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ERIC Number: EJ1044048
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1068-6177
Universal Design and Outdoor Learning
Harte, Helene Arbouet
Dimensions of Early Childhood, v41 n3 p18-22 2013
Engagement in the natural environment provides authentic and concrete opportunities for children to enhance development in all domains (Bailie, 2010). As children play and explore in nature they build gross motor development moving through the outdoors. Learning outside and in nature not only allows for learning across subject areas and developmental domains, but also creates opportunities to inspire children when discovering the treasures of the outdoors. There are many benefits to outdoor play such as hands-on learning across curriculum areas including science, art and music. Children also learn problem-solving skills and increase dexterity as they navigate materials that are not necessarily evenly spaced. Interactions in the outdoors can help children and adults to rediscover their sense of wonder (Rosenow, 2008). Getting children outside is only one step: the environments in which they are interacting must be of high quality. Safety is essential; however, when children only engage in the same sterile playground environments, they may not be motivated to attempt new skills or even have opportunities to challenge themselves (Little & Eager, 2010). Effective early childhood educators ought to be intentional in planning in all environments (NAEYC, 2009). Interesting outdoor environments with high quality developmentally appropriate experiences are beneficial to learning and growth and should be accessible to all children. In planning outdoor experiences, it may be helpful to consider Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework that helps educators to remove barriers and provide supports, while also challenging students. Universal Design for Learning allows early care and education providers to consider a range of ways to present materials, motivate learners, and provide opportunities for students to express themselves. Learning outdoors affords all of these same opportunities and is consistent with Universal Design for Learning. Early care and education providers can and should plan using the principles of UDL in outdoor settings.
Southern Early Childhood Association. PO Box 8109 Jacksonville, AR 72078. Tel: 501-221-1648. e-mail:; Web site: https://
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A