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Creating outdoor learning environments resources

The Australian standard for playground equipment and surfacing (parts 1 to 6) has been revised. The new AS number is AS 4685:2021. We are reviewing and updating the department’s OLE standard to include the changes to AS 4685:2021.

Anyone implementing a new outdoor learning environment at a school or preschool must follow AS 4685:2021. This includes department employees (including corporate staff and site leaders), facilities managers under the Facilities Management Services Arrangements, and contractors engaged on their behalf.

The Outdoor Learning Environment Standard (PDF 920KB) details the minimum and recommended standards for creating and maintaining an outdoor learning environment that provides children with optimal learning opportunities and can be used across government and non-government organisations to support this outcome.

This standard is to be read in conjunction with the design standards (PDF 1.1MB) which provide guidelines for contractors who design, build and maintain SA government schools and preschools.

Schools or preschools considering developing their own outdoor learning environments need to consider:

  • design and planning the space for children’s learning outcomes
  • design standard for quality and safety
  • risk management processes and procedures. 

The ongoing maintenance and replacement costs of Outdoor Learning Environments are the responsibility of the site. Further information is available on the creating a safe outdoor learning environment page.

Nature Play SA resources

Nature Play SA has developed a range of resources to assist schools and preschools in understanding the risks and challenges that come with outdoor learning environments and how they can be used to optimise learning opportunities through diverse and meaningful experiences.

The Learning Outdoors – Benefits Risks guide should be read in conjunction with the Outdoor Learning Environment Standard (PDF 920KB) to create a balanced approached to developing and maintaining outdoor learning environments.

Risk management

Site leaders must exercise their professional judgement to analyse the risks against the benefit of play activities to optimise learning outcomes for children and young people. These tools and processes are provided to help with that assessment.


For advice on the Outdoor Learning Environments Standard please contact:

Asset Standards and Environmental Management

Phone: 8226 0091
Email: Education.Standards [at] sa.gov.au

For specific advice relating to early childhood outdoor learning environments contact:

Learning Improvement division

Phone: 8226 4169
Email: Education.LIDEarlyYears [at] sa.gov.au

For advice on approval processes and engaging contractors through the schools or preschool's facilities manager contact:

Asset and Facility Services

Phone: 1800 810 076
Email: Education.afs [at] sa.gov.au

Asset Standards and Environmental Management

For enquiries regarding standards 

Phone: 8226 0091 

Email: education.standards [at] sa.gov.au  


For enquiries regarding sustainable infrastructure 

Phone: 8226 3497 

Email: education.environment [at] sa.gov.au