Exploring the Standards - Outdoor Gross Motor Environments

Exploring the Standards

Lauren Peterson

LD5 – Outdoor Gross Motor Environment

The program provides an appropriate and well-maintained outdoor gross motor area with equipment that is accessible to all children in the program.

Standard LD5 looks at how your program’s outdoor environment is supporting children’s gross motor development. The standard addresses two key components – that a variety of skills are being addressed and that there are appropriate opportunities for children of all ages and developmental levels.

Reviewers often find that insufficient or unclear evidence for LD5 results in this standard not being passed. Usually, this is because the evidence submitted does not always address the gross motor needs of all of the ages and developmental levels of all of the children in the program. Two issues are often the reason for this. The first issue is that the written description and/or the photographs do not address the important component of different age groups/skill levels. The second issue is that the photographs lack explanatory captions, are unclear, or are insufficient in number to support the written description. Below are a few things to consider as you address this standard in your portfolio.

Written Description:

Your written description for LD5 can be a simple summary of how your outdoor environment supports the children’s large motor development. What do the children do when they play outside? Tell us about how the children use their bodies in a variety of ways such as running, crawling, jumping, digging in the sand, or rolling balls. If you have infants and toddlers in your program, tell us about how they enjoy being outside. What do the preschoolers like doing? Do older, school age children play outside in your program? How do they use their bodies?

It is important to include documentation that addresses all of the ages and skill levels in your program. Reviewers often see numerous photos representing the preschooler’s space and equipment but none indicating that the outdoor gross motor needs are being addressed for the younger (infants/toddlers) or older (school age) children. If you have infants and toddlers, the ways in which you are meeting their unique gross motor needs should be clearly addressed. Smaller climbing structures and trikes for toddlers or a space for infants to safely crawl around or have “tummy time” outdoors on a blanket can be described and photographed for your portfolio. Similarly, if you have school age children, describe and document how their gross motor skills are being enhanced in your program.


Clear, captioned photos provide the documentation of your written description. For example:

·  A picture of your play structure with the caption “LD5 3-star --  equipment for climbing.”

·  A photo of a grassy area for your mobile infants to safely crawl with the caption “LD5 3-star -- crawling area for babies.”

·  A picture of your trikes might be captioned “LD5 4-star -- portable gross motor equipment/trikes.”

·  A picture of a large open area indoors captioned “LD5 5-star -- indoor gross motor space”

The captions help the reviewers understand what specifically your photos are demonstrating. Additionally, please be sure to submit enough photos to indicate that there is adequate space and equipment for the number of children in your program.

Dorothy SpenceComment