Book Title: Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way
Publisher: Cedarsong Nature School
Author: Erin K. Kenny
Erin Kenny'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. The years between birth and five are the most important time period for a child to learn lifelong skills and attitudes. Although humans are born with a genetic predisposition to expect direct contact with the natural world, many young children today do not get that experience. Close contact with nature contributes to young children s motor, sensory, social, emotional, moral and cognitive development, as well as a child s physical health and mental well-being. A child s experiences during this formative period determines their view of the world, how they will interact with others and their own feelings of self-confidence. Friedrich Fröbel, a German educator, coined the word kindergarten (children s gardens) and opened the world's first outdoor kindergartens more than 150 years ago with the belief that young children learn best when playing in nature, away from an emphasis on too many numbers and letters. Today, Germany has several hundred of these Waldkindergärtens, or forest kindergartens,in which children spend their entire class time outdoors year-round. When Erin Kenny first began to develop the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten program, there were none of these programs in North America. Erin felt strongly that she wanted to develop a true Forest Kindergarten, one that takes place entirely outdoors and relies on flow learning. Today the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten is the gold standard in the U.S. of the German waldkindergarten model. Erin has also developed the first U.S. Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training program to inspire and empower other early childhood educators to follow this path.