Board Welcomes Nature-Based Ridges 4k Program

Nature-based, 4-year-old kindergarten programming will return next school year to The Ridges Sanctuary, and this time it will become one of three public 4K options in the Gibraltar Area School District.

Approved unanimously Dec. 11 for 2024-25 by the Gibraltar school board, the classes based in the indoor classrooms and vast outdoor spaces in Baileys Harbor will adhere to state standards and follow the same schedule as the 4K classes at Gibraltar Area School and Northern Door Children’s Center.

Ridges has licensing and certified teachers in place, and Gibraltar Elementary Principal Lauren Ward said she was excited about the one-of-a-kind, outdoor-based curriculum option.

“I want to thank you all for this opportunity,” Ridges Executive Director Katie Krouse told the board. “One of the biggest goals for the Ridges is to educate students from walking to learners up to 100 years old, with no breaks in the middle. This brings that programming back to The Ridges and creates a really incredible opportunity.”

Ridges currently offers half-day Ridges Forest School enrichment programming and previously operated Dragonfly Nature Preschool until Gibraltar first offered public 4K in 2022.