Outdoor Early Childhood Education Licensing (WA)
Policy Type Legend
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Outdoor Learning in Schools
Early Childhood Education
This bill makes Washington the first state in the U.S. to license outdoor preschools. There are more than 40 outdoor child care programs throughout the state, yet these programs are unlicensed, making it impossible for them to function as fullday programs. Lack of licensure means these programs have been ineligible for state-subsidized funding through Working Connections Child Care (WCCC), and have been unable to participate in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), impacting the accessibility of these programs for families without the means for full tuition payment. Prior to this bill, many of Washington’s licensing regulations were specifically created with indoor learning environments in mind.
In 2017, Washington’s Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) launched a fouryear Outdoor Preschool Pilot project to license outdoor, nature-based early learning and childcare programs.
Through the pilot program and the passage of this bill, DCYF was the first in the nation to successfully develop state licensing requirements and processes to expand access to safe, highquality child care and education outdoors.
Most Recent Yearly Funding
Continuing or One-time Funding
Annual appropriations from Washington
Path to Enactment