Tag Archives: children’s independent mobility

German children enjoy far more everyday freedom than their English peers

New research from the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) shows that only a quarter of English primary school children are allowed to walk to school alone – yet in Germany, three quarters are. It is easy to think that the decline in children’s freedom to play out of doors and get around on their own is an inevitable side effect of modern life. That is why international comparisons are so valuable: they can show us how things might be different.

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A child is taught to ride a bike – and see how many people are helping him

Here’s a video of a young boy being taught to ride a bike. (It’s in Dutch – but you really don’t need to know the language.)

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Last child in the street?

How can we build the movement to make neighbourhoods, towns and cities more child-friendly? I hereby propose that we steal a page from the playbook of Richard Louv. Continue reading

Two stories about why kids are not outdoors so much these days

Breugel childrens gamesI have written quite a lot about the decline in children’s freedom to play and get around out of doors. The topic is often the subject of media debate. In an effort to raise the quality of this debate, I offer two charts with contrasting explanations for this change. Continue reading

Is a taste of freedom the key to a good childhood?

Yesterday’s launch of the Good Childhood report from the Children’s Society has prompted more soul-searching about childhood. Coverage has focused on the report’s finding that half a million of the country’s children aged 8 to 16 – nearly 10 per cent – had a low sense of well-being. This is indeed a troubling finding – even if some of those children will become happier over time. Yet this media focus, while understandable, misses out a far more important message: the crucial value of a taste of freedom and autonomy. Continue reading

A brief history of the popsicle test

Children and adults in a popsicle storeHow do you measure the child-friendliness of a neighbourhood? Here’s one test. Would you, as a parent of an 8-year-old child living in that neighbourhood, let your child make their own way to a shop and buy a popsicle (or any variety of ice-cream) – and could your child get the frozen treat back home before it melted?

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