Elachee Nature Academy to Unveil Transformed Teaching Areas
July 12, 2016 (Gainesville, Ga.) – Elachee Nature Science Center will hold an invitation-only ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 28, 2016, to celebrate completion of facility renovations for its new Kindergarten-1st Grade program. This new class represents a service expansion of Elachee Nature Academy’s accredited nine-month academic program offerings to now include a Nature-based K-1st Grade program in addition to the school’s acclaimed Nature-based Preschool program. Elachee friends and supporters will get a sneak peek of what awaits students enrolled in this inaugural class.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Drive in Gainesville, and will begin at 11:30 a.m. Visitors will have an opportunity to tour Elachee Nature Academy’s spacious, light-filled classrooms for Preschool and K-1st Grade, along with a short hike to view the Academy’s specially-designed outdoor play/teaching spaces. A light luncheon will follow in the Mundy Education Hall.
Thanks to demand from area parents (SEE VIDEO) for the continuation of the highly respected instructional philosophies developed in Elachee’s Nature-based Preschool, now in its fourth year, the Nature Academy’s expansion comes at a time when there is already a two-year waiting list for the private, tuition-based preschool program managed and operated by Elachee Nature Science Center.
Igniting each child’s sense of wonder, Elachee Nature Academy educators use a unique child-directed and discovery-based curriculum, that meets Georgia learning standards, to instruct young students in engaging and meaningful ways. Characterized by innovative educational experiences in the classroom and in outdoor settings, Elachee’s Nature Kindergarten-1st Grade is also SACS/AdvancED-accredited, making it the first and only such K-1st nature-based program in the southeastern United States.
“With this new expansion that utilizes our natural environment as a classroom, Elachee continues to fulfill its mission to promote environmental understanding through education and conservation,” explains Andrea Timpone, President/CEO of Elachee Nature Science Center.
At Elachee’s Flights of Fancy 2016 spring fund raising event, committed donors overwhelmingly showed their support for this program expansion. Forty-four individual donors stepped up to fund the build-out of the Nature Academy’s K-1st Grade classroom in time for the August 5 start date and to fully underwrite year one operating expenses for the academic program expansion.
“It has been very rewarding to collaborate with local partners, people from our own community who are invested in helping expand this innovative instructional concept,” says Rhonda Bailey, Elachee Nature Academy Director of Schools. “Expanding our program to offer Kindergarten-1st Grade is particularly exciting for me because it will open up the opportunity for children to be involved in Elachee’s nature-based education for potentially four to five years.”
Led by a certified teacher, the Nature-based K-1st Grade maximum class size will be 20 students, with a 1:10 teacher/student ratio. One significant aspect of Elachee Nature Academy’s instructional day is that students spend 50 percent or more of their time outdoors.
Working parents will also have the option to select before/after care for their enrolled student as an add-on fee to their tuition payments. Each student’s tuition includes an Elachee family membership which allows the entire family to enjoy the benefits of the Nature Center’s many annual public special events and programs, such as Snake Day, Raptor Fest, Trillium Trek Trail Run and the North Georgia Tree Festival.
Elachee Nature Science Center in north Georgia’s 1,440-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve is a private, independently operated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. For more than 37 years, this premier SACS/AdvancEd-accredited nature center has been instrumental in building environmental literacy for Georgians. Elachee serves tens of thousands of visitors annually through STEM-based environmental education classes for PreK-12 schools, Camp Elachee summer day camps, museum exhibits, 12 miles of pristine hiking trails, other quality educational experiences, conservation activities and special programs for the public. Elachee relies on earned income and tax-deductible donations, planned gifts, grants and corporate partnerships, and fund raising events to fund operations. Visit www.Elachee.org.