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First-Ever Foundation Preschool Grant

photo of preschool kids outside

From Riley Kelley, School News Network

East Grand Rapids — This school year, the East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation made its first-ever preschool-level donation, giving about $2,677 to help keep kids warm and dry at Woodcliff Early Childhood Center.

Hilary Berens, a Young Fives teacher in her first year at WECC, requested the funds out of a desire to keep outdoor learning going even during the cold winter months.

“Even into our first year here at WECC I knew that I wanted to pursue outdoor education as much as possible,” Berens said. “With my whole heart I believe that all children, especially ages 4-5 years old, thrive emotionally and academically with more freedom to move, engage and experience the outdoors and can learn while they play.”

Shortly after starting in her position, Berens submitted a request to the foundation asking for help with funding winter gear. Berens’ proposal was later approved during the foundation’s record-breaking fall grant round

The grant paid for children’s rain boots, waders, waterproof mittens, winter hats, raincoats, umbrellas, boot racks and more for WECC students and teachers. 

“These resources help keep our students dry, warm and comfortable so we can have many learning lessons outdoors,” said Berens.