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Learning Garden Opens


Kettle Lake Elementary students have a new place to appreciate the great outdoors while reading, performing skits and feeling the sunshine as they learn.

Complete with rocks to sit on, a reading deck, a dry creek, five raised beds gardens for students and Michigan white pine trees, the Learning Garden is a new addition to the schoolyard. Future plans include adding a sensory garden and State of Michigan plaques with information about the State Bird, State Tree and other native resources.

“It’s extended learning space and helps kids understand that learning isn’t confined to four walls inside a classroom,” said Principal Sean McLaughlin.

The Caledonia Education Association earmarked $15,000 for the interactive project. Wildwood Family Farms, owned by Kettle Lake parents Justin and Kelly Heyboer, designed, installed and helped fund the Learning Garden.

The garden is one piece of a new playground planned to replace an aging treasured wooden playground called The Boardwalk.

Kettle Lake students listen to a story in the new outdoor Learning Garden

The Learning Garden is part of a new playground design

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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