Outdoor Play and Learning: Policy and Practice

Kathleen Burriss, Larry Burriss


This study describes national school district policy and practice regarding elementary school children's outdoor learning and play. District representatives from 173 randomly selected school districts completed questionnaires describing policy and practice related to recess, outdoor play, outdoor curricular studies, playground materials, ADA accessibility, and administrative support. Quantitative analyses indicate that although the largest proportion of school districts overall reported maintaining the same amount of outdoor activity time, more school districts reported decreasing time spent outdoors than school districts that reported increasing children's time outside. There were no significant differences in variables across the three different-sized school districts. These data are congruent with other findings indicating that decreasing children's outdoor time is a national trend. Data suggest administrators’ greater support for outdoor play and learning than previously identified. These findings are discussed as an opening dialogue between administration and teachers to plan for children’s quality outdoor experiences.


play; policy; school districts; outdoor learning

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22230/ijepl.2011v6n8a306

Copyright (c) 2015 Kathleen Burriss, Larry Burriss

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