Outdoor Play in Child Care Settings: Recommendations for Child Care Licensing in Alberta

On behalf of Get Outside and Play we are excited to share their report on outdoor play in child care settings.

Research suggests that children learn best through play, and the best place for play is outdoors, where children connect with nature, explore their physical abilities, spark their curiosity and develop a sense of place and belonging in the world. Updates to Child Care Licensing can play an important role in leading the change that is necessary to ensure children have access to these engaging, essential experiences while in child care settings. In this paper we review the Child Care Licensing Act and the associated Child Care Licensing Regulations that impact
outdoor play for children in child care settings in Alberta. We offer recommendations for change based on the best available research and most promising practices. These recommendations include:

  • Increasing the amount of outdoor space required per child for all licensed programs.
  • Ensuring programs have an outdoor space on-site or one that is easily accessible.
  • Providing guidance through policy and procedures for off-site experiences.
  • Enhancing the materials in the outdoor space to include natural items.
  • Adding two or more natural surfaces and sufficient shade as features of the play space.
  • Instituting a minimum daily outdoor play time requirement based on age and type of program.
  • Specifying a temperature range for outdoor play to be included in the regulations.
  • Proposing a two-year diploma as the minimum standard for early childhood educators.

Changing regulations to support more quality outdoor play is fundamentally important to children’s well-being, but change takes time. The proposed recommendations can be implemented in programs now--there is no need to wait to Get Outside and Play!

To view the summary report, go here

To view the full report, go here