Winter Forest School starts in January!

Ages 2-9

Time in the forest sparks joy, curiosity, cooperation and wonder!

SMNS Offers:

Forest Preschool for ages 3-6
Forest School Classes for ages 2-9
Forest School Summer Camp

We follow THE CEDARSONG WAY! SMNS’s Nature Immersion curriculum is “free time in nature, resulting in an intimate, deep and personal connection to the natural world.” Our programs promote social and emotional development, instill confidence and foster independence.

Connecting Kids with Nature

Give us a call to schedule a tour

Preschool and Summer Camps

Click below to enroll in Forest Preschool and Summer Camps

The Cedarsong Way

The Cedarsong way is a nature immersion philosophy that fosters kindness for oneself, the community and the natural world.

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preschool girl walking in the woods

Forest Preschool

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preschool girl playing in the woods

Forest School Summer Camp

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Forest School Classes for ages 2-8

Winter 2021 Classes will post in November.

CLICK BELOW to enroll in Enrichment Forest School Classes. These classes meet weekly and run each season: Fall, Winter & Spring.

Drop -Off After School Classes

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Weekday Caregiver Classes

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Weekend Caregiver Classes

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Our Teachers

MARY CLAIR SONNEMAN

Mary Clair Sonneman

Founder and Director

Mary Clair founded South Mountain Nature School in the fall of 2016 after earning her Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten Certification at Cedarsong Nature School on Vashon Island, WA. Mary Clair holds a Secondary Teaching Degree from San Francisco State University. She has over 10 years teaching experience.

MARY CLAIR SONNEMAN

Anna Maxwell

Co-Director, Forest Preschool

Anna Maxwell holds a dual Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education.  She has over 10 years of experience teaching kindergarten in the private and public school settings.

MARY CLAIR SONNEMAN

Anneliese Scherfen

Preschool Teacher

Anneliese has been a preschool teacher for over eight years. She earned her Early Childhood Masters in Education from Hunter College in NYC. She also holds a BFA in Art History from Ohio University.

MARY CLAIR SONNEMAN

Becky Gartman

Preschool Teacher

Becky Gartman has been working as a professional in the field for fourteen years – as a director, teacher, trainer, advocate, researcher, and writer. Becky holds an MA in Early Childhood and a BA in Elementary Ed.

MARY CLAIR SONNEMAN

Sam Fagundez

Assistant Teacher

Sam is a graduate of Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences where she earned a BS in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources with a minor in Biology and Sustainability.

Elisa

Preschool Teacher

Coming Soon

MARY CLAIR SONNEMAN

Isy

Preschool Teacher

Coming Soon

What Our Parents Are Saying

It’s been a little over one month into Forest school and we’ve already seen many good changes in my son which we credit with SMNS.

The most noticeable thing is his footwork, balance, and endurance have changed so much!! It’s amazing! Wyatt has always been really mobile and his first steps were in the form of running. He basically runs everywhere but also did an equal share of tripping and falling down.

Now he still runs but he isn’t falling plus he’s climbing a lot more. While we’ve always gone hiking and I am aware of the importance of uneven, natural surfaces for development, I think the sustained time outside, with a group of his peers, and being challenged through the activities offered by Teachers Annalise and Isy have led to this positive change.

Melissa D., Maplewood, NJ

I wanted to write and let you know how very pleased I am with my daughter’s class! This is the very BEST preschool experience we have had in our family. (I really liked my other children’s schools, but this is so much better!) The teachers are patient, kind, and thoughtful. The documentation is priceless. The whole family looks through the photos and captions to review the events of the day.

She comes home from the forest energized and excited. She plays outside with focus. She is so happy!

Julie P, Maplewood, NJ

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