Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms

Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms

Author Eric Nelson, Director of the Outdoor Classroom Project, beautifully explains the philosophy of the Outdoor Classroom and promotes the idea that everything done indoors can be done just as well – if not better – outdoors.

Transform outdoor spaces into learning environments where children can enjoy a full range of activities as they spend quality time in nature. This book is filled with guidance to help you plan, design, and create an outdoor learning program that is a rich, thoughtfully equipped, natural extension of your indoor curriculum. Loaded with practical and creative ideas, it also includes information to help you

  • Understand how Outdoor Classrooms benefit children’s learning and development
  • Collaborate with other teachers, administrators, and families to make your Outdoor Classroom a reality
  • Create development and action plans to strategize and implement changes
  • Evaluate your outdoor environment, program, and practices

Loaded with colorful photographs of creative and practical outdoor spaces, Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms inspires the transformation of outdoor spaces in any climate into safe and effective learning environments.  Age Focus 0-8.  Softbound.

To order, please visit the Redleaf Press website.


This valuable Guide explains the ideas behind the Outdoor Classroom and outlines a general approach that every center can follow for developing the Outdoor Classroom in a way that is best suited for you and your program.

  • Provides an extended description of the Outdoor Classroom and describes key elements of the environment and how to bring activities outdoors.
  • Includes examples of an Outdoor Classroom – its program, physical environment, activities, equipment and materials.
  • Explains how teachers can most effectively work with children while outdoors.
  • Articulates the philosophy of the Outdoor Classroom and an explanation of the importance of child development theory and the elements of that theory that are important to the Outdoor Classroom.
  • Provides a description of recent research that supports the value of the Outdoor Classroom.

Required reading for Outdoor Classroom Specialist Level I Training.
Available in English and Spanish. $19.99

Purchase here

Outdoor Classroom Project DVD

Outdoor Classroom Project® DVD

This informative seven-minute video (as shown on this website) provides a concise and rich explanation of the Outdoor Classroom, as established by the Child Educational Center (CEC) in Southern California and practiced there for more than thirty years. Narrated by CEC founding directors Eric and Elyssa Nelson, dozens of scenes provide clear examples of the Outdoor Classroom in practice for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Its philosophy and principles are demonstrated by children at play and by teachers in action. Viewing this video can assist both the professional and lay person to more clearly understand what a functioning Outdoor Classroom looks like, why it is important for children and what elements are required to make it happen successfully.

$23.00 Add to cart

Outdoor Classroom Project DVD

Learning Naturally DVD Collection

Inspiration. Information. Joy. It’s all here whenever you need support as you work with children in natural outdoor classrooms. This collection of Learning Naturally sessions features real-life videos, practical solutions and strategies for supporting deeper and more meaningful engagement.

Sessions include:

  • Encouraging Risk and Adventure Play
  • Fostering Family Engagement
  • Strengthening Emotional Well-Being and Resilience
  • Enhancing Peace and Harmony
  • The Joys of Teaching in a Natural Outdoor Classroom: Fostering Teacher Engagement
  • The Value of a Nature Outdoor Classroom

$75.00 Add to cart

Obtaining Natural Components for Your Outdoor Classroom

Field-tested, natural materials for your Outdoor Classroom are available from our partner, Nature Explore. Each purchase you make through the link below will support the Outdoor Classroom Project.

Order materials from the Nature Explore Resource Guide.

Shipping & Handling

Shipping and handling fees for products ordered through our website are based on the number of items ordered. Standard and Express delivery options are available in the checkout process. Additional fees may apply for international shipping. Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery of your product.  If you have questions or need assistance with your order, please contact the OCP office at (626) 296-1770 or email us.