Florida Public Health Review

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Background: Nature contact and time outdoors is critical for healthy child development and well-being and a disconnect from nature may be problematic. Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate the feasibility of a nature contact intervention for children – an outdoor classroom - in a public school. Methods: Two kindergarten classes participated in this mixed-methods case study (N=2 teachers, n=36 children aged 5-6) and used an outdoor classroom every other day for language arts lesson over a six weeks observation period. The two teachers in this case study completed a survey that assessed perceived practicality and feasibility of using the outdoor classroom every other day for regularly scheduled lessons. Adherence of using outdoor classroom daily was also measured. Results: Observational data indicated the teachers had 82% adherence of using the outdoor classroom. Over the six-week study, the teachers used the outdoor classroom 18 of the 22 study days for their regular lessons. Survey data indicated the teachers perceived the outdoor classroom was feasible and practical to use on a daily basis for regular instructor. Barriers to use and suggestions were also reported. Conclusions: Outdoor classrooms are a promising way for children to have health-promoting environmental exposures in schools.