NLI-ECHO (Early Childhood Health Outdoors) Training Workshop

NLI conducted a 3-day training workshop in early April with the Grow Outdoors SC (South Carolina) ECHO (Early Childhood Health Outdoors) design team – a unit within the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The workshop was framed by NLI’s evidence-based, best practice approach to early childhood outdoor play and learning spatial design and application of related assessment tools. Workshop participants were informed by visits to mature, local sites that demonstrated best practices on the ground, hosted by providers passionate about outdoor play and learning.

The three-day reunion deepened a longstanding partnership between NLI and ECHO-NWF and became a significant opportunity to welcome new members to the combined Grow Outdoors SC team. Working together, NLI and ECHO are part of a statewide initiative called to promote outdoor environments and related education Activities among children in South Carolina to foster Engagement with nature from an early age. By working together, NLI and ECHO are leveraging their combined expertise and resources to make a meaningful impact on childhood health and well-being.

During the visit, discussions went beyond training, delving into strategies for effective implementation and ways to maximize reach and impact. The four site tours (A Kind Garden, A Safe Place, The Raleigh School, and Johnson Pond Learning Center) helped by showcasing successful designs in action.

Moving forward, NLI and ECHO are poised to continue collaborating, building on the foundation of mutual respect and shared goals. Through ongoing communication and cooperation, the aim is to ensure that Grow Outdoors SC becomes a resounding success, as the source of enriching the lives of countless children and nurturing a generation of environmentally conscious citizens across the state.

Research Professor, Nilda Cosco, PhD, NLI Director of Programs, discussing how children interact with diverse environments across the age groups of early childhood.

Professor Moore, Emeritus/founding Director of NLI, discussing NLI’s best practice approach to design of early childhood outdoor play and learning environments.

Nature Play & Learning Demonstration Site Visits

The Raleigh School

A Safe Place

A Kind Garden

Johnson Pond Learning Center