West Side Christian is excited to offer a Forest Homeschool discount to grkids readers – read on to see how to claim it!

Heading Outdoors Makes Learning Fun

Whenever she’s outside, my four-year-old collects treasures like leaves, acorns, feathers, and hunks of moss. She talks to squirrels and birds and insects like they’re her friends. My daughter loves nature and would spend the whole day outdoors if she could.

If your child loves the great outdoors like mine, they may find their perfect learning environment at West Side Christian School. Located in Northwest Grand Rapids, West Side Christian is an exciting place for students PreK through 8th grade, as well as early learners in Little Sprouts child care.

The Outdoor Education program at West Side Christian expanded this year to include a full-time Director of Outdoor Education. Janet Staal, formerly the Environmental Educational Coordinator at Blandford Nature Center, leads seasonal outdoor lessons that inspire preschoolers through 8th graders to explore the 5-acre school grounds.

Students and staff benefit from a Playscape outdoor classroom, natural woods, and a student-led garden that function as intentional learning spaces and extensions of traditional classrooms.

“I have witnessed firsthand how valuable it is for children to learn while immersed in the great outdoors. Learning sticks when it is connected to real-world experiences. Students gain far more than just an understanding of content,” says Staal.

Forest Homeschool

Immersive outdoor learning has many benefits for kids of all ages. Research shows that students who spend time outside demonstrate better health, more interest and participation in environmental stewardship, enhanced creativity, improved concentration and self-confidence, and stronger relationship skills.

According to one parent, “Being a part of the nature immersion programming at West Side Christian School literally changed the trajectory of my daughter’s life. Before, she rarely wanted to play outside. Now, she leads others on her very own ‘nature hikes,’ teaching them what she knows.”

Forest Homeschool Program Invites Even More Students to Learn Outdoors

New to Outdoor Education at West Side Christian, the innovative Forest Homeschool program engages homeschooled children ages 4 to 12 in immersive outdoor learning. These four-week sessions feature age-appropriate learning and exploration in the woods and grounds of the school.

Homeschool families are invited to bring their kids to the school to participate in exciting nature-based activities such as gardening, wilderness hikes, and fort building. Kids can play and learn outside while building a connection to nature and each other.

The Forest Homeschool series was designed to provide an opportunity for more children in this community to have access to the natural world as they seasonally investigate, test, and grow in their curiosity of the world around them,” says Janet.

West Side Christian Outdoor Ed

Learn More about Forest Homeschool and Get a Discount Today!

Each four-week Forest Homeschool session is $28. Grand Rapids Kids readers who sign up for all three sessions will receive a discounted rate of $25/session. Use code GRKIDS at checkout. You can learn more and register online or by calling the school. The 2017-18 schedule is full of outdoor adventures you don’t want to miss:

Fall (1:30-3:30)

11/16 Foraging for a Fall Harvest

11/3 Fall Swamp

12/7 Lichens and Moss, Oh My!

12/14 Celebration of the Season – Jesus is the Reason!

Winter (1:30-3:30)

2/22 Winter Tree Exploration

3/1 For the Birds

3/8 Whittling Wood

3/15 Secret Hideaway

Spring (1:30-3:30)

4/19 STEAM Day

4/26 Compost Compositions

5/3 Solar Heat Gardening

5/10 Spring Swamp

955 Westend NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

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