• Contact Us

    Obesity Prevention Program
    MC 1944
    P.O. Box 149347 Austin, Texas 78714-9347
    1100 West 49th Street, T-406
    Austin, TX 78756

    Phone: (512) 776-7111
    Fax: (512) 458-7618


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OLE! Texas

 EarlyLearningCenter before photo     OLE photo 062017(1)    EarlyLearningCenter after pan1

Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE! Texas) is a pioneering statewide intervention. The project has received national attention, as an innovative approach for increasing childhood physical activity and food awareness statewide by improving childcare center outdoor environments.                                                                       

Why is it important? 

  • More than 1 in 5 U.S. children ages 2 – 5 years are already overweight or obese. 
  • According to Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the percent of children in Texas aged 2 to 4 years who were obese in 2016 was 14.9% and overweight was 15.6%. 
  • OLE! Texas is based on the Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) model, a built environment childcare center design model that adds nature to the outdoor play space to improve outdoor learning. 
  • POD is also associated with higher levels of physical activity and reduces sedentary behavior in preschoolers by 22%.
  • There are 8,824 licensed childcare centers in Texas and over two million little Texans attend these centers who can benefit from this project.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and The Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) in the College of Design at NC State University are partnering to develop this innovative Texas project. The project will bring to Texas the following components: Texas Professional Development Opportunities, Outdoor Learning Environment Design - Online Certificate, POD Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Series and Development of Demonstration Sites, and The Regulatory Framework for Outdoor Learning Environments in Texas Childcare Facilities

Partners, such as, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Tech University, University of Texas School of Public Health, Texas Association for the Education of Young Children, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin, Natural Learning Initiative in North Carolina, Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Workforce Commission, Healthy Living Matters- Harris County Public Health, United Way for Greater Austin, Texas Nursery & Landscape Association, and Texas Department of State Health Services, have ALL committed to supporting OLE! Texas. 

Currently, Texas is launching its first site in Lubbock, Texas in collaboration with Texas Tech University Department of Design and the Department of Landscape Architecture. With the support of the NLI developed at North Carolina State University, the two Texas Tech departments are spearheading OLE! Texas in Lubbock with a local child care center. Two additional sites in Austin and Houston will launch sites later this year. To learn more about OLE! Texas and to discover ways you can improve outdoor learning environments, visit the links listed below that provide guidance and resources on outdoor learning environments efforts in Texas. 

To learn more about OLE! Texas and to discover ways you can improve outdoor learning environments, visit the links listed below that provide guidance and resources on outdoor learning environments efforts in Texas.

Last updated August 4, 2017