Standards for child and youth development programs

2020 Edition

Out-of-School Time (CYD-OST) 10: Outdoor Environment and Materials

The program’s outdoor environment and materials meet the needs of children and youth and support program goals.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME (CYD-OST)



Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood. 
Note: Programs that do not have their own outdoor space may demonstrate that they access other outdoor spaces (e.g., neighborhood parks or school playgrounds) to implement these standards.  However, they should also be prepared to demonstrate that the spaces they use meet the health- and safety-related requirements specified in CYD-AM 4 and CYD-OST 11 and 12.  If there is no access to an outdoor space, or if the activities offered do not require outdoor space, the program should request an NA.  

Note: Additional standards that address the importance of providing a clean, healthy, and safe service environment are included in CYD-AM 4, CYD-OST 11, and CYD-OST 12.
The program’s practices fully meet the standard, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • A description of the outdoor environment
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interview:
    1. Program Administrator
    2. Site Director
    3. Program Personnel
    4. Children, youth, and families
  • Observe facility and materials (outdoor)

CYD-OST 10.01

The outdoor space is large enough to accommodate the number of children and youth served, and suitable for the type of activities offered. 


The characteristics of the outdoor space may vary based on the nature of the program and the type of activities offered. For example, a program offering basketball should have access to a basketball court, a program offering tennis should have access to a tennis court, and a program offering walking or running groups should have access to sufficient space for children to engage in walking or running. Programs that serve younger children and offer a variety of activity options should ideally provide access to an open area where children can run, jump, and play; a large field area for structured sports activities such as kickball; a hard surface for basketball, rollerblading, and bike riding; and a protected area for quiet play and socializing. If the outdoor space is small, the time children and youth spend outdoors should ideally be staggered so that they are not crowded during outdoor activities.

CYD-OST 10.02

Supplies and equipment for outdoor activities are:
  1. suited to the activities offered and the goals of the program;
  2. in good condition;
  3. sufficient for the number of children and youth in the program; and
  4. appropriate to the ages and developmental levels of program participants, including for children and youth with differing levels of skill and ability.
Related Standards:


 When children are required to share supplies and equipment there should be a procedure or system in place to minimize wait time and facilitate orderly access for all.  Personnel should also be prepared to substitute equipment as needed (e.g., if children or youth have poor motor skills, personnel might provide a large beach ball instead of a volleyball for outdoor games).
Note: See the Supplement for OST Programming: Health and Wellness (CYD-OST-HW) for more information on appropriate protective sports equipment.

CYD-OST 10.03

There is adequate and convenient storage space for outdoor supplies and equipment.


Children and youth should ideally be able to access outdoor supplies and equipment on their own, and with ease. Accordingly, outdoor supplies and equipment should be stored close to the activity space or moved near the activity space during program time. Personnel should rarely have to carry heavy equipment or large quantities of supplies long distances, and when it is necessary to do so the program should ideally have portable equipment on wheels.    

CYD-OST 10.04

Permanent playground equipment is suitable for the ages, sizes, and abilities of children and youth.


Playground equipment should ideally offer various levels of challenge to accommodate children and youth of different ages, abilities, and skill levels.
NA The program does not use permanent playground equipment.