Nature Preschool is new to West Side Christian School this year and it’s been a learning experience for us as well as our students -- and that’s one of the exciting things about it! We thought it would be helpful for you to hear our Nature Preschool parents’ experiences this year, and also hear their answers to commonly asked questions about Nature Preschool!
We already heard what surprised parents most about Nature Preschool, what they’ve enjoyed about it so far, what the students’ favorite part of Nature Preschool was, and their thoughts on the partnership with Blandford and the rainsuits. The last question we asked parents was what we thought was the most important question of all: how has your child grown in Nature Preschool?
So many things! Not only is he learning great academic skills like writing letters, figuring out patterns, and counting, I think the biggest area I have seen growth in him is problem-solving and critical thinking skills. I've noticed that he loves to discover things and make guesses on what they are used for (He saw a picture of a pelican the other day and wondered why the bottom of the beak was so big. He guessed it was where they kept their babies). He loves pointing out things that he has learned about in class - patterns, letter sounds, insect types, bird names.
We have a puppy (well, a 16 week old dog). He had an accident downstairs at our house. When my son came downstairs with me to do laundry he made it clear that the dog's "skat" was behind the ironing board. Great vocab skills!
My daughter started the year not being able to write her name and by January was writing her name over everything! I was so impressed with this!
Something I saw grow in my daughter is her love and excitement for animals and going outdoors more readily.
I was afraid that being outside for so long might be overwhelming to my daughter. I thought she might develop a bad attitude toward getting all bundled up to head out into the cold—but actually the opposite happened. The more she is outside, the more she wants to be outside. Her love and appreciation for nature has grown tremendously. I have seen her grow and mature in her faith as well. As she learns about creation, she learns about her creator, and grows in respect and adoration for the intricacies of His world.
He loves to share the facts he learns in school, and he seems to be absorbing a lot about the alphabet such as letter sounds, his counting has improved, and he in learning to write his name. He is also becoming more social...I love to hear him tell stories about who he played with or sat by that day
I definitely saw my daughter’s vocabulary grow over the year. Along with that her knowledge of nature and animals. Things I don't think I learned about until second or third grade. Oh, and her awesome owl call!
He used to not want to go outside to play or get dirty. He now loves it. I think being outside in nature has helped his imagination to grow.
His natural curiosity has definitely grown, he is able to apply what he knows to new situations, he is not afraid to ask questions, and he has grown in his literacy skills too--has become more confident and knowledgeable with his letters, write his names, knowing his sounds, etc.
Nature is the platform for teaching all the basics (math and reading foundations), but the learning is so much deeper…student-lead and inquiry-driven. The children discover and explore every day, learning about fascinating things they can touch, feel and experience.
I love that he has something of his own. As a second child, he has always followed in his big brother's footsteps. But because this is the inaugural class of Nature Preschool, he loves that this is his thing. I love watching him interact with a new group of friends and teachers.
My child has a greater love of nature now. If there is a stink bug or any insect in our house, she inspects the legs and tells me what it is. Here I am freaked out of spiders and any bugs and hiding in the corner, and my 5 year old wants to pick them up and inspect them!
We have been surprised by his background knowledge of words and letter sounds. While we do read to him every single night, he will stop and let us know what he knows. This shows an interest in reading, which we are pumped about!
Stamina: When the year started our hikes we a little slower and the kids were so exhausted by the end of class. Now, they try to run past me on the hikes!
Problem solving skills: They know how to navigate friendships and work more independently.
Their sense of inquiry and exploration.
Retention: I went down south over Christmas Break, and when I returned they asked me, “Miss VerWoert, did you see all the birds?” We had learned about migrating a few weeks before! Amazing!
This is the sixth in a 6-part series. Subscribe to the blog to get posts from West Side Christian School delivered to your inbox.