Construction begins on Canadian Centre of Excellence in Outdoor Play

by Freya Lucas

March 24, 2021

The Canadian Centre for Outdoor Play (CCOP), a centre of excellence in outdoor play and early childhood education, is likely to soon have a new home, with construction beginning on a new multi-purpose iconic building on National Capital Commission (NCC) property.

 

Described as a “labour of love” and led by Andrew Fleck Child Services, in partnership with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the CHEO Research Institute, the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, and Outdoor Play Canada, the building will have an emphasis on sustainability, with any trees which need to be removed to accommodate the building being used within the building itself as lumber, furniture or pieces of art. 

 

At 4,500 square feet, nestled in 900 acres of Ottawa greenbelt land and trails, the building will have three main functions: 

 

  1. To mainstream outdoor play through the provision of a nature based licenced early learning and care program for 49 infants, toddlers and preschoolers;
  2. To convene people, demonstrate emerging best practices, and support increase knowledge and thought leadership on outdoor play in Canada; and, 
  3. To increase the evidence-base and research in the field of outdoor play.

 

The collaborative space will launch demonstration projects, inform policy and practice, provide professional development opportunities, conduct applied research, and lead nationwide knowledge translation and mobilization efforts related to outdoor play. 

 

In the early learning program, 10 babies, 15 toddlers and 24 preschoolers will be cared for with all rooms designed for easy access to the outdoors. Large decking and natural play spaces adjacent to the building will be core features of the build, along with an outdoor gathering space to be shared with other programs. 

 

Communal kitchen and dining areas will be part of the facility, along with indoor and outdoor classrooms, a staff room, and administrative spaces. 

To learn more about the work of Outdoor Play Canada, please see here

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