Transforming Outdoor Spaces to Support the Early Childhood Workforce

Learn about innovative early childhood training opportunities and supports to improve outdoor spaces at child care centers.


Join us June 9, 2021 2-3 p.m. EDT

The playground is an important setting for young children's social/emotional development and self-regulation skills development. However, many playgrounds offer a lack of choices and feature stationary plastic equipment, rubber surfaces, little shade, and no natural materials or loose parts. Teachers rarely have the opportunity to impact the quality of their outdoor settings, and many are unaware of design practices and activation skills that can enhance social-emotional development outdoors.

High-quality outdoor spaces benefit children in myriad social-emotional ways, including reducing challenging behaviors. Surveys have shown positive changes in children's behavior outdoors after modest renovations to outdoor spaces coupled with professional development. Daily time nature benefits adults too. Research has shown a strong connection between time spent in greener or more natural outdoor settings and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

ECE professionals benefit from targeted professional development to develop outdoor spaces in order to reduce incidences of challenging behaviors and spend more time outdoors. With these skills, it is likely providers will have less stress and ultimately greater job satisfaction, which will increase retention. Participants in this session will learn that daily time in high-quality, natural, and stimulating outdoor play spaces promotes social-emotional development and positive teacher/child interaction.

Featured Speakers

Sarah Konradi, National Wildlife Foundation