Sarett Nature Center and Christ Lutheran Forge New Path

Sarett Nature Center and Christ Lutheran Forge New Path

 

Last year, Christ Lutheran School (CLS) worked with Sarett Nature Center (Sarett) to develop a unique nature curriculum for their preschool and young 5’s classes in the face of Covid restrictions.  The students spent large portions of their school day outdoors counting with nature, playing with outdoor mud kitchens, studying weather and learning about habitats.  Due to the overwhelming success of that curriculum, CLS’s Board of Christian Education voted to expand the outdoor education curriculum to a school-wide program. 

 

Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, CLS and Sarett have entered a formal partnership to develop and implement this exciting new curriculum.  The partnership includes customized professional development for CLS staff, on-site student instruction by Sarett naturalists both at the nature center, as well as on CLS’ expansive 14-acre wooded campus, and property enhancement. 

 

The team rolled up their sleeves and got to work this past Summer to kick off the inaugural property enhancement project.  A group of more than 25 volunteers from CLS—including parents, teachers, students, and even the principal—worked tirelessly alongside two trained Sarett naturalists to redevelop a ravine trail on the school’s campus.  “It was a tremendous show of support from our CLS community to see so many folks brave the heat to get this trail completed for our students,” says CLS Principal, Neil Webb.  “The teachers are incredibly excited about the educational opportunities the trail will provide.”

 

The new trail system includes a quarter mile of trails, including several arteries leading to the on-site creek.  Printed maps of the new trail system are already available; a digital version is being developed and will be enhanced by the students throughout the school year.  Numerous other improvements, including various point of interest markers and portable boardwalks, will be added as part of class projects for upper grade levels.  Ravine studies and a weather station are also planned.

 

The benefits to children spending time outdoors include:  better physical health, improved cognitive and social/emotional development, improved sensory skills, increased attention spans, and increased happiness and immunity.  “The benefits to our youngest students last year were unmistakable.  We had four-year-olds explaining insect life cycles and the importance of lichen to our adults,” says CLS Board of Christian Education Chair, Tamara Paulun.  “We couldn’t not bring this benefit to the rest of our students.”

 

Christ Lutheran School is located at 4333 Cleveland Ave., Stevensville, Michigan and offers accredited education from preschool through 8th grade.  For more information, please visit:  christ-luth.org or call 269-429-7222.




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