GALION -- The Crawford Park District’s new pre-kindergarten program, Forest Friends, is going well, according to organizers.
Led by new naturalist, Chelsea Gottfried, 4- and 5-year-olds are immersing themselves in the outdoors. From exploring the creeks and woodlands, to playing in leaves and learning about everything nature, the Forest Friends – and Chelsea – are having a grand time.
Developing the Forest Friends program was spearheaded by Gottfried to offer a “natural” alternative to typical classroom setting pre-schools.
Interaction with nature is essential in meeting the social, physical, emotional, and cognitive needs of children. This program combines early childhood and environmental education to: foster curiosity, inspire confidence & independence, encourage problem solving & reflection, and strengthen balance, coordination and concentration.
Learning takes place at Lowe-Volk Park and is inquiry-based and student-centered. Kindergarten readiness skills such as letter recognition, counting, and writing are also incorporated.
According to Grant’s mom Emily, "He LOVES school! Every day when he wakes up, he asks if he has school today."
Forest Friends meet three days a week from September through April, with morning and afternoon sessions available.
While this year’s sessions are underway, there still is availability.
For more information about Forest Friends and how to register your 4- or 5-year-old, contact the park office at 419-683-9000. Look for registration information for next year’s classes in our spring newsletter.