For Community

Local Organizations and Programs

Loose Parts Nature Play. Children are invited to engage in unstructured outdoor play, with a collection of nature materials, either as a one-time activity or materials that are left onsite. The materials feature such local natural items as bamboo poles, sticks, tree cookies, pine cones, shells, and palm fronds. Loose Parts, Nature Play encourages children to build anything—teepees, tunnels, fairy houses, art sculptures and other play structures. The only limit is the imagination!  Click here NaturePlay Flyer for a detailed description of our Nature Play Program for Schools, Community Fairs, Educational Events, and the like.  Slides from recent presentation that describes the Nature Plan Program, Nature Play Presentation.

At Home in Nature Outdoor Preschool, San Diego, CA.  At Home in Nature programs give children the opportunity to learn through their senses and through the natural process of discoveries. To know and understand their world, children must have a chance to have blocks of unstructured time in nature. Teachers observe and record what children are interested in and will support those interests by providing materials, information and tools to extend on their learning where needed or desired. More information at

Rooted in Place Landscape Architecture and Consulting, San Diego, CA.  Ilisa Goldman and Rooted in Place provide programming, facilitation, and design for outdoor environments, with a focus on connecting users to the natural world through design. The firm specializes in creating children’s healthy outdoor play and learning environments in institutional, commercial and residential settings, and in educating parents, educators, and policy makers about the values of natural settings.  Trainings, workshops and presentations offered to those interested in creating outdoor play and learning environments or incorporated nature based play and learning into existing settings.  Contact Ilisa Goldman at   moc.ecalpnidetoornull@namdlogi

Outdoor Play and Learning Environments. Designing for Children’s Outdoor Play and Learning Environments, presentation by Ilisa Goldman at Schoolyard Habitats Teacher Workshops. Presentation OPALE Aug. 2013.

Request a School Garden Consultant from Master Gardeners of San Diego County to advise schools and early childhood centers on planning gardens and native habitats, at Schoolyard Habitat Page.

National Organizations and Programs

Natural Learning Initiative, North Carolina State University (NCSU). Founded in 2000 to promote the importance of the natural environment in the daily experience of all children, through environmental design, action research, education, and dissemination of information, is a research and professional development unit at the College of Design, NCSU.   The NLI GREEN DESK is a resource for early childhood educators, childcare providers, administrators, and professionals seeking the latest information to create high quality, healthy outdoor environments for young children.

Nature Play and Learning Areas Guidelines is a project conducted by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University, with the support of national partners. The aim is to develop national design and management guidelines for nature areas in children’s outdoor play and learning environments. Refer to NWF Natural Play Prospectus.

Growing Up WildProject Wild offers workshops and resources that focus on young children’s sense of wonder about nature  Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program of Project Wild that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them.

Natural Learning Initiative, promoting nature in the daily experience of all children,

Pathways for Play, Integrating play into communities and bringing play back into nature,

NatureGrounds, designing nature back into playgrounds,

Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, “Loose Parts – Natural Play Spaces Elements – Children In Nature”