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Call for Abstracts--Outdoor Play and Early Learning Policy Research Invitational Symposium

Deadline January 26, 2018

The Lawson Foundation will be hosting a two day symposium to support outdoor play and early learning policy in Canada from October 24-26, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The interactive symposium will provide a forum for researchers, government officials, educators, service providers, and others interested in sharing new research in the field of outdoor play and early learning policy. This call seeks research that addresses barriers and opportunities to increase children’s outdoor play-based early learning in regulated early childhood education and care (ECEC) or publicly-funded elementary school contexts. While the symposium is intended to serve as a catalyst to expand outdoor play early learning policy development in Canada, relevant submissions in English pertaining to outdoor play policy from all regions of the world are welcome; international exemplars may inform and enhance Canadian initiatives. Studies that expand the horizons of policy development and implementation related to early learning and outdoor play, from a variety of disciplines, are encouraged.

About the Lawson Foundation

The Lawson Foundation ( is a Canadian national family foundation that invests in and engages with ideas, people, and organizations that contribute to the wellbeing of children and youth and their development as active and engaged members of society. The Lawson Foundation is nationally recognized for its leadership in supporting outdoor play (, including outdoor play-based early learning opportunities for healthy child development.

Peer Review of Submissions and Participant Selection

The Lawson Foundation is working in collaboration with researchers from Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia who will facilitate an academic peer-review of submissions in advance of symposium participant selection. Submissions that meet peer review standards will be adjudicated by members of the symposium organizing committee for quality, innovation, and relevance to outdoor play policy development in Canada. A number of submissions may be selected for inclusion as oral presentations, and some studies will be invited to be presented at the symposium as academic posters.

Abstract Guidelines

A one-page (max. 500 words) abstract of a completed or ongoing study will be accepted by email.  Abstracts must include all of the following headings and conform to the file preparation standards outlined below: 1. Purpose of study; 2. Rationale and significance for policy; 3. Context and/or participants; 4. Methodology and Methods; 5. Summary of (anticipated) findings or outcomes; 6. A statement indicating that a research ethics board has granted or will be requested to grant ethics approval for your study.

File Preparation Standards

Submissions should be a single word file document including:

  • First page: title, author's name(s), credentials, institutional affiliation, email(s), and note primary contact person.
  • Second page: one page abstract formatted with 1" margins, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Third page: list of References (only those cited in abstract).

Submission Deadline

  • Submissions should be sent as a single attachment directly via email to [email protected].
  • Submissions must be received on or before January 26, 2018.

Notice of our decision regarding acceptance of the abstract will be communicated to all submitters by the end of March 2018. There will be funding available for partial or full travel costs for one researcher per project. We expect that authors whose submissions are accepted will make every effort to attend and participate fully in the interactive invitational symposium in fall 2018. Following the symposium, participants will be invited to submit a full paper for peer review to a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education.