Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Child, Family, and School Psychology

First Advisor

Gloria Miller

Second Advisor

Jeanine Coleman

Third Advisor

Kevin Morris

Fourth Advisor

Erin Willer


Early childhood education, Outdoor play


Outdoor play is a crucial in supporting child development, resiliency, social skills, creative thinking, adaptability, family growth, and family engagement. Unfortunately, children are spending less time outside because of technology, parent fears, and other factors. Parents who have a child with a disability have even more challenges when it comes to playing outside. Thus, children with disabilities are spending even less time in outdoor environments. Early Intervention (EI) is a program that is designed for infants and toddlers between the ages of zero to three that have developmental delays and/or disabilities. EI uses a family-center approach in natural environments to enhance parent capabilities by supporting their child in everyday environments that all children have access too. Unfortunately, many EI providers report using a medical model for various reasons and there is little evidence that suggests families and EI providers are going outside for sessions. EI has the potential to support families in outdoor environments so parents and children can enjoy the vast benefits outdoor play and exploration has to offer.

The purpose of this study was to explore the current practices, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers parents have with Outdoor EI services. An extensive review of literature analyzed the needs of EI and how outdoor supports can address those needs. Based on the literature review, survey items were collected and formatted. To help establish validity, expert reviews and cognitive interviews took place. After all revisions were completed and approved, the Outdoor Early Intervention Survey (OEIS) was sent out to families in EI services. The OEIS was completed by 152 caregivers that have a child enrolled in EI services in the state of Colorado. Descriptive statistics, reliability analysis, and t-tests were performed on the scale data. The scale was found to be reliable for the benefits scale (Cronbach’s a: .87) and the barriers scale (Cronbach’s a: .76). Families showed a desire to go outside with their EI provider (M=3.0) and disagreed that there were many barriers to Outdoor EI (M= 1.4). Study findings, limitations, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Tiffany Lee


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

151 pgs


Educational psychology, Early childhood education