We are excited to announce a new ZCS partnership with Ridge Point Community Church. We will be bringing nature preschool classes from a Christian perspective to the Holland/Zeeland area, hopefully starting Fall 2020.
This past spring, Ridge Point reached out to Zeeland Christian asking them to come alongside a vision they had for the future of their church and the 160 acres of property nestled along 104th Avenue. Kevin Pike, Senior Pastor at Ridge Point, said, “As a church, we desire to connect and add value to our community. God has given us a beautiful property and using it as a tool to teach children about Jesus, through nature, is one of our goals for the property.”
Pike went on to say, “As we look at making enhancements to our outdoor space, we realize that offering nature preschool classes would be a great way to invite young families to our property to enjoy and experience the outdoors. A partnership with Zeeland Christian is perfect, our mission at Ridge Point is to Follow Jesus and Fearlessly Make Him Known, connecting families with Jesus through nature teaching is a wonderful fit. We are excited about working with the team at Zeeland Christian and offering this opportunity to our Holland/Zeeland communities.”
“We have already been exploring outdoor education and how to connect our students with nature,” said Preschool Director Nancy Pyle. “We have read the research and know that it’s essential for kids to have enough time outside. Our staff received training from Ottawa County Parks’ staff in January and from the Outdoor Discovery Center in May and August. The idea of running nature preschool classes at Ridge Point fell right in line with the work we were already doing with our early childhood team.”
Our school board quickly realized that a partnership with Ridge Point would be beneficial for both communities. “We have been looking for ways to adjust our outdoor environment to make it more natural for kids when they learn and play outside,” School Board President, Betsy Koop, said. “But the natural property that exists at Ridge Point is one-of-a-kind. We look forward to incorporating outdoor education into our Central Ave. campus, but the possibilities are so much greater through a partnership with Ridge Point.”
that, we are out of classrooms. With enrollment growing each year, space is at a premium. “We currently use seven classrooms for preschool. If we shift a few of those classes to Ridge Point, we can then use those classrooms for our elementary and middle school classes,” said Tim McAboy, Head of School. “We hope to start with four classes at Ridge Point, but then allow that capacity to grow as we continue to partner together.”
Zeeland Christian Preschool will now be in three locations: Ridge Point, Central Ave. and at Drenthe Christian Reformed Church. “We are already making plans of how we are going to stay connected and work together as one preschool,” said Pyle. “Each site brings a unique facility, but we will be offering a Zeeland Christian Preschool experience at each site.”
“We are excited for what the future holds for this partnership,” said McAboy. “We are already seeing God working through the details, and we are eager to see how he blesses the families in our community as we work together.”
Finally, we continue to look towards teacher training and playground changes here in Zeeland to encourage our teachers to take learning outside. We’re already seeing our preschool, young 5s, and kindergarten teachers changing the way they teach in response to professional development they’re receiving from the Outdoor Discovery Center, and we look forward to more of this in the future.