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Outdoor Learning II

Last month we provided ways to celebrate nature-based learning for each and every child. This month, we continue the Outdoor Learning series by delving into the benefits of outdoor play and nature-based learning, and highlighting some videos that you can use in your classrooms. 


The benefits of outdoor play are many - from inviting children to learn science to creating opportunities for social interaction and collaboration to inviting new contexts for learning. Rocking and Rolling. Fresh Air, Fun, and Exploration: Why Outdoor Play Is Essential for Healthy Development delves into why outdoor play is crucial for all children. The article also features questions that can be asked to students that promote outdoor play and have students consider how to incorporate more of it into the daily routine.

Benefits of Engaging Children with Nature is an Infosheet which speaks to the positive impacts that arise when children have daily contact with nature and presents examples of simple ways to naturalize outdoor learning environments in childcare centers. Being in nature and green spaces is important for each and every child and barriers to access need to be addressed.


Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the right of every child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities and free and full participation in cultural and artistic life. This video highlights what play looks like and how it is fundamental to a child's physical, social, mental and emotional development. Consider the following questions that explore a child's right to play:
  • Why is there a need to recognize a child's right to play on a global level?
  • Why is the right to play especially important for children with disabilities?
  • Is play currently under threat? If so, by what?

In this 1 minute video, Coming in for Lunch*, an educator engages in a conversation with a small group of children during outdoor play. Children are playing inside a cardboard box house, pretending to be eating lunch. Another child comes over with paintbrushes to paint the house. The teacher narrates the activity throughout.

In this 1 minute video, Conversation in the Garden*, an educator narrates and gives directions to a child planting and watering seeds in a small outdoor garden. One child speaks in English and the educator responds all in Spanish using gestures to help the child understand. A second child converses all in Spanish with the educator.

How could you use these videos in your teaching? Where might they fit into your curriculum?

*These videos are from the EarlyEdU Alliance Media Library, which is home to a wealth of content that can be downloaded and streamed for educational courses, presentations, and professional development opportunities. You don’t need a library card to access so much amazing content, but you do need a membership in the EarlyEdU Alliance. Join now!

Relevant NAEYC Standards

This newsletter covered outdoor learning which has relevance to the following NAEYC standards:
  • Standard 3 (Teaching): The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals. 
  • Standard 9 (Physical Environment): The program has a safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments. 

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