The Nature Explore Classroom at

Lena Pope Early Learning Center at
University of North Texas
Health Science Center

Lena Pope Early Learning Center located at University of North Texas Health Science Center opened its doors, in partnership with UNTHSC, in 2018, where we serve children ages six week to five years old.

The Nature Explore Playground at Lena Pope ELC-UNTHSC is truly utilized as an extension of our indoor classroom and was designed in a way to promote learning using our outdoor centers.

We are proud to be able to extend our child-centered curriculum, HighScope, and social emotional model, Conscious Discipline, outdoors. Essentially, any learning that could take place inside can also take place in our outdoor learning classroom. The children are encouraged to use their imaginations and exploration skills, in unstructured play where natural elements are included. Children can create their own play using natural materials such as logs, water, sand, dirt, etc. These natural materials, and products will stand the test of time and grow with the outdoor classroom.

Plants were selected for their aesthetic qualities as well as their resistance to drought in our Texas heat. Wooden signposts with named areas are burned into the wood for a more natural look and help to identify each area of play outside for the children.

Being a part of UNTHSC has provided the Early Learning Center an amazing opportunity to collaborate with UNTHSC and their Community Garden. The outdoor area has a beautiful garden, that our partners at UNTHSC sponsored, and help to maintain. Volunteers from UNTHSC help with the ELC garden by selecting and donating appropriate plants, vegetables, and fruit to plant in the garden. They also work together, with the children, to maintain the garden.

Our exceptional donor, the Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation, has really made this outdoor classroom a possibility. Our beautiful outdoor classroom truly serves our children with a natural play experience that does not exist on your average playground.


3620 Modlin Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76107