Certificate Course Report 2022

The NLI Professional Development Team surveyed past participants of the Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate to assess the course contributions to their practice and promotion of naturalized early childhood environments and how NLI could support their work in the future.

A total of 141 responses were received from 10 states in the US (19% response rate).

Ninety-five percent of respondents rated the course as somewhat or very useful.

(N = 141)

In answering the questions, respondents showed a high degree of agreement on the impact of the course on their practices:

  • Learned about the importance of Outdoor Learning Environments (99.29%)
  • More aware of the health implications of outdoor play and learning for young children (97.17%)
  • Used what I learned to promote early childhood outdoor play and learning (92.91%)
  • Used what I learned to promote naturalization of early childhood outdoor environments (89.36%)
  • Modified my practices inspired by the certificate content (85.81%)
  • Included content or resources from the course in my current practice (83.68%)

82% of respondents used the course content to improve their environment at home, work, neighborhood, or community.

93% of respondents reported having worked to improve the quality of their outdoor space and/or education.

Estimated reach

Respondents cited extraordinarily high community outreach to improve the quality of outdoor space and/or outdoor education. They have worked with almost 700 facilities, 1,136 organizations, and offered training and technical assistance attended by approximately 5,000 participants.

Additionally, a major national organization reached 5,000 facilities, 4,500 organizations, and 20,000 participants.

States represented by respondents

Changes to our OLE have been incredible and parents love our space! We even welcomed a bald eagle to our OLE this fall!

I am greatly inspired by all that NLI seeks to accomplish for young children and their families and hope to one day play a significant role in reaching more children and families to increasingly discover the wonders and mysteries of our awesome natural world.

I think I was the first cohort for this certificate program in 2016 […] but I do know it was the beginning of my new journey into this world of OLE and it was the inspiration.

This is a wonderful course and should be a part of training for all early years professionals.