Four-Year Old Nature-Based Preschool
Enrollment begins on January 18 at our Early Childhood Open House
Allendale Christian is embarking on beginning a nature-based preschool option for families for the 2018-2019 school year. After visiting a couple of nature based preschool programs and attending a nature-based preschool workshop this past June, my eyes have been opened to the great opportunity we have to immerse our children in the awesome creation that God has given us to take care of. As I reflected upon when I’m most in tune with God or still before him, I’ve realized it’s often when I am outdoors in His creation. God gives us so much evidence of Himself through nature that is around us. Romans 1:20a says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…”
Children get this! If you spend any time with a child outdoors, they revel in a small wiggly worm, an acorn found on the ground, a small bug crawling on the tree, the mist of rain, or the feel of the breeze on their face. I read this recently in an article – “As a painting reveals the existence of the artist, creation reveals the existence of the Creator.” Part of our job as believers is to take care of our world. In order to do this well, we need to understand and appreciate creation. One way we can foster this is to immerse our children in the outdoors. Exposure to nature has been shown to be critical to our physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual health. Research has shown that the outdoor classroom encourages creativity and problem solving, boosts academic growth, and fosters curiosity and wonder. I look forward to the possibilities that await us with nature based options at Allendale Christian School! Open enrollment for the nature-based preschool will occur this coming January. Current ACS families will have the opportunity to enroll shortly after Christmas Break!
– Mrs. Allison Miedema, Teacher of Nature-Based Preschool
Why should I consider Nature-Based Preschool at ACS?
- Nature-Based Preschool (NBP) daily connects children to the natural world around them – to the natural features around the beautiful 20+ acre Allendale Christian campus. In order to connect with their natural surroundings, the activities and explorations center around what is happening in nature and seasonally. These will guide the curriculum, the design of the outdoor and indoor classrooms, the methods used, and the curriculum content.
- NBP at ACS is driven by best practices from research and in consultation with state and local environmental education resources. One example is that we consult with the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland. We are committed to excellence in education, which is developmentally appropriate for preschool students.
- NBP provides a secure and loving environment that nurtures the social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual growth of the preschool child. With NBP, we have the opportunity to create these valuable experiences within the incredible creation that God has provided us.
What will a typical day look like for my child in the Christ-centered Nature-Based Preschool at ACS?
- Outdoor Play
- Large Group meeting, Bible story and songs
- Nature Walk (Excursion) through God’s creation – including more than 4 acres of beautiful wooded space with trails
- Indoor Choice Time
- Large Group meeting (story, finger plays, theme development, Zoo Phonics)
- Small Groups
What are the curriculum and standards that ACS will use for Nature-Based Preschool?
Allendale Christian’s NBP will follow Michigan’s Early Childhood Standards of Quality, which are approved by the Michigan State Board of Education. The specific curriculum components will come from the following
- Creative Curriculum for Preschool
- “Growing up Wild” (Project Wild)
- Zoo Phonics
- Resources from the Outdoor Discovery Center and other sources that specialize in Nature-Based Education
- Social skills will be taught and guided by Love and Logic, which is used school-wide.
ACS will partner with the Outdoor Discovery Center as a resource for NBP. The Discovery Center also partners with the upper grades at ACS to help implement effective nature-based opportunities.
Four-Year Old Nature-Based Preschool Schedule & Tuition Costs
AM session: Tuesday & Thursday from 8:35-11:20am
PM session: Tuesday & Thursday from 12:30-3:00pm (availability based on enrollment interest)
The tuition cost for Nature-Based Preschool at ACS will be determined shortly by the Board of Directors.