Time to Play

Topic Progress:

How can early learning teachers make sure that there is ample time for outdoor play in their schedule? Many jurisdictions have regulated the time for outdoor play in policies and regulations. How much are you required to be outside with the children? Is it enough? What do the children do when they are outside? Without large blocks of time for play, children do not engage in deep-play, thus reducing the opportunities for learning outdoors. Do children have the same time for outdoor play in the winter as they do in the warmer months? Discuss the issue of time to play in the comment box below. Why do some early learning teachers feel bound by schedules rather than the quality of the play experiences?

From the comments below have you gotten any ideas about enhancing children’s outdoor play experiences by providing more time? Watch this video to see how these early learning teachers have reflected upon the “flow of the day” to allow for more time to play and why.

How the day is spent with children is reflected in a daily schedule for your program. Reflect on your schedule. Does it allow for children to have uninterrupted time to play outdoors? Do you follow the schedule strictly? Is the schedule flexible? Perhaps you can consider creating a “flow of the day” which refers to a flexible and fluid plan with a minimum of transitions (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2016). The flow of the day is flexible so if the children are engaged in deep and meaningful learning outdoors, why bring them inside? If the children begin the day indoors, every day during every month, how do you deal with the time it takes for the children to get dressed for outdoor play? Share your experiences and ideas about creating a flow of the day that supports extended time outdoors for children.  Add your comments in the comment box below.


  1. Barb Keller

    In my program the children go to school in the morning so there is just no time for outdoor play first thing. As soon as they are back from kindergarten they have lunch then we go outside. We are usually out there until they want to go in.

  2. Michelle Davis

    We begin our day outside, and parents have n=been really good about making sure their child is well prepared for the weather. We also have extra weather appropriate clothing should children need to borrow. We spend lots of time outside and with less transitions comes less behaviors.

  3. Christine Norman

    We spent a pretty extensive amount of time outside. There is a bit of a schedule to the day but it is very flexible and is adapted to meet the childrens needs of the day. We generally play outside in all types of weather and during all seasons. We do try and stay outside for extended periods of time however being a multi age centre can make this a bit more challenging as the younger children may get cold faster than the older children. We often have snacks outside and bring other typically indoor activities outside such as books, play dough and art. We are outside morning and afternoon for extended periods of time.

  4. Angela George

    At the beginning of this year we were having a lot of problems with many behaviours and issues, whining, anxieties, and one child would just set off the rest it was crazy and it was exhausing dealing with behaviour, dealing with diapers, dealing with whining and crying. It was frustrating and exhausting for teachers because we couldnt teach anything we just went from behaviour to behaviour all day long. When we came back after christmas the boss told us we had changed our format and we would now be an outdoor play program and that it should solve a lot of our problems because with the reduced amount of transitions should reduce the amount of behaviours we had.
    So we tried it out, it has been frustrating because i didnt understand the thought process behind some of the generalities she had told us about the process of outdoor play. It is kind of like taking a leap of faith and i just couldnt make the leap i was trying anything else but leaping. This course has opened my eyes, my mind , my understanding. Oh yeah, back to the children…At first i didnt think this process was working at all when all of a sudden I realized that yes they still have behaviours but the emotional rollercoaster isnt so crazy, they calm down quicker, they are playing together more as a group, the results are actually pretty amazing !

  5. Cindy Spencer

    On our program, others do not see the importance of outdoor play. We often do not go outside due to weather conditions or not enough time, but making the time is going to priority in our schedule this coming Fall. Children love being outdoors and don’t get enough time outdoors, so I want to make this change and explain the importance of outdoor play to other coworkers and parents. If given enough time, we will have time to get ready, and have a decent amount of time outside.

  6. Jasmine Park

    We are trying to provide uninterrupted outdoor playtime but it is not easy. Now we have a child with tube feeding who should keep the exact feeding time. We also have infants who need extra morning nap. If we have short staffs, it is not easy to offer long outdoor playtime. However, we are trying to do our best to go outside as much as possible because we know children will learn and enjoy more outside!

  7. Jennifer Yarmish

    We find it a bit more challenging in our preschool setting to have those large blocks of time outside. The adjustments we have made for Covid in the past year and a half have made us much for flexible with the schedule than what it use to be which is wonderful and allows the children to become much more embedded in their play. More so than they would if we stuck to the regulated 40 minutes per day as required by licensing.

  8. Nikki Littlechild

    We spend the majority of our time outside, uninterrupted in all weather. It does get more difficult in the winter as it is significantly colder here in the north but we try really hard to stay out as long as the children are safe and warm enough. We have eliminated schedule based programming aside from lunch and nap. Snack is open from 8:00-10:00 and children are free to come and eat when they feel they are hungry so we don’t disrupt their play for a scheduled snack time. Currently, we do all drop off and pick ups outside as well to eliminate extra transitions and interruption of play. We encourage independence with our children and even our toddlers are capable of self dressing to go outside with little assistance.

  9. Hilary Geddes

    Luckily, covid has pushed us and allowed us to have much more time to spend outside with the children this has brought on many benefits such as emotional regulation, grounding, teachings of respecting our earth, this time has also pushed us as educators to become more creative in implementing curriculum and activities that expand learning outdoors.

  10. Heather Diewert

    Often morning can be challenging for children; and parents, before they even get to school. They struggle with getting up early and the expectations of being ready on time, so beginning the day outside can help to release pent up energy and frustrations.
    I think that we teachers need to begin to worry less about our agenda and allow the day to flow the with the children’s needs. Gathering time may be planned for 10:30, but if children are learning and having a rich social and emotional play experience, are our story and songs and going to add to their day or cause more frustration?
    Perhaps stories etc can be woven into the day at snack or lunchtime, or in small groups throughout the day when children are open to it.
    I think taking small groups of children out at different items can help to get children outside at the opportune moments. If children are inside and they are fully engaged in what they are doing, giving them the time to finish their learning may be more beneficial that telling them they need to go outside now.

  11. Heather Diewert

    As much as we try to make time to get outside, it seems that more time is spent inside these days.
    Often weather and lack of appropriate clothing on children is a the main detractor, but I find it is often teacher’s and oddly, the children’s preference to be inside. I am finding that increasingly people prefer being indoors as that is where the “entertainment” is for children, or all the toys that are familiar to them, and teacher’s can find the process of getting everyone ready to go outside a deterrent.
    I find that bringing some of the inside outdoors can assist children to getting used to being outside, and allow them to watch and learn how others use and enjoy natural materials.
    Educating other teachers on the benefits of outside learning is the best way to bridge that for teachers and show them that learning does take place outdoors.

  12. Carrie Maclellan 

    In the summertime we are actually so lucky as we spend the majority of our day outside exploring. We typically only come in for Nap and sometimes lunch. Covid actually helped us to create more outdoor time as drop offs and pick ups are happening outdoors. Our program has also been provided with some great outdoor gear to encourage longer times outdoors.

  13. Rachael Ewan

    Covid actually changed the outdoor play time as we changed drop off and pick up to outdoors and it has been amazing! The families recognize more about the clothes children need for the weather and the children get 40 minutes more at least. Plus the middle of the day play. I think the children seem more relaxed through the day as well. They can end up up to 3 hours outdoors and I encourage it. I am sure as the weather changes again there will be some resistance, but when it is just seen as the way the routine is it seems much less so,

  14. lisa.rodney

    We have a min of 40% of the day outdoors – some challenges, especially with COVI cohorting, but have been pretty successful.

  15. Heather Brekkaas

    Winter here is ridiculous for getting students ready. Getting 20 kindergarten students in full winter gear (its cold here) and getting their boots and mittens on, can take 10-15 mins. Many of them don’t know how to put on their own gear by the time snow starts to fall because they had mom and dad to do it for them, and then they have to take it off afterwards and hang it up which can also take a long time. The 15 minute recess turns into a 40 minute procedure. It is part of learning, but it also takes quite a bit of time away from other subjects etc.

  16. Anna Mary McKenney

    currently our program does not provide uninterrupted outdoor play as we only have one hour in both the morning and afternoon due to Covid. We have done a great job to transition and eliminate wait times so most children get the full hour but it can still be difficult. I did not work at this centre pre-Covid policy so I am not sure how they structure outdoor time

  17. Katarina Ninkovic

    Over the last few years i actually completely changed my program, we do have scheduled outside time but we spend 6 hours out of the 8 hours we are there outside! this has taken a lot of effort and support from our families and definitely the awesome team I work with!

  18. Lindsey Cooper

    Our outside time is flexible, we can choose to go outdoors anytime but we are limited on the playground time because it’s a shared space. Wintertime we spend less time because it gets so cold.

  19. Krista Ambrose

    Our outside time is very limited right now. Each group only gets an hour of outdoor play a day. We are hoping once more covid restrictions lift then we will be able to combine groups to spend more time outside. I think some early learning teachers stick to the schedule because they do not enjoy going outside on bad weather days. In our centre alone, our group went outside to play on a rainy day. No other groups went out. Why? Because no teachers wanted to get wet. I love taking the kids outside. I feel the more time outside the better!

  20. Dana Wilson

    We are very lucky as a 3-5 program we have a great ratio which almost always allows us to have a flow of the day schedule. Our program is very play based so the children have lots of time outside to feel satisfied in their play. We have enough staff that if some children are feeling like going inside we can accommodate that without having to move everyone inside. We don’t have a scheduled work/learning/circle time so you will often find us doing an impromptu circle outside with singing and stories. Or just educators reading one on one with a child. This flexibility is truly one of the most important parts of our program.

  21. Amanda Funk

    I am fortunate to live in a climate that is contusive to outdoor play all year round. there still is a disconnect between learning and outdoor space.

  22. Jody Anderson

    During the school year we will often play outside right after we pick the kids up from school. This way they are already to go and do not have to make a bunch of transitions. We do find however that if we do this our younger kids will have to go to the bathroom so we try to get them to go at the school prior to leaving. It is a fine balance between meeting the basic physiological functions of the child to allowing enough time outside. On the days when we start indoors we get the children to have their snack first and go to the washroom. They will play indoors for a bit then we will head out with all of their backpacks to have the last hour of the day outside.
    On our full days or during the summer this allows for us to have large blocks of time to let the chidren fullfill their play experiences outside. We have lots of creek time, bike rides, forest play and other outdoor activities around town. We are outside more on our full days then we are on our three hour days simply becasue of the time we have.

  23. Jody Anderson

    I would be very happy to go with the flow with the children and to stay outside for entire days if the children wished. I love exploring with them and watching them make their own disoveries. The limitations come in when your schedules include lunch and snack times for not only children but also staff members. Shortened days if you are in an after school program does not allow enough time to get back to the program, have a snack then go and explore for very long before the parents start coming to pick up. Toileting needs may shorten the time spent outside or chldren or staff who are not dressed for the weather or do not have proper shoes or water bottles.

  24. Ginette Pelletier

    Our outdoor time is flexible as well. On heavy rainy days we stay inside in the summer. In the winter we do go out but if it is between-25to -minus 30 we stay in and sometimes watch the snowstorms

  25. Bonnie Willson

    Our time outside is more or less fluid. If its bad weather outside, we go out for less time. If the children are involved with something or they request to stay outside, sometimes we stay out, sometimes we have our lunch outside. We are lucky to have a very flexible schedule.

  26. Maria Agustin

    Our outdoor time is flexible It depends on the weather. The children can eat snacks and play longer outside if the weather is nice.

  27. Prabhulata Immaraju

    Our outdoor time is very flexible. We are outside on walks and even lunch/ snack times are outdoor picnic or in the yard. Except for nap/rest time we come indoors and rest for an hour or so n head back outdoors again.

  28. Angel Huang

    our outdoor play time is pretty flexible and sometime if the children are really enjoying their time playing and forget about their snack time, we will let them play for another 10mins. And at the same time, ECCE would bring water out for them to wash their hands and have their snack outdoor. We let our children go out in the morning and in the afternoon after they wake up from their nap. Basically they play until their parents come pick them up, so about an hour to two hours

  29. Tammy

    We have a flexible schedule and allow each educator to be responsible for the outside time that they have with their groups. Most of them prefer to spend the majority of their day outside, with small breaks inside for snacks and meals and rest. Some will even have their food outside with the children. I do find that the more fresh air the children get, the better they are at regulating their own emotions and behaviour as well as problem solving skills as well as being more actively involved and immersed in meaningful play experiences.
    We do have a lot of clothes to help the children with in the winter and what I have always done, and like to teach the other educators, is to make a game of it and make it fun. “Ok, it’s a race! Let’s see who can take off their shoes the fastest…. and so on…”

  30. Mikaela Reyes

    Ever since our program changed, our day begins outdoors until lunch time, they rest or nap in the room for two hours after lunch and go back outside again until they get picked up by their parents. Technically, we are all outside most of the time!

  31. Betty-Ann Ryz

    Current StrongStart program is at a 2 hour session, so attempts to squeeze in 30-15 minutes at the end of the session. When I operated my daycare, we tried to spend as much time as we could outside especially during the morning and at the end of the day…roughly we spent an hour or more each outing.

  32. Ruth Novak

    Our play time is regulated and we are always rushing. We do not spend NEARLY enough time outdoors. We do go outside in all seasons, but they play with the same toys. Some know how to invent with the toys, as others need a little more guidance. I wish we could go with the flow, but we also have to coordinate with the school we are attached too. Hopefully when summer comes, we will be able to spend more time outside.

  33. Amanda Christison

    I definitely love the idea of the flow of the day. Getting children ready to go outdoors – especially in the winter – sometimes takes longer than being outdoors itself and too many transitions or hurrying the children just creates stress for everyone. I have seen the negative effects on the children if they don’t get enough outdoor time or if it is cut short to accommodate for a schedule or by the staff wanting to go indoors. Also, if there are some children really engaged in a play experience outdoors, have a staff stay out with them until the children are ready to come in. That extra 5, 10 or however many minutes will make such a difference and positive impact on the children and what they were engaged with outside and make it that much more meaningful.

  34. Erin Lihou

    Our play time is regulated and not as long as we would like. We only have a short amount of time with each class as it’s split between a morning and afternoon.

  35. Silvia Martínez

    During the su,,Dr to,d we are able to spend , more time outside since the weather allows us to. For example a couple hours in the morning before lunch and after nap time,

  36. Nicole Robinson

    I noticed our day was broken up by going inside so that 2 children could nap. The children’s play was interupted by this and was often met with ‘can we stay outside just a little bit longer.’ As a result, I changed the top of our playhouse into a reading nook/nap room and now we stay outside all day. I find without the transition to inside, the children are more actively and deeply involved in their play.

  37. Amanda N

    We spend most of the day outdoor in our yard or on walks. This experience made us noticed a big difference in children’s experiences and behaviours.

  38. Nazia Mir

    we spend time outdoor twice a day. outdoor in winter is pretty hard for small kids. so our bubble for weather is in between feels like -15 to plus 35 with no heat warnings.

  39. Lucie Pendergraff

    We spend time in the morning and afternoon outside as long as the weather is not -30 or +40. When the temperature allows we start the day outside which helps the kindergartners let out their energy. We also take them outside after school until home time. They get more involved in their play and have more meaningful peer interactions than when they are indoors most or all of the day.

  40. Mizuho Kashiwagi

    I do feel that when we offer the children more than one hour of outside play time, they really start to play deeply and engage what they are doing.

  41. Joanne Falk

    Our schedule allows children to play outside for quite some time in the morning as well as in the afternoon. Our schedule is pretty flexible and we don’t always follow our schedule, we definitely switch it up from time to time. Starting the day outside is such a good idea! Most of our children having breakfast when they come in, but with the staff coming in for their shifts, they would be able to take children out, while some staff stay in to give children breakfast who need it.

  42. Karin Freiberg

    Programs must be flexible and have alternative options for outdoor play. I dream of an environment with free flow between indoors and outdoors

  43. Kimberley Thompson

    Yes there is a scheduled time for the amount of time you spend outside through licensing. We would have to write down how much time we were outside for due to.licnenicng . Now with covid we atrat our day outside and usually spend most of the day outside . Sometime we would go into the classroom for down time , quiet time and end the day outside as well. Alot of the stuff that we were used to doing inside can also be done outside.

  44. Charlene Durrant

    In the summer we like to start the day outside. With regulations and a shared space it is difficult to spend more time outside.

  45. Shannon Stewart

    Having a flexible schedule is one way programs can be responsive to the children in their care. Educators can create changes in their routine to support longer periods of play if children are enjoying their outside time. Starting and ending the day outdoors gives the children the opportunity to learn how to get dressed and undressed as well as organize their things.

  46. Jessica Garner

    I think restrictions to time outside are often driven by trying to coordinate many elements such as staff schedules and breaks, serving hot lunches, ensuring children get adequate rest time, allowing all rooms access to the outdoor space without overcrowding, etc. Other barriers might include limitations due to weather or staff preferences on how long they would like to spend outside. Many of these are legitimate concerns and I can see how the solution may be to limit time outside or keep that time on a strict schedule. However, if we truly value outdoor play surely educators and programs can find creative new solutions to those same concerns. Are there alternative times we could be going outside? Are there additional outdoor spaces we could take advantage of? Can we rely on children’s cues to understand when it is time to eat or rest? How can we ensure both children and adults are adequately dressed for the weather? Can we create sheltered spaces to extend our time outside? Are there activities that are being done inside that could also be brought outside?

  47. Nikki Meyer

    Time outdoors is often limited in programs, especially during the cold winter months or very hot summer days. Sometimes programs have restrictions due to shared outdoor spaces. It would be wonderful to see more programs viewing the daily routine as a flow and utilizing the outdoor time as an extension of what they typically offer indoors – including experiences, stories, art, snacks, etc.

  48. Alison Rinas

    i love when i see programs start and end the day outside for children. i believe that nature and moving in the morning provides so much children and adults in self regulation. At the end of day allows for parents to see the exploring that can take place and great way to have conversation and connections with families outside while the child is still playing

  49. Kathryn Armstrong

    I think minimizing transitions is very valuable in creating flow. When the children arrive they are already dressed for outdoor play. Outdoor play is also my favourite way to end the day with children. Minimizing transitions also eliminates the time children spend waiting for everyone to get dressed particularly when you live where winter weather requires so much clothing. Even in the summer choosing to spend the majority of the morning outside before the heat of the day energizes everyone.

  50. Julia Kunz

    It requires being flexble-can your program decide on a whim to serve snack/lunch outside so the children can play longer? Nap time? Go for spontaneous walks? When I had a day home program, I was able to be completed fluid and child led with my schedule. When working in a group care setting, it was much more difficult to be flexible.

  51. Andrea Preissl

    Depending what program it is the children are outside from drop off until pickup. In the colder weather they sometimes start inside. This includes naps outside.

    From other centers I have worked at they struggle to get outdoors and some days it’s only in the morning. I find the programs with outdoor spaces that are not stimulating enough prefer to spend more time indoors as the children get bored and start fighting and complaining quicker when outside.

  52. Svetlana Babikova

    We spend about 3-4 hours a day outside with children in my care. And we have a flexible schedule, sometimes we can bring snacks outdoor. I believe flexible schedule help children to get engage more in play and the process of inquiry.

  53. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    Our schedule is very flexible.we take our children outside and keep them about 2hours if weather permits.we take them to different places and sometimes we arrange lunch at outside.Children love and enjoy lunch picnic.

  54. Caroline Driedger

    We have a schedule that is very flexible. in the summer we are outside form 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. In the winter we are outside for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon (weather permitting) if its really cold-40 here in Manitoba we do not go outside however some children will get dressed and try it (10 min max) being outside is not a problem we excel, we do need to be more intentional and add more natural things and set up more provocations.

  55. Nadira Ramnauth

    We have a schedule that is very flexible, we ensure that the children spend enough time exploring and learning about the outdoors. We are never in a rush to go indoors. We take the children on walks and we play in the big field. We always extend their play and go later for lunch and naps. There are some days that we even have picnic lunches outdoor. When children are having fun exploring and discovering, we should not rush to take them indoor.

  56. Janice Duncan

    Programs that I have worked in tend to spend more time outside in the spring and summer when the temperatures are warmer. The challenge is outdoor play in the winter, the cold temperatures keep people inside. I like the idea of flow and responding to the children’s needs to get outside, one program I worked in we were very much in tune with the children. Children were invited to come outside and help with playground check (they liked sweeping the board walks)and this gave some children who were very energized time to get outside. i also like that the children in the video spent time outdoors first then came inside after outdoor play.

  57. Lucie Theroret

    we are really flexible at our program for outside time .Today we had breakfeast outside and spend the whole morning outside (du to covid we only have morning session 9;00-11;30 then we stay outside till the parents come

  58. Kathy Barnhart

    The biggest drawback to going outside for long periods of time is the extreme weather we experience here. I wish the children were always dressed appropriately because then it would not matter and they could get outside for longer periods of time. I find it is a continuous struggle to work towards, but well worth it.

  59. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    At the daycare, our schendule is flexible, it is up to the educator to decide on the time for outdoor play. We are required to go outside twice a day for more than 45 minutes. But often when I know that I will spend more time, I change my time and stay outside for a long time. Especially on Mondays because the kids are tired and need more energy and on Fridays because they will be home for a long time.

  60. Deborah Fehr

    I love the word flow. It is such a better word than schedule. I tend to be flexible person and have at times found it difficult to be in charge of the “time” for example when there was a sub in the room who wasn’t familiar with the schedule. I found it added a dimension of stress to my day. I like knowing what comes next, just not at a specific time. The idea of spending more time outside than initially planned for is wonderful. I believe that it would be important to have given thought ahead of time so that the “excuse to go back in wasn’t due to poor planning on our part (e.g. no materials, no way to wash hands for eating, sunscreen etc.

  61. Heather Howard

    It would be wonderful if all programs could adopt the flow of the day. I still see many programs that have a fairly strict schedule for outdoor play as the space is shared for all ages. I know having the freedom isn’t possible for some programs based on the size and design of the outdoor space. I have had conversations with program administrators to see how they are managing this. Some are going beyond the actual yard to other parts of their neighborhood or other parks or playgrounds which is certainly another opportunity to be outdoors and for longer periods of time.

  62. Janet Huffman

    I love the Flow of the Day, it reminds me of Untiming the curriculum, where we stop using the clock as the guide and allow the children to guide us. Many times educators call time to end outside time because of two things: 1- the clock, 2- they are uncomfortable and not dressed for the weather, neither of this is allowing the children to guide us in their play.
    The video stated that they start their day outside, with most child care centres opening at 6 am in my community, this would not be an option, however I do think that centres can look and reflect on what outdoor time looks like and the reason they have it- is it an extension of the indoor environment or simply a place for children to burn off energy before lunch/nap.

  63. Laura Mcintosh

    It is important to have a schedule I feel for outdoor time is prioritized and not over looked. At my center we make sure regardless of the weather to take the children outdoors a minimum of once a day but more often then not with the right clothing we are able to go out twice a day to enjoy the outdoors.

  64. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    Share your experiences and ideas about creating a flow of the day that supports extended time outdoors for children.
    A routine and a schedule are two different things. A routine respects the children’s natural rythms and desires for play. A routine is flexible and is focused on intent rather than outcome. Starting the day outdoors can be an intentional way of valuing the free, unstructuredness (is that a word?) of outdoor play. The indoors then becomes the place to schedule certain activities (eating, napping, toileting) and the outdoors is the overall play zone. There aren’t any clocks outdoors, so the children’s natural rythms tell us when to do things. Transitions are reduced.

  65. Stephanie Vieira

    We take our children outdoors every morning for about 2 hours and bring them inside. That’s on really nice days. Winter is less hours. The children enjoy doing that especially getting together with the other groups they don’t get to play with all the time.

  66. Lorraine Kok

    We are pretty flexible with our schedule if the children are restless we will go for a walk or add more outdoor play, with the nicer weather arriving we also did our cultural dances out doors it was great.

  67. Jaclyn Geiger

    Outside play is so important and should just be part of the routine. That beings said should not always look the same or become the check mark of extra 15mins on the playground before indoor class begins. Some points free play with added focus for themes and exploration should be planned for with ample time outdoors not just a bonus reward. I love the routine provided and expectations are clear. Also important for the teacher to play too!

  68. Nicole Morrell

    One thing that I did in my program was take the clocks off the walls as a challenge for three days and called upon my educators to follow the children’s lead, watch for cues and play. What we noted after a couple days of getting used to the process was that children transitioned far easier in and out when we did it on their time when they decided they were ready. We spent far more time outside than usual because we weren’t watching the clock to make sure that we were following our schedule. We ended up taking another look at our schedule and taking the times right off and calling it a daily flow which ended up being a sort of glimpse at what our day could look like but most of the time many things on it were not accomplished because the children were actively engaged in other things- and that was the way it should have been all along.

  69. Ai Paul

    Even though we have 1 hour of play everyday, no matter what kind of weather, I would love to change the schedule, incorporating “flow of the day” to make both educators and children to be less stressful. For example, transition, bathroom and snack breaks, wait times etc. I like the idea for children play outside right after dropped off by families.

  70. Randi Robertson

    I think it’s important to schedule what each day is going to look like and maybe post it on the wall somewhere for parents to have a look at when they drop off their kids. I think its important to always schedule in the time you are going to spend outside and allowing a little more time for this during the winter so the kid have time to putt their proper clothing on to head outside.

  71. Christine Villeneuve

    I recently heard “the flow of the day” and thought it was a great representation of the flexibility and fluidity of what could happen. While I encourage educators to spend large amounts of time outdoors, sometimes they are reluctant. I’d like to explore their hesitancy a little more to get a better understanding and together, come up with alternate ways to allow children more time outdoors rather than only in the afternoons and right before pick up. Reflecting on my past experience of opening one preschool room, we started the day outdoors and often stayed out for the majority of the day. The children had so much fun, and educators seemed more at ease.

  72. Carli Olson

    I think this is a great thing to do especially in a school setting. I remember not having very much Time to play outside and never wanting to go in at the bell. Its like a nice brain break for children!

  73. Romy Ralph

    I am fortunate to work in a non profit preschool where we decide how long and when we are outside. Some days we do the whole class outside. I have worked at different places where they have to share their outdoor space and it is very limiting on time spent outside.

  74. Daniela Rodriguez

    I believe outdoor play in the morning and afternoon is a great way to contribute to children’s development. Teachers should focus on providing experiences that will contribute the most to the children’s growth rather than worrying about the time spent in each acitvity. Even more, nowadays when children spend more time indoors and are looking at screens. They need to be active and familiar with their surroundings.

  75. Kim Hoey

    In the winter months we definitely do not go out for long blocks of time. We do go as much as we can and we play on the hills, sliding etc. Summer time we are out LOTS more and for longer blocks of time.

  76. Anita Morgan

    We have a general schedule that includes outdoor play every morning and afternoon. In the summer months we often start out our day outside.
    Sometimes we are bound by time when as staff we need to be aware of breaks, ratios, and completion of other tasks.

  77. Susanne Saunders

    We are outside as much as we can. In the warm months we are only inside for eating and naps. Spring and full as long as the children dress for the weather we go outside. Mornings we going out side two and a half hours. about the dame in the afternoon. Winter we some times do not get outside at all. When it is 40 below it is just to cold.

  78. Laurie Millions

    We usually allow the children to play outside for at least 1 hour in the morning and the afternoon or longer depending on the weather.

  79. Charmee Penner

    We have a schedule in our room that mainly just gives parents a feel for what the day might look like. We don’t follow it strictly. We let children eat when they are hungry, we have extended periods outside that is not limited to a schedule. We often open and close the centre outside.

  80. Taylor Aichelberger

    I absolutely love the idea of creating a flow of the day as opposed to a rigid and structured schedule. This allows for ample time outside because if learners and/or educators find/discover/create something of interest outside, the schedule is flexible enough that that curiosity can be explored. A flow of the day allows for an emergent curriculum and longer, more meaningful play opportunities outdoors.

  81. Taylor Aichelberger

    Time to play is something that does significantly impact early learning environments and programming. I think that when early learning teachers feel bound by schedules rather than the quality of the play experiences, it is because their perspectives and practice is not deeply appreciating the importance of outdoor play for learning and development. When outdoor play is viewed as a place for children to burn off excess energy, and/or as a reward for ‘good behaviour’ or learning indoors, the educator is likely to feel bound to their schedule and not allow enough time for meaningful outdoor play opportunities.

  82. Jessica Popp

    In comparison to some programs that I observe, it i great to see that there is 40 minutes or more in both morning and afternoon. Like many programs it is challenging to get out the doors with a large number of children, we can work on transitions to eliminate wait times. The timing is very important as we want children to benefit/gain for all learning times of the day. The program in the video go outside as the beginning of the day, in contrast many programs go out after the work/learning has happened. This might be a point of reflections for many programs.