Recognition in Outdoor Play & Learning shows that an ECE program is committed to providing a high quality outdoor learning environment that support children’s health and learning. See more about our key evidence-based practices and how to apply for the recognition below.
Time outdoors helps get children active and can reduce child and adult stress. Not only can children run around, but they can uses their senses to explore the natural world, explore scientific concepts, and much more!
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!
Teacher-Initiated Outdoor Activities
The outdoor learning environment has so much to offer! There’s so much to explore, even in a small patch of grass, under a stepping stone, or by collecting fallen leaves.
Outdoor Play & Learning Policy
A written policy can show how important Outdoor Play & Learning is to a facility. Written policies help the facility communicate values and expectations clearly with families and staff.
How to Apply
Follow the steps below, or review this checklist for applying. This presentation and its recording also cover the basics of applying for the Physical Activity, Outdoor Play & Learning, and Screen Time recognitions.
- Make sure the facility is eligible for the Outdoor Play & Learning recognition.
- REACH recognized facilities/programs must be licensed and located in North Carolina and serve infants, toddlers, and/or preschool-aged children.
- Facilities/programs must have achieved a score of “Leading the Way” on their latest Go NAPSACC Outdoor Play & Learning self-assessment (taken within the past 12 months).
- Gather required information and documentation. Along with providing basic information about the ECE program, you will show how the facility is meeting key evidence-based practices in Outdoor Play and Learning by submitting scanned copies/photos of:
- weekly schedules that show that the facility offers the best practice amount of outdoor time each day for each age group
- photos of the outdoor learning environment that show eight play settings, including a garden or other natural setting and shade
- description of a teacher’s favorite activity that uses the outdoor learning environment to meet learning objectives in NCFELD domains
- section of the family handbook that shows the facility’s commitment to outdoor play & learning
At the end of the application, you will have the opportunity to share why outdoor play & learning is important to this facility and the partners that have helped them along the way. This information is used on recognized programs’ profiles. You may also upload a photo for this profile.
Use this print copy of the application to make sure you have all of the information you need to complete the application.
- Complete this online application. This checklist can help you make sure you’re ready to go. Either a representative from an ECE program or their TA partner may complete this application. You will complete one application for each facility. Applications are due by Feb 24, 2023 for March recognition, by April 15, 2023 for May recognition, or by June 15, 2023 for July recognition. Reviewers will look over your application and either come back with questions or issue the recognition.
Recognized facilities receive a profile on our website as well as a yard sign, certificate, and graphics and draft language to include in social media posts or family newsletters. REACH shares facilities’ success through social media and will work with TA Consultants to look for local opportunities to celebrate recognized facilities.
Thanks to these partners for their guidance on the Outdoor Play & Learning recognition.
Thanks to Nilda Cosco (Natural Learning Initiative), Rich Rairigh (Go NAPSACC), Lynn Policastro (Wake County Smart Start) and our TA Advisory Committee!