The partnership was established back in August 2017, but this winter snow brings more fun and learning to The Ridges/Peninsula Preschool program than one could have ever imagined. Bundled up in mittens, scarves, boots, and hats, the children embrace the cold temps by working up a sweat! Extended time for outside play includes opportunities for snow shoeing, fort building, tracking animals, searching for chickadees and walking in new snow through the enchanted boreal forest.
Teachers Rylee Johnson, Stephanie LaHaye, and Sheryl Honig scaffold student success in the new and challenging terrain of bumpy ground, deep snow, and clumsy snow shoes. The students are outdoors in the snow, sun, or even the “warm” mist of a January thaw. Rylee Johnson is in her second year at the Preschool – “The children get to be brave and fall down and get up and run and pretend. They take charge of leading each other through the woods and learning how to follow trail markers. They create challenges for themselves about going farther and being silent long enough to see the birds.”
“It is such a wonderful opportunity for the young children of Door County” said Sheryl Honig, Ridges staff and co-teacher for the preschool program. “Every Wednesday is such a special day for all of us.”
The students are learning how to work together in a new setting, how to help each other, and how to be confident about their physical abilities. As they play, they see evidence that they are not alone in the boreal forest, and that there are interesting, precious living things all around them. This is truly a unique way of embracing the Door County Winter.
The Ridges is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit in Baileys Harbor. The Peninsula Preschool is also a non-profit, based out of Ephraim and is a nature based school that provides a safe and loving environment where children are free to play and learn. For more information on these and other programs visit RidgesSanctuary.org or peninsulapreschool.weebly.com.