"Three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates, according to a new survey revealing the extent to which time playing in parks, wood and fields has shrunk. A fifth of the children did not play outside at all on an average day, the poll found." #overprotection
“A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.”
Architect Takaharu Tezuka talks about the school he designed in Tokyo. In this talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids. This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxKyoto.
“A generation of children are missing out on vital exercise because their parents are too scared to let them walk or cycle to school.”
Parental control. Science fiction, but not far from what we already have (Intelligent Family Robot).
“Science says kids learn more when we leave them alone. Yes, really. Leave them alone and even give them saws and hammers. Playground:NYC is New York’s first adventure playground that is changing the way parents and kids think about free play.”
Information and resources for Inspiring Scotland's #AwayandPlay....a campaign to 'highlight the benefits of free and unstructured play in encouraging imagination, promoting risk-taking, improving health, developing learning, and having fun. The campaign directly supports the ambitions of Scotland’s National Play Strategy and the work of Scotland’s national play body.'
Article exploration the correlation between the lack of free/risky/unsupervised play and the rise in mental health problems for young people. "By depriving children of opportunities to play on their own, away from direct adult supervision and control, we are depriving them of opportunities to learn how to take control of their own lives. We may think we are protecting them, but in fact we are diminishing their joy, diminishing their sense of self-control, preventing them from discovering and exploring the endeavors they would most love, and increasing the odds that they will suffer from anxiety, depression, and other disorders."
An article about the 'touchability index' which shows how we differ on the where, how and who we are comfortable with regarding physical contact depending on country of origin and gender. What is risky for one person may be the norm for another.....?
No matter how tempting it can be on occasions to walk out the front door and leave your squabbling children to their own devices, quitting is not an option. This is one workplace that cannot be swapped for another, which you think would be less frenetic and where you might feel more appreciated. Some preventative measures would be the same as to counter professional burnout, such as self-care, trying to get more sleep and exercise and to eat healthily. Other tips include:
"Many people believe that teenagers today grow up faster than they used to, while others argue that today’s youth are growing up more slowly, perhaps due to overprotection by their parents. A new study explored this issue by examining how often teens in recent years (compared to teens in previous decades) engaged in adult activities such as drinking alcohol, working, driving, or having sex. The study found that today’s adolescents are less likely than their predecessors to take part in activities typically undertaken by adults."
On raising children outside of the classroom structure
"In each of us, there is a young, suffering child. We have all had times of difficulty as children and many of us have experienced trauma. To protect and defend ourselves against future suffering, we often try to forget those painful times. Every time we’re in touch with the experience of suffering, we believe we can’t bear it, and we stuff our feelings and memories deep down in our unconscious mind. It may be that we haven’t dared to face this child for many decades."
"Keith, his wife Sinead (we’ve changed the names at their request) and their seven children are living between the converted shed and the “big house” as they call it."
Article about 'risky play'.... "Ms Higginbottom said the centre's philosophy of encouraging risky play was based on six principles researched by Norwegian Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter. It encourages children to: 1. Play at great height 2. Play at high speeds 3. Play with dangerous tools 4. Play near dangerous elements like fire and water 5. Engage in rough and tumble play 6. Experience getting lost and not being watched by adults."
Milo Rau, an artist who do not hesitate to take risk. Five Easy Pieces is a theater play in which the director casted children to play the role of Marc Dutroux, a Belgian child raper and murderer, as well as the role of his victims and of a policeman. In this interview, the director also directly addresses the theme of children (over)protection, since they had to protect the (children) actors about the very dark sides of this case.
"There’s never been a safer time to be a child in Canada. The likelihood of dying from an injury is 0.0059 per cent. Car crashes and suicides are the leading causes of death, not play. In fact, children are more likely to need medical attention for an injury resulting from organized sports than play. Likewise, the likelihood of abduction by a stranger is so small that the statistics are not even collected. In an attempt to strike a balance, injury prevention professionals are moving to an approach that seeks to keep children as safe as necessary, rather than as safe as possible."
Newspaper article unfavourably comparing Dutch parenting technique with Irish parenting style
How fear of the outdoors is becoming generational...
Location: Canada. A father describes how he clashed with local authorities over allowing his children travel on public transport alone. He is bringing them to court. Although there is a gofundme pop up I think the content is interesting, how ''helicopter parenting' appears to be becoming institutionalised.
"This is a significant decline in the amount of outdoor play over the past four decades. Anytime you change a child’s daily environment that drastically, you are bound to affect child development. Children’s decreased tolerance to getting dirty is just one side effect of less outdoor play for children."
A production exploring the over-protected child by Likely Story. "What happens when we wrap children in cotton wool and don't let them explore their own limitations? Where do children safely explore risk-taking in a risk averse society? Risk and adventure is slowly being designed out of children's lives. Can we use our theatre practice to design it back in. We have created a show where risk, decision-making, creativity and adventure are at children’s fingertips. A show that gives young people true agency."
Do children today live in environments that are too safe? What does having some level of risk mean for the development of the child? Have we become so risk-averse that children are now developing problems because of a risk-free environment? If so, what can we do, and what risks are "good risks"?
In his humorous and uplifting style, Gever Tulley debunks classic myths of childhood safety. With rampant fear mongering, is it any wonder that children are actually over-protected? Instead, Tulley believes the most effective way to keep children safe is to give them a little taste of danger.
In this conceptual paper, part of a PhD research, we explore the image adults may have on children who engage physical risk in their play, discussing concepts of vulnerability and resilience. We do this against the background of the United Nations ‘right to play’ as children have less opportunities to experience challenging activities in a safety orientated society with overprotecting parents and caregivers around them. Drawing on the work of Korczak, Rousseau and Dewey we present a humanistic educational view on children that recognizes their strength including the role adults can have on supporting instead of weakening this. In orientating on the notion of risk and how adults construct and perceive this we show that an individual and pedagogical sensitive approach towards children can increase outdoor challenge and reinforce children’s abilities. The concept of social ecology of resilience (Ungar, 2011) is valuable in connecting this to the benefits of risk that has to be experienced in play practice which lead to positive evaluations of children’s adapting and developing skills. Increasing insight in children’s risk assessment skills and their resilience revealing itself in play can have impact on adult perception and their relationship with, and trust in children
This paper is about the role and attitudes of professionals on engaging risk in children’s play. Previous research shows there are several elements on risk-taking influencing the attitudes of educators: legal obligations (Hundmeyer & Prott, 2005), relationship with parents (New et al.,2005) and teachers’ beliefs about (non)benefits of risky play (Little et al, 2012). The theoretical framework of this review draws upon theories of benefits in childhood development of risky play (Stephenson, 2003; Tovey, 2007) and its elements (Stephenson, 2003; Sandseter, 2010), as well as notions about pedagogical relations of educators to children in their risk-taking play (Smith, 1998). In a narrative review we combined existing literature with professional experience on the diminishing possibilities of engaging risk by children in their play and the role and influence of the pedagogues surrounding them. Ethical consideration has been given as the demands of a narrative review are met in critically interpreting results of an extensive literature search into new value-added content complemented with personal experience of the researchers conform the requirements of ethical and integer science. Pedagogical educators have a dual responsibility taking care for a safe play environment and stimulating children’s development to independence capable of dealing with risk and challenge in their play, causing dilemma’s in their daily work and in relationship with parents. To develop children’s risk competence a 'balanced approach' appealing to the educators pedagogical sensitivity is suggested. This paper contributes to the practice of professionalism in early childhood education and can give focus on further research.
The possibilities of engaging outdoors risk in play in structured environments like childcare or schools are limited, due to a narrow focus on children’s safety instead of developmental benefits of challenging activities (Brussoni et al., 2015). Professionals willing to involve children in more risk-taking play are confronted with five barriers: cultural expectations, regulatory frameworks, parental beliefs and, on an individual level, personalized characteristics and their constructs of children (Van Rooijen & Newstead, 2016). To investigate how these five barriers influence professional practices, we will conduct a study using the approach of Realistic Evaluation (Pawson & Tilley, 1997). Realistic evaluation (RE) aims at finding an answer to the question ‘What works, how, in which circumstances and for whom?’. This method is therefore specifically suitable for studying social worlds, attitudes and effects in particular contexts. RE starts with formulating a middle-range theory based on existing theories, past evaluations and previous experience which provides an appropriate program for the specific setting. In analyzing the change ‘mechanism’ in the program more can be learned about participant’s reasoning and the working of appointed resources. In five different childcare settings the researcher will conduct a trajectory in collaboration with the professional teams. This study has three goals: a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the influencing factors in daily childcare situations, to grow professional awareness for potential barriers and in doing so to change attitudes and enhance possibilities for outdoor risky experiences of children in structured environments. In this session I want to discuss the study-design giving due notice to methodological issues as well as ethical considerations on intervening in children’s play environment. By examining barriers and how they inﬂuence individual practitioners in their speciﬁc context, more can be learnt about how to facilitate professional practice in enabling children taking appropriate risks in their play.
One of the questions I always had to answer when presenting this theme in festivals, encounters and meetings, was: what about child abduction? This theme, researching the re-introduction and benefit of risk in growing up, is not about child abduction. It is about acceptable risk in play, risk that a child offers nothing but positive benefits for it's growing up. But the LAB should, and of course will, also question that line when it gets unacceptable. This video illustrates that in an impressive way. (G. Verfaillie, Krokusfestival)
It was like this once, let's install it again, the risk in play
A must see film (but first watch part 1)
A must-see film (as as with part 2)
Risky outdoor play has been associated with promoting children’s health and development, but also with injury and death. Risky outdoor play has diminished over time, concurrent with increasing concerns regarding child safety and emphasis on injury prevention. We sought to conduct a systematic review to examine the relationship between risky outdoor play and health in children, in order to inform the debate regarding its benefits and harms. We identified and evaluated 21 relevant papers for quality using the GRADE framework. Included articles addressed the effect on health indicators and behaviours from three types of risky play, as well as risky play supportive environments. The systematic review revealed overall positive effects of risky outdoor play on a variety of health indicators and behaviours, most commonly physical activity, but also social health and behaviours, injuries, and aggression. The review indicated the need for additional “good quality” studies; however, we note that even in the face of the generally exclusionary systematic review process, our findings support the promotion of risky outdoor play for healthy child development. These positive results with the marked reduction in risky outdoor play opportunities in recent generations indicate the need to encourage action to support children’s risky outdoor play opportunities. Policy and practice precedents and recommendations for action are discussed.
In the past 50 years, a marked reduction has occurred in European and North American children's freedom of movement and outdoor play. Using a structural equation model, the present study investigates the interaction between personal, environmental, and psychosocial factors that affect children's independent mobility. The study involved 313 mothers of 8–10-year-old Italian children. The results supported the hypothesized model: the age of the child, the maternal perception of social danger, and positive potentiality of outdoor autonomy were the most influential variables on children's independent mobility, measured as an index. Further, the maternal perceptions mediated the influence of the other demographic, psychosocial, and environmental variables on independent mobility.
In this thesis for PhD at he Norwegian University of Trondheim, Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter examines risky play at early ages. It is academic, but highly interesting: Risky play seems to be a natural part of children‟s play and action, and children seek out chances for engaging in challenging and thrilling play wherever they are. During the last few centuries this has brought on a discussion about children‟s safety in their play environments. As a result of this discussion, many countries have enacted laws and regulations concerning children‟s play and play environment. These constraints on children‟s freedom to play have now been criticized by several researchers as a sad result of the safety-obsession in today's western societies that in the end results in less physically fit children with low motor control and low risk mastery.
Article about the unfunded, big belief of our era: That our kids are in constant danger, and nowadays more than before. It’s an erroneous idea that is crippling our children and enslaving us parents. This article makes the apology of unsupervised free-play and gives examples of cases of parents in the US investigated by the authorities because they let their kids free-play.
A mother talks about her daughter's love of climbing, running, swinging on gates.....and the sometimes negative responses from the public. "We should want for all our children the kind of sure-footedness that only repeated explorations of varied terrains can provide. Interfering with risk-taking mammalian play imperils our young by undermining their confidence. It also disrupts their development. I have to keep myself from shouting, “Leave them alone! Let them play!”"
Article about generation 'snowflake' and how young people are dealing with strong differing opinions....
Artist Lenka Clayton did a residency in motherhood. As part of her residency she made a series of videos documenting the distance she felt she could be from her son.
Recent report shows that Scotland's young people are among the least active in the world, despite new measures and initiatives.
Exploration of the cultural difference that allows young children in japan more independence and freedom than their European or American counterparts.
That’s what childhood should be about: getting outdoors and going on adventures, using your imagination to customise the world you see and feeding that appetite for fresh air and fun.