NLI Online Certificate Programs
1. Which course should I take?
Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments was developed for design professionals and design students who are interested in learning about participatory design processes and tools to create outdoor play and learning environments for young children and adults accompanying them. The overall objective is to teach designers how to create environments that stimulate children to learn in, through, and about nature, while supporting healthy, active lifestyles. Participants may include landscape architects, landscape designers, architects, public garden professionals, exhibit designers, as well as academics and students in landscape architecture, architecture, and horticulture programs. The capstone project requires technical drafting skills. Students must have previous experience preparing scale plans and access to the tools or software needed to do this (either hand drafted or computer drawn plans are acceptable). Landscape architects may receive 24 professional development hours from the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System upon passing this course.
2. What can I expect to get from the program?
Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments: After completing the Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments Certificate Program, participants will be able to:
- Recognize outdoor learning environments (OLEs) as place where children’s physical, social, and emotional development can be encouraged.
- Describe how outdoor environments, particularly those in childcare/child development facilities, can be designed with a diverse mix of manufactured and natural materials, objects, and settings to support creative play, learning, and development in children 0-7 years old.
- Explain how improving OLE quality can positively impact physical activity, encourage healthy eating, and motivate learning in young children.
- Apply methods for creating and managing high-quality outdoor environments to support experiential learning. Demonstrate OLE quality improvement as a health intervention and system-change strategy.
- Earn 2.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from North Carolina State University.
- Earn a certificate of completion awarded by North Carolina State University.
Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments: After completing the Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments Certificate Program, participants will be able to:
- Identify design methods that encourage young children in outdoor settings to be active, practice motor development skills, engage in outdoor learning, and be connected with nature.
- Discover how to create high-quality outdoor environments to support early childhood experiential learning.
- Understand the influence of design on physical activity and healthy eating in young children.
- Recognize landscape design as a human/environment health intervention and system-change
- Licensed landscape architects can also earn 24 professional development hours from the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES).
- Earn a certificate of completion awarded by North Carolina State University.
3. Will I receive credit hours I can use toward a university degree program?
4. What software or equipment is required to take the courses?
For Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments, students need to have access to basic word processing software and a means to take and upload photos.
For Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments only, students will also need to have access to tools or software needed to draft and render scale plans or details (any mix of hand and computer aided drafting is acceptable).
5. What are the requirements for completing the courses?
Participation in Modules: Both courses are broken into eight modules. These modules include required lectures, videos, and readings. Students must engage with all required materials to complete the course. Instructors are able to review whether students engage with materials.
Exercises: Each of the first seven modules in each course have a short exercise that must be completed to pass the course. Students must earn at least 80% on each of these exercises by the end date of the course (announced the beginning of the course on the course website) to earn the certificate. Students are allowed to retake quizzes twice and only the highest grade on each quiz will count.
Final Knowledge Assessment : To pass the course, participants in Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments must earn at least an 80% on a final knowledge assessment by the end date of the course to earn the certificate. Students are allowed to retake the assessment twice and only the highest grade will count
Capstone Project: Students in Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments must either design a schematic plan for a landscape for young children (no more than 1.5 acres), plan and (if possible) implement a planting design for young children, critically examine and redesign an outdoor learning environment at a childcare facility using a standard tool, or create a detailed design for a complex play and learning setting.
6. What is the timeframe for completion of the course?
7. What is the cost for participation?
Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments: The registration cost for the certificate course is $480.
Designing Early Childhood Outdoor Environments: The registration cost for the certificate course is $500.
Discounts may be available for residents of North Carolina, students, and groups of 5 or more.
8. How do I register for the course?
Go to the links to the right for more information on each course and the instructions to register. Links to register will be added when the next section of the course opens.
9. Will I be able to access the course website after the course end date?
10. Can course participants download handouts/videos/lectures from the course website?
11. Is it possible to withdraw from the course after registering?
To drop the course and receive a refund, send a notification by email to both Laura Lloyd (email@example.com) and Felicia Atkinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 5 p.m. (Eastern Time) 10 business days prior to the start of the course. A $50.00 fee will be charged for cancellations less than 10 business days prior to the start of the course. No reimbursement will be made after the start of the course, but you may designate a substitute at any time to attend in your place.
12. If I am unable to complete the course, am I eligible to take the course in a later session/semester?
Participants who are unable to complete all requirements by the course end date and wish to get the Certificate award must reach out to the Natural Learning Initiative at least one week before the course end date by sending a message with a transfer request to Bria Sledge (email@example.com) and Laura Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If a transfer is requested within the first 6 weeks of the course, participants who paid the full general registration fee can be transferred once to an upcoming section at no additional cost. If requested in weeks 6-11 of the course, participants can be transferred once to an upcoming section for a transfer fee of $50. Those who have received reduced or complimentary registration or the North Carolina discounted registration rate can be transferred once to an upcoming section but will be charged a transfer fee of $50.
Registration in the next upcoming section with a waived registration fee is for one time only. Subsequent registrations must be paid at the advertised rate.
Participants cannot be transferred to the upcoming section if a transfer is requested in week 12 of the course or after the course end date. Participants will be required to register again and pay the advertised registration rate.
If transferred to an upcoming section, participants will be required to meet all of the requirements in the new section to receive the course completion certificate and 2.4 CEUs.
13. Whom should I contact if I still have questions?
Please contact Laura Lloyd (email@example.com) via email if you still have questions.