Preschool Outdoor Environment Measurement Scale - POEMS
Designed as a self-study, this scale is intended to raise the quality of outdoor children's environments and promote their use in teaching, research, and practice. Includes a user guide, the scale and scoring protocol, reliability and validity information, and a technical assistance manual for program improvement and planning. Addresses environments for children age 3-5 years. (Additional Scoring Protocols sold separately.)
Want to create an outdoor classroom for the children in your care? Be sure to read our Insights and Inspirations article for a list of activities and educational subjects you should include in your outdoor classroom.
POEMS Development Team
The multidisciplinary team responsible for developing this scale includes academic, research, and Cooperative Extension faculty from the areas of early childhood education, child development, and environmental design, as well as a health and safety consultant.
Karen DeBord, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, State Extension Specialist, Child Development Department of Family & Consumer Sciences - North Carolina State University
Dr. Karen DeBord has been with North Carolina Cooperative Extension since July, 1995. Her more than 28 years of previous Extension experience includes county agent experience in Virginia and state specialist responsibilities in Virginia and Missouri. Dr. DeBord provides leadership and support to child development and parenting Extension work in the state and is also the Director of Graduate Prorams. She conducts applied research and develops supporting educational materials and programs primarily in the areas of professional development for child care teachers, professional development for parenting educators, quality outdoor children's environments, and parenting education.
Some of Dr. DeBord's work is featured on the national Extension database CYFERNET. She seeks creative ways to provide educational information as can be seen in her use of technology with several interactive learning sites on the web on Reggio Emilia, Children's Environments, Professional Development for Child Care Professionals, and Program Evaluation that goes Beyond the Data. Most of Dr. DeBord's Extension publications are online.
Dr. DeBord received her Bachelor of Science and Ph. D. in Family and Child Development from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and her Masters in Education in Mental Retardation from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She has two children and one grandchild.
Linda L. Hestenes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies - University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Linda Hestenes provided expertise in early childhood education and coordinated date collection and analysis for the purpose of documenting reliability and validity of the scale.
Robin C. Moore, Dipl Arch, MCP
Professor, Landscape Architecture, The Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design - North Carolina State University
Robin Moore is professor of Landscape Architecture, College of Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA, and an expert in the design of play, learning, and educational environments. He holds degrees in architecture from London University and in city and regional planning from MIT- where he first became interested in integrating environmental design and child development. Pursuing this interest for 30 years, he has conducted a series of action-research projects in both North and South America, and England. Robin Moore is former chair of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) and has held faculty appointments at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Robin Moore's most recent publications include Natural Learning (1997), co-authored with educator Dr. Herb Wong, and "Healing Gardens for Children," in Healing Gardens (edited by Cooper Marcus & Barnes, 1999). Other books include Plants for Play (1993), Childhood's Domain: Play and Place in Child Development (1986, 1992); and the co-authored Complete Playground Book (1993), the Play For All Guidelines (1987, 1992), and the Play For All CD (1995). Robin Moore is past president of the International Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA) and a principal in the design and planning firm of Moore Iacofano Goltsman.
Nilda G. Cosco, Psp
Education Specialist, The Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design - North Carolina State University
Nilda Cosco is an educational psychologist and an expert on children's play and nonformal education. She holds a degree in Educational Psychology, Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, and is currently an off-campus Ph.D. student, Department of Landscape Architecture, ECA, Scotland.
Since 2000, Ms. Cosco has been education specialist at the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), NC State University, where she is responsible for design programming of dozens of childcare center outdoor areas statewide. She also conducts research projects to investigate the impact of outdoor environments on children's health and development. As an educational consultant to Moore Iacofano Goltsman, she has worked on major planning and design projects, including the award-winning Brookfield Zoo, Hamill Family Play Zoo, the Kids Together Park in Cary, North Carolina, and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan for Durham, North Carolina.
Before settling in the USA, Ms. Cosco was director of the National Lekotek Center of Argentina, a national system of toy libraries and playrooms for special and at-risk children. She coordinated the development of the design guidelines and specifications for the rehabilitation of the headquarters building in Buenos Aires, designed and delivered national and international play leadership training courses. In 1995, she trained staff for the opening of the National Lekotek Center of Brazil in São Paulo.
Ms. Cosco co-directed the Argentine component of the Growing Up in Cities project, an eight-country, action-research and community participation project sponsored by UNESCO, Childwatch International, and the International Development Research Centre, Canada.
Janet R. McGinnis, M Ed
Program Consultant, North Carolina Governor's More-at-Four Pre-Kindergarten Program
Janet has worked as a consultant to child care providers and organizations in the area of health and safety since 1989 and specializes in health and safety and the outdoor environment. She holds a master's degree in health education, is a certified playground safety inspector, and a child care health consultant. She has completed the Child Care Design Institute with the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and the Early Childhood Outdoors Design Institute with the Natural Learning Initiative, NC State College of Design. She is co-chair of the NC Outdoor Learning Environments Advisory Committee and is employed with the NC Office of School Readiness as a program consultant.