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Acelero Learning Awarded Grant by PNC Foundation

PNC Foundation’s generous grant will transform an existing playground into a high-quality, nature-based play and learning environment at the Acelero Learning Martin Luther King Center in Las Vegas.

April 15, 2024

The PNC Foundation has awarded Acelero Learning a $75,000 grant to transform an existing playground into a high-quality, nature-based play and learning environment at the Martin Luther King Center in Las Vegas. Plans for the outdoor learning environment call for the construction of natural seating and reading areas; innovative storage solutions; natural turf; shading; musical components; water, stone and wood elements; and a central play area. The open-air classroom will encourage inquiry-based learning experiences that are hands-on and sensory-focused.

“Research suggests consistent exposure to nature and the outdoors fosters cognitive thinking, speeds development, and bolsters creativity, especially among children from birth to age 5,” said Thomas Keeney of Acelero Learning. “Introducing different natural environments to children can lead them to think beyond their immediate surroundings and develop well-rounded perspectives. Nature-based learning provides opportunities for discovery, creativity and problem solving, improving a child’s academic performance and critical thinking.

“Thanks to this generous grant from the PNC Foundation, we will create a beautiful outdoor learning environment where our children can grow and thrive for years to come.”

Acelero Learning MLK Center serves up to 97 children every day, delivering exemplary full-day, full-year early childhood education for infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children with funding from Head Start, childcare subsidy and public pre-K programs. Acelero Learning provides direct early childhood learning for more than 1,100 Clark County children and their families.

Funding for the new outdoor classroom comes from the PNC Grow Up Great® 20 th Anniversary grant pool. PNC is marking two decades of its PNC Grow Up Great® initiative by allocating grants for the creation or enhancement of outdoor learning areas across markets it serves, coast-to-coast. “At PNC, we know that helping children get a great start in school and life is one of the best investments we can make,” said Denette Suddeth, PNC Bank regional president for Nevada. “Since entering the market in 2022, we’ve worked hard to become part of the fabric of this great state. Partnering with Acelero Learning is one way PNC can help position Nevada’s youngest citizens for future success.” The project will also leverage a partnership with Nature Explore to provide professional development for Acelero’s early childhood educators, so they can effectively use the outdoor play and learning environment to enhance students’ learning. The early childhood education location has been a PNC Grow Up Great® partner center since April 2022.