- 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 reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She 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.

LATEST ARTICLES

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

Nate Fowler named new superintendent for Lowell Area Schools

Interim superintendent given the nod by Lowell Board of Education to lead the district...

Schools, organizations step up to feed students, families

Area schools continue to provide free grab and go meals at regular distribution events and community partners are helping to fill in the gaps to make sure everyone is fed during a very challenging time...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

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...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

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 -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS