From Colleges to Communities: Lawson Foundation supports early childhood education project at OC and partner PSEs

By College Relations | January 19, 2021
           

Beverlie Dietze, Director, Learning and Applied Research
Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research

A major investment by the Lawson Foundation will support researchers from Okanagan College and three partnering institutions in their innovative approach to advancing outdoor early learning and teaching across Canada.

Okanagan College has received a grant of $750,000 for a collaborative project with Bow Valley College, New Brunswick Community College and Saskatchewan Polytechnic called Outdoor Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education: From Colleges to Communities.

This goal of the three-year project is to demonstrate a model of outdoor pedagogy practices, teaching, learning and mentoring that will create a shift in curriculum in post-secondary ECE programs and in community early learning and child care programs.

Through the collaboration, the group aims to support college instructors, their students, and early childhood educators, in implementing high quality outdoor experiences and play opportunities to and with children.

Children Outdoor Play

“We’re very proud and appreciative to be one of the projects funded,” said project lead Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at Okanagan College.

“Our aim is to advance outdoor pedagogy curriculum in college ECE programs across the country. This support from the Lawson Foundation will allow us to train instructors at the other colleges in outdoor early learning pedagogy, so that they can share their learning with students in their programs and then put that training to work in their communities.”

Adds Dr. Dietze: “the depth of collaboration means we can bring together a tremendous amount of knowledge and diversity of experience in this discipline, which we hope will translate to great benefit for college students, graduates, children, and early childhood educators alike.”

“Sask Polytech is very excited for this collaborative opportunity to work on this important applied research project with selected post-secondary institutions across Canada,” says Nancy Holden, Sask Polytech School of Human Services, academic chair. “Outdoor play is an important part of a quality early childhood education program. Outdoor play allows children to explore and discover their environments in a natural way, sparking curiosity and an adventurous spirit.”   

The funding comes as part of the launch of the Lawson Foundation’s second phase of its Outdoor Play Strategy and an overall investment of $4.95 million in eight demonstration projects that will benefit Early Learning and Child Care across Canada.

Child Outdoor Play

According to the Lawson Foundation, while the benefits and importance of outdoor play for children are supported by research, two studies funded by the Foundation suggest that there is a significant gap in training and resources for adults to support high quality outdoor play programs and experiences.

Those studies have an Okanagan College connection as well – both were co-authored by Dr. Dietze. In its announcement about the second phase, the Lawson Foundation drew on findings from the studies, noting:

In 2018, only five out of 100 college ECE programs had explicit outdoor pedagogy courses and no practicum experiences for students had outdoor play requirements. In addition, a Canadian survey of 896 ELCC educators who enrolled in an online outdoor play training course found that 89% of respondents had never received any training in outdoor pedagogy, and 72% indicated that they lacked the training and experience to implement outdoor pedagogy in their work. Lack of awareness and knowledge of outdoor play results in gaps and barriers in both policy and practice which the Outdoor Play Strategy will address.

More information, and a complete list of the funded projects can be found here.



Tags: Lawson Foundation, Early Childhood Education, Partnership, Learning and Applied Research, Inside OC

TOP STORIES

RELATED STORIES

Sign up for weekly stories




Trending

ActiveTransportationCorridor-600x400
Minister and Mayor open Kelowna’s newest active transportation corridor for riders

June 14, 2022

The Casorso active transportation corridor (ATC) between Raymer Ave. and KLO Rd. is the latest addition to Kelowna’s cycling network and it is now ready for riders. The B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Honourable Rob Fleming, visited Okanagan College to recognize and celebrate the completion of this project. The College is one of the main destinations connected along the Ethel Casorso ATC corridor stretching from Downtown Kelowna to the Pandosy Urban Centre. “Having safe and convenient routes for walking, cycling and acti...

Read more...
Animation student
Artistic students design future careers in animation

June 7, 2022

Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...

Read more...
JAMK campus
OC Business students embrace international study again

May 30, 2022

Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.  Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.  OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...

Read more...
Enactus 2022
Enactus Okanagan College tops the field, sets sights on national championships

May 27, 2022

Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...

Read more...