Forest School UpdatesThank you for your grace and partnership as you entrust your child to our growing Forest School program. I’m eager to share some interim programmatic, staffing and facility updates with you! Baker Property: Sassafras Ridge is continuing to be developed as a tool for the Forest School programmatic needs. Adjacent to our beloved Sassafras Ridge is an additional piece of property Holland Christian has recently been allowed to access. On this property is a beautiful home with expansive windows, open concept viewing areas, as well as a large, well built barn. This property is equally as beautiful and rich with learning opportunities as Sassafras Ridge. Holland Christian is beyond grateful for access to this new land for ALL of our learners in the traditional setting as well as Forest Kids! We are working with Laketown Township to receive designated usage privileges to this land use for our children. Currently this property is being called the Baker Property. We may ask a variety of audiences, including our students, to help us affectionately rename this new learning area as well! We’ll keep you posted! Kindergarten: Next year we intend to have both of our kindergarteners’ “base camp” back on our main campus. Mr. Harig’s class will gather each morning in the current kindergarten classroom. Miss Wierenga (by next year we’re celebrating that she will be known as Mrs. DeWitt! God’s blessing and happy nuptials Miss Wierenga!) will be moved into our newest building in the Forest campus. Once we receive the Ottawa Ave. necessary permit, which we expect will be in April, Plaggemars Construction is prepared to begin the process of building one more beautiful Forest School classroom for our kindergarteners. Mr. Harig’s and Miss Wierenga’s classes will continue to enjoy learning, exploring and playing at Sassafras Ridge, the ODC, Wolters Woods and all of the other learning adventures they currently enjoy. Their drop off location and small group learning experiences will take place in their own classroom on our main campus.
First Grade: Next year we will have two classes of first graders living and learning on our Ottawa Avenue Forest campus along with our two sections of kindergarten. Miss VanVliet will remain of our first grade teachers. She will also serve as mentor to our newest team member (whom we’re eager to announce in a separate email to you soon!) First grade will continue to offer our learners the opportunity to play and learn outdoors while toggling back and forth between some new curricular focus areas that may require a bit more climate controlled environment! Our first graders continue to partner with the Outdoor Discovery Center and enjoy the results of pedagogy coaching from Mr. Ted Malefyt impacting their interactions with creation on a regular basis. The classes moving from kindergarten to first grade will be a blend of the two kindergarten classes. Children will find that half the class is familiar friends from kindergarten and the other half will offer the opportunity to develop new friendships!Second Grade: The priority for our second graders is to continue learning academic standards expected of all second graders at Holland Christian, to build upon the love and growing understanding of creation that is unique to the Forest, to grow in community and deepen their faith in our good, good Father! Long term, there is a proposed intent to have Holland Christian place a second grade classroom facility equipped to hold two classrooms on our Forest campus as well…just a bit deeper in the woods 🙂 In the interim, we are working on the proposed logistics to renovate the beautiful house that is available to us adjacent to Sassafras Ridge for our second graders’ base camp next year! Similar to the procedure Mr. Harig’s class uses this year, we will be proposing second graders will be dropped off near our Forest School campus, board a bus together and start their day in the house on the Baker property. Second graders will then have access to the beauty of the land all around them as a catalyst for their creativity, data collection, and learning environment. They can use the indoor space for their climate controlled learning needs and indoor facility amenities. There could be opportunities to interact with the other Forest kids who are frequenting this property daily as well!
Third Grade: Have you heard the exciting buzz coming from our Forest Third Graders? They have been engaging in out-of-the-box learning all year long! From collecting data in their fish project, designing and testing cardboard sleds to now utilizing a complex GIS data system while mapping throughout our community! Third graders’ learning (and perhaps just because they are so adorable and engaging) has captured the attention of educators at Hope College and GVSU. The skills we have developed in early elementary years along with the LOVE for creation are beginning to be utilized together to impact the world around us! Third graders continue to enjoy time at Sassafras Ridge and beyond for their learning experiences, but they are also building connections in our community to begin to impact our corner of God’s beautiful world!Fourth Grade: Our fourth grade Pine Ridge team has already met with Mr. Malefyt to refine curricular ideas and creations! They are laying the groundwork for our newest Forest School teacher in fourth grade! We can’t WAIT for each of you to meet Mrs. Ream! She’s experienced, energetic, faith-filled and PACKED with dreams of learning adventures she can’t wait to take her fourth graders on! Hello, from Kirsten Ream:
I am SO excited to teach 4th grade within the Forest School program at Holland Christian and I am blessed to have the opportunity to join the team!I grew up in Oxford, Michigan; however I have grown up spending lots of time in Holland since I was little. My mom grew up in Holland so we would spend several weeks every summer camping in Holland, enjoying Lake Michigan, hiking the trails, and biking with family. I attended North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Biblical Studies. I moved back to Michigan after graduating in 2014 to start my teaching career and be close to family. My husband and I were married on July 1st, 2017 and we are approaching our 5 year anniversary! I have 7 years of experience as an upper elementary classroom teacher and LOVE IT with my whole heart! I have taught in a public school as well as private Christian schools. The Lord has definitely shown me that I am called to Christian education due to the unique and impactful discipleship opportunities teachers can have with their students. When I am not teaching, I love to do CrossFit, spend time with my family, play tennis with my husband, go skiing (my hubby snowboards!), hiking, biking, swimming, or watching the sunset at the beach! I am yearning to see the Lord at work in the lives of these kiddos within the Forest School through God’s creation and real world experiences. I can’t wait to integrate God’s handiwork into our everyday learning activities and to see how the kids grow, learn, and discover together as a TEAM! Welcome to HC and to the Forest, Mrs. Ream! We’re SO grateful God brought us together to serve our children and families!
Spring ProgramAll Holland Christian preschool-5th grade students will be joining together for a night of praise and worship. Join us Thursday evening, April 21, at Central Wesleyan Church at 7 pm.
Forest School Gear Swap & FB Chat GroupIf you are a Forest School parent looking to buy or sell any gear with a lot of life left, you may want to join the Forest School Gear Swap Facebook Group. It’s a private group exclusively for FS parents where you can swap gear, share tips, ask questions and more! Follow this link to request to join!
Dutch Costume ResaleIf you would like to purchase a Dutch Costume for your child for the Kinderparade or simply for the Tulip Time festivities, read all about the resale here!
CALENDARView the full Holland Christian Calendar
- 1-10: Spring break
- 21: Spring Program at Central Wesleyan Church 7 pm
- 11-12: 1/2 days for Tulip Time
- 30: No school for Memorial Day
- 3: Last day of school, 1/2 day