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AMERICAN

FOREST KINDERGARTEN

ASSOCIATION

 

We are a national organization bringing together educators, parents, policy-makers, and other stakeholders passionate about the forest kindergarten model.

Mission

The mission of the American Forest Kindergarten Association is to cultivate a platform for advancing, sustaining and inspiring the American Forest Kindergarten movement through education, advocacy, and support.

Core Elements of a Forest Kindergarten

  • All-weather nature immersion time every day

  • Child-led Flow Learning

  • Inquiry-based Teaching Style

  • Child-inspired, child-directed documentation of Emergent Curriculum

  • Place-based education

  • Small class sizes

Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take the walls away.
— Erin Kenny, AFKA Founder

About Erin Kenny

Visionary. Pioneer. Inspiration. Passionate advocate for the environment. Fearless leader in the forest kindergarten movement. A “force of nature and a force for nature.” This was Erin, founder of the American Forest Kindergarten Association.

As founder of Cedarsong Nature School with Robin Rogers in 2007, she successfully established the first U.S. Forest Kindergarten, an entirely outdoor preschool based on the German Waldkindergarten model. Her school was different than any other around; they had no lesson plans or formal structure, and instead encouraged students to splash in mud puddles, climb trees and make art from rocks and leaves found on the forest floor. She also showed children how to forage for edible plants, inviting them to munch on what she called “forest candy” — the buds of Douglas fir trees — and drink warming tea made from plant material.

The innovative school garnered media attention from outlets including The Seattle Times, People magazine, ABC’s Nightline, Sierra Club magazine, Al Jazeera and the British television show Daybreak. News footage captured the tiny students, well bundled in rain gear, exuberantly exploring the forest.

Erin documented and soon started training teachers in her forest kindergarten teaching method known as The Cedarsong Way. This pedagogy encourages children’s natural love of science resulting in deep understanding and superior retention of natural science principles, while promoting advance social skills, teamwork and cooperation, and a high level of emotional intelligence.

Erin attended international study trips in the Netherlands, Iceland, Germany, and Scotland to further her own learning and was a keynote speaker at conferences in South Korea, Australia, Iceland, England, Canada, and the United States. Erin wrote the books Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way and Teaching The Cedarsong Way: Lessons From an Award-Winning Forest Kindergarten with Robin Rogers, as well as a chapter in David Sobel’s book Nature Pre-Schools and Forest Kindergartens.

Erin lost her battle with ovarian cancer in October 2018, taken much too early from her beloved earth. We are honored to continue moving forward with her ambitions and will forge ahead in the forest kindergarten movement with the same tenacity, integrity, and spirit demonstrated by our matriarch.

Board of directors

The American Forest Kindergarten association is governed by a board of trustees who oversee the vision and mission of the organization and provide administrative resources as well as an Advisory Council.

Brenda Running,  President     Nature Nuts Forest School

Brenda Running, President

Nature Nuts Forest School

Kimberly Worthington    Sprig Nature Immersion

Kimberly Worthington

Sprig Nature Immersion

Aimie Stilling    NaturePlay

Aimie Stilling

NaturePlay

Nicolette Sowder    Wilder Child

Nicolette Sowder

Wilder Child

Danielle Loveless    Loblolly Adventures

Danielle Loveless

Loblolly Adventures


ADVISORY COUNCIl

Frances Kruskopf, PhD University of Victoria, Forest Kindergarten Lab

Frances Kruskopf, PhD
University of Victoria, Forest Kindergarten Lab

Caroline Boxmeyer, PhD University of Alabama; Child Psychologist

Caroline Boxmeyer, PhD
University of Alabama; Child Psychologist

Enid Elliott, PhD University of Victoria, Forest Kindergarten Lab

Enid Elliott, PhD
University of Victoria, Forest Kindergarten Lab

Paul Roberts Architect and Playscape Designer; Children Learning with Nature Institute

Paul Roberts
Architect and Playscape Designer; Children Learning with Nature Institute

David Sobel, PhD  Antioch University, Teaching Faculty; Author

David Sobel, PhD
Antioch University, Teaching Faculty; Author

Robin Rogers Co-founder, Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten

Robin Rogers
Co-founder, Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten

Mary Rivkin, PhD University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Associate Professor.

Mary Rivkin, PhD University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Associate Professor.

Christy Merrick Special Projects Supervisor, Natural Start Alliance

Christy Merrick Special Projects Supervisor, Natural Start Alliance

Niki Buchan Childcare Services Manager and ECE Consultant, Natural Learning Early Childhood Consultancy

Niki Buchan Childcare Services Manager and ECE Consultant, Natural Learning Early Childhood Consultancy

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membership

Levels

  • Educator: $30

  • Individual : $50

  • Organization: $200

Benefits

As a member of AFKA, benefits include exclusive access to our Members Only Facebook Group; use of the AFKA logo for your organization’s website; added to the national map of American Forest Kindergarten Association Members on our website; and more to come.

Payment

Click on the “Become A Member Today”

FOREST KINDERGARTENS


 

Contact Us

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IMPORTANT - Cancellation of the
American Forest Kindergarten Conference!

Hello colleges and friends of AFKA. After much deliberation, the American Forest Kindergarten Association Board has made the difficult decision to cancel the AFKA conference set for August 9-11, 2019. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. All refunds should be posted by July 25th.

In the months since Erin Kenny’s passing, we as a board and organization have realized that we have to take the necessary time to support and strengthen AFKA’s foundation. It is our truest intention to honor Erin Kenny, the incredible work she has done for outdoor educators, and the gift she wholeheartedly shared with the world.

As we shift our focus to our larger vision, we want to ensure our commitment to our members and the Forest Kindergarten community at large. Our mission is to be a source of support through mentorship, resources, professional development, and collaboration, and we are excited to continue our work on this path.

We are optimistic about the future of AFKA and look forward to sharing the journey with you. Please confirm that you have received this message and let us know if you have any questions as we are happy to talk.


Our best,

The American Forest Kindergarten Association Board of Directors



Have questions or concerns? Contact us at forestkindergartenassociation.org