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Providing Hope and Opportunity in Outdoor Learning Environments

Good Fieldwork

Date Submitted: 04/2022

Contact Information:


Mary Tepera-Jones


GOOD FIELDWORK, 124 N. Peoria, Tulsa, OK, 74120

Rating Category: Promising Practice

Focus Area: Child Development

Focus Population: Children, Caregivers, Guardians, Parents, Owners, Administrators, Teachers

Goals and Outcomes: This submission is ideal for child care providers who understand that natural, outdoor learning classrooms help children develop a sense of wonder, foster creativity, imagination, and discovery for optimal brain development and child outcomes. It will also help those providers that need to enhance their outside space to improve quality and increase their capacity and rating on the state’s quality rating system.

The majority of the work is the design and construction. This is a detailed process that requires surveys, certifications, planning meetings and multiple trips to and from the child care location. To begin the process, the architect from GOOD FIELDWORK, consultant from EARLY EXPERTISE, and the construction manager from JONESPLAN meet with the individual providers to understand their needs and desires for their outdoor learning environment. At a minimum, the GOOD FIELDWORK team plans to meet with:

o Leadership of the program.

o A larger group to discuss cultural implications, ideas and receive input on draft design. This group will be determined by the program, but may include teachers, parents, neighbors, community leaders, etc.

Once the playground is surveyed and the programmatic goals have been finalized, the outdoor classroom is designed. A construction team then works with the program to schedule commencement of construction. Construction time will vary, but is estimated at approximately 10 days/nights for completion of a family child care home outdoor learning environment and 13 days/nights for completion of a child care center outdoor learning environment.

During the construction of this project, providers and children will be encouraged to be involved. Because children love to watch things being constructed, the proposal includes a book for the children to look at that will show them the playground map and what the project will look like upon completion.

Brief Summary:

Good Fieldworks would like to design new and/or renovate existing playgrounds at eight diverse early education programs across the State of Oklahoma into natural outdoor learning classrooms which will help promote the health and well-being of Oklahoma children and early childhood staff. Outdoor learning environments are important spaces for all children, and in the days of a global pandemic and endless connection to digital devices and the indoors, they become even more critical. This submission focuses on the developmental needs of children ages birth through twelve and the creation of age-appropriate natural outdoor classrooms to help meet those needs.

GOOD FIELDWORK has designed four outdoor learning classrooms at Tulsa Educare 4-Celia Clinton from the ground up and renovated the outdoor learning environments at the other Tulsa Educare schools. Tulsa Educare focuses on the most vulnerable children and has data that shows the improvements that the children have made in the program. The data is not specifically focused on outdoor learning environments but is focused on learning environments, teacher interactions and intentional teaching practices. These outdoor learning environments, along with training and technical assistance can bring stronger child outcomes to the most "at risk" children.


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