BRANFORD — A new childcare and pre-K early learning center based on child-directed outdoor play and wholesome food is opening Sept. 3 in Stony Creek.
The center, called N.E.S.T. will host an introductory meeting for parents of infants through pre-K-age children Tuesday, July 30, from 6-8 p.m. at Pine Orchard Beach Yacht and Country Club Ballroom, 294 Pine Orchard Road, Branford. The program title is “Preserving Childhood in a Modern World — The Power of Play.”
A dinner for children, plus appetizers and beverages for parents, will be provided from 6 — 6:30 p.m. Children in attendance will experience play activities under the supervision of the N.E.S.T. teaching staff while parents participate in the information program.
The N.E.S.T. center is at 56 Stony Creek Road. The name means Nature-Based, Emotionally-Intelligent, Science Informed, Transforming Early Education. It is the fourth location created by Amy Small who also owns and is the director of two N.E.S.T. centers in Hamden and another Yale-connected center in New Haven, currently called Alphabet Academy. The new Stony Creek N.E.S.T. location will have hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tours of N.E.S.T. are available prior to opening. Phone: 203-489-5201. www.TheNestCT.com
“We’re an extremely different kind of day care,” said Cora Megan, Director of the N.E.S.T. Shoreline. “Our children spend a great deal of time outdoors on our 1-acre campus. They play under the guidance of our teachers who all have degrees in Early Childhood Education.” Joining the Branford staff will be Bernadette Stak who recently retired from Temple Beth Tikvah Nursery School in Madison. The program includes yoga for young children.
The N.E.S.T. center in Branford will have a garden for experiential learning about the outdoors. There will be a full kitchen with an on-site chef preparing healthy food such as lentil crackers and homemade granola — “fresh, organic ingredients,” Megan explained. “Our mission, as stated on our website, is to challenge each child to reach his or her full intellectual, creative, physical and social potential through a curriculum that puts an emphasis on a child’s innate curiosity of our nature world.”
“The N.E.S.T. centers prepare children with all the skills needed for kindergarten, but our pre-K program is very progressive, a holistic approach to early childhood education,” said Megan. “The philosophy of N.E.S.T. engages young children in growing through expression in conversation, storytelling, music, art, dance, dramatic play and group construction. We also help parents learn how to be emotionally responsive to their children.”