Sol Staff: We are fierce Guardians of Childhood!
Sally Anderson, Founder, Director & Lead Educator
Sally comes to Sol with over 25 years of teaching experience, the majority of which has been with young children. In her 20s, Sally worked as an Outdoor Education Instructor, developing both her “hard & soft” skills which are needed for teaching in the outdoors. She has worked in several different states, as well as abroad in Kenya, Italy & New Zealand & in each of these locales, she gleaned special knowledge & experience that continues to inform her current practice. Most recently, Sally worked for nearly a decade as the School Administrator at the New Mexico School for the Deaf (NMSD) Albuquerque Preschool. NMSD is a Reggio-inspired preschool & the first school for the deaf nationally to offer a Forest School program called "Forest Day Learning", of which Sally founded. It's now operating at three of NMSD's five preschools in the state.
Sally holds BS & MA degrees in Education, as well as NM state licensure in Educational Administration. In 2016 Sally was the first person from the United States to enroll in a competitive, year-long program to become a Forest Schools Canada certified Forest School Practitioner & she is currently the only Educator in the state who holds formal Forest School training. Sally is also a certified Tinkergarten teacher, has mentored under a renowned East Mountain-based Herbalist, is a certified Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy Guide (see separate tab) & is Wilderness First Aid trained through NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School). She is a member of the Council for Nature & Forest Preschools & the American Forest Kindergarten Association. Sally is the mother of one child (Odin) who spent his early childhood years exploring the sea, coastal mountains, fields & forests of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. As an East Mountain HS student, Odin occasionally earns required volunteer hours working alongside Sally at Sol.
Sol Forest School is named in part for something we are abundantly spoiled with in New Mexico: sun, or "sol" in Spanish. Sol was born from Sally’s combined love of nature & early childhood education, & her deep belief that by connecting young children to the Natural World, we grow competent, capable, creative, happy young souls, as well as future Stewards of the Earth. This is needed now more than ever & in this way Sally believes the work she & her colleagues are doing is sacred. She hopes that the Forest School model will become so commonplace that it will have an impact on our culture, & as a result children will be seen & heard playing outdoors again in neighbors across our great country.
Brie-Anne Stout, Sol Forest School Educator
Brie-Anne Stout brings her love of nature & training in Botany & Ecology to Sol Forest School. She has worked with us since 2018 & also for several summers as a Camp Bio-Park teacher where her groups of 8-10 year-olds discovered the coolest secrets hiding at the Albuquerque Botanic Garden. “We all learned something new each day at camp – myself included! Kids possess a deep wealth of knowledge & we learn from them when we slow down and listen." Her volunteer work with the Kiwanis Learning Garden Stewards & First Unitarian Church’s Earth Web group have also introduced her informally to Environmental Education. As an AmeriCorps VISTA member she worked with a team advancing ecotourism to an economically challenged region of New Mexico. She became a state licensed teacher & taught Biology for several years. Brie-Anne holds a BS in Biology & an MS in Botany, & has lived in New York, Oregon, Alaska, & of course, New Mexico. She is mother to elementary-aged Lauren, & when she’s not exploring the Sandia foothills with her family, she is an avid gardener & practices martial arts & yoga.
Gavin Ouellette, Sol Forest School Educator
"Mr. Gavin" is in his first year with Sol Forest School. Mr. Gavin brings a wide variety of talents to our young treeschool community. With an MA in Special Education and BA in Liberal Arts, Gavin has merged his love for the outdoors and interests in survivalist skills into a unique educational experience for our school. Outside of Sol Forest School, you might find Gavin practicing Chinese Martial Arts as a Shaolin Disciple or just rambling in the mountains in his utility kilt.
Sol Parent Helpers & Volunteers
Sol sessions are run with two educators as well a parent-volunteer &/or community volunteer. We welcome anyone who feels that this way of being with children resonates with them! Please contact Sally for more information about volunteering.