The Nature Explore Classroom at Edward “Babe” Gomez Heritage Elementary School
Located at 5101 S. 17th Street in Omaha, NE this Nature Explore Classroom has been named “The Jan Gilbert Memorial Outdoor Classroom” in memory of their beloved staff member who passed away.
When Principal John Campin first heard of the concept of an outdoor classroom, it really caught his interest, since he grew up on a farm in the rolling hills of Iowa. He states that since his first Nature Explore Workshop in Nebraska City, everything has been rolling. The community, parents, staff members and extended families’ have truly supported the transformation of this space while making this a true community.
This space has developed into a relaxing place for teachers as they facilitate learning. Tours have been given to members in the district, local districts, universities and media in the Omaha area. Gomez Heritage has organized an Outdoor Classroom committee that meets monthly. This group includes the principal, two staff members, one parent and one community member.
The theme of a farm resonates throughout the classroom. An original barn door from the 1800’s is placed at the back of the stage so that the children may make dramatic entrances and exits. Reclaimed wood from one of Principal Campin’s family-owned barns was used to make the fence surrounding the outdoor classroom. Art teachers worked with the children to create painted benches with themes from the past, present and future of Gomez Heritage.