Glenora daycare receives $110,000 to get kids outside in the winter

A group of tots are embracing the chilly season with the help of a $110,000 grant aimed at getting kids to play outside.
The Glenora Child Care Society, which cares for about 75 preschool kids, plans to use the $110,000 grants to make it more fun and safe for kids to play outside in the winter. 1:03

A group of tots are embracing the chilly season with the help of a $110,000 grant aimed at getting kids to play outside.

The Glenora Child Care Society was the only daycare in the country to receive funds from the Lawson Foundation, a group focused on the wellbeing of children, as part of its outdoor play strategy.
The Glenora Child Care Society, which cares for about 75 preschool kids, plans to use the $110,000 grants to make it more fun and safe for kids to play outside in the winter. (CBC)

The society, which cares for 75 kids each day, plans to spend the money on creating a more winter-friendly playground, taking the kids on outdoor winter field trips and hiring outdoor play coordinators to enhance play time in the cold.

"It's so great for kids to connect with nature and be outside during the day," said Lisa Jenson, who volunteered to put together the grant application.

Jensen said because of the short days during the winter, she would often drop off her three children at daycare in the dark, and pick them up in the dark. That meant their only hope of spending time outside was at the daycare.

Lisa Jensen, whose three children attend the day care, volunteered to write the grant proposal. She said the kids don't get to play outside at home much in the winter because of the short days. (CBC)
"There was just a lot of excitement about what we could do to build that time and enhance that time outside during the day," she said.

"Children's play is in decline," said Lawson Foundation President Marcel Lauzière. "Kids actually need unstructured outdoor play – play that includes taking risks – because we know that this is important for their healthy development."

Adrian Merrick is an educator at the Glenora Child Care Society. He said getting kids outside in the winter is particularly challenging, starting with how difficult it is to get the kids dressed for the weather.  

Merrick said safety is the number one concern during the winter. He hopes the grant money will help the daycare overcome some of those difficulties.

"We're hoping to provide wind shelters, child-safe heaters, ways to warm up and then get back into the snow again," he said.

Jenson said the daycare was the only child care facility, and the only winter-focused proposal to receive the grant.

She hopes the entire city will be able to benefit from the money, by sharing strategies with other groups looking for ways to get kids outside when the mercury drops.

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