Care of Earth Curriculum for Whistle Stop Child Care on Marywood Campus in Grand Rapids
The Whistle Stop Child Development Center, located on the campus of the Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids, graduated its first group of Pre-School Naturalists with prairie habitat expertise on July 9, 2015.
The children, between 4-5 years old, have been participating in a 4-week program coordinated by Whistle Stop educator Barb Groendyk and Grand Rapids Dominican Sister Lucille Janowiak. Volunteer members of the Prairie Education group assisted with experiences including a field trip to the Prairie Habitat at Marywood at the corner of Fulton and Lakeside where they saw Cup-plants, Compass plants, and Wild Lupine and learned how these plants got their names.
On another trip students used their sense of sight, smell, hearing, and touch. They also learned to use magnifying glasses to find little things like fuzzy leaves, insects, and seeds. Students then applied their new knowledge to plant a “pocket of prairie” on their school grounds.
The final class, last week, gave the children an opportunity to express their experiences in art form, creating a colorful communal drawing and screen prints to remember their Prairie summer. Dreaming of colorful new growth, students tossed wild flower seed balls into the prairie habitat. A yummy snack of worms and dirt spread smiles and Oreo crumbs.
Prairie Education Group Members include: Sr. Lucille Janowiak, Dominican Associates Chris Muldoon and Dee Versluis, Joyce Tuharsky, and Carole (Engle) Zoller.
Special Thanks to Photographer Dee Versluis