Lake Nixon Outdoor Preschool is an all-weather learning community for 3-5 year olds. We focus on nature education and spend almost our entire day outside. We are located on a 230+ acre property in the heart of West Little Rock.
We encourage families to build positive attitudes toward all weather possibilities, since, in a child's mind, there is no "bad" weather, only endless opportunities to learn and play. Our teachers help families choose the appropriate clothing for children, so they will always be comfortable out-of-doors, and we provide rain gear for the 'extra wet' days. We also help families embrace the dirt and mess that comes with the fierce curiosity of a child blessed with daily nature immersion.
It is crucial for us to create places of learning where children are encouraged in their love of the natural world and inspired to gain more knowledge of it.
Our program follows a Forest Kindergarten model, with emphasis placed on natural rhythms and cycles, seasonal changes, and the natural sciences, including the flora and fauna of Central Arkansas.
Active, expressive experiences are at the heart of every day at outdoor preschool, and are brought to life through our emergent curriculum. Our teachers serve as partners in the child’s experiences, molding curriculum based on the group’s and individual’s interests and natural curiosities. Our teachers work to provide learning experiences across all domains including language, science, math, and the arts.
lake nixon's story
Encompassing 200+ acres and a 34-acre lake located just west-southwest of Little Rock, the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center is minutes from the heart of the capital city.
Yet it feels like a world away.
For the first part of the 20th century, Lake Nixon operated as a commercial entertainment and recreation venue featuring a variety of activities and amenities. These included a swimming beach that provided relief from the summer heat.
In the summer of 1966, two young African American women sought admission to Lake Nixon and were denied an opportunity to pay the membership fee. In response, they charged the lake’s ownership with violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The resulting legal case, Daniel v. Paul, eventually made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States. In a landmark 7-1 decision that drew national attention, the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. This set an important precedent in the application of the Civil Rights Act to membership-based establishments. Before the conclusion of the legal proceedings, Dr. Dale Cowling, pastor of downtown Little Rock’s Second Baptist Church, led his congregation to purchase the lake and surrounding property, with the help of generous giving commitments from ten church leaders and their families. The church envisioned Lake Nixon as a ministry to children and families of all races and backgrounds, offering a summer day camp that served the needs of working families and provided opportunities for young people to encounter God through the outdoors.
Still a ministry of Second Baptist Church, the Lake Nixon Outdoor Center encompasses the Summer Day Camp–celebrating its 50th year in 2019–a unique Outdoor Preschool, recreational facilities for group rental, and more. The LNOC seeks to be a pristine, sacred space where God’s presence may be sensed through worship, education, recreation, and sanctuary.