Tag Archives: responsibility

National Trust shares my plea for benign neglect

child on a beach at sunsetToday the National Trust’s Outdoor Nation website posted a piece from me that aims to win parents over to the goal of expanding children’s horizons. I had to think carefully when writing it.

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When anxious parents are the problem, what is the solution?

baby-girl-knee-padsHow should schools, nurseries, kindergartens and other education, childcare and play services respond to anxious parents? I was asked this question recently by an Australian early years educator who heard me speak a couple of months ago.

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Moving on from the zero risk childhood

Girl climbing a treeThe ‘cotton wool kid’ – cosseted, watched over, insulated from all possible harm – has become a potent symbol of our fear-filled, risk-averse times. Across the rich nations, children are statistically safer today than at any time in history [pdf link]. But the insidious question ‘what if…?’ crowds out common sense, and clouds our good judgement. Continue reading

Everyday childhood freedoms? Parents, not experts, have to decide

1st day at school (parents went too)

Some time ago a father emailed me asking for advice about the freedoms he should grant to his son. I don’t know him, or his son, and don’t know anything about where he lives. Which, by the way, is Melbourne, Australia. Why he might think I would be better placed than him to decide, I have absolutely no idea – and my reply said as much. Continue reading