Francophone organization receives $506,000 from Ottawa to expand nature-based daycare approach
A Francophone cultural organization in Sudbury, Ontario, received federal funding of $506,339 to extend an approach to daycares where children play in nature.
The Carrefour francophone operates 11 daycares, or early childhood centres, in Greater Sudbury. Since 2019, his Forest Preschool project has carved out small sections of forest where children can play and explore.
It is one of 16 early childhood education projects receiving federal funding announced this week.
“There are a lot of things you can do just by playing with sticks and stones,” said Carrefour francophone outdoor education coordinator Céline Kerampran.
« It’s really fun to see kids expressing themselves really easily. They have space if they’re upset or whatever, they can go hide behind a tree and have some quiet time to themselves. «
At the Center de la petite enfance Boréal des tout-petits, located at Collège Boréal in Sudbury, parents participated in the construction of simple outdoor structures for children. There’s even a hammock for napping.
“Some families here don’t always have the chance to take their children to the forest,” explains Émilie Castilloux, head of the Collège Boréal’s early childhood center.
« So I think it’s really cool that they have the chance to do that in daycare if they can’t get what they need at home. »
Federal funding will help Collège Boréal researchers study the benefits of outdoor education for young children. They will also see how the Carrefour francophone approach could be replicated elsewhere.
On Tuesday, Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould announced a total of $27.4 million for the 16 projects across Canada over three years.
« Early learning and child care systems must meet the needs of increasingly complex and challenging environments, » Gould said in a press release.
“Innovative practices can help develop solutions that better meet the complex needs of children and families, support greater integration of services, and improve the quality of early learning and child care across the country.
The call for proposals focused on projects that met the needs of families during the pandemic.