By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Untitled No. 1, a nature-based, nonprofit school located in Santa Monica, was founded to serve the community by “offering families and children a joyous and engaging preschool experience, replete with opportunities to learn from nature and from one another,” according to the school’s website.
Untitled No. 1 is a pre-K/TK/K with a year-round, full-day program, Founder Laila Taslimi explained. Its program incorporates practices that teach children from a young age to be environmentally aware and to develop a sense of being stewards of the environment.
“We see ourselves reflected in nature,” the website states. “We constantly take out of nature’s laboratory new and wonderful things. We nurture great respect and learn how it acts upon us and how we act upon it.
“Every part of the universe is connected with every other part, and these interrelationships call for us to care.”
Students at Untitled No. 1 take advantage of parks that are within walking distance and go on regular outings. Students participate as volunteers every week at a nearby park and learn how to garden and grow food.
“Things are being planted and cared for and harvested and composted regularly,” Taslimi said. “And that goes into the topic of being sustainable and teaching children about the compost cycle—we’re not just teaching it, but actually living it every day.”
The school operates with core values: “Culture of care and cooperation across socio-economic class; child-centered space for provocation, inquiry and innovation; and socially active child and school, engaged with the community.”
Students are also provided fresh breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks, sourced primarily from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, their own garden and other local gardens—placing an emphasis on organic and plant-based ingredients.
Taslimi shared that Untitled No. 1 also has a number of certifications to attest to its level of “green-ness.”
Untitled No. 1 is the only WELL certified preschool in the world and has certified WELL Gold, Taslimi explained. The WELL Building Standard is “the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces and communities seeking to implement, validate and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness,” according to its website.
Untitled No. 1 is also a certified California Green Business and is certified LEED Gold, based on a rating system that evaluates the environmental performance of a building.
“I’m trying to be as green as possible,” Taslimi said, “and hope that others find ways to be as green, or more green.”
In addition to its care for the environment, Untitled No. 1 also works toward being a community school. Taslimi commented on the fact that many times, preschool can be financially inaccessible to families, but the school pushes for socioeconomic diversity.
Two-thirds of the families are not paying the full tuition with one-third on full scholarships, not paying anything at all.
Untitled No. 1 is paving the way for a brighter future.
“We’re trying to raise awareness, as children, what they do in their community matters,” Taslimi said. “There’s a great range of experiences and opportunities for the students who come here.”
For more information, visit untitledno1.org.
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