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ULM Child Development Center awarded for outdoor classroom

Published February 19, 2015

The outdoor classroom environment at the University of Louisiana at Monroe Child Development Center recently won its second recognition from the Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA). The classroom was also featured in the SECA publication “Dimensions of Early Childhood.”

This is the third year SECA has sponsored a competition to showcase great outdoor learning environments created at little cost.


“The outdoor classroom is truly an example of starting with a blank slate and recycling to develop a great learning environment for young children,” said Emily Williamson, director of ULM’s Child Development Center.

ULM’s Child Development Center outdoor classroom was one of three honorable mentions that followed the winner and runner up.

Each submission was reviewed based on the following: appropriateness of monitoring children in the area; use of natural materials; use of materials specific to the region/community; and ease of maintenance and regulatory compliance.

In addition, each submission was to show natural modifications in at least five of the following areas: large motor; climbing/crawling space; building area; art area; music and movement area; garden area; storage; water; dirt digging; sand; and wheeled toy area.

Members of the SECA Board of Directors visited the site of each finalist to verify the submissions.

Those recognized in addition to ULM’s Child Development Center include: the winner, Agapeland Youth Enrichment Program in Marion, S.C.; the runner-up, The Child Development and Family Studies Center of Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.; and honorable mentions, Lifespan Montessori of Athens, Ga., and St. Martin’s Episcopal School/Early Childhood Science Lab in Atlanta, Ga.

SECA serves the interests of early childhood educators concerned with child development, including university researchers and teacher educators; early childhood, kindergarten, and primary-grade teachers; and early childhood program administrators and proprietors. The association has affiliates in 13 Southern states.