Columbus, OH, United States
The Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) at the Early Childhood Learning Community in Columbus Ohio has provided a multitude of accessible opportunities for creative natural outdoor play for children of all ability levels for the last 10 years, and continues to develop and grow. This project was designed to provide a variety of imaginative, sensory-based `green’ outdoor activities and experiences to infant, toddler, and preschool-age children with developmental delays and those with more typical levels of development. The location of this school in a well-established residential area also allows countless neighborhood children and their families the opportunity to experience these unique multi-sensory outdoor nature activities. Existing features include a raised-bed edible garden, dry creekbeds of local pebbles and boulders with natural spring-like water features, low grass `serpent’ mounds, a `council-ring’ sand pit, permeable gravel pathways, and lush woodland, meadow and prairie plants indigenous to central Ohio.
All spaces are designed to be accessible for children with all levels of ability, and to provide opportunities for safe, secure, creative sensory interaction with nature.