Texas Tech University

Rural Community Research

The Coalition for Natural Learning's Rural Communities Outreach Program is offering 5 complimentary design workshops to childcare and education centers in rural communities outside of Lubbock, TX. This outreach program also serves as a think tank to explore opportunities and barriers to rural childcare centers when implementing and maintaining naturalized outdoor play and learning spaces. To apply for the outreach program, fill out the Rural Childcare Center Application. Limited spots are available for the complimentary services.


CNL Rural Communities Outreach Flyer


This project uses a process that was created and tested by the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University in 2000. It has also been implemented in urban areas statewide by the Texas Department of State Health Services' (DSHS) OLE! Texas initiative since 2017. This substantially tested method includes giving every stakeholder a voice in the process and including them in an interactive/participatory design workshop. This participatory process has proven to promote buy-in and commitment to using and maintaining the OLE. Data is collected throughout the process with a survey and focus group which seamlessly fits within the complimentary services offered to the center. 


The leaders of this project serve on the OLE! Texas state leadership team and lead the design portion of the initiative across the state. Through DSHS funding, they have collectively facilitated 28 community presentations and design workshops, trained 56 OLE designers, and published community resources on a public-access website. During 2024, the team will conduct 5 additional community presentations and design workshops in rural towns surrounding Lubbock, Texas.

Texas Tech Coalition for Natural Learning

  • Address

    College of Human Sciences, Texas Tech University, P.O. Box 41162, Lubbock, TX 79409-1162
  • Phone

    (806) 742-3031
  • Email