BUILDING CAPACITY – SPECIALIZED OUTDOOR PLAY TRAINING TO EMPOWER CHILDREN’S EXPERIENCES
The research is clear that early learning teachers’ involvement with children can either stimulate and enrich children’s play or impede their options and opportunities for outdoor play (van Zondvoort et al., 2010). There is a relationship between children’s exploration of the unknown, investigation of the unpredictable, creation of a sense of wonderment, and their development, health and wellbeing (Fjortoft, 2004; Burdette & Whitaker, 2005; Dietze & Kashin, 2016). This course will add to your knowledge and skills about how the outdoor environment and adults each influence children’s depth of outdoor play, and the levels of problem-solving and critical thinking that they embark upon outdoors.
Through completion of the 12 learning modules, you will gain new skills in designing outdoor play environments, supporting children’s outdoor play desires and facilitating child-centered outdoor play programming. You will be encouraged to think about, reflect upon and engage with children in providing them with outdoor play experiences that expose them to the various facets of outdoor play and environments including exploratory, non-structured, and open-ended outdoor play opportunities. Children with increased freedom to explore, connect with their environments, and engage in play that is meaningful to them become happy, healthy children – this is foundational to academic and life-long experiential learning.
The development of this course was made possible with the financial support of the Lawson Foundation. Original content was researched and developed by Drs. Beverlie Dietze and Diane Kashin and educators Joanne Keilty and Cheryl Hatton at Lethbridge College in Alberta and Erin Holmes at Northern College in Ontario. Project partners included the Canadian Child Care Federation and the Justice Institute of British Colombia. Copyright Okanagan College, 2016.