The Nest Learning Environments

Welcome to The Nest! Here is more information about what to expect during your visit!

This is a space for infants, toddlers, and their caregivers to learn and connect with each other through play. We believe that children’s learning and development is constructed much like a bird’s nest; each skill is both supported by and supportive of other skills. Every child builds their nest – their understanding of the world- in their own unique way. The materials and invitations to play are inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, the Abecedarian Project, Kaleidoscope Play and Learn Framework, and the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center.

The Back Perch

Let’s perch and play! A soft play and seating area that fosters meaningful connections among children and caregivers alike.

What Can We Do Here?

  • Read books
  • Share a quiet moment
  • Engage in pretend play 

The Burrow: A Nesting Tunnel

Let’s move! A space to practice gross motor skills, object permanence, and the delight of hiding and being found.

What Can We Do Here?

  • Move through the tunnel by scooting, crawling, walking
  • Test out gravity and motion by using the track and rolling materials
  • Observe mall traffic through windows of the tunnel 
  • Connect with caregivers and other children by hiding and being found

The Pecking Boards

Let’s build! A space to build and imagine together.

What Can We Do Here?

  • Use blocks to build structures, roads, houses 
  • Engage in dramatic play with blocks, animals, people
  • Use ramps to experiment with gravity and motion


Let’s observe! A space to explore reflections and object permanence.

What Can We Do Here?

  • Engage with our reflections, and reflections of others 
  • Explore a different perspective of the Nest space 

The S.T.E.M. Wing

A space to explore Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math concepts. Designed in collaboration with Frank Porter Graham’s STEM Innovation for Inclusion Early Learning Center. This area includes the Light, Flight and Might labs for early learners.

What Can We Do Here?

  1. The Light Lab: Let’s experiment! A space to manipulate light, shadows, colors, and perspectives
  2. The Flight Lab: Let’s fly! A space to explore wind and its effects on different materials
  3. The Might Lab: Let’s design! A space to test out ideas and explore early physics concepts

The Bird Boxes: Nesting Materials

Let’s create! A space to explore sensory materials and make art together.

What Can We Do Here?

  • Explore sensory materials (sand, paint, water, textured paper, natural materials)
  • Work with art materials (paper, paint, markers, crayons, clay, glue)
  • Work on individual and collaborative art projects

The Nesting Nook

Let’s read! A space for children and caregivers to share in the joy of books!

What Can We Do Here?

  • Look at books independently and read books together with a caregiver
  • Work with puzzles and other manipulatives