I have long been a believer that children benefit from time spent outdoors in nature, and there is plenty of scientific evidence to support that belief. Time spent outdoors improves mental health, increases imagination, encourages physical exercise, promotes responsibility for the environment, and stimulates the brain and senses. But with school, technology, and indoor recreation using most of kids’ time nowadays, the average American child spends only 4-7 minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day.

      So I was delighted when the Goddard School, a preschool in the East Gate area of in Chantilly, Virginia, asked me to photograph their new outdoor classroom. This beautiful space includes tables and a stage for learning, instruction, and play. It has musical instruments, painting easels, costumes for dress up, binoculars and magnifying glasses for observing nature, and lots of other hands-on activities. It’s bordered by trees, which were just starting to show their fall colors on the day I arrived.

      The students at this school must love this new space. I hope many more schools adopt this idea of an outdoor learning center! Check out the Outdoor Classroom Project to learn more about this movement.

      Does your company have a new project that you’d like to promote? I’d love to photograph it for you and help you present it to the world. Contact me to let me know how I can help.

      Related posts:

      The ultimate guide to outdoor things to do in the Reston area

      Happy kids at summer camp: Some of my recent event photos

      Kincora Fest: A celebration of a new mixed-use community and its impressive wildlife

      Trail Tour: Northern Virginia scenery doesn’t get any better than this Great Falls trail

      Childhood summertime bliss at Reston Town Center’s splash pad

      Reston Town Center’s Sunday Art in the Park concert series

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.