Outdoor learning experiences are necessary for motor and cognitive development in children. Facilities must provide outdoor environments that are adequately arranged and designed to encourage physical activities and additional learning opportunities.
This section includes professional learning resources that can help practitioners deepen their understanding of quality for this topic.
Take a guided interactive virtual tour of an outdoor learning environment at a real child care center with labels marking key elements to promote learning and engagement. There are also videos by the Natural Learning Initiative linked to the labels to explain the purpose of each outdoor feature. Program staff can use this tool for inspiration on how to design their outdoor learning environment.Age(s): Toddler, Preschool, School-age
This webinar from Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) provides an overview of how to use outdoor learning environments to promote engagement and activity and it’s benefits for preschool age children. Program staff can learn what materials and elements to use when designing an outdoor learning environment.Age(s): Preschool
In this section you will find tips, strategies, examples, and specific tools and products that can improve your implementation of practices related to this topic area.
This Outdoor Learning Planning Form can aid providers in planning how they can set up their outdoor learning environment while including all necessary elements. It also includes examples of each type of element to help inspire ideas.Age(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
This publication by Green Schoolyards America promotes the importance and benefits of nature play for young children. Program staff can utilize the recommendations and examples for designing their own outdoor learning environments in a safe and resourceful manner.Age(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
This checklist covers all necessary elements needed for a successful outdoor learning environment. Program staff can use this checklist to keep track of their materials and progress.Age(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age
This guide lists different types of activity settings and design considerations for outdoor learning environments. Each activity setting is accompanied by a picture to illustrate how the setting can promote learning and interactive play. Program staff can use these guidelines to incorporate common natural elements into an interactive outdoor learning environment for children.Age(s): Infant, Toddler, Preschool, School-age