The Ridges Sanctuary

Preservation, Education, and Research

Learning outdoors: New 4K Program Gives Parents Alternate Options

Posted on Jan 25, 2024 by Jackie Rath   No Comments Yet | Posted in Articles · Featured · In the News

Published by NBC26, Katlyn Holt – January 19th, 2024

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

The days of traditional school may be over before they even started for some of Door County’s youngest students. I’m your Door County neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt, and while a new type of 4K isn’t a daycare, it could help parents struggling to find a place for their kids to go.

“The materials out in the forest are complex and diverse,” said Honig.

Sheryl Honig is the director of education at the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor.

Honig is excited to be a part of the partnership of the already-established community collaborative Gibraltar 4K sites at Gibraltar Elementary and the Northern Door Children’s Center.

“We get to have a program here where we immerse children in nature,” said Honig.

The Ridges’ Dragonfly Nature Preschool allows for children to learn while spending 70% of their day outside of the classroom.

“Children will be expanding their language because they’re striving for the right words to describe these very different things,” said Honig.

Honig took me on a tour on part of the Ridges’ boardwalk where much of their learning will take place.

“So, their language is growing. Their attention to detail for visual discrimination is getting sharpened,” said Honig.

They will be able to accommodate 15 children.

“When you can take them outside where they’re breathing fresh air and using their whole bodies and using their senses, all of that learning is not quite as intimidating,” said Honig.

Lauren Ward the Gibraltar Schools elementary principal and 4K director says the 4K program at the Ridges offers a different way for students to learn the curriculum.

“This is an opportunity for families who might not see themselves in a traditional 4k classroom to give their children and experience access to the same standards that we all follow in early childhood,” said Ward.

Ward says she hopes this program will entice families across the county.

“I already see it in my mind, the children the beautiful awe on their faces and just their experience at the Ridges Sanctuary and in Door County,” said Ward.

If you’re interested in learning more about this new 4K, there is a meeting Thursday, January 25th at 5 p.m. at the Northern Door Children’s Center.

Click here to see the full article and video.

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