I have been employed in this early learning program for more than five years. I never examined our outdoor play space from an inclusive practice perspective until this past week when a parent and a three year old child that uses mobility assistance came to visit the centre with the intent of choosing this facility for care. While engaging in the indoor portion of the tour, the child, Emma maneuvered the space without difficulty. Then as we entered the outdoor environment, I realized how challenging our outdoor space was for children with mobility devices. Never before had I thought about how our space could segregate children from others. Then, I realized the importance of examining the space, equipment and materials to determine how it supports or inhibits every child in our centre. After I completed this inventory, I was better prepared to support all children in engaging in areas that they were comfortable with and encouraging them to try to experience spaces in new ways. Completing the inventory gave me first-hand experience of why new play spaces need to be designed to support all children in having equivalent options and experiences that contribute to their outdoor play daily. I realized when the space does not meet the needs of children that this can contribute to children not feeling confident to use the space or to engage with their peers. Over time, this may affect self-regulation skills.
Based on your current philosophy and practice, what can you intentionally do to enhance the opportunities and experiences of children that will support them in engaging in outdoor play on a daily basis?