Teachers’ perceptions on the design and use of an outdoor learning environment for sensory and motor stimulation

Anca Nel, Ina Joubert, Cycil Hartell


This qualitative study makes recommendations to help teachers understand how an outdoor learning environment could be designed and used to enrich perceptual development through sensory and motor stimulation for the Grade R learner. This was done by establishing design principles that create better teaching and learning environments from the perspective of Grade R educators in the South African context. Three purposively selected case studies (preschools) enabled the collection of data using collection methods such as photos, video clips, interviews and observations. Content analysis was conducted and four themes emerged: contradictory perspectives on outdoor learning environments, outdoor play is valuable, creating the ideal outdoor learning environment and increased deficiency of sensory and motor development among Grade R learners. Findings of the study aid educators and other professionals to create a valuable outdoor learning environment for sensory and motor stimulation of Grade R learners.


The Grade R learner; perceptual development; sensory stimulation; motor stimulation; enquiry-based learning; outdoor play; outdoor learning environment; school learning readiness

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v7i1.482

Submitted: 24 July 2016
Published: 31 July 2017

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Copyright (c) 2017 Anca Nel, Ina Joubert, Cycil Hartell

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South African Journal of Childhood Education    |    ISSN: 2223-7674 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2223-7682 (ONLINE)