Outdoor play experiences and appropriate, safe outdoor play spaces are key for young children’s development. The Head Start Program Performance Standards, Subpart C—Education and Child Development Program Services, 45 CFR § 1302, addresses providing time and chances for outdoor learning experiences. This includes age-appropriate equipment, materials, supplies, and physical space for outdoor learning environments. Subpart D—Health Program Services, 45 CFR § 1302 addresses safety practice standards and ensuring child safety in outdoor environments. Although not specific to the outdoors, there is also guidance around developmental and learning opportunities for infants and toddlers that could easily take place outside. Note: This resource is under review.
This technical assistance paper explores the benefits of outdoor time for infants and toddlers and provides suggestions for
creating outdoor play spaces, safety considerations, and strategies and policies that support this important part of quality infant-toddler programming.