Natural Environments

The federal law that created the EIP says that EI services must be provided in natural environments as much as possible. Natural environments are settings where infants and toddlers, with and without special needs, and their families participate in everyday routines and activities that are important to them, and serve as important learning opportunities. Natural environments can include your home, places where child care is provided, playgrounds, restaurants, public transportation, libraries, supermarkets, places of worship, and other community settings. Natural environments are not just about places or locations.

They are also about family routines and activities including family meals, bathing, bed time, family celebrations, household chores, and visiting family and friends. There may be some services that are provided at an agency or a school that specializes in EI services if this is the setting that is best for your child. Since natural environments are where children with or without special needs live, learn, play, and participate in community/neighborhood activities and events, this gives all children the chance to learn from one another.