A growing number of outdoor programs for preschool-aged children have been established in British Columbia following models from Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and the UK. During the COVID-19 pandemic, public health recommendations encourage British Columbians to go outside to reduce transmission risks. COVID-19 combined with the mounting research on the importance of outdoor play for children’s learning, development and health has meant that outdoor early childhood programs are gaining momentum.1 Under the provincial Community Care and Assisted Living Act, licensed child care requires an indoor facility and Outdoor-based early childhood programs must operate independent of current Child Care Licensing Regulations. Amidst a second wave of COVID-19 and new growth in the outdoor-based early childhood field, now is the time to re-examine this.
Advancing Early Childhood Education Outdoors Now explores the health and educational benefits of being outside, successful international models of early childhood education outdoors, and paths for advancing licensing outdoor early childhood education in British Columbia.
Virtual Roundtable website