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Progress of the implementation of the national guide for childhood educators on Outdoor Learning by ECDA

Type: Parliamentary Questions

Topic(s): Children & Family

Ms Carrie Tan asked the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) since the publication of the national guide for early childhood educators on Outdoor Learning by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) in September 2019, whether the Ministry has taken stock of how many preschools are implementing the recommendations in the guide; (b) if so, what is the progress; (c) what are the challenges encountered by preschool operators incorporating more outdoor time in their curriculum; and (d) how is the Ministry helping to address these challenges.



1.     Outdoor learning is a critical part of the holistic learning and development of young children. Our national curriculum frameworks require all preschools to incorporate outdoor learning as part of their curriculum. We have increased the emphasis of outdoor learning in our refreshed curriculum frameworks introduced in 2022 and 2023 so that preschools will plan for children’s outdoor learning experiences across various domains, e.g. numeracy, language and literacy, instead of only focusing on physical development. In addition, all preschools are required to incorporate gross motor activities into their curriculum, of which a specified amount must be done outdoors.

2.     The national guide on outdoor learning was developed to provide educators with guiding principles and practical suggestions to enhance children’s learning in the outdoors. As the guide was meant to be a resource for educators, ECDA did not mandate the preschools to implement its recommendations, nor track its implementation. Instead, the recommendations were weaved into ECDA’s Outdoor Learning Training Programme for preschools, while ideas on outdoor learning were shared on an online repository. With the support of Temasek Foundation, trained educators also held peer sharing sessions. Nearly 2,500 educators and centre leaders have participated in the training courses and peer sharing sessions to date. Many of them have indicated the training courses contributed to their increased confidence in planning and implementing outdoor learning experiences for children. 174 preschools have also received funds to support the implementation of their outdoor learning improvement plans.

3.     Challenges faced by preschools in implementing outdoor learning activities include child safety and management in outdoor spaces as well as dedicating time for outdoor activities in the timetable. Through the training courses and peer sharing sessions, educators learnt how to overcome these challenges. For example, educators learnt practical strategies to enhance child safety and management outdoors and gained ideas to creatively use existing time and space for outdoor learning.

4.     Another challenge faced is that some preschools may not have safe and accessible spaces for outdoor learning. Since 2017, ECDA has updated design specifications to ensure new preschools prebuilt in HDB BTO estates have direct and safe access to outdoor spaces.

5.     Beyond preschools enhancing outdoor learning, families have the most important role in ensuring their children spend time outdoors, playing and learning. With concerted efforts from all stakeholders, we believe that outdoor learning will become an integral part of children’s everyday life.