Over the last 40 years, we have become an integral part of the Newport Beach community. We have seen children learn and grow as they spend quality time in nature. We have a lot to be proud of – and now we have something to be especially excited about!
The ENC has an amazing opportunity to expand our role as educators in the community. Today we are launching a $10 million capital campaign to purchase and improve the property at 745 Dover Drive, adjacent to the Center. The 1.3 acre property will soon become an extension of the ENC!
Our vision is to expand our natural habitat, create a nature play area, and build our community’s first nature based pre-school. The ENC’s Nature Preschool will have play areas but no playgrounds. Students will spend the majority of the day outdoors, where they will have ample time for unfacilitated nature experiences. Qualified early childhood educators and environmental educators will teach them the basics of a typical preschool and more. Indoor spaces will be warm, welcoming and conducive to learning.
Current literature supports the theory that children are growing into environmentally illiterate adults due to nature deprivation. Many children are not spending time outside exploring, playing, and investigating. Some feel that a step in the right direction is early exposure to nature and ample unfacilitated nature play. Studies show that play is not a luxury, but is critical for children’s healthy development. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is essential to children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being.
All construction on the new Nature Preschool will meet or exceed the sustainable building guidelines incorporated into the ENC’s existing LEED Platinum certified facility. It is the ENC’s goal to achieve certification through the Living Building Challenge.
We hope you keep us in your hearts this holiday season and help us create a better future for our community’s children! – J. Sattari, ENC Intern