The Get Outside and Play Early Childhood Network came out of the United Way Calgary Thrive by Five Change Lab. Two participants explored outdoor play in the early years and saw a need for this important type of play in early learning and care settings. Two workshops were hosted by Winsport in 2014 and 2015 and the attendees supported the creation of the Get Outside and Play Early Childhood Network. The Alberta Council for Environmental Education lead this program until June 2018 when it was cut loose to grow and explore new opportunities.
The Get Outside and Play initiative is also working with a one page Theory of Change. It is a visual method to see the work needed to ensure more young children and their families get outside to play. See the document here.
We have created a movement of passionate individuals – from sectors that include health care, environmental education, play, sport, recreation and parks, child care, and early childhood development – who will work collaboratively towards the following vision:
All young children, 0-5 years old and their families in Alberta have the opportunity for active outdoor nature play that is safe, positive and engaging. Active outdoor nature play in the early years:
- Builds a foundation of nature connection that develops life long environmental literacy and stewardship
- Sparks natural curiosity, exploration and learning.
- Connects young children and their families with their communities, contributing to family resilience and social connections.
- Improves physical literacy and general health outcomes
Since 2015, the Get Outside and Play program has been focusing on programs that will help advance our theory of change, here are a few highlights from the past 3 years.