Space and Design
- Is there an unobstructed view of the children at all times?
- Is there easy access to and from the indoor space used by the program?
- Is there easy access to restrooms?
- Is there a drinking fountain?
- Is there a water spigot for attaching a hose?
- Is there age-appropriate equipment for climbing, swinging and building?
- Is there a storage shed?
- Are there soft materials like sawdust, sand or bark under swings, slides and climbers?
- Are there sunny and shady areas?
- Are there paved or hard surfaces for riding, chalk, etc.?
- Is there a covered area for use in wet weather?
- Is there a place to be alone or with one or two other children?
- Is there open, grassy space for running, kicking, throwing, etc.?
- Is there an area for digging?
- Is the area free from litter?
- Are any materials or equipment damaged?
- Do you see rust, splinters or cracks in any equipment?
- Are there obvious hazards (s-hooks on swings, sharp edges, places to pinch fingers)?
- Are there large rocks or roots that may trip children?
- Are there protective surfaces under climbers, swings and slides?
Spaces for Learning
(Note: Indoor activities are extended into outdoor areas. However, it may not be possible to set up the outdoor area with every indoor interest area (e.g., kitchen), and that’s OK.)
- Is there a sand or water area?
- Is there a space for sitting and reading books?
- Are there dramatic play materials (e.g., picnic props)?
- Are there blocks?
- Are there props for imaginative play (tubes, boxes, ramps)?
- Are there wheeled toys?
- Are there objects for throwing (balls, beanbags)?
- Are there sand and water toys?
- Are there materials for art or writing?
- Are there opportunities for music (bells, cymbals, materials that make noise when struck, radio for dancing)?
- Are there tools for exploration (binoculars, magnifying glasses, thermometers)?
- Are there tools or objects for building or exploring simple machines (pulleys, ramps, blocks, pipes)?
- Are there plants?
- Are children encouraged to take care of plants?
- Are there opportunities to take walks?
References and Source Material:
Cryer, D., Harms, T., & Riley, C. (2003). All about the ECERS-R: A detailed guide in words and pictures to be used with the ECERS-R. Kaplan Early Learning Co.
Dodge, D. T., Colker, L. J., & Heroman, C. (2002). The Creative Curriculum for Preschool (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, Inc.