Our Vision & Mission

We envision a world where children are free to learn through movement, play, and socialization in a natural setting. We strive to provide children with high-quality educational opportunities that develop and promote authentic inspiration, intention, and interdependence with the Earth and its inhabitants. 

“Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.”
— Erin K. Kenny, Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way

What We Believe

We believe that learning happens in relationships with others.

  • We are guided by constructivist educational principles. Children learn from one another, parents learn alongside children and each other, and teachers grow from the wisdom parents share. We value strengthening community connections amongst and across generations. We affirm this belief in relationships by adopting a cooperative mode to increase inclusivity and parent involvement.   

We believe in a child's right to free play and the value of the learning that happens in that context.

  • The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child prioritizes the right to play. The forest kindergarten pedagogy is founded on the inherent benefits of child-led play in the forest. The natural world offers the ideal setting for children to learn social-emotional skills, self-regulation, executive function skills such as planning and decision-making, an understanding of the scientific process, and an appreciation for beauty. Teachers hold space for an emergent curriculum to guide children’s learning.

We believe the profession of education should be an intentional and scholarly pursuit.

  • We value the wisdom of multiple educational traditions and strive to integrate the best of each of them in a manner that suits our community. We affirm this belief through our ongoing professional development, integration of educational theory, and ongoing scholarly pedagogical research on AFK’s programming. We are passionate about and actively engaged in cutting edge research and practice that centers around mindfulness and social-emotional learning.

We believe in an ethic of care of our Earth.

  • Our children are the future caretakers of the natural world. We have a moral obligation to help children develop a familiarity with and a deep love of our Earth and understand the interdependence that links all of Earth’s inhabitants. The forest offers children a chance to develop inquisitiveness, wonder, and delight about our world.