By Kristi Cameron
Imagine a place in the southeast Atlanta community designed just for the youngest children, their families, and professional educators who want to welcome them. A place where curiosity, imagination, and thinking are embraced and supported. A place built upon the belief that children are born inherently bright, curious, and hard-wired for learning. A place where the community comes together to nurture the smallest among them. The Nest Nursery School, opening in fall 2011, will be this kind of place.
The Nest will provide full-day, year-round child care for infants and toddlers based on the educational philosophy that originated in a small town in northern Italy called Reggio Emilia. The municipally-funded infant-toddler centers and preschools in Reggio Emilia are world-renowned for their unique approach to caring for and educating young children. The approach to education born in Reggio Emilia envisions and embraces children as inherently competent, capable, and powerful members of the community who have a right to beautiful schools and rich relationships.
The Nest Nursery School is the dream of co-founders Teresa Cole, Mandy Palmer, and Kristi Cameron. As residents of the Grant Park, Boulevard Heights, and Ormewood Park neighborhoods (respectively), they have long recognized the lack of sufficient high-quality, community-based childcare that meets the needs of working parents, particularly those of infants and toddlers. As professional educators, the co-founders have a collective total of 45 years in the field of early childhood education and have made a combined total of seven trips to Reggio Emilia, Italy to participate in comprehensive study tours within the schools there. They are committed to using both their professional expertise and their personal experiences as mothers to create a distinctively special place for young children and their families.
“I want to create the kind of school that I wish had been available for my own children when they were babies and I was working full-time – a beautiful, interesting place filled with people who loved them,” said Cole.
The Nest possesses many unique features, beginning with its location. It is housed in a former residential home, which is an intentional choice to support a program that will be especially warm, loving, and “home-like.” The school also will feature a fully functioning kitchen and a dining room so that meals will be eaten “family-style” outside of the classroom. All food provided at the school will be home-cooked with an emphasis on nutritionally-balanced, wholesome meals and snacks.
In addition to classroom spaces, the school will include studio space that will support children in their explorations of a variety of materials (e.g., paint, clay, light, color, and natural objects) in a setting that is designed for small group encounters among children and adults. The Nest also will employ a studio teacher who will bring a special expertise in the arts to the school, as well as support the children with materials.
In addition to a fenced-in play area and a garden, the outdoor space of the school will include a gazebo and a ramped deck designed to encourage the autonomous movement of young children who are crawling and beginning to walk.
The Nest Nursery School is located at 797 Moreland Avenue in the Ormewood Park neighborhood. At its opening, the school will serve between 18 and 24 families of children aged three months to 36 months. The school also has plans eventually to expand its program to include preschool-aged children. For more information about The Nest or to inquire about enrollment, please visit www.thenestnurseryschool.org, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or join The Nest Nursery School page on Facebook.
The Nest Nursery School Opening in Ormewood Park
By Kristi Cameron