Outdoor play environments, when rich with experiences and opportunities, support children’s development of self-regulation and executive functioning skills. When you think about how outdoor environments contribute to self-regulation and executive functioning skills, what core environmental factors would you suggest be present?
The development of self-regulation and executive functioning skills is interconnected with environments, role models, space, materials and program philosophy. They are fostered when children experience trial, errors, and success. For example, think of children being able to exhibit physical self-regulation, such as thumb sucking in infancy and then holding a cup in toddlerhood. Think of three year olds struggling to share a toy and then openly giving a toy to their peer. Think of the four and five year olds engaging in outdoor play. What types of emotional self-regulation do you see? How do adults create an environment that supports children in collectively working together to learn how to play based on defined goals and planning? How do the children learn to manage their emotions (Blair, 2009) and build self-regulation and executive functioning skills?