Kingston Forest & Nature School

“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” – Thomas Berry

Children in the rain

Monica Miller – Founder & Educator

Monica Miller

Monica is a mom of two nature explorers (aged 3.5 yrs. & 8 mos.), an avid hiker & camper, a bit of an eco-nut at times, and a qualified elementary school teacher (Ontario College of Teachers) & (soon-to-be) Forest and Nature School educator (Forest School Canada).

She grew up on a horse farm in southern Ontario and spent endless hours outdoors – hiking, camping, playing, exploring, building, tending to the animals, and more. Nature is very much a part of who she is and how she lives her life. She recognizes the value of time spent in nature and sees the benefits in herself, her children, and her students.

Passionate about education & the outdoors, she decided she was going to start a Forest & Nature School as soon as she learned that they existed. Monica also runs an outdoor family blog, Maman on the Trail, and she started the local branch of an outdoor parent community, Hike it Baby (Kingston, ON), for which she still currently volunteers as a Hike Host.

Monica is bilingual, English & French, and will be facilitating programs in both languages.

Amy Findley – Facilitator

Amy Findley

Amy is passionate about nature and loves spending time with kids, including their own outdoor-loving toddler. Amy has taught in a variety of settings ranging from public elementary schools to outdoor experiential programs. The biggest "aha" moment came when reading Maria Montessori's directive to "follow the child." This practice has helped countless children thrive and see their own worth under Amy's considerate and supportive leadership. Growing up in the wild mountains of North Carolina, Amy established a deep respect for all living beings. Amy believes very strongly in inclusivity and feels fortunate to be a part of Kingston Forest & Nature School, where all kids are welcomed, supported, and encouraged to play hard while building meaningful relationships with themselves, each other, and the world around them.

Kelly McGann – Facilitator

Kelly McGann

Kelly is an energetic, passionate ambassador for Mother Nature and believes strongly in each persons' unique connection with the natural world. Her global travels have brought her into a diverse assortment of outdoor classrooms, as the student and mentor. Kelly has received training as an Ontario Teacher, Kayak Guide/Instructor, and Yoga Teacher. As a child, she was given the freedom to explore, on her own terms and this is a philosophy that she encourages with her students and peers. Kelly takes a mindfulness approach to experiential learning and you shouldn't be surprised to find her under a canopy of trees or a field of wildflowers, practicing yoga.

"I believe that this program is the best way to grow forward, in the Kingston community. As we learn from Nature and become actively engaged with her, we can grow with her, instead of against her. Everyone benefits! One of my favourite quotes by Rachel Carson, shares this sentiment: "In Nature, nothing exists alone"."

Krista Bradshaw – Facilitator

Kelly McGann

Krista is an Outdoor Educator and certified Ontario Teacher who brings experience facilitating Outdoor Experiential Education programs across Ontario with students in Kindergarten to Grade 12, as well as experience teaching Visual Arts in the classroom. She strongly believes in the importance of student-centred learning, and is excited to be curious and inspired by the beautiful, natural world outdoors alongside KFNS participants. Place- and inquiry-based learning is important to Krista, and she is looking forward to discovering the rhythm and life of the forest alongside the children, and enjoying the benefits of nature-based play. Krista regards herself as a flexible and energetic educator who is inspired daily to learn and grow by the young people she works with. She looks forward to building meaningful, authentic experiences with KFNS participants. Outside of forest and nature school, one might find Krista admiring and climbing rocks, searching for and painting fungi in the forest and all-around adventuring outside. Spending time outdoors has played a large role in Krista's life and has helped make her who she is today, and she is looking forward to supporting Kingston Forest & Nature Schoolers in their self-discovery and learning journeys!

Educator – refers to KFNS staff with a Bachelor of Education (B. Ed. & OCT) or Early Childhood Education Certification (ECE) as well as Forest and Nature School Facilitator (FNS) qualifications.

Facilitator – refers to any KFNS staff or volunteer providing/facilitating the programming (could be an educator, or could be someone with outdoor education, nature-based learning or FNS teaching or facilitation experience, but no qualifications).

Staff – refers to anyone employed by KFNS.

"If you want a child to listen to their heart, start by teaching them to listen to the wind, the rain, and the littlest birds." – Nicolette Sowder