Tag Archives: freedom

More ordinary magic

Cyril sitting on a benchThis image is from an exhibition of photographs taken by children who attend C & K Kindergartens. It was on display at C & K’s annual conference in Brisbane last weekend. Here is what first Jake, then his parent, say about the photo.

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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

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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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

Who says kids don’t play in creeks and build dens any more?

Of course some still do. Take the group of boys from Raleigh, North Carolina captured in this slide show.

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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

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