On a recent morning, Denver Christian Pre-K students practiced learning the letter “J,” the letter of the day. They traded their classroom for a local park, and their pencils and crayons for dirt and sticks and rocks. They drew the letter “J” in the dirt with sticks and JUMPED with jump ropes – and it turns out “jumping with both feet is tricky!”
Why a creation rich curriculum?
This year, we are enhancing the preschool curriculum through “creation-rich” outdoor learning experiences. For example, in the spring we walk by the cottonwood trees and see cotton on the ground. At the same time, we are exploring the Bible story about God providing manna for the Israelites, and the preschoolers can see and feel the cotton, while imagining how the manna the Israelites found on the ground looks like the cotton on the ground by school. Through this creation-rich experience, they learn about how God provides for our needs.
Research shows that when children spend more time outside they have more creativity and imagination, they take more risks, they use more of their senses and are more observant. Spending time outdoors teaches responsibility, provides novel stimulation, enhances physical development, and reduces stress and fatigue.
More important than the academic, physical, social, mental, and emotional benefits of being outdoors is the spiritual benefit of exploring and discovering through God’s creation and how we fit into His story.
We were able to provide our first off-campus learning experience for Pre-K this year. This was actually the first time Pre-K has ever left campus for a field trip! Westgate Park might only be five minutes from school, but this was quite the adventure for our Pre-K students!
Our Pre-K students have been learning about the 5 senses and particularly about our sense of sight. To remind us about how we can explore with our five senses, we read the story “It Looked Like Spilled Milk.” On our Discovery Hike, we looked for hidden pictures in creation!
We found logs that looked like tornadoes, fallen trees that looked like rainbows, reflections in the pond, our shadows, and even rocks that looked like animal foot prints! We also got to enjoy turtles swimming in the pond, people fishing, and beaver dams. It was a HOT day with temperature in the 90’s but our kids did awesome!
After our break and snack, students enjoyed learning stations:
- At the math station we counted and sorted rocks.
- At the literacy station we learned the letter J and practiced the letter sound, did some jumping with jump ropes, drew J in the dirt with sticks and more!
- At the Science station we made sensory bottles with things we collected from our walk.
- At the music station we read some books and sang songs like “Going on a Bear Hunt” and a nature version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
- At the Bible station we talked about where we saw God in the world around us that day.
We ended our day with lunch and boy were we hungry! Some of our Pre-K friends got to ride the bus back to school afterwards for the first time ever, and it was a highlight of the adventure! Preschoolers were pretty surprised that their teachers could drive a bus, and decided that they are “BERY good drivers!”
At Denver Christian, we believe that faith formation is so much more than chapel or Bible class. As preschoolers explore God’s world, they see that each part of creation has value and purpose. Engaging with creation inspires them to know God more, to ask questions, to share with their friends how God is a God of purpose, order, love, and grace.