Outdoor Learning Environment

A high quality outdoor learning environment not only helps children get moving but expands the classroom space and learning opportunities to everything the outdoors has to offer!

Application Documentation

On your REACH Outdoor Play & Learning application, you will upload documentation of meeting the outdoor learning environment best practice along with having offering time for outdoor play, integrating outdoor play into the curriculum, and including outdoor play & learning in the facility’s written policy.

REACH Application DocumentationGo NAPSACC Best Practice
Photos** (no more than 8) or a video showing eight or more play/learning settings* available to toddlers and/or preschoolers in the outdoor learning environment.

* At least one must be a garden or other natural setting.
* Other settings may include a pathway; sand play area; climbing structure; house, tent, or cozy area; stage; lawn; easel; outdoor musical instruments, etc.
* At least one setting must include/provide shade, but shade doesn’t count as a setting itself.
*A play area does not need to be permanent; it can be created by bringing equipment outside. Play settings may support physically active play or quieter play.

** Photos will be used only for review purposes unless the facility gives REACH permission to share them.
OP8 The outdoor play space for preschool children includes 8 play areas or more.

Tips for your documentation:

  • Provide no more than eight photos or a video. One photo can show more than one play/learning settings.
  • One of your photos must show a naturalized area like a garden, arbor or tunnel with vines growing over it, trees, etc.
  • One of your photos must show how shade is provided (shade sail, umbrella, tree, etc.).
  • In the application, you will be asked to name and describe the eight play settings shown in your pictures. This is to help reviewers find the play settings in your photos. An example description might be, “Photo 3 shows our lawn for active play and our sand play area. a tree provides shade over the sand play area and is a natural element.” This description would show that one photo counts for three play settings (lawn, sand, and tree as natural element) and meets the shade and natural element requirements.
  • Photos must be from the past 12 months.
  • Photos will be used only for review purposes unless the facility gives REACH permission to share them. Giving permission to share photos is a great way to help inspire other programs to enhance their outdoor learning environments.

Example documentation:

Coming soon!

One thought on “Outdoor Learning Environment

  1. Pingback: Outdoor Time

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