Negotiations are learn in progress between the two sides to take an historic commitment by the federal. Government to create a national preschool and childcare program from a dream to a the reality. In order to expand access for all youngsters within Canada will require the creation. And granting additional physical spaces for children to learn and receive care. But what kind of spaces are they going to be?
In the light of the increasing body of research that shows the benefits of outdoor learning. Which includes important advantages for children’s development early education. Professionals across the country are changing the way they think about the early years of learning and caring in the natural environment.
Governments must take note of the growing grassroots movement as there are implications for regulations. Capital infrastructure for early child educator education.
The Best Conditions To Learn
When they are outdoors, children can play freely, pursue their passions, risk and push their boundaries. This results in children who are more energetic, happier as well as confident, curious and sociable. Outdoor environments of high-quality create ideal conditions for children to learn.
Additionally COVID-19 has identified the outdoors as an environment for health. That reduces the possibility of transmitting airborne diseases. Which we will continue to reap the benefits of in the coming years.
My doctoral dissertation is focused on the practice, philosophy and policy of early learning outdoors in Ontario. I’ve come to the conclusion that quality outdoor learning should be an integral. Part of any early learning or child-care program.
Here’s what government officials ought to be thinking about as they start to create a national. System that encourages and supports outdoor learning.
Infrastructure Must Include Outdoor Spaces Learn
When we think about capital infrastructure costs for early learning and child care. We tend to think of buildings, but we must think about outdoor spaces. And then reframe them as learning spaces that are outdoors. The regulations across the nation currently don’t require more than seven square. meters per child of outdoor space. This is only half the amount of parking space!
The good news is that design guidelines based on evidence already are in place for the design of quality outdoor learning environments. The criteria in early education and early care infrastructure funding to build new spaces must include the highest quality outdoor learning environment in any new construction or remodel.
Local Green Spaces, Schools, And Local Green Spaces
Of of course, access to outdoor spaces is a problem in many urban areas. However, accommodation are possible.
The first step is preschool education programmes may be offered through schools, which typically include outdoor spaces. This will maximize the assets already in place and be beneficial to all children attending schools. It is the case that Nova Scotia government has done this with its pre-primary curriculum for children aged four years old. The government has recently unveiled a new funding program for outdoor learning in collaboration together with the Federal government.
Third, partnerships with municipal authorities and parks authorities can help improve the accessibility of local green spaces. Partnerships can ensure accessibility to infrastructure, such as bathroom facilities and drinking water.
The investment in high-quality natural play areas in schools yards and parks in the local area would bring benefits to all members of the local community. This is particularly important considering the fact that access and enjoyment of green spaces isn’t always equal in Canada.
Forest And Nature-Based Schools And Forests Learn
Also, we must allow early learning programs that let children spend the majority of their time in the outdoors, like nature and forest schools.
The current regulations of the government for early learning and early care across the globe requires an indoor space to be able to operate. However, these buildings are not a good and unneeded expenditure in programs that will be predominantly outside. Community structures, cabins and shelters are a good source of protection during storms.
The U.S., Washington state recently granted outdoor preschools a license. Budgets for the pilot program showed that outdoor preschools require about 30% less operational funds than conventional early learning and child care programs.
The school is located in St. John’s, N.L., Cloudberry Forest School is just beginning a three-year trial project that will explore the possibility of licensing outdoor early education and care programs. Other regions are expected to soon be able benefit from their knowledge.
Education Teacher Training
The quality of early learning and child care is influenced by the academic qualifications of the employees who interact with children. At present, the majority of postsecondary programs for early childhood education across the country don’t specifically train teachers for teaching and learning outdoors. But the situation is rapidly changing.
New post-secondary changes are happening across Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. For instance, in Ontario, Humber College is taking an Two-Eyed Seeing approach, which means that the Indigenous as well as non-Indigenous viewpoints impact the early stages of learning and play based on land. Their efforts are influence in part by Canada’s Truth and Rconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
Existing resources for professional learning that are base on evidence and training programs can be adapted and combined with apprenticeship models for teacher education to meet the immediate need for qualified educators.
Canada requires more than 20,000 additional staff per year to improve our early education and child care system. Most of them must be educators who work closely with kids. Early learning in the outdoors can be a source of in-demand talent for recruiting.
Professionals who are passionate about parks, conservation, and outdoor education could rethink their careers in early schooling in outdoor learning environments, if they are encourage to make the change. In addition, the prospect of recruiting for outdoor programs might be a way to attract more males into early elementary education. Teachers who are able to report improved wellbeing and their professional engagement in the outdoors could assist in attracting and retaining more early education teachers.