The Nature Explore Classroom at
Child Saving Institute
The Nature Explore Classroom at Child Saving Institute is filled with natural materials for children to use as they grow and explore.
Materials include, natural wooden blocks to stack, large tree logs to use as balancing beams, a free standing water pump, a sandbox, natural mud pits, and a wide variety of trees and plants. The garden has been planted with peppers, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, basil, and other vegetables, seasonings and spices. These plants have also been placed along the gravel paths so that when the wind blows, you can smell the different scents in the air.
Current and new staff will be trained on the many uses and benefits of the Nature Explore Classroom in the coming year. The outdoor classroom has ongoing maintenance and is evaluated every spring for necessary updates.
Updates during 2013 included:
- A water trough was added in the "Water Area".
- A small garden was expanded into a new "Community Garden."
- Upon completion, a picket fence will surround the family gardening space and a storage shed will house gardening supplies.
- Colorful fabrics were added to the tree house to use for swings and hammocks.
- Wind chimes hang between wooden posts for a nice sound in the wind.
- Child created bird feeders to hang from the trees.
Child Saving Institute is excited to announce the award of a Children's Hospital Preventing Obesity grant. This award supports programming to improve children's health and will include the development of the Nature Explore Classroom Community Garden, welcoming children and families to participate in growing the garden. Gardening will provide the children opportunities for building relationships and teamwork, fresh, healthy food, exercise, and skills in communication.
The Community Garden kick-off party was hosted on May 8 with approximately 15-20 families joining in on the fun. Seeds and plants were placed in the gardens and everyone shared a healthy snack of vegetables. A sign-up sheet for future volunteering opportunities of watering and harvesting was also made available. The produce collected is passed along to families with an accompanying healthy recipe.