Preschool Outdoor Environment Measurement Scale POEMS (2005)

The objective of the instrument is to provide a valid, reliable tool for assessing the quality of outdoor environments and their use and at the same time provide guidance to childcare professionals and site administrators to assist them in making improvements. The instument is structured with five domains, which contain 54 assessment items scored dichotomously(present/not present). Guidance is provided for possible actions to improve environments based on the domain/item scores.

POEMS was developed to serve as:

  • A checklist for childcare teachers/caregivers and administrators interested in learning more about creating higher quality environments for children’s outdoor play and learning
  • A checklist for directors and program administrators planning quality outdoor environments for young children or who are working to improve their existing space
  • A reference tool for landscape architects and garden designers working with childcare programs to design quality outdoor play and learning spaces
  • A guideline for new construction of childcare facilities
  • A reference tool for funding agencies supporting healthy, high-quality outdoor play and learning environments for children
  • A source of guidance for policy initiatives in early childhood development
  • A research instrument to study the implications of outdoor environmental quality for children’s development and learning.

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Research supported by the University of North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Development team:
Dr. Karen DeBord, Family and Consumer Sciences, NC cooperative Extension, NC State University, Dr. Linda Hestenes, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Prof. Robin Moore, College of Design, NC State University, Nilda Cosco, College of Design, NC State University, Janet McGinnis, NC Department of Public Instruction

POEMS is distributed by Kaplan, Inc.