- Sponsorship -

Kindergartners immerse in nature, for a whole week

Quite possibly the very best thing a kindergartner can carry into the woods is a magnifying glass, because everything seems way more fascinating. At least it did to a pair of kindergarten classes from Bushnell Elementary.

Students in Emma Kluge’s and Angie Christians’ classes spent a week at the Wittenbach Wege Environmental Agriscience Center as part of a pilot immersion program. It was loosely based on Annie’s BIG Nature Lesson, a study program tailored to mid-Michigan nature centers, but modified for kindergartners.

Kindergartners also did service-learning projects, including spreading wood chips on trails surrounding the center’s pond. Left to right: Makenna Buning, Jenna Phillips, Maci Buning, Aubrey Kraft, Raya Longway, Evie Russell and Bria Kavanagh (courtesy photo)

“Miss Courtney, is this poison ivy?” asked Bria Kavanagh as she held her lens up to a purplish stalk that bent under its own weight.

“Nope. Just a standard old pricker bush,” answered center Director Courtney Cheers.

Lessons focused on science and STEM objectives that related to weather and plant and wildlife adaptations. They included observation and writing skills, as well as service learning projects and unstructured nature play.

Jenna Dinka said the best thing she learned during the week at the center was “that animals make their own highways,” or paths through the woods.

Peyton Melnik said she learned that “puddles on the ground go back up into the sky.”

And in addition to predators, animals need shelter “from avalanches,” said Aubrey Kraft.

Mason Kiefer examines tree bark

Christians and Kluge called the pilot kindergarten immersion week a success.

“We’ve been able to hit all our science standards, and here, it’s been uninterrupted time to focus on them,” Christians said. “There’s been a lot of free-form imaginative time, and a lot of freedom within the structure of the lessons.

“It’s also gotten some really good, authentic parent involvement, and that’s been very positive.”

Added Kluge: “This should be kindergarten.”

- Sponsorship -
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.


Students reopen fine-dining restaurant six months after closing its doors

GRCC’s The Heritage has reopened to the general public, with culinary students cooking, baking their way toward degrees...

Plotting for a plot

Students’ hand-drawn maps are meant for the safekeeping of memories and to spur ideas for when they write personal narratives...

Outdoor lover, zen seeker, middle-schooler hope-giver

Bill Cataldo is the new K-8 principal for Cedar Springs’ new Red Hawks Online virtual school this year. School News Network took some time to get to know him better in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

District conducts contact tracing after high school student tests positive for COVID-19

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Lowell Area Schools received notification from the Kent County Health Department that a student enrolled at Lowell High School had tested positive for COVID-19...

Education ‘a family thing’ for new interim superintendent

Nate Fowler is the new interim superintendent for the 2020-2021 school year at Lowell Area Schools. School News Network sat down with the lifelong educator to get to know him better in this edition of Meet Your Administrators...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU