Students See the World Through Wonder and Awe at Ada Christian
Ada Christian School has a hidden gem that students eagerly anticipate every year.
Every time they enter a new grade, children dive into a new aspect of integrated Outdoor Education. From caring for goats, to tending to the greenhouse, to feeding the birds and gathering eggs, to collecting and boiling sap, students love practicing this special stewardship of God’s creation.
Students at Ada Christian School tell prospective families how much they enjoy learning because of caring teachers and the many opportunities to explore and learn about subjects, one another, and God through outdoor education.
I had goosebumps as I listened to Principal Melissa Brower telling me about the amazing things her students are doing, saying and learning. I have to see these incredible spaces for myself!
Everyone Has a Job to Do at Ada Christian School
Students get to be in charge of something different each year.
“With Integrated Outdoor Education, we learn so much about our Creator by taking time to really study creation in meaningful and engaging ways,” Melissa says. “It builds such a sense of community.”
Third grade students are the bird watchers. Fourth graders are Greenhouse Keepers and 5th graders take care of the goats. Sixth graders tend to the 70 chickens while the 7th and 8th graders help to manage the plants in the hoophouse and gardens. All students help build and care for Pioneer and Native American villages they have constructed at ACS.
Even the resident cat has a job at ACS! Mr. Mittens kills one or two mice each day and lays them beside his food dishes. When the milkmaids arrive to milk the goats, they give Mr. Mittens a little goat’s milk.
“He loves the milk,” laughs Melissa. “We tell the kids that we all have chores to do here and Mr. Mittens helps to keep the rodents out of our barn.”
Learning is Flexible at Ada Christian School
Students of every age enjoy the school and have unique learning opportunities. Recently, 7th grade students had the chance to be scientists right on their own school grounds.
In 7th grade science at Ada Christian School, students study aquatic life and water quality on their own campus.
Principal Brower and seventh grade teacher, Shannon Quist, saw an opportunity to make learning come to life for their students.
“We don’t have to study a lake in California,” realized Shannon. “Why don’t we integrate outdoor education and study water on our own campus?”
Principal Brower Is Amazed at the Impact of Outdoor Education
The 7th grade students set aside their data from California, put on their waders and collected their own data. They went into “Ada Lake,” as they lovingly call their campus’ retention pond, and took their own samples. Teachers challenged them to pause, see, feel, touch, and wonder about the beauty around them.
“It has so much more meaning,” reflects Brower. “They collected the data. They are figuring it out.”
Students use their own discoveries to determine how the environment affects water quality. They will study the health of the pond throughout the year and draw conclusions about what impacts water quality.
“When kids do it themselves, the enthusiasm and the joy for learning jump. It’s hard to measure how high it jumps,” laughs Principal Brower.
“Because They Grow It, They Will Eat It”
Melissa delights in seeing their outdoor program pouring over into the kids’ lives at home.
One student asked for a bird feeder for her birthday so she could identify the birds that came to it. Other children who wouldn’t eat vegetables before working in the school’s garden now love salad.
Seeing the program impact students beyond the walls of the school excites Principal Brower, the teachers and families at Ada Christian School.
“I just love it here!” says Melissa. And she’s confident your family will, too!
Want to learn more about Ada Christian School? Mark your calendars for their January 21, 2020 open house!