Forest School Newsletter

Dear Forest Friends,

What a journey this summer has been. Hasn’t it? Like none other. So many questions, unknowns and conflicting news reports creating a sense of unrest. I know that it has been difficult to remain calm and confident regarding how to plan well for your child’s comfort and well being. We deeply appreciate that you have entrusted us with caring for your child’s spiritual, academic, social and emotional growth this year. We treasure each dear child. We commit to giving our ALL to grow his or her gifts and will communicate with you regularly.

This Monday morning, August 17, our teachers are embarking on our professional development week of learning together in advance of the school year. We’re beginning this day in a beautiful, peaceful setting on 80 beautiful acres. We’re reconvening and launching this school year together in a beautiful scratch of raw, organic creation. We will be allowing the words spoken nearly 2000 years ago by our Lord to soak into our soul and refresh our spirit. I wonder if you might find a sense of renewal too from the lessons Jesus offered that are so applicable today. Found in Matthew 6, Jesus calls upon his followers to consider the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. How are Creator cares for our feathered friends and dresses the flowers of the field so splendidly. How much more doesn’t he care for each one of us! “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus calls upon us to release our worry. To let go and let God. 

In all things. At all times. Even now.

Some days are easier to follow that call than others but, let’s be real, these days are hard! Particularly when it comes to our sweet children it’s hard! I am reminded that God designed us to live in community and it’s times like these that I find the power in that truth. More than ever before let us lean on one another. Let’s share concerns with one another. Listen and support one another. Offer authentic friendship and laughter. And grace. We all stand in need of copious amounts of grace these days. Perhaps in those friendships, laughter, grace and love we might be serving God and helping each other release our worry and trust in our good, good Father.

I invite you to converse with me about anything and deepen our friendship this year. I will listen to your wonderings, ideas and concerns. Let’s talk together and pray together. Consider yourself invited to office hours with me! The second Friday of the month, September 11, I will hold open office hours at Rose Park from 8:30-9:30. The third Friday of the month, September 18, I will hold open office hours at Forest School from 8:30-9:30.

In the meantime, enjoy a summer walk this week and allow the words of our Savior to wash over you and wash away some of that worry. Perhaps, together, as we celebrate and love our children, we might replace the worry with trust and JOY!

Photo credit and permission Christy Berghoef

HC 2020-2021 Theme

Our community theme for the 2020-2021 school year is appropriately “Woven Together”. We have learners engaging both in person and through our new virtual program, HC Sync. We have many families we love who have chosen to learn at home for this school year. No matter where members of our community are learning and growing this year. God is with us and we remain Woven Together in Him. For a bit more depth and reflection on our school theme or, perhaps for a family devotion, please click here.

Masks For Teacher

Thank you for your patience in the answer to this question. We have guidance and recommendations from the County Health Department and have collaborated with many other schools as well as the Outdoor Discovery Center to reach this conclusion. Teachers and aides will wear a mask outdoors when they are within six feet of children. However, once they are further than six feet, they will be able to take a mask break and smile BIG at their children. We will be exploring permissions and effectiveness of transparent masks as we begin this school year.

Important To Do Today

It is important that Holland Christian has accurate contact and emergency information in PowerSchool. When you access your student’s profile, please also check your family’s contact information and make any needed updates using the Demographic Change page. If you are unable to make changes in PowerSchool and you know that changes should be made to your address, phone number, email address or emergency contacts, please contact Carla or Laura in the Rose Park Office, 616-820-4055.

Immunizations

Just a reminder that all Kindergarten students need to have a copy of the health information and immunizations turned in at school. These need to be done BEFORE the first day of school. Please turn them in this week to the Rose Park office or to the administration office! Thanks so much for your help on this!

Parent Night and Classroom Visit Day!

Roll out the red carpet! We’d like to offer parents and students the opportunity to meet the teacher in person and see their child’s classroom! Your child’s teacher will be communicating the date and time for Parent Night and your Classroom Visit together.

Elementary Handbook

Whether you are new or experienced at Forest School, for your convenience, here is a link to our Elementary Handbook found on the HC website. Please refer to the handbook for general information, or with specific questions you may have about life in the Forest.

Important Busing and Carpool Information

Step 1: We will ask that no cars remain parked in the circle drive between 2:45-3:30 (two busses will be coming shortly!)

Step 2: Forest students who ride the bus will be dismissed at 3:10 to board their bus. The busses will drive into the circle drive. Either teachers or teacher assistants will escort the children to the bus. 🚍

Step 3: All kindergarten parents are asked to pick up your child from the classroom. Please park in the high school parking lot and exit your car to walk to the classroom. Mr. Harig is asking each kindergartener be picked up at the classroom by parents in order to provide a touchpoint with Teacher/Parent. 🚸

Step 4: First and Second grade parents may use the circle drive to receive their children AFTER 3:15. Please enter the circle drive and pull through in a counter-clockwise direction. Please WAIT to enter the circle drive until AFTER the busses have exited the drive by 3:15. Pull through the circle drive and park curbside. If using the circle drive, we ask that you remain in your car. Either teachers or teacher assistants will escort your child to your car. 🚘

Step 5: When ALL cars in the circle drive have been loaded and children are no longer moving among the cars, the first car in the circle drive will receive the “all clear” wave and can exit the drive👋

Pictures

For those of you really planning ahead, Forest School’s picture day is Thursday September 10 . More specific information and scheduling will come once we are underway through classroom and the Forest School blogs.

Hot Lunch

You can find the August/September Hot Lunch menu here.

Before/After School Programs

We offer a before school program housed at South Side for families that need to drop off students as early as 7:30 AM, as well as our after school program starting at 3:15 until 5:30.  Children will ride a bus from South Side to The Forest. Families need to pre-register prior to using these programs to allow us time to provide adequate supervision.  We will allow drop-in’s as long as space allows. Please give the office a call at least 24 hours in advance. Click this online registration link  to begin the registration process for either of these programs.  If you have any questions regarding these programs please contact program director Tammy Grassmid at 616-820-3535.

Communication

We will continue to have communication on this Forest School blog page updated monthly. These blog posts can be found on our webpage at hollandchristian.org

Upcoming Dates:

August

24 – First day is a full Day, 8:10AM-3:15PM

September

4- No School Labor day

7 – No School Labor Day

10 – Picture Day

October

19 – Parent/Teacher Conferences
20 – Parent/Teacher Conferences
22-23  – CEA Teacher Convention