The Educators of Thimble Forest School


Heidi Mckay

Thimble Forest School Visionary

TFS is the organic by-product of a vibrant cross-pollination between Heidi’s life-long passion for learning and children. 

“It’s incredibly cathartic for me to see children in nature, free to be. It pains me to see the limited scope of freedom our children have to learn and explore in our current society.” 

Working with children has inspired Heidi for over 20 years. She has facilitated child’s development in many settingsfrom working in developmentally and mentally challenged early childhood classrooms to Head Start programs, Waldorf and public schools, her roots run deep and wide.

 Heidi has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s certification in Early Childhood Mental Health. She has been certified in Yoga Calm, Brain Gym and Positive Discipline, among many others! 

Formal training as a forest school teacher at the renowned Cedar Song Forest School was one of the solidifying factors that encouraged Heidi to continue her forest school model, similar in every way to Cedar Song. Permaculture teacher training further influences Heidi’s life-both in the continuing evolution of TFS and how she views life’s challenges. 

In her life outside of TFS, Heidi is mom to Lucy, 15 and Tobias, 7, both of whom attend Springwater Environmental School. She and her husband, a child and family therapist, love their life together in the historic district of Oregon City and she is an avid hobby nutritionist. You’ll find her fermenting pretty much anything she can get her hands on! Community is profoundly important in Heidi’s life and she believes that TFS can create a tie between folks that fosters care for each other and for the earth.

Thimble Forest School Volunteers

Holly Bamber

In the forest is Holly's favorite place to be. She grew up wild and free exploring the woods of the multiple islands she grew up on in Western Washington. Holly began volunteering at a childcare center as a teen and then an elementary school where she realized she would like to pursue teaching and continue working with children. She attended Seattle University where she studied "Humanities for Teaching" while continuing to volunteer and work in various elementary schools in Seattle while also working as nanny. Holly continued to nanny after college and began working at two small outdoor sister preschools in Santa Barbara. There she spent her days outside with the children teaching them organic garden, animal husbandry, and learned the value in child led and play based learning. Through working at these schools, she was introduced to Compassionate/Non Violent Communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg, she learned first hand from her mentors and took workshops helping her discover a new way to teach and communicate with children with great compassion and consideration for their emotional capacity and need to openly express their emotions freely with no judgement, punishment, shame, guilt or trying to make it better. She watched children flourish with this approach of validating their feelings and treating them with respect and became committed to approaching teaching with this in mind. She returned to school to get her Masters Degree in elementary education through USC, where she completed her student teaching in both 2nd and 4th grade. Soon after completing her masters degree and receiving her teaching certificate, she became pregnant with her first daughter who now attends Thimble Forest School. Her second daughter will begin to attend the next school year. Her and her daughters live in Oregon City on 3.5 creekside acres with their dog Livvie, where she hopes to open her own nature based preschool program someday in the future.


Monica Wright