Tag Archives: Australia

The school where kids can build dens

Last week I visited a school where the students can build dens freely, any time they want, during breaks between lessons. In case you were wondering, Berwick Fields Primary School in City of Casey, Victoria, Australia is not a Steiner School, or a progressive private institution. It is a state school (and a large one, with over 1,000 students on roll).

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Lenore ‘Free Range Kids’ Skenazy speaks!

Lenore Skenazy in BendigoLast week I spent some time with Lenore Skenazy, and took the opportunity to interview her. Lenore is well known to many readers as the author of the blog and book, Free Range Kids. Continue reading

Celebrating ordinary magic and everyday adventures

'Witness Board' by Jane Millar

'Witness Board', Jane Millar

If we reflect on how we think about risk in our day-to-day lives, many would agree that we tend to focus too much on the negatives – the what ifs, the worst case scenarios, the horror stories – and not enough on the positives. We know that nothing grabs our attention quite like fear. (So does the media, of course.) This bias makes it very hard for us to take a balanced approach to risk. Here’s one reason why.

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Out of sight, out of mind?

Boys climbing a tree

Image from St Joseph’s OSHC, QLD, Australia

I was recently told about an article on tree-climbing, by an Australian after-school service. It rightly makes the case that the benefits of this activity clearly outweigh the risks. The video footage certainly reinforces this, showing the children’s appetite for the experience, and their obvious competence. And yet, even though I think that what St Joseph’s is doing here is terrific, something in the clip jarred with me. It was the very presence of the grown-ups. Such a contrast from my own childhood memories of climbing trees. Continue reading

A parent lets her kid go to the skatepark – and I’m proud

Skaters in a skate park

Photo by Phil Doyle

This afternoon I spoke at an event called ‘Taking Play Seriously’ in Melbourne, with a mixed audience of professionals, volunteers and parents. It followed my talk last week here at the Playgroup Australia conference. In the Q & A afterwards, one attendee – a local government employee and mother of three – told the audience how she had heard me speak last Thursday. Then two days later, her 10-year-old son had asked her if he could go to the local skatepark on his own.

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Can you help with my Oz trip?

kangarooI’m en route to Australia, where I’ll be giving talks to childcare agencies and children’s rights bodies, working with public health officials, and networking with child-friendly city projects. And I’m looking to you, my readers, for  your ideas about how to make the trip more worthwhile. Continue reading