Primary pathways should be wide enough to accommodate intense pedestrian and wheeled-toy traffic, helping children stay on the pathway and pass each other without conflict.
Embankment slides have become popular settings within naturalized outdoor learning environments. If not properly considered and installed, they may not function as intended. Guidance is provided concerning installation, use zones, steepness, plantings and avoiding erosion.
Primary pathways are a functional necessity in childcare outdoor learning environments (OLEs) and promote physical activity by facilitating walking, running, chase games, and wheeled toy use (riding, pushing, pulling). They are designed to provide easy, attractive circulation throughout the outdoor learning environment and connect classrooms to the primary settings of infant, toddler, and preschool areas.
Laying out a pathway can seem complicated and overwhelming. Following the provided steps should simplify the process and produce a more successful result.
Sand play is one of the most valuable natural behavior settings for children from toddlerhood through the early school years. However, to stop sand from spreading across other outdoor learning environment settings, follow the simple steps provided.
Sensory gardens provide intimate spaces where young children can be immersed in the scents, textures and colors of plants and related elements.
Improper drainage can be a major barrier to using the childcare center outdoor learning environment (OLE). For areas that are frequently wet and muddy, ideas are provided to improve drainage.
Grass mazes are composed of informal arrangements of ornamental "clumping" grasses. Grass mazes support chase games like tag and hide-and-seek, and provide space for intimate conversations, rest, and reflection. Design guidance for grass mazes is provided.
Plant protection railing is a simple way to protect newly installed plants. By guiding feet away from new planting beds, the railing guards plants from being uprooted or trampled, delicate tree branches from being hung on, and roots from being compacted. The simplest variations of plant protection railing can be installed inexpensively with minimal skill, and is a key method to ensure new plants will thrive in the outdoor learning environment.
Adequate protection from the sun is essential for the health and comfort of young children outdoors. Shade can be provided in various ways, including vegetation, structures, and temporary shade.
Gardening with children provides numerous opportunities for hands-on learning, inquiry, observation, and experimentation. With some planning, you can design and install a garden that will suit the needs of the children and adults that will be using it. Dream big, start small, and have fun!
Is pressure treated wood acceptable for use in an outdoor learning environment? The NLI is often asked this question, and this post refers to official guidelines from the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education and the US Environmental Protection Agency.