Introduction

Advancing Early Childhood Education Outdoors Now is a free, public virtual roundtable series with required advanced registration.

Policymakers, practitioners, researchers and families are invited to Advancing Early Childhood Education Outdoors Now to bring into focus visions of licensed early childhood education outdoors tailored to British Columbia, and identify next steps toward their manifestations. Three panel discussions bring together local and international experiences, research, and stories from experts and leaders in the fields of outdoor and land-based education, health, law, and psychology.

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. 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.

These events are organized by the ECEO Now Working Group: Enid Elliot, Shelley McClureMariana BrussoniIris Berger, Belva Stone-Cole, Hartley Banack, and Kailee Hirsche (event contact).