The key is curiosity, and it is curiosity, not answers that we model. - Vivian Paley
Brandyn earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Grove City College, with a concentration in math and science. She taught high school science (i.e. biology, chemistry, physics and physical science) and loves to inspire children to revel in the intricacies of nature. She holds a master's degree from the University of Washington in Library and Information Science. She is passionate about empowering Magnolia staff through knowledge creation and management strategies so that many children can experience the transformative power of play-based forest school learning.
Brandyn believes that all children are innately artists, initiators of originality, and is dedicated to fostering this in their very first experiences at school. She has an extensive background in early childhood dance education and was the Artistic Director at Aspire Academy of Expressive Arts in Sequim prior to moving to Kitsap County. When inspiring children to dance, sing, and make music in forest school, she draws on her certification in American Ballet Theatre’s® National Training Curriculum, Music Together™, and the Brain Dance Method.
Brandyn is the mother of three children, ages 15, 12, and 10. She is championed by her husband of 17 years, a well-loved high school teacher in Kingston.
Jenny holds a Masters in Early Childhood and Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University and a BFA in Art Education (PreK-12) from Baylor University. She began her teaching career 27 years ago in a small Arkansas town and has since taught ages preschool-college in Arkansas, Texas, and Washington States.
Jenny is a fierce advocate for a child’s right to play and believes that a play-based program provides the best opportunity for young children to learn self-regulation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. There is empirical evidence that shows that social-emotional development is the leading indicator of long-term school success and that is what informs her position as an educator. Her goal is to graduate children from Magnolia who are not only successful academically, but who are empathetic and kind human beings. She is a teacher first and believes that the outdoor environment is an ideal place for a child’s imagination to soar and relationships to flourish.
Jenny has two children, Jackson and Grace, and two stepsons, Connor and Sean. Jackson is working on his degree in Elementary Education and has worked at Magnolia as a teacher, starting at Summer Camps, since 2019. Grace was one of the OG camp counselors when Magnolia opened in 2018 and is currently a supervisor at Wet Noses Dry Paws combining her passions for dogs and organization. Connor and Sean are pursuing their careers in L.A. and Tacoma. Her husband, Bob, supplies her with constant love and laughter.
Our background in the fine arts parallels our vision for Magnolia on many levels. We see nature as a work of art, something inherently flexible and open-ended. We believe that the forest itself is an artistic endeavor in progress, something that must be fully lived and appreciated as a combination of precise intention and raw emotion. We also speak in terms of art and artistic expression as a metaphor which illustrates explicitly the kind of thinking and the ways of making sense of the world that life at Magnolia offers its children. With our children, we reflect on the beauty and wonder of our world and the life within it in the way that an abstract expressionist or an improvisational dancer might, not in terms of facts and absolutes, but in terms of personal impressions and full expressions of the range of emotion and creativity afforded each of us. Through unfettered conversation and social being, we explore ourselves and our friends like an artist explores color and texture or a dancer moves through all ranges of feelings. These years in a school of love, learning and celebration will help sustain our children through the indifference, inertia, and dispassion that could pass their way in other, more traditional, educational settings.
Nothing better prepares children for the future than truly respecting their present states of mind and body. It is up to us to give your children a place where they are creating, exploring and living something that is truly their own. The joy they will take with them from their days here will last a lifetime. - Jenny & Brandyn
We would love to meet you! Each campus welcomes new families for tours regularly so that you can see the forest school space, meet the site director, ask questions and get a taste for the Magnolia Forest Preschool experience!Schedule Visit
Forest school can be the perfect fit for so many children because it is uniquely tailored to support their strengths and interests. We look forward to connecting with you and your child further. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and hope to see you in the forest soon!