The Nest is Expanding!

The Nest is relocating and expanding for the 2016-2017 school year!

Since opening in August 2011, we have grown from a tiny little program with 18 families to a busting-at-the-seams community of 29 families. Quite simply, over the years our 1,500sf house has become too tight. While we are sad to leave our lovely little home on Moreland Avenue in Ormewood Park where we have built such a lovely and intentional “nest” for young children, families and teachers, we are excited about the new possibilities that result from our growth. 

Where?

The Nest will be moving two and a half miles away, into the historic neighborhood of Grant Park. We will be leasing a much larger space, in a more industrial setting than our current residential one. While we searched for two years for a suitable house to accommodate our expansion with the hope that we could replicate the “school/house” feeling that we so loved at our location at 797 Moreland Avenue, we were unable to find anything residential that met our needs, and we began reconsidering our conceptions of the potential space for the school. In 2015, a local real estate developer contacted the school after learning we were looking for a new space. In a few months and with his help, a location at 1040 Grant Street was identified as a potential location for expansion. By December 2015, a lease was signed. 

Why?

We are thrilled about the space, the location and the idea of expanding our school population for a variety of reasons.

2016-01-19 11x17 Plan OPTION 2 no tables v3The building at 1040 Grant Street truly is a blank slate in terms of design possibilities. The former warehouse will be completely gutted, re-roofed, and rebuilt from the concrete floor to the very high ceilings. Our preliminary plans are exciting!

The Grant Park neighborhood is rich with community resources, and we will be within walking distance of the park itself, Zoo Atlanta, the Atlanta Beltline, the Atlanta Police Department’s horse barn, and the MARTA public transportation system to get us anywhere else in the city that our hearts might desire!

A large greenspace that is adjacent to the building will be converted into a playscape. A small group of teachers and parents are forming alongside a professional design team to create something truly special for children, and something that reflects our vision for childhood and our beliefs about learning. We believe strongly that children deserve regular time spent outdoors, and that outdoor experiences are vital to healthy development. With this in mind, we are engaged in a design process that we believe will result in an outdoor space that is engaging, stimulating, and open with never-ending possibilities. We have undertaken a fundraising effort to support our community efforts to build a unique playscape for our school and our community; to make a donation to this effort, simply use the donation button below:

 

Since 2011, The Nest has maintained a waitlist for all of its classrooms. The demand for early education and child care is tremendous in our community, and the opportunity to serve more families makes us happy. We believe that our southeastern Atlanta community is built, in large part, on a strong commitment to education; our schools are a cornerstone in the foundation of who we are as neighbors. The Nest is honored to extend its commitment to high quality, child-centered, community-driven early education to more families, and believes their participation is important in supporting the neighborhood tradition of valuing schools.

As we increase from twenty-nine families to sixty-four, we will grow in voices and points of view, which is important to us as a community. The growth in class sizes and numbers of educators is both a necessity and a perk of expansion. Over and over, our stated beliefs and values speak to the desire for diversity in viewpoint and experience:

At The Nest, we believe…
…in the collaboration between children, teachers, parents and community.
…that open and honest communication and dialogue among educators and families is a cornerstone to positive experiences for children.
…that all individuals are unique in their perspective and have the right to share their ideas in a respectful environment.
…in a high level of accountability of all to support the school environment.
…that the school creates an organic, dynamic and changing culture in which to navigate and grow.
…that a school is connected to a larger community and the school has a responsibility to enter into intentional and purposeful exchange with the community.

Our actions as a community must reflect this belief, and we feel encouraged at the thought of welcoming new voices to the daily experiences at our school.

Expansion improves the financial health and viability of the school. With expansion, our hope is that our annual Nest Fest benefit can serve to build a scholarship fund so that income is less of a factor for families’ choices when it comes to high quality child care. We will also be better able to pay our staff a livable wage, and we are hopeful that a robust benefits package can be developed as well. Early childhood educators are among the lowest paid professionals, and that has real ramifications for the quality of children’s education and the caregiving they receive. Research is clear; retention of bright, curious, professionally-developed teachers is a key to high quality education, which is why there is nothing we value more at The Nest than wonderful teachers, and adequate compensation for teachers is strongly correlated with retention

When?

 

Construction will begin on our new location in February 2016, with an anticipated opening date is August 3, 2016. Enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year will take place during January and February 2016.

How?

The relocation and expansion process is a costly one, as might be imagined. We have been fortunate to receive a loan from Invest Atlanta, which is key in funding our efforts but additional financial support is most definitely needed. Most additional construction and furnishing costs will be funded by parent enrollment fees and a “nest egg” of donations. We have begun a fundraising campaign, which is specific to our efforts to build an amazing playscape for children! You can easily contribute to that via our Paypal site at the link below. 

 

Your generous support of The Nest is so appreciated, and trust us when we say any amount helps!

As a school community, we strive every day to do the very best with the huge responsibility that we so gladly have undertaken: to care for a group of our community’s youngest citizen, to teach them well so that they may go out into the world with confidence in their own worth and curiosity about life; to lend peace of mind to our community’s families, that their children are cared for, educated and attended to each day with love and respect; and to participate in and invite participation from our community with the understanding that our lives are lived better together than in isolation from one another. And, as we do at The Nest, we look towards the experiences of Reggio Emilia for inspiration…

The infant/toddler centers and preschools (of Reggio Emilia) convey many messages of which the most immediate is: this is a place where adults have thought about the quality and the instructive power of space.
— Lella Gandini, Italian author and teacher

 

 

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