Grass, Dirt, and Concrete: Engaging Preschoolers in Outdoor Spaces

Course Number

The outdoor learning environment is an integral part of any early childhood program.  It provides opportunities for children to develop gross motor skills, engage in social interactions, and take appropriate risks.  Playing in a more naturalized outdoor learning environment is more engaging for children, and small changes can positively impact children, staff, and families.  In this 1.5 hour face to face training learn how adding loose parts to the outdoor learning environment can create new opportunities for cognitive growth and development, creativity, and language.  By reimagining the outdoor learning environment as a dynamic and variable space, educators will gain new insights into ways to ensure no two days outdoors are ever the same.  

Clock Hours

Course Delivery Method

Face to Face. Please see information below on how to register.

Target Audience

Educators of preschool age children


No previous experience is required.

Fee Information

There may be a fee associated with this training.


Upon completion, the learner will be able to:

  • Describe at least two loose parts which promote exploration.

  • Identify at least one question to encourage exploration of materials.  

  • Identify at least one loose part they can add to their outdoor learning environment to encourage exploration.


This training aligns to Colorado's Competencies for Early Childhood Educators and Administrators.

  • Teaching Practices 25.1: Defines opportunities for children to ask questions and find answers through active exploration of materials in the environment.

This training is available through Early Childhood Health Outdoors National Wildlife Federation (ECHO NWF). Please visit the organization's website or email to schedule a training for your program.

Last Update 1/13/2020

Additional Information
This course has been recognized as aligned to The Colorado Competencies and meeting best practice standards for adult instruction through the Colorado Shines PDIS Training Alignment Process. The Rules Regulating Child Care Facilities, issued by the Division of Early Care and Learning, Colorado Department of Human Services, take precedence over any course content.

To view Child Care Licensing Rules:

For more information, contact your child care licensing specialist.

Please note, instructors will mark your attendance and course completion in the Colorado Shines PDIS within seven days of the course event date. Paper certificates might not be issued at this training. You may confirm your course completion, view, and print an online certificate through My Dashboard – My PDIS Transcript menu navigation of the Colorado Shines PDIS. Please do not upload a course certificate that is already linked to your Colorado Shines PDIS account as this may delay processing of professional credentials.

Course Hours
Copyright ©2015 Colorado Department of Education. All rights reserved.
Learning Management System (LMS) is copyrighted by Copyright © 2017 Vector Solutions
113.27.1385.1: JPR-OH-WEB04