Maple Valley-based Nature School Receives National Accreditation

Nature Nuts is pleased to announce that it is now an accredited Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten – the first in the country to receive this recognition.

Cedarsong Nature School is an award-winning leader in the U.S. Forest Kindergarten movement and has received international accolades for its groundbreaking work. It has been featured in ABC News Nightline, the Associated Press and England’s UK Daybreak.

Accredited Cedarsong Schools are verified to use The Cedarsong Way® teaching methodology, which includes a commitment to nature immersion and unstructured free play; flow learning; inquiry-based teaching; and documentation of the learning.

“We are proud to receive this recognition,” said Nature Nuts Founder and Executive Director Brenda Running. “It is important to us that standards are set in this field as it is rapidly growing and there are lots of new schools cropping up that do not meet any of the basic criteria.”

There is a growing body of research that has found that people today, especially children, are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. Children are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. Running founded Nature Nuts with the core belief that a connection to nature helps children build skills that will serve them for a lifetime. These experiences also build important social and academic skills.

At Nature Nuts, children play in small groups with staff to explore nature using all of their senses to connect with the earth and gain knowledge of plants, animals, traditional skills and sustainability. Specific subjects studied in the Forest Kindergarten include: Forest ecosystems, Biology, Botany, Ethnobotany, Entomology, Ornithology, Zoology, Engineering, Environmental Science, Geology, Math, Physics, Music, Drama, Art and Literacy. “On a typical day, you will find children climbing trees, following animal signs, building hideouts, starting a fire, making “nature” face paint, running down trails or going off-trail, creating concoctions in the Mud Kitchen, foraging plants for food and medicine, or perhaps working in the vegetable gardens, performing on the forest theater stage or collecting specimens from the frog pond,” says Running. Nature Nuts was established in 2004 and has since expanded to become a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation and include summer camps as well as a year-round Forest School and a Family Nature Club. In addition to being a certified Forest Kindergarten Teacher, Running is also on the Board of Directors of the American Forest Kindergarten Association, is a Native Plant Steward with the Washington Native Plant Society and a Master Naturalist. She is trained in Outdoor Leadership with Washington Trails Association and the Art of Mentoring Children in Nature at Wilderness Awareness School. Nature Nuts is centrally located and serves children from Maple Valley, Covington, Renton, Kent, Issaquah, SeaTac, Edgewood, Black Diamond, Auburn, Tacoma and Seattle.

In addition to ABC News Nightline, Cedarsong has also been nationally featured in Sierra Club Magazine, People Magazine and locally on Evening Magazine, The Seattle Times, and NPR’s KUOW. Cedarsong has received these accolades due to their focus and commitment in improving the quality of education for outdoor schools.

For more information about Nature Nuts, visit For more information about Cedarsong Nature School visit For more information about the American Forest Kindergarten Association visit