Outdoor Play Policy

Outdoor play experiences are considered a vital component of the environment for play. At Bon Accord Montessori Child development centre, we believe that different kinds of play experiences can happen outdoors. Children need opportunities for physical challenges such as: running, sliding, rolling, riding, climbing, jumping, and transporting etc. In addition to these physical challenges, the outdoor play environment can support more contemplative pursuits: making discoveries in the environment by digging, planting, exploring with water and sand, finding a quiet spot to sit, or maybe even reading a book. Creative opportunities exist outside also with outdoor art and construction materials. In addition, outdoor play can be beneficial in developing cognitive skills, language skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, self-help skills, and emotional skills. All primary staff are required to prepare, and plan based on children’s interests. Outdoor activities will be incorporated into a program planning. Bon Accord Staff will ensure scheduled daily opportunities for outdoor play in a safe, stimulating and developmentally appropriate environment. Staff will use the important supervision procedures outlined in the Center’s Supervision Policy to ensure the safety of the children. During the winter months, it is important for Staff to keep in mind and use discretion as climbers can be slippery when boots are full of snow. Staff use the Center’s “Daily Playground Checklist” when opening the playground in the morning. This checklist ensures that playground is free of toxic plants. Except in the most inclement weather, Staff will take the children outdoors at least twice daily throughout the year. In the winter, Bon Accord Montessori Child Development Centre uses the following guideline provided by Alberta Health Services: if the temperature is colder than -20°C Celsius, play will remain indoors. Temperature between -15°C and -20°C, educators will use their discretion regarding the length of time outside, wind gusts, sunshine and how the children are coping. It is mandatory that all children are dressed for the weather conditions, they should dress in layers and the outer layer should be windproof and waterproof. They need to have a hat that covers the ears, mittens not gloves, and a neck warmer instead of a scarf. There will be no exception made to this aspect of the program. If your child is unable to go outside for any reason, other than cold induced asthma (please be advised we will require a treatment plan from your child ‘s physician, if this is the diagnosis) he/she should not attend the Montessori.

In the summer, children will be encouraged to play in the shady areas of the playground and during the hotter months we ask parents ensure their child has water bottles ready to go outside with them. All children are required to have a sunhat and are required to wear sunscreen also. Bon Accord Montessori has a sunscreen program that families are welcome to be a part of if they wish. Information regarding our sunscreen program can be found in our Sunscreen Policy. Again, there will be no exception made to this aspect of the program. If your child is allergic to all sunscreen, this would not be the program choice for your child. A list of appropriate and inappropriate summer attire can be found in our Shoes and Clothing Policy. The Primary Staff Members for each age group will include Outdoor activities in their regular programming so that interesting, age-appropriate activities are planned for this area each day. The Emergency Backpack containing emergency contact information and a first aid kit will accompany any group that venture off the Child Care Premises.