmatic. As she shares her own journey of learning about what it actually means to provide immersive preschool experience in an outdoor woodland habitat, Erin takes us deep into the rationale, philosophy, approach and day-by-day management realities of being authentically IN the outdoors. Cedarsong’s Forest Kindergarten is considered the gold standard for Forest Kindergartens in the U.S. and David Sobel, Senior Faculty in the Education Department at Antioch University and author of the seminal Place-Based Education, remarks on the back cover that he appreciates Erin’s "commitment to bringing the Forest Kindergarten spirit to North America".
Erin’s pioneering work in developing the first U.S. Forest Kindergarten is featured in many varied media including Sierra Club magazine, PEOPLE magazine and American Forests magazine, as well as on national and international news programs such as ABC News Nightline, Associated Press and UK-Daybreak, among others.
Forest Kindergartens and Nature Preschools are growing popularity in the U.S. as American parents begin to understand the importance of nature immersion time for their young children. Europeans are more familiar with this early childhood education model and there are hundreds of these Forest Kindergartens and forests schools on that continent. Erin has attended several study conferences in Germany, the Netherlands, and Scotland to further her learning about the Forest Kindergarten rationale and philosophy.
Erin’s expertise led her to establish the first Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training and Certification Program in North America two years ago and she has since trained over 35 teachers from across this continent and beyond. Teachers have come from as far away as Newfoundland, the Virgin Islands and South Korea to participate in the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training program.
As a result of her tireless promotion of the Forest Kindergarten model and her articulating the importance of proper all-weather gear, Erin was chosen as a national Ambassador for Bogs Footwear. Additionally, Cedarsong Nature School has garnered sponsorships from Bogs, Columbia clothing, and Oakiwear outdoor gear.
Erin frequently speaks at conferences and universities on her successful development and implementation of Cedarsong’s Forest Kindergarten. This year Erin is speaking at eight conferences, including presenting the keynote at the Nature Preschool Conference in Maryland and the Alaska Family Childcare Association conference in Anchorage. Later this year, Erin is presenting at the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children Conference and the National Science Teachers Association Conference. Erin often consults for other non-profit agencies, such as Childhaven, about how they can confidently increase nature time for the children they work with.
Erin’s book, Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way is available on Amazon and at local bookstores. It can also be ordered through the Cedarsong website at www.cedarsongnatureschool.org.