Zoo school focuses on outdoor learning

Students gather around an instructor at John Ball Zoo. Courtesy photo.
A program for preschoolers that offers education through the exploration of nature is now accepting applications. Kids enrolled in Zoolittles spend the majority of their time outside with instructors from John Ball Zoo’s education department.
“Zoolittles offers fun, engaging exploration for children, building a foundation for a lifetime of learning and providing hands-on educational experiences,” said Rhiannon Mulligan, education manager at John Ball Zoo.
Launched in the fall 2023, the curriculum aims to build a strong foundation for social and emotional skills, language skills and physical and cognitive development. Activities are based upon the interests of the program’s young explorers and proven best practices by the North American Association for Environmental Education.
“We’re very excited to offer Zoolittles after a successful launch in the fall,” Mulligan said.
The next school year begins in September of 2024 and runs through May of 2025. The classes are separated into two age groups. Classes for three-year-olds takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and four and five-year-olds meet three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Participating families will be given a list of suggested clothing and items for their child.
Registration can be completed on John Ball Zoo’s website.
For more information about other area schools that offer outdoor learning opportunity’s, read author Ann Byle’s story in the April 2023 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine.

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