Sunday, 28 June 2015

Let kids take risks when they play - Opinion - The Boston Globe


Let kids take risks when they play - Opinion - The Boston Globe

Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.


We have deprived children of free, venturesome play, presumably for their own good, but in the process we have denied them the opportunity to learn how to be resilient by playing in risky, emotion-inducing ways.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Mud pies and green spaces – why children do better when they can get outdoors

Mud pies and green spaces – why children do better when they can get outdoors

Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.


A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team of researchers from Spain, Norway, and the US found that time spent near or in green places, especially those in and around schools, can improve learners’ cognitive development. Payam Dadvand and colleagues found that pupils’ ability in memory tasks and to maintain attention improved over time if their schools had green spaces on their campus and nearby.

The study involved 2,500 children aged seven to ten in Barcelona, who were tested every three months over a 12-month period. The researchers found small but significant improvements in “working memory”, “superior working memory” and “attentiveness” in pupils with green areas near and in their schools. Importantly, in this rigorous study, the effects of greenness were found regardless of the socio-economic background and education of parents.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Kid play zones in parks



Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.


Photos property of Matthew Browning
"Browning was a ranger at Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina, and along with the other rangers he had been trained to give a little speech to children caught picking flowers, pocketing shells, or trying to make off with rocks. He explains it like this: “You are supposed to calmly kneel down and say, ‘I saw you picking the flower. That is so pretty! Now think about what would happen if every child picked a flower.’ And then they are supposed to have this moment of guilt.”

Browning had given this little talk many times. But on this day, in August 2009, he saw another ranger deliver it to a boy at the park restaurant, about age 8, with a fist full of rocks—rocks, Browning noticed, from the gravel road. “It was gravel we bought at the local store,” Browning says. “It made me sick. The boy was crestfallen. He was so excited about coming to the park that he wanted to take a little memento back with him. More than feeling empowered or excited to protect the natural world, now he is going to associate going to state parks with getting into trouble.”

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Out Of The Classroom And Into The Woods : NPR Ed : NPR

Out Of The Classroom And Into The Woods : NPR Ed : NPR


Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.


"He says schools are being forced to think about everything in terms of data and measurable outcomes, but he doesn't need test scores to tell him forest kindergarten is working.

When the kids come back from the woods, they look happy and healthy, he says. "Schools need to be focusing on that, too."

Sunday, 31 May 2015

James Street Park, Redfern & Risk taking in design and play


I had seen a photo of a new pocket park in James Street Redfern the other day and had some time to spare today, so I thought I'd give it a visit.

As anyone who has read my site and blog would know I specialize and promote the design and construction of naturalistic play environments, hence I was specifically interested in how they had incorporated a mature tree into the playspace.

As the photos show the park slopes gently downwards from William Street to George Street, running parallel to Cleveland Street. The park has been built up to the William Street level for about a 2/3 of its length then gently descends to George Street using terraced sandstone blocks.



The platform around the tree appears to have been purpose built with steps leading up to it and a slide descending from it on the William Street side. There is also a hydraulic fireman's pole on the George Street side.   








There is a machined green metal roof over the platform, some of the holes are studded with multi-coloured marbles, which I'm sure provide a beautiful effect on a sunny day. 

The thing that I found really interesting was the school aged child who had used the the platform railings and roof as a means to climb into the actual tree. I have circled him in red in the picture below, his bag, stowed under the platform is also circled. I'm unaware of the intended age group the park and it's equipment was created for but in the inner, inner city there are very few trees this accessible for climbing.

The structure itself has been created to reduce risks in play, everything from the sit-down bar on the slide to the high railings and vertical slats, yet it is the tree and the risk of climbing an actual tree he is drawn to. Interesting?










Thursday, 28 May 2015

Monday, 25 May 2015

Let the Kids Learn Through Play - NYTimes.com

Let the Kids Learn Through Play - NYTimes.com



Full article can be read from the hyperlink above.




"Children’s progress “may have been slowed by overly academic preschool experiences that introduced formalized learning experiences too early for most children’s developmental status,” Dr. Marcon wrote. Nevertheless, many educators want to curtail play during school. “Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,” says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. “But it’s essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.”