Tag Archives: parenting

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.

Continue reading

Traditional outdoor games: why do they matter?

3 children playing hopscotchA survey out today points to a decline in traditional outdoor games like hopscotch, marbles and conkers. You may have heard me talking about the findings on Radio 5 live this morning (from 53’30” in), supporting the call for a ‘rough and tumble play’ campaign. Mourning the loss of such games makes a nice summer season story. But does it really matter? Isn’t the attempt to revive interest in these games just shallow nostalgia? Is it even adults’ business to get involved? After all, these games have traditionally been passed down through the generations by children themselves, with little or no adult input.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Please Kidshealth, give parents (and kids) a break

girl jumping off swingThe US non-profit agency Kidshealth – which claims that it runs the #1 most visited website for children’s health and development – has eight web pages of guidance for parents on playground safety. Page 6 includes the following advice: “Kids should always sit in the swing, not stand or kneel. They should hold on tightly with both hands while swinging, and when finished swinging, stop the swing completely before getting off.” Continue reading

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

School playtime bans: a former head speaks out

photo of Juliet RobertsonA few days ago former primary school head teacher Juliet Robertson got in touch after reading my blog post on the school that banned children from having best friends. Juliet is now a leading educational consultant; her blog I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here! is for my money one of the most lively, creative outdoor learning sites on the web. She had some fascinating insights on the topic of school bans, and agreed to share them here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what Juliet has to say – especially if you have worked in schools yourself.

Continue reading