The Nature Explore Classroom at
Child Saving Institute


In May 2014, Child Saving Institute received a grant from Children's Hospital rewarding efforts in preventing childhood obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles.



This award supports programming to improve children's health and has included further development of a Nature Explore Classroom Community Garden, welcoming children and families to participate in growing the garden. Gardening provides the children opportunities for building relationships and teamwork, fresh and healthy food, exercise, and skills in communication.

A community garden kick-off party will be an annual event at Child Saving Institute in order to introduce and prepare the community garden for the upcoming season. In 2014, classrooms were able to pick the produce and spices from our garden and use them in nutritious activities. A toddler classroom invited families to gather for a delicious bruschetta snack, using tomatoes and basil along with donated bread. One of our preschool classrooms used tomatoes and peppers, along with spices, to make a garden salsa for their friends to enjoy. Families were able to take home tomatoes and cucumbers as our supply increased!

In the fall of 2014, a volunteer church group from Lincoln, Nebraska helped to clean up our outdoor garden space. Child Saving Institute is very fortunate to have several local volunteers help maintain our outdoor space throughout the year and we would like to extend a big THANK YOU for the assistance in helping to keep our space clean and safe for our children to use!

In December 2014, Child Saving Institute hosted a Nature Explore training on "Moving to Learn." This training focused on the benefits of movement for children's health, ways to learn and move around outdoors, ways to express feelings through movement, and how to observe and use your senses in your outdoor and indoor environments. Staff from both Nature Explore and other types of facilities attended the training. Educators came from both local center-based and home-based child care, as well as educators who traveled from other locations around the Midwest!

Katherine Hubbard,
Site Coordinator of Early Childhood Education