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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.

Kimberly Worthington

Kimberly Worthington

Brenda Running

Brenda Running

Aimie Stilling

Aimie Stilling

Nicolette Sowder

Nicolette Sowder

Matthew Hebard

Matthew Hebard

Kate Yeomans

Kate Yeomans

Teena Patel

Teena Patel

Stacey Gummey

Stacey Gummey


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


 

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