Creighton Child Development Center Recognized Nationally
The James R. Russell Child Development Center at Creighton University outdoor nature classroom has earned the national designation of a certified Nature Explore Classroom from the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.
The national certification places the Russell Child Development Center in a select circle. It is the first certified Nature Explore Classroom located at a college or university in Omaha, the 12th certified Nature Explore Classroom in Nebraska and one of 42 that have been certified in the United States.
Nature Explore Classrooms are part of the Nature Explore program, a collaborative project of the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation. Developed in response to the growing disconnect between children and nature; certified Nature Explore Classrooms are designed to help fill the void by educating young children using research-based principles for integrating nature into their daily learning.
These classrooms offer interactive elements – including musical instruments made of natural materials, climbing structures, wooden blocks, small waterways, garden areas and natural materials for building and creating art – that give children important and inspiring nature experiences. While connecting children with nature, such unstructured play and activities are shown to enhance concentration, develop creativity and problem-solving, relieve stress and improve skills in many areas.
“The Russell Child Development Center has taken an important leadership role in a profoundly needed initiative to connect young children with nature, setting a wonderful example for education centers across the country,” said Susie Wirth, Nature Explore outreach director for the Arbor Day Foundation. “Everyone at the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Educational Research Foundation appreciates the commitment the Russell Child Development Center has made to the Nature Explore program and to providing nature education opportunities for young children.”