Woodland Wonders: A Program for Unique Learners
8-week sessions | September 7 - October 26
3-6 year old participants: Tuesdays, 10:00 - 11:30 am
5-9 year old participants: Tuesdays, 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Program is held outdoors at the Stryker Nature Preserve, 2342 Angling Road, Kalamazoo
Fee per session: $170 per family (1 caregiver + up to 2 children from the same household) Limited to 8 families.
This new program for 3 to 9 year old unique learners and children with special needs, and a caregiver, will meet at Stryker Nature Preserve. Using nature as a tool, children will engage their body’s sensory system through gross and fine motor activities, develop adaptive strategies by problem solving new experiences, and gain independence and confidence through success. This group will explore nature and the woods, participate in fun hands on activities, listen to stories and enjoy games. There will be an exciting mix of both structured activities and open-ended play with peers. Led by a nature-based teacher with extensive experience with unique learners and children with special needs, this group will be limited to a small group size of 8 families. This will be outdoor fun that all children can participate in! All relevant health and safety guidelines for outdoor activities will be observed.
We recognize there is significant variability in what families in our community are able to afford. This reality is only growing due to the impacts of COVID-19. Financial assistance is available and can be applied for by answering a few simple questions during the registration process.
Contact Nature’s Way Woodland Wonders Coordinator, Kai McDonald, at email@example.com for questions on the program.
Benefits of Woodland Wonders will include a:
• Focus on Gross Motor Development – Children will challenge their coordination and sense of balance by moving in all directions while hiking, climbing, rolling and running from one place to the next. They will also work their muscles by playing with rocks, logs, and sticks.
• Focus on Attention Span – Increased movement helps to stimulate the brain for increased attention to task.
• Focus on Visual Skills – Movement opportunities in nature, such as hiking and climbing, support a healthy sense of balance. This balance practice also supports eye muscle movement for increased eye hand coordination skills.
• Focus on Auditory Processing – Playing outdoors provides children a variety of opportunities to practice listening discrimination skills – such as discovering different bird calls or locating a peer calling their name in the woods.
• Focus on Fine Motor Development – Grabbing hold of objects such as tree branches, rocks, and leaves help children develop strong grasping muscles in their hands and fingers.
• Focus on Social Skills- Open ended outdoor playtime allows children to engage in creative, social adventures with peers, with the support of teachers as needed.
• Focus on Emotional Stability - Getting plenty of movement increases the body’s ability to regulate emotions and activity level. Specifically, spending time in nature has shown to promote calmness and improved mood.
• Focus on Conflict Resolution: Open ended outdoor play often comes with differing ideas from peers. This leads to problem solving individually and as a group.
Contact Nature’s Way Woodland Wonders Coordinator, Kai McDonald, at KMcDonald@naturecenter.org for questions on the program.