Outdoor play is critical: OC’s Dietze and other experts contribute to new recommendations by Lawson Foundation

By Public Affairs | July 16, 2020
           

Beverlie Dietze, Director, Learning and Applied Research
Beverlie Dietze, Director, Learning and Applied Research

Outdoor play is good for kids and good for our communities.

A new statement released on July 13 by the Lawson Foundation highlights why opportunities for children to play outside are critical to their development and learning – both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement also outlines the role of outdoor play in mitigating COVID-19 exposure risk for children in a variety of settings, from childcare facilities to schools. Read the full statement online.

It was prepared with the input of advisors from public health and the early learning and child care (ELCC) sector and includes guiding principles and recommendations to support the reopening and ongoing implementation of high quality ELCC programs during and after the pandemic.

One of those advisors was Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Applied Research, a renowned outdoor play expert and the author of numerous works on the subject.

“The importance of the outdoors is underestimated,” says Dietze. “When you look at the current research for healthy children and communities, we know that the outdoors needs to be prioritized in those early years.”

“The Lawson Foundation has been supporting the outdoor play movement for a long time and I applaud them for that. This statement offers up new recommendations for policymakers, educators and administrators – now we need to look at how we can actualize them.”

“There’s an established base of research that points to the cognitive, emotional, social and other benefits linked to children playing outside,” notes Dietze. “And as the Lawson Foundation’s statement points out, during the pandemic, being outdoors means fewer shared surfaces to touch, it means children are moving around more, they are using their lungs differently – so there are immediate benefits in our current context, and there are many other important long-term benefits we need to think about for the best interests of children.”  

Over the past several years, with support from the Lawson Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and a growing number of private sector partners and community organizations, Dietze has advanced outdoor play research in the Okanagan and nationally, along the way introducing many families to the concept of unstructured outdoor play – and its benefits.

In fall of 2017, she launched a series of outdoor community opportunities that allowed children to discover the creative joys of playing with loose parts. The sessions were also a chance to collect feedback on a unique outdoor play space proposed within the New Monaco master planned community currently being developed in Peachland. In February of 2018, Dietze led a Canadian delegation to Scotland during which representatives from Okanagan College and Inspiring Scotland came together to gain new insights into outdoor pedagogy research and application in early childhood programs in Canada and across the Atlantic.

In late March, Dietze shared her insights on the importance of outdoor play for families adapting to the new realities of working and learning from home during the early days of the pandemic in B.C..

 



Tags: Learning and Applied Research, Play, COVID-19

TOP STORIES

RELATED STORIES

Sign up for weekly stories




Trending

Engineering Technology students Chase Seale and Myles Derksen
College spotlights new Common First-Year Engineering and other tech programs via virtual info session

June 15, 2020

Future engineers and technologists take note: Okanagan College is opening up a new pathway to engineering next year, and in the meantime is opening students’ eyes to other technologies careers in high demand. The College will welcome its first intake of students to its new Common First-Year Engineering (CFYE) program in Fall of 2021. The one-year CFYE certificate provides a comprehensive applied science foundation and sets students up to transfer into second-year university engineering studies. Students will complete courses in a variety of...

Read more...
Kofoed family
Kofoed family celebrates the role of nurses

June 10, 2020

A $60,000 gift from the Kofoed family will honour a very special nurse in their life, and a generation of new nurses entering the field. Jack Kofoed, and his children Jacqueline, Leah, Jillian and Jeremy are giving to the Our Students, Your Health campaign to help complete construction on a new Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Jack’s wife Leona was a nurse. She passed away in 2017, and this gift recognizes her life’s work and the special care she received during her final days, according to her family. “Mom was o...

Read more...
Tuition Winner Brittani Sali
Contest winner inspired to help others

May 26, 2020

When Brittani Sali answered the phone and learned she was the winner of a $5,000 tuition giveaway contest, she thought she might be dreaming. The 22-year old was just waking up, and she hadn’t been expecting the call from local radio announcer B Mack. Lucky for Sali, winning the tuition giveaway towards any health program at Okanagan College wasn’t a dream. The 22-year old was among one of 80 people who entered the contest, which was sponsored by the Payton and Dillon Budd Memorial Fund, in partnership with Virgin Radio and the Okanagan Col...

Read more...
Isabel Fabian Animation grad
Drawing together: College and industry gather virtually to celebrate animation students

May 21, 2020

If there was ever a time to get animated, this was it – albeit with a virtual twist. While COVID-19 may have altered the format for the ceremony, it couldn’t dampen the excitement as studios from across the valley joined Okanagan College this week in recognizing the newest soon-to-be grads from its Animation diploma program. At the OC Animation department’s second-annual Industry Night on May 13, a group of second-year students on their way to graduation and first-year students who have now crossed the half-way mark of their program were ce...

Read more...