What’s a River Grove Explorer?!
Over the summer, the teaching staff and administration met together on campus to develop and expand our integrated place- and project-based learning program that is student centered and grounded in our unique outdoor setting. Teachers defined their goals and developed a framework for how they want to lead students at River Grove.
River Grove families will be hearing more about these ideas from classroom teachers as the year progresses. To start, we are focusing on the idea that students and teachers are “Explorers.” River Grove Explorers will:
- Participate in daily nature walks with meaningful learning objectives
- Learn outside for the majority of the day
- Connect monthly with the greater school community for speakers or field trips
- Engage in projects related to real world experiences/life skills
Below are a few expanded initiatives that River Grove is working on for 2021-22!
Place-Based Projects the Focus of “Experience Fridays”
We are excited to start “Experience Fridays” this year! Every Friday from 1-3pm each class will be paired up with a class in another grade level to work on an outdoor place-based project focusing on our beautiful natural environment here at River Grove and our community! For example, one of our kindergarten classes will be teaming with our fifth grade to design and build a pollinator/butterfly garden.
With guidance from the teaching staff, the students will design and complete these projects and take ownership of each step of the process. These projects will incorporate reading, language arts, science, social studies, and math standards along with additional skills such as planning, organization, time management, team work, and much more.
We will also be presenting our projects twice during the year. These will be wonderful opportunities for the students to share these experiences with family and friends!
Music and Performing Arts Expanding at River Grove with Stillwater’s Zephyr Theatre
River Grove is thrilled to announce the return and expansion of our partnership with Stillwater’s Zephyr Theatre! In May 2021, veteran actor Reed Sigmund was hired as The Zephyr Theatre’s new education programming director, developing curriculum for The Zephyr’s in-school programs. Reed will bring his expertise from a 21-year career at the Children’s Theatre Company in St. Paul to local schools, including River Grove.
The Zephyr will customize its music and performance arts program for River Grove’s outdoor campus, with an emphasis on meeting all students’ needs, levels, and interests. The performance arts piece will focus on dance, movement, acting, and drama. The music instruction piece, led by Calyssa Hall, Director at the Zephyr Theatre, will focus on basic vocal expression, exposure to different musical styles, and introduction to the basics of musical theory such as pitch, tempo, and rhythm. Students will discover and develop their creativity and build their musical skills.
At the end of the school year, the whole school will enact a musical on an outdoor stage, with the 6th grade class as the lead and all classes participating.
Students will receive music and performance art instruction once a week, either Mondays or Thursdays. On opposite days, students will receive art instruction.
Outdoor Physical Education Gets a Boost
The fabulous Katie Bruns is returning to River Grove for a third year! Katie Bruns is an outdoor recreation enthusiast with a Masters in Physical Education with an emphasis in Adventure Education and Outdoor Pursuits and a passion for creating fun and innovative outdoor activities for the students to learn and love living a healthy lifestyle. Ms. Bruns will lead the students in a variety of outdoor experiences, including archery, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hiking, outdoor games and exploration.
Students will receive physical education instruction twice a week.