Shape NC

Oct 2010

NLI: Supporting Young Children’s Healthy Development by Design

The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design, is a partner in the Shape NC interdisciplinary program bringing together leading experts in early childhood education, nutrition, physical activity, and landscape design to create 18 Model Early Learning Centers across North Carolina. The goal is to improve children’s healthy development through built environment, nutrition, and physical activity interventions. The role of NLI is to assist centers with renovating and naturalizing the outdoor learning environment (OLE) as a strategy to address the crisis of childhood obesity. The program is supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and the NC Partnership for Children.

NLI works with centers to transform their existing traditional playgrounds into stimulating, nature play and learning environments offering diverse opportunities for increased physical activity and healthy nutrition. “Edible landscapes” installed and managed by the centers include designated vegetable gardens and permanent fruit tree orchards.

Shape NC - Natural Learning Initiative from NC State - College of Design on Vimeo.

Shape NC - Natural Learning Initiative from NC State - College of Design on Vimeo.

The Growing Place Child Care Center, First Baptist Church, Asheboro, NC, is one of the Shape NC Model Early Learning Centers. In this video, Katherine Davis, the Center Director, shares how the recently renovated outdoor learning environment has transformed their outdoor learning environment and the lives of children and parents at the center.

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