The Lawson Foundation is a National family foundation which focuses on the healthy development of children and youth. One of their major goals is to support children’s access and opportunity to connect and play in nature.
In October 2018, the Lawson Foundation brought together 125 experts and leaders from various sectors at the Outdoor Play and Early Learning Policy Research Symposium in King City, Ontario. They cultivated ideas on how to advance outdoor play and early childhood education through policy, practice and research. Following the conference, a discussion paper was released in order to spark discussion and action regarding six highlighted themes that emerged throughout the presentations and discussions at the Symposium.
These major themes include:
- The importance of adopting a multi-sector ecosystem lens to address outdoor play
- Approaches to integrating Indigenous curriculum and ways of knowing about outdoor play into Western early childhood education
- Building support for, and enabling, risk in outdoor play
- The need to make outdoor play pedagogy explicit in post-secondary early childhood education training and to support ongoing professional learning needs
- The multiple gaps and barriers to outdoor play in policies and standards, and the inconsistent implementation of such policies by stakeholders
- The need to develop a robust Canadian research and knowledge mobilization strategy to support evidence-informed policy and practice
The discussion paper is intended to be of benefit to government departments, post-secondary administrative leaders and faculty, nonprofit organizations and community leaders, insurers and researchers.
The complete discussion paper can be found at: lawson.ca/advancing-op-ece.pdf.