Dear Forest Families,
You likely heard me prattle excitedly about the Forest vision during a new family interview, a tour of the Forest or during a Discovery Night visit some time back. I’d like to revisit this with you and how we’ll know this program is working to GROW our children! As you know, our kindergarteners are provided the gift of play, child-led exploration, creative imagining, collaboration and experimentation. They learn to attune their eyes and hearts to see their Maker. To explore God’s providential care. To fall in love with the Creator of our beautiful universe and marvel at God’s majesty. Season by season. Every day their learning goals are tracked and stretched. Parents follow their child’s progress in regular reports and frequent communication.
We want love and respect of nature to be part of the fabric of who these children are. The academic foundational skills gained in kindergarten begin to take root in first grade! First graders dive into reading workshop so they can become fluent in text and make meaning from their readings. They learn to communicate in written form because this world will need their abilities to be clearly set forth in text one day. They play and challenge their mathematical abilities with new depth of thought as they find patterns and God’s intricacies in rhythms and structures in this world. Outdoor play, learning loop adventures, and research mark their days in first grade.
Second grade brings our students out into the community. They learn to interact with adults whose lives have been impacted and who impact our environment. They begin to discover and track how humans interact with our environment. We continue growing as readers, writers and mathematicians so that these skills can be used to impact and transform the world. Also? Second grade brings world famous beast hikes! Wonder what that is? Ask a second grader!
Our third grade Forest kids take up base camp at Pine Ridge. When learning targets can be enriched with nature, they are found outside learning and exploring hither and yon. At this age, students benefit from our Educational Support Services team at Pine Ridge, our full encore experiences and from the larger student body community at Pine Ridge. New cross-grade-level friendships are being formed and skills continue to develop and be put into practice. With the partnership of ODC’s Ted Malefyt and leadership of their teacher, Erica Slenk, our third graders have been deeply involved in designing, theorizing and publicizing a self-selected study of nature. Following their interest in recreational fishing, our third graders designed a project testing theories with freshwater fish. Throughout their study, they have evaluated and refined the parameters of their study and metrics they use to gather data! This work has caught the attention of folks at GVSU and Hope College. Last week Tuesday, our learners were invited to describe their study and articulate their processes as they refined the parameters of their study. We’ve even overheard professors say, “I wish I could get our college kids to think at this depth.”
I’m grateful God has been faithful in bringing so many quality, passionate staff members to our Forest family. The innovation Holland Christian has embarked on in our program is off the charts. The design and vision of this program is slowly being realized. This program isn’t perfect. We certainly do experience growing pains together at times. I’m grateful for your honest feedback and expressions of discomfort at times. I treasure our relationship and the trust you have placed in our care! We love EVERY child in this program. It is our greatest joy to watch these dear ones grow in skill, passion and love! Our world needs their heart for others, for this earth, and for God! Stay tuned, friends. The story continues and I’m grateful to share in it with you!
Yours in Christ’s service,
Fall has arrived along with COVID, cold and flu! We continue to use precautions at school such as diligent hand washing and wiping down of surfaces. We would love your help in keeping our kids healthy and in school. Please continue to be aware of symptoms your child may experiencing. If your child has the following symptoms, please keep them home:
- Fever (over 100.3)
- Fatigue and chills
- Loss of taste and/or smell
Your child needs to be free of these symptoms for at least 24 hours. For fevers, your child must be fever free without the use of fever reducing medicine for 24 hours. If your child will not be present at school, please let our office know at 616.820.4055.
Little Maroons Winter Basketball
For your little one: An opportunity for kindergarteners through sixth graders to develop in both skill and game play in a fun environment. Please find additional information and registration on the Little Maroons Registration Page.
- 9: 4th-6th grade Band & Orchestra Concert
- 20-Jan 2: No school Christmas Break
- 14: End of 2nd quarter/semester