Erin K. Kenny is internationally recognized as a leader in the Forest Kindergarten movement and has been developing programs to connect children with nature for over two decades. Erin has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Education and a Graduate degree in Environmental Law. In 2001, Erin founded Camp Terra, an all outdoor free flow nature immersion program where she began to develop the Cedarsong Way, distinguished by its commitment to free flow child-led nature time, child-inspired emergent curriculum, and inquiry-based teaching. In 2006, Erin created Cedarsong Preschool and has spent the last ten years developing the program into a gold standard model, known now as Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten.
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.
– Fred Rogers
Erin is passionate and eloquent, inspiring and empowering others to place priority on nature immersion time for children and teaching them the value of using The Cedarsong Way. Erin frequently speaks at conferences around the U.S. and has spoken at several international events, including as keynote speaker for the international forest kindergarten conference in Seoul, S. Korea. Erin created the first U.S. Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training program and has already certified over 100 teachers in The Cedarsong Way from all over North America, S. Korea and Australia. Erin is also committed to deepening her own learning and has attended international study trips in the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland and S. Korea.
Erin’s pioneering work is featured in national media such as PEOPLE magazine, Sierra Club magazine, American Forests magazine and Salon.com, as well as on national and international news programs such as ABC News Nightline, UK-Daybreak and NPR.
Erin is also a Bogs Footwear Ambassador, prominently featured on the national website. Cedarsong Nature School recently published Erin’s book Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way and has produced a documentary DVD Into the Forest. Erin also wrote one of the chapters in David Sobel’s new book Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens.
Nature Quiets The Mind So You Can Hear Your Heart
“From the very initial brainstorming about the outdoor education model to the refining of our mission statement, the idea of a permanent scholarship fund has been at the forefront. I feel passionately about connecting kids with nature; I feel that it is healing on an emotional, physical and mental level and I have never wanted anyone to be excluded from any of my programs based on their ability to pay. We have remained committed to our scholarship fund: 100% of money donated to the Cedarsong Nature School scholarship fund goes to needy families; 0% goes to administrative costs. I believe it is an integral part of a child’s healthy development to experience significant amounts of nature immersion time and our scholarship fund ensures that all children will have access to these intimate experiences with nature regardless of their parent’s ability to pay. That remains a cornerstone of our whole organization and its mission.” – Erin Kenny