Our Cedarsong Way Accredited Schools
Huckleberry Kids Nature School
Aly Thatcher | Director, Lead Teacher
Huckleberry Kids Nature School is a 501(c)3 WA non-profit forest kindergarten & summer camp Nature Immersion program on Vashon Island, Washington: the traditional lands of the Coast Salish Peoples and Puyallup Tribe.
Our programs are designed to integrate children with nature and invite them to participate in quality outdoor activities which stimulate their innate curiosity about the natural world. Our teaching style encourages children to learn through direct experience with nature, while being gently guided toward compassion, friendship, community, and widened perspectives through Anti-Bias teaching principles and inquiry.
Huckleberry’s director & lead teacher, Aly Thatcher, has a passion for mental health and the soothing effects of simply being outside. Aly earned her Masters from Portland State University in 2019 specializing in Early Childhood Mental Health. Aly is a Cedarsong-Certified Teacher and is so inspired by the Cedarsong Way methodology and principles.
Pollywogs Nature Playschool
Rhonda Pollock | Founder, Director, Educator
Pollywogs Nature Playschool operates with a home-based license from the MA Department of Early Education and Care, offering a nature-based preschool program, seasonal after-school nature immersion programs, and a Nature Camp Summer Session. At PNP, childhood is protected; childhood is sacred. Self-directed, self-chosen activities are respected, and the pace of the child is honored. All of our programs follow a Forest Kindergarten Model.
Rhonda Pollock is the Lead Educator and has been nurturing and connecting children to nature since 1998. Rhonda has extensive experience in Early Childhood Education as well as Child Social Services. Rhonda holds a Bachelor of Social Work Degree, B.S.W. from Rhode Island College and is a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Eastern Region Association of Forest and Nature Schools.
Wind Ridge Schoolhouse
Laura Whittaker | Founder, Director, Teacher
Wind Ridge Schoolhouse is a neighborhood nature preschool in Duluth, MN following the Cedarsong Way. Through authentic free play in nature, children ages 3 – 6 learn from one another, teachers, and nature to be brave and kind, hardy and free. At Wind Ridge Schoolhouse children feel nurtured and loved so that they are free to revel in the glory of their childhoods as they play, explore, create, learn, and grow. As the pace of this modern age rushes forward, children at Wind Ridge Schoolhouse know what it feels like to be timeless, surrounded by friends, playing in the Great Northwoods.
Laura has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, a Master’s of Science in Education from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN, and is a licensed child care provider in MN. She is a founding member of the Duluth Nature Play Collaborative and a part of the MN Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Network Steering Committee.
Hickory Hill Nature School
Stacey is a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher and a trained Pennsylvania Master Naturalist. She is also a native of Kennett Square, PA. Stacey began her studies at West Chester University in Pennsylvania with a focus on Art Education. She went on to MCCA Training Institute in Maryland and received her Early Childhood Education Development and Curriculum Teaching Certificate and also studied the Reggio Emilia Approach where she honed her skills as an Early Childhood Educator. After 5 years as a classroom teacher and 8 years as a Director at a large playgroup in Washington, DC. Stacey Gummey founded Hickory Hill Nature School to meet the needs of families who value the Forest Kindergarten philosophies and to offer an alternative to a 4 wall classroom. Stacey has come full circle in her love of nature as she experienced a very nature rich childhood in Kennett and Unionville growing up. Stacey and her husband Michael are also the proud parents of Endsley (10) and Hutch (7). They currently reside in Chadds Ford, PA. Stacey is in pursuit of her herbalism certificate. One should never stop learning!
Asheville Farmstead School
Asheville Farmstead School exists to foster experiences that unearth connection between nature, people, and sustainable food sources. By celebrating individual diversity we lay the foundation for the empathy and kindness needed to create a village of life long learners.
Our students learn skills to develop and care for the Earth, their fellow humans, and their own education. Asheville Farmstead is honored to be stewards of a 25-acre tract of land in Candler, NC. When you drive up to the farm, you will look out over the permaculture-inspired garden, chicken coop, fortville, and field. Behind the field sits our stone-built schoolhouse and yard. Inside is complete with a craft room, student directed learning living room, peaceful room, and a naturally lit kitchen. The school yard is home to dirt kitchen, pine play, an in-ground trampoline, nature ninja course, hammocks, and more! Beyond the school yard lies the forested cove, with a creek, a spring, and a logging road that leads all the way to the ridge line.
Nature Nuts believes that the best way for children to build a strong connection with nature is to let them “get some nature on them”. Children are encouraged to lead the way for their learning in their own way. Nature Nuts is a family run non-profit operating on private land. They offer Forest Kindergarten, summer camps and Family Nature Club events which families return to year after year to enjoy the sense of community that’s been established.
Brenda Running is the Lead Teacher and has been providing outdoor educational programs for 20 years. She is a certified Forest School Teacher, a Native Plant Steward with the Washington Native Plant Society, a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist.
ForestKids Early Learning
Terri Kottwitz, Director
ForestKids is a licensed childcare centre for 70 children ages 3 months- 12 Years. We spend 3-5 hours per day on our 23 acres of old woodland located 500 meters from the centre. The children have the opportunity to experience uninterrupted free play and natural learning in the heart of nature.
Growing up in the country and spending hours at a time outside as a child has had a big impact on how I view childcare today. I have been in childcare for 30 years and participated in two Cedarsong teacher training courses, as well as another ForestKids staff who has completed one. Providing a quality nature experience for young children is my passion and I am happy to be able to provide one for the children of ForestKids.
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