I'm interested in this report on daycare centers and preschools not taking kids outside. Like the first few commenters, my kids went outside every single day in preschool--but my kids also went to high-quality, progressive preschools.
One of the things I love about E's afterschool program is that they go outside for an hour every day and the rules are much looser than at school. They have sleds, and in winter they sled on the hill down to the field. The children are allowed to climb higher, dig deeper, etc. (remember, I'm the parent who doesn't care about safety).
In fact, E's afterschool is a total brief for the extended school day: they have free time to play, both inside and out; they do projects; they eat snack; they do homework. The teachers (four of them men!) are relaxed and loving. The kids have an awesome social dynamic (though they have that throughout the school), and they learn, albeit not the prescribed curriculum (because they don't have to).
I know my opinion is shaded by the fact that I am a working parent (and when I'm home, I'm a lazy parent), but I firmly believe that an extended school day would solve many of our current problems with school: it would provide time for recess, projects, specials; it would allow us to cut out homework, which I think is a scourge (one of the things parents at our middle school complain about is how little homework there is--I always have to disagree: much as I'm happy to complain about our middle school, I think homework is way overrated, until high school when they are ready to do real independent work, not grunt work farmed out to parents to supervise) (and, no, I don't think better homework is the solution--I'd much rather see an extended day with lots of exciting schoolwork, and then late afternoons and evenings reserved for family, sports, etc.) (I don't know why I'm making a central part of my argument in parentheses!).
I suppose you could argue that all the problems I'm saying extended day would solve (aside from the childcare challenges faced by working parents) are caused by No Child Left Behind, to which I would reply, maybe, but for now NCLB is firmly in place, and there is momentum for extended day. Also, if you care about poor kids, which I do, much more than my own kids (of course I love my own kids more, but I care more about the success and school experience of poor kids), then extended day becomes even more obvious. Socioeconomic background is the #1 predictor of school success, and the more time poor kids spend in GOOD school, the better chances they have.