The Nature Explore Classroom at Family Shelter Service
The Family Shelter Service in Downers Grove, IL is the third certified Nature Explore Classroom in IL and the first located at a domestic violence shelter. This site is one of five Nature Explore Classrooms that were built at domestic violence shelters in 2009 by Mary Kay Inc., and The Mary Kay Foundation.
As a way to strengthen its support for victims of domestic violence, Mary Kay is helping children of domestic violence make meaningful connections to the natural world by building Nature Explore Classrooms at shelters across the United States. Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay Foundation have committed to building four additional Nature Explore Classrooms at domestic violence shelters in 2010.
Pathways, meandering from two buildings connect at one entryway leading into this open and inviting classroom. Sensory provoking Licorice plants and other varieties of plants have been included. A small hill with a variety of grasses serves as a backdrop to the Gathering Area. Flowering plants, loaded with color, and easy care shrubbery make this site aesthetically pleasing and calming.
The site is used for celebrations and many other gatherings besides playing and learning. The Nature Explore Families’ Kit is being utilized along with many activities for moms and children. Efforts are being made to host field trips. The second phase of building will bring even more variety into the classroom. This wonderfully collaborative effort has developed into a place where nurturing and healing can begin.