Shape NC

The Early Learning Center

Located near Uptown Charlotte North Carolina, The Early Learning Center successfully converted their entire outdoor area into a best practice example for outdoor learning environments.

The site has a history of light industrial or retail use, parking lots once existed under this lush place for play and learning. Primary pathways, relocated play equipment, new dramatic play settings, and an abundance of raised bed or in ground plantings keep children engaged and active.

In the first season after installation, children tasted the results of their vegetable gardening. This major change was made possible through the Shape NC project, community support, dedication by the owners and teachers, and the generosity of the Mecklenburg Partnership for Children. Owners Pat and Art Porter frequently open their gates for visitors and are determined to continue building and growing.

Address: 4304 South Tryon St Charlotte, NC 28217
Phone Number: (704) 529-5397
County: Mecklenburg
Local Partnership for Children: Mecklenburg
NC Star Rating: 5
Capacity: 95

A parent told me that she was planning her daughter’s birthday party and she asked her daughter what she wanted for food. The daughter told her that she wanted healthy food. The mom said she tried to change her daughter’s mind but in the end she had to purchase fruits and vegetables for the party. Obviously, the children are taking the information and the experiences that they are exposed to.

The Early Learning Center

Schematic Master Plan (2012)

Safe Place Schematic

Before Renovation (2012)

The Early Learning Center - Before Renovation

After Renovation (2013)

The Early Learning Center - After Renovation