Equity IL Practice Place-Based
Trust for Learning | Alliance for Public Waldorf Education | Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America

Discover the power of nature-based learning in publicly-funded early childhood programs and practical ways to re-connect all children and families to ideal learning environments in the natural world. 

Goals and Rationale

Nurturing All Children in Nature: Ideal Learning in the Natural World provides tools and strategies for policymakers and educators to expand nature-based learning in publicly-funded early childhood settings.

Today, many of us are disconnected from our natural world, a disconnection often tied to historical and present inequities. The cost of this disconnect is high, especially for children. Overwhelming and well-documented research demonstrates that experiences in nature promote physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being—lifetime building blocks for development. Yet, young children, who delight in the natural world, are increasingly separated from nature and learn largely within the four walls of their schools and child care centers. Today’s children spend less than half the time playing outdoors than their parents did.

Childhood’s growing disconnection from nature has many causes, including safety concerns, limited access, the disappearance of open green spaces, social, political, and cultural factors, the influence of technology, and systemic environmental injustices against communities of color. Despite these challenges, we see encouraging tendrils of re-connection. We stand at a critical moment to advocate for equitable access to nature-based early childhood education initiatives in service of all children and communities.

This report outlines the short- and long-term benefits of connecting children to nature and demonstrates the possibility of change through small and large modifications in any setting. It includes research-based best practices, practical examples, and highlights systemic issues that need to be addressed through policy.

Key points discussed in the report:

  • Nature-based learning: Explore the value of incorporating nature elements in both indoor and outdoor learning environments.
  • Benefits for all: Understand how nature-based learning positively impacts children, educators, families, and communities.
  • Achievable pathways: Discover small, inexpensive steps that can be taken in any setting to incorporate nature in early childhood education.
  • Equity and access: Advocate for equitable access to nature-based learning initiatives, ensuring that all children and communities benefit.


Immerse yourself in the world of nature-based learning and join us in advocating for equitable access to nature-based early learning environments by using our social media toolkit. 


Webinar & Report Release Event: Promoting Nature-Based Learning in the Early Years

When nature is part of ideal learning environments, everyone benefits: children, educators, families, and communities. On Tuesday, April 4, 2023 a webinar unpacking our new report – “Nurturing All Children in Nature: Ideal Learning in the Natural Worldwas held.

Co-hosted by Trust for Learning and the Hunt Institute, the discussion explored nature-based learning approaches and the short- and long-term benefits of outdoor learning opportunities on children’s growth and development.

Speakers included:

  • Lynn Turner, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Coordinator at the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America;
  • Dora Ramos, Owner of NOVA Family Child Care Home;
  • Gamaliel Moses, Student Affairs Manager at Common Ground;
  • Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation

Watch the recording of the webinar below.



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