Course Description

Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments for Young Children is a non-credit certificate program for professionals and volunteers. Interested learners will gain the skills and understanding required to create, manage, promote, organize, and administer high quality Outdoor Learning Environments for young children (i.e., the early childhood years zero to seven) and accompanying adults.  This certificate program consists of 8 modules to be completed. See specific content information below in sections "Expected Outcomes" and "Attend and You Will Learn."

Why You Should Attend

The goal of the Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments for Young Children Certificate Program is to transfer knowledge about participatory design processes and tools to improve childcare outdoor learning environments with the objective of supporting healthy, active lifestyles, and learning through nature for young children.

The distance education certificate is delivered online, with an optional face-to-face education session (mainly for North Carolina participants).

The McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, Office of Professional Development and NC State University offer the certificate as a non-credit education opportunity. The certificate is awarded by NC State University.

Who Should Attend

The target audience is early childhood educators practicing in childcare centers; however, others may be interested, such as landscape design/build, horticultural, and park and recreation professionals, college instructors, Cooperative Extension agents, and volunteers with an interest in advancing outdoor quality for young children.

Attend and You Will Receive

  • A Certificate of Participation
  • 2.4 CEUs

Attend and You Will Learn / Expected Outcome

Expected Outcomes

  • You will be able to describe how outdoor environments can be designed to encourage children 0-7 years old attending childcare/child development centers and other outdoor settings, to be active, practice motor development skills, participate in outdoor play, learn fruit and vegetable gardening, engage in healthy eating and use natural materials, objects, and settings to support play and learning processes.
  • You will be able to explain how improving the Outdoor Learning Environment quality can positively impact physical activity and healthy eating in young children.
  • You will be able to apply methods of creating and managing high quality environments to support outdoor experiential learning.
  • You will be able to recognize outdoor learning environments (OLEs) as spaces where children's developmental capacity can be extended and enhanced.
  • You will be able to demonstrate Outdoor Learning Environment quality improvement as a health intervention and system change strategy.

Attend And You Will Learn

  • Module 1: Environment and Behavior Approach
  • Module 2: Design Awareness for Early Childhood
  • Module 3: Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) Overview
  • Module 4: Best Practice Indicators - Part 1
  • Module 5: Best Practice Indicators - Part 2
  • Module 6: Project Implementation
  • Module 7: Project Site Management
  • Module 8: Capstone Project

Notes / Additional Information

Program Resources

  • Movies/videos
  • Virtual tours
  • Videos

How to Register

  1. Click the registration link and use the "Add to Cart" button to register for the certificate course.
  2. Once you register, you will receive  a verification email from NCSU Continuing Education (ContinuingEducation@ncsu.edu) with subject line "McKimmon Center for Extension & Continuing Education Enrollment Notification". Please review information to ensure accuracy.
  3. On a separate email from NCSU Continuing Education (ContinuingEducation@ncsu.edu), you will receive the receipt for your registration to the certificate course.
  4. Once the registration process is complete, within 24 to 36 business hours you will receive an email from NCSU Learn Tech stating your username and password for you Moodle Outreach account.  Please look out for an email from Learn Tech (learntech@ncsu.edu) or Debbie Crawford (djcrawfo@ncsu.edu) with subject line "Moodle Outreach: New User Account" and follow the instructions on that email to access the online certificate Moodle site.
  5. Please change password and save your username and password for future logins to the certificate Moodle site.

Registering online or by fax is secure.


Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in

Section Title
Early Childhood Outdoor Learning Environments
Sep 16, 2019 to Dec 09, 2019
Course Fee(s)
All other Residence Fee non-credit $450.00
North Carolina Resident Fee non-credit $100.00