“She smelled of sun and daisies with a hint of river water”

As educators, we never know how many lives we’ve affected over the years. In Erin Kenny’s case, the number of educators, children, families, and community members affected by her presence in this world is immeasurable.

Last year, I had the privilege of spending a week with International Play Iceland and more than thirty early years educators from around the world. One of the most amazing people in attendance was from right here in the Pacific Northwest, Erin Kenny.

Iceland is a magical place and Erin was a magical person.

  • She was a cutthroat Jenga player.
  • She was a great roommate in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, where the sea met the mountains.
  • She was someone whom I didn’t mind being stranded with at the Reykjavik airport for over eight hours.
  • She enjoyed a good IPA.
  • She was a passionate play advocate, champion of children engaging in sensorial experiences in nature, and a heroine of the forest.
  • She was an intelligent, strong, and fierce woman.

Knowing she was slowly dying of cancer, I sent her a snail-mail card nearly three weeks ago. I hope she got it and knew what a special person she was to me, and everyone who knew her. The card was designed by a local artist, Katie Daisy and it read, “She smelled of sun and daisies with a hint of river water.” This embodies what it was like to be in Erin’s presence. She will be missed.

“Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.”

(source: Erin Kenny)