children playing

Quality in outdoor environments for child care

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Publication Date: 
8 May 2008

Description: A majority of young children spend a great deal of their waking hours in child care settings. Part of their learning each day can -- and should, occur outdoors. It is critical that the outdoor experiences they have are healthy and developmentally appropriate. Often teachers and administrators think long and hard about how to design children's indoor environments, but neglect thoughtful planning for outdoor learning settings. How outdoor settings are designed -- and used -- is critical to the healthy development of children. It is especially important as we begin to see the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on children. The outdoor environment provides a special stage for action, stimulating play, learning, and physical activity. The website link above identifies and describes the various domains of quality outdoor environments. The domains include: physical environment, interactions, play and learning settings, program, and teacher/caregiver role.