At HC, we know that learning is best when it’s relevant for students—when they see its connection to the world around them. Few opportunities offer the level of concrete relevance that a nature-based program does. And these experiences will dovetail beautifully with our school’s mission and faith-formative focus: The Lord cares deeply about the world He made, and as His followers, we love the things He loves–including His creation that He has given us. Furthermore, research on outdoor education has shown that effective outdoor learning can improve students’ focus, cognitive function, academic test scores particularly in science, social skills, as well as wonder and creativity. Forest School students spend their days learning in and around the multi-acre wooded area nestled in the heart of our school’s property on Ottawa Avenue, with indoor classrooms for extreme weather located just to the south of Holland Christian Middle School. Our Forest School classes are offered in partnership with the Outdoor Discovery Center, the area’s foremost nature-based education experts, who is helping with regular visits from their naturalists, and is overseeing our certification standards. They are excited to help us teach the Holland Christian academic curriculum in this entirely new way. We appreciate your prayers and support throughout this school year as we continue with this outdoor adventure!

/ In the Media

forest-school-wzzm-video-play

WZZM Channel 13 News and reporter Brent Ashcroft followed our 2018 Forest School kindergarten students for their very first week of learning in their new Forest School kindergarten indoor and outdoor classrooms, to create this locally broadcasted news coverage of our students’ learning experiences. Besides short interviews with their teacher Ron Harig and principal Miska Rynsburger, the video depicts a true early fall week of our nature-based kindergarten, including everything from ant bites and frog finding in the rain, to learning their letters of the alphabet!

forest-school-winter-video-play

Despite growing research showing benefits of getting kids outdoors, even for full school days, there still are the practical questions–how does this work in snowy Michigan winters? How do they read and take kindergarten naps without freezing? How are these kids doing academically?  WZZM Channel 13 News and reporter Brent Ashcroft followed our 2018 Forest School kindergarten students again during the coldest snowiest time of 2019 January, as a follow-up story to see how these kids are not whining about the cold, but thriving and learning all the more!

HC Medium Talk Podcast Episodes

Check out these two episodes from the HC Medium Talk Podcast featuring Forest School kindergarten teacher Ron Harig & our Forest School kids!

/ Forest School Blog

Forest School Newsletter – September 2020

Dear Forest School Family and Friends, Have you ever trained for an athletic event? If you’ve participated in a training program of any sort you’re likely familiar with the concept that resting your muscles is just as important as straining and training your muscles. During the rest day muscles reform and rebuild stronger and more… Read More: Forest School Newsletter – September 2020

First Day Details

What Can I Expect on Monday Morning? We are so excited to welcome you and your family to Forest School this year! What an exciting year God has in store for us! School begins at 8:20. Our teachers are prepared and THRILLED to receive your child and family by 8:00 or after. You may park… Read More: First Day Details

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… Read More: Forest School Newsletter

/Further Research

The research even apart from our current global COVID-19 pandemic shows great promise with nature-based education, but even more so in the middle of this pandemic. Learning primarily outdoors allows for natural social distancing to happen, and provides fresh air and ventilation, making outdoor education a huge draw for many parents especially now. There are a few links below specifically addressing outdoor education in the midst of COVID-10, as well as other links about the benefits of outdoor education in general: 

“This program has been so influential in our son’s life and we couldn’t be happier and more excited for this program to continue to grow and evolve.”

-Stephanie Huizinga, Forest School Parent