Playgrounds have for decades been shaped by a zero risk mindset, with, any injury seen as a sign of failure. But things are changing, in what the New York Times recently called a “movement for freer, riskier play.”
I am proud to be a part of this movement. And this article introduces a new report [pdf link] on play and risk that I have written for the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the influential early childhood NGO, as part of its agenda-setting Urban95 initiative.
Entitled Playing it Safe? A global white paper on risk, liability and children’s play in public space, the report makes the case for a new approach, and calls for action by the key agencies involved in creating and maintaining play spaces, including city governments, NGOs, research institutions and safety and public health agencies.
Posted in Outdoor play, play, playground, Public policy, Risk
Tagged accident prevention, Bernard van Leer Foundation, early childhood, early years, playground safety, public health, public policy, risk benefit assessment, risk management, standards
Here in Australia, I recently visited Bubup Nairm, City of Port Phillip’s newest family and children’s centre. Opened in April this year, it brings together a range of childcare, health and family support services in a state-of-the-art hub building with a $A 15m [£10 million, $US 14 million] price tag. It is an impressive place. But it has not had the easiest of starts. I was told that just a few weeks after it opened, a four-year-old child was hurt and ended up in hospital. She and another child had been handling some rocks in a stone well in the garden, and a rock slipped out of one child’s hands and fell on the other’s, breaking her finger.
Posted in Outdoor play, Public policy, Risk
Tagged Australia, child accidents, early childhood, early years, injury, public policy, Risk, risk assessment, risk benefit assessment
Want to offer your kids – or the kids you work with – a simple, cheap way to get closer to nature? Just follow these three simple steps. 1: get yourself down to your nearest health clinic to buy/scrounge some specimen jars like the ones in this photo. 2: buy some magnifying glasses online (around 50p/a dollar each). 3: head for your nearest green space, and start hunting!
My plan to showcase some of London’s most playful places has been in the pipeline for a while. And now it’s around the corner. For all the latest info, follow this link to the mighty Playscapes blog – including handy onward links to the Open House website, with more details and maps for all the venues.
Posted in Outdoor play, Play spaces, playground, Public space, Urbanism
Tagged Adventure playground, Camden, child-friendly cities, design, early childhood, early years, EC1, Islington, London, neighbourhood, Open House, outdoor play, play space, playable space, playground, public space, Tower Hamlets, urban design
How 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.
Posted in Education, Learning, Outdoor play, Parenting, Risk
Tagged Australia, early childhood, early years, education, parenting, responsibility, schools, video
Glamis Adventure Playground
This post is an invitation to join me – and some kindred spirits – in September, for London’s first ever ‘Open for Play’ event. The programme includes site visits to some of the capital’s most innovative playgrounds, a walking tour of the acclaimed EC1 regeneration area, and an evening seminar.
Posted in Education, Outdoor play, play, Play spaces, playground, Public space, Urbanism
Tagged Adventure playground, Camden, child-friendly cities, early childhood, early years, EC1, Islington, London, neighbourhood, Open House, outdoor play, play space, playability, playable space, playground, public space, urban design