Research on outdoor early childhood education (ECE) indicates vast benefits to children’s health, development, and learning. Further, outdoor ECE helps solve challenges related to provision of universal childcare and managing COVID-19 transmission. It enables an equitable childcare solution that embraces land-based learning and Indigenous ways of being. Yet BC licenses only indoor facility-based care. We will plan a summit aiming to bring together researchers and research users, including practitioners, licensing officers and policymakers from the BC Government, health authorities, and Indigenous communities to collectively identify priorities to support a pathway to licensing outdoor ECE in BC. Key outcomes will include: 1) To embrace elements of nature-based education — in particular, those having to do with risky play and land-based learning; 2) To identify key research and practice priorities collectively to enable legislative changes for regulating outdoor ECE programs; 3) To co-create products that support KT of summit outcomes for outreach to diverse groups; 4) To strengthen relationships and partnerships among key stakeholders to facilitate collaboration beyond the proposed summit.
Team members: Shelley McClure (Northern Lights College); Rachel Ramsden (UBC); Iris Berger (UBC); Enid Elliot (Camosun College, Early Learning and Care); Glynnis Schwan (Island Health and Community Care Facilities Licensing); Lily Patzer (Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC); Belva Stone (Muddy Boot Prints Outdoor Learning Program); Hartley Banack (UNBC); Kailee Hirsche (UBC)