It’s a great pleasure to be announcing the Lawson Foundation’s Outdoor Play Strategy and sharing the news about the newly funded projects!
The Foundation believes children’s outdoor play merits a substantial investment in projects that will help us better understand how to support Canadian communities to increase children’s opportunities for outdoor play. So we developed our Outdoor Play Strategy and launched a one-time Canada-wide funding call for proposals to catalyze work at the community level. To date we have committed $2.7 million to this Strategy that will run until 2018.
Selecting the projects was challenging as 263 organizations submitted letters of intent. Of those submissions, 27 organizations were invited to submit a full proposal. In the end, 12 of those proposals were funded, two other previously approved projects fit the Strategy, and an evaluation was commissioned to capture the learning.
Our sense of the landscape from the funding call was that there was strong interest in exploring unstructured outdoor play, but not a great deal of work already underway. Ultimately we chose to begin our Strategy with a group of early adopters from diverse sectors with existing expertise. Also of note, most of the funded projects have strong community connections and will achieve both short and long term impact on the ground with children. Finally, in selecting projects we intentionally sought a diversity of approaches to creating opportunities for outdoor play. It was a highly competitive process so thanks to all those who applied!
We are thrilled to share with you the work of these unique projects and invite you to take the time to learn more about them here.
As the work unfolds, the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) will be leading a developmental evaluation to capture the learning. We expect that as the Strategy and the projects unfold, we will have a compelling story to share about tools and approaches that will break down barriers and enable children’s outdoor play across the country. Our hope is that this work will help decision makers, practitioners and parents create stimulating environments and opportunities for outdoor play, and hopefully, encourage further investment from public and private funders to scale the successful models.
Interested in staying connected to our work and updates on our Outdoor Play Strategy? Join our mailing list today. We’ll have lots more to share over the next few years.
Previous posts related to Outdoor Play:
Let Kids Decide How Muddy! [July 11, 2015]
The Tally is in…263 Letter of Intent for Active Outdoor Play! [July 22, 2015]