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Outdoor Learning Environments Bridge Traditional Playgrounds and Nature

The "Outdoor Learning Environments" come in many configurations, ranging from vegetable gardens, to slides built into grass hills, to stages. More elaborate natural playgrounds include science labs, greenhouses, ponds, dirt trails, trike trails, mazes and reading amphitheaters.

A growing number of children's advocates and parents express concern in this computer and entertainment-driven age about the increasing disconnection of children to the outdoors and nature.

As part of this back-to-nature movement to reconnect children to the outdoors, the commercial playground company Progressive Design Playgrounds of Oceanside, Calif. announces adding "Outdoor Learning Environments" to its line. The company says these playgrounds "extend the classroom into the outdoors where children can play with and among natural elements, such as sand, water and living plants."

These outdoor classrooms function as play areas on their own or as additions to traditional physically challenging stand alone play structures like overhead ladders, rings and climbing walls.
An Outdoor Learning Environment was recently complete at La Jolla United Methodist Church Nursery School in San Diego, Calif.

"What is really interesting is that children, when left alone, inherently gravitate to the natural elements like dirt, grass and water," said Rebecca Candra, director of the nursery school "The children are thrilled to have a play space that combines natural elements and monkey bars and they benefit from the combination."

For more info visit To learn more about reconnecting children with the outdoors, visit

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December 10, 2019, 7:12 pm PDT

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