Poverty can be debilitating, especially for children’s growth.
Nationally, 1-in-4 children age 5 years and younger fall under the poverty line. Sadly, it’s a statistic that we are not immune from here in Nebraska. But a new outdoor nature classroom could help reduce those numbers.
Experts at Completely Kids said their Nature Explore Classroom, set to open Thursday morning, is located in one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, where drug and alcohol abuse remains pervasive. Despite that, children can utilize 8 specific areas of the classroom including messy materials or they can take the stage for music and movement. All aimed at helping children build life skills for their future.
"I hope they learn how to work together, how to be a leader, I hope they learn things that they like, things that they like to do, and things they can have fun doing," Ann Lawless said.
It’s not difficult to understand Lawless and her group of staffers has high hopes and dreams for the thousands of young children that are expected to learn, create and most importantly grow inside Completely Kids' Nature Explore Classroom.
And Lawless has every reason to expect nothing but the best for the children set to dig into their new classroom. "The idea is that the kids just come and play with what they want and who they want and it's not so much teacher directed."
Despite the challenges that face the children and their families who Completely Kids serve, Lawless hopes the classroom will provide the tools children need to become successful members of the community as they grow older.
"It’s something that serves you throughout your life, you are always going to need to learn, to know how to work in a team and how to be a leader, how to make decisions and how to work with others to make those decisions. Those are things you are going to need throughout your whole life, through high school, college and your future career,” Lawless said.
The dedication of the Nature Explore Classroom is set to be held at 11 o’clock Thursday morning at 25th and Saint Mary’s Avenue.