The Nature Explore Classroom at

Nettelhorst Elementary

Established in 1892, Nettelhorst is one of the oldest public schools in Chicago.

In the 1960’s, the neighborhood fell on hard times, and while the neighborhood recovered, the neighborhood school couldn’t bounce back. Eight years ago, the entire neighborhood wrapped its arms around the little school and now, Nettelhorst is once again of the finest public elementary schools in Chicago. Thanks to imagination, determination, hard work, and luck, all the fundamental pieces are now in place: solid leadership, talented and motivated teachers, committed and generous parents, engaged local businesses, responsive city officials, and inquisitive neighborhood children who arrive at school ready to learn.

In an effort to reverse the trend of obesity in children, Nettelhorst Elementary School has committed itself to creating a model for both physical and health and wellness education. Along with dedicated donors and partners, the school is positioned to supercharge and sponsor an ambitious and inspiring model for schools city and nationwide.

In partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks a state-of-the-art fitness room was built and with assistance from Greencorps Chicago, an underutilized outdoor space along the perimeter of the school has now become a beautiful Nature Explore outdoor classroom. The outdoor classroom includes site-specific materials that promote problem solving and divergent thinking along with gross motor skills. Nettelhorst feels that they have the opportunity to reverse nature deprivation disorder and childhood obesity trends within one generation and have made a commitment to ensure that generations of children grow up with the skills they need to become productive, thoughtful, healthy and happy adults.

As a CPS Magnet Cluster School, Nettelhorst offers a broad-based education that emphasizes learning, creativity, personal growth and an appreciation for other cultures. Nettelhorst impacts thousands of children through enthusiastic teachers, engaged parents and students who are ready to learn.

Far too many of our children do not spend enough time outside, and Nettelhorst’s Outdoor Classroom and innovative straw bale garden is a healthy, engaging, and creative response to today’s educational challenges. It is this kind of forward-thinking of parents, staff, teachers, students and community volunteers that has turned Nettelhorst into a neighborhood gem. –Alderman Tom Tunney
It’s clear that the Nettelhorst Community Group has brought a lot of heart to their neighborhood elementary school. IGLTA volunteers were thrilled to have played a role transforming the Nettelhorst School’s outdoor space. We are honored to be a part of the school’s blossoming in the community. Steve Roth, IGLTA Foundation


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3252 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657


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