On the power of just being there, when a child is in distress… and childrearing is not just for parents.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/04/new-research-on-disciplining-children-will-make-you-better-parent-and-spouse/

I’m really fed up with all these parenting experts. Everybody yammering away, demanding that you fix your kids. Other people who aren’t parents can also help!

It is said that “it takes a village to raise a child”, and this has become an enervated cliché. Judith Rich Harris, in her book The Nurture Assumption, contends that children are raised by their peers, not their parents. You only have to look at how little time kids spend with mum and dad these days to realise that school and friends must have a significant influence as well.

Notice this word ‘parenting’. It’s a thing parents do, therefore! If we call it parenting we are embedding the idea that parents are the only people who can do it, or should do it. You are a parent, it’s your job! You are not a parent, it’s not your business! This is nonsensical and counterfactual. It ignores the potential involvement of all the other significant adults in the child’s life.

People like older brothers and sisters, and grandparents, and teachers and family friends, and as we shall see in a moment, playworkers.

Can we stop calling it parenting? I have developed a conceptual aversion to nouns being turned into verbs. Let’s call it childrearing. Not a thing reserved for biological parents. Which is just as well, because if yours are absent you can’t be parented, can you?

Childrearing. Who can do it, who does do it?

Jane Jacobs, in The Death And Life Of Great American Cities, describes how all the others that children meet as they make their way on the streets make a contribution to the socialisation of the child. Imagine a spoilt brat, who is given everything they need by doting parents. Now imagine this brat throwing a wobbly in the corner shop. A learning experience for them, yes? Tantrums don’t work on strangers. Through these everyday interactions with people who aren’t parents, children learn to get on with others. It’s socialisation, something that just happens, not something that parents can command and control like managerial managers at work.

But those adults can’t be expected to be supportive when a child is having a meltdown in their shop. Though they may care about the child, because humans do, their main focus is not the child it’s their customers and their shop.

Everybody has an agenda, except one, because they aren’t trying to educate or control or whatever: playworkers.

It’s unfortunately true that some playworkers have been channeled into becoming childcare workers, and thus an agenda had crept in. I’m not taking about them.

I’m talking about those playworkers who are still free to facilitiate {deleted: ‘allow’ replaced with ‘facilitate’} children to play freely. A vanishing breed.

The article I’m pointing you to is pretty witless. It’s based on the assumption that everything is down to the hovering parent to fix. It’s like every neurotic parent has Fix You by those mawkish poshboys Coldplay on repeat all day. Over-parenting is part of the problem, it’s not the solution. But buried in this tiger-mom piffle is an important insight, drawn from some fascinating brain scan research:

Because neurons wire and rewire themselves very rapidly when we are young, Siegle’s results, supported by numerous follow-up studies, suggest that an adult, by establishing a connection with a child at a moment of stress or conflict, can actually stimulate development in the parts of the child’s brain that control emotional regulation.

Translate that into the playwork context and you have a fundamentally under-appreciated contribution that playworkers can make in the lives of the children they work with.

Unlike parents and other authority figures, playworkers are expert in what Gordon Sturrock has called ‘witnessing’, the simple act of being there, being on hand, non-judgementally.

And this research validates the importance of this playwork role.

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NB:

I’m not that happy with this piece. I’m not convinced that I’ve got my point across. I’d appreciate any comments from readers and friends that will help me improve it.

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You had one job, play advocates, and it was left to the Yanks to do it.

Hello playwork.

 

Hello Fraser Brown, Bob Hughes, Gordon Sturrock, Mike Wragg, Wendy Russell, Pete King, Adrian Voce, the whole bloody lot of you clever bastards. You failed to do this, and it’s been left to a bunch of bloody Yanks, who don’t even have bloody playwork, ffs, to do it. Doubtless bloody Tim Gill, even as we speak, is busy blogging that it is his success, because he is a mate of David Ball. Whatever. And now, precisely as the last few APGs are being smashed in Bristol, and local councils continue relentlessly to make some of the most monumentally short-termist, cheese-paring and pointless and counter-productive cuts ever conceived of by a bunch of bigoted little Englander dickheads who basically would legislate for children to be put into landfill if they could, and in Solihull, they’re probably planning that right now, while all that’s happening, 60 people are going to spend two days sat on their arses in Ely, wailing about playwork.

Playwork deserves to die with advocates like these.

https://www.treehugger.com/family/adventure-playgrounds-are-safer-kids-fixed-play-structures.html

Childrensaving and Ship Building (NB: it’s Shipbuilding, all one word)

Currently, Wallsend is having its children saved. Hurrah.

Childrensaving is happening, thanks to a government-funded programme, delivered by a national children’s charity, saviours of  children, heroes in their own lunchtime {a lunch of rocket, kale and organic polenta, to be precise}.

This is part of the ongoing long-term —some things are long-term, aren’t they— the ongoing long-term deracination and outsourcing of the role of local government in the public realm.

Successive governments, red and blue and yellow, have decided that local government can’t be trusted. Central government prefers to impose 3rd sector agencies from London on communities, because local government is infested with a ‘can’t-do’ mentality and is bogged down in local politics and can’t make the thrusting managerialist interventions, on absurdly short timescales [ie. before the next election], that politicians command but can’t control.

If you wanted to talk about shipbuilding to people in Wallsend, which is the topic today, BTW, you might start by learning that shipbuilding is all one word, it’s not Ship Building. A ship building would be the hut in which you keep your little rowing boat, by a river bank. Or is it riverbank? A river bank would be a bank in which you keep rivers, or something.

So anyway, here is The Theory Which Will Transform Wallsend, starting from the ‘Past Context’ of “Ship Buildings (Lost)”…Wallsend Children_s Community Initial Overarching Theory of Change

And here is another Theory of Change…

 

You’re all busy people who don’t have time to listen to some bloody lefty pop song from 1982, so here’s the lyrics for all you busy managers who need it one side of A4 by 9 o’clock tomorrow morning…

Is it worth it?
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we’ll be shipbuilding
Well, I ask you
The boy said, Dad, they’re going to take me to Task
But I’ll be back by Christmas?
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of  The shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
A telegram or a picture postcard
Within weeks, they’ll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin, once again
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
It’s all we’re skilled in
We will be shipbuilding
With all the will in the world
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls
When we could be diving for pearls

 

“Your daughter is willful and determined. I wish all children — especially girls — were allowed to roam free. May she never change.”

From the Washington Post, via Facebook
~

Dear strangers, please stop telling me my active daughter might get hurt

 November 1, 2016
supergirl
Here’s the link, read that first, appreciate its goodness, then come back here for my half-baked.
 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/11/01/dear-strangers-please-stop-telling-me-my-daughter-is-in-danger/?utm_term=.a75a1f3a2730
____________________________________________________________
.
These half-baked musings are lifted directly from Facebook, I’m making no attempt to disguise that. I’m also assuming that my lovely friends won’t mind…
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Comments
Arthur Battram
Arthur Battram How did you find this, Penny Wilson? One of your colonial chums, I bet.
That mum is you. Mother Of The UberWeasel.
The author is a doppelganger personality of you.
Now we need to know if the supergirl (probably a model photographed for the article, shame) becomes WHATSHEISDESTINEDTOBE. So we’ll just have to wait.
What’s interesting about this is Penny Wilson. You are a mum. And your motherness is always present in your playwork. I can’t think of another playworker who has their motherness so clearly woven into their playwork. Contention: most women playworkers are doing older sister, or older brother, even the ones that are mums?

 · Reply · 12 mins · Edited

Manage

Arthur Battram
Arthur Battram Actually, Eddie Nuttall, that piece you did here on FB about taking Jesse on a Felix daytrip, *that* was evidence of burgeoning fatherness in your playwork.
My playwork was just older brother stuff. 

I have no understanding of what older playworkers are like.

(I mean the ones that keep doing playwork, not the ones like me that move into training, or [shudder] management.)
I used to see playwork as a ‘young person’s game’.
Some male playworkers just carry on with the older brother schtick until it becomes embarrassing. Not ’embarrassing dad’ embarrassing: that’s the point, they aren’t channeling any fatherness.
You’ll all know one.
Even the ones that are dads don’t bring their dadness to work.

I find all this fascinating.

I’m surely in a minority.

…it’s probably not playwork…

Greetings, loyal readers, and passers-by. Today’s topic is playwork (again).
“I know it’s wrong of me, but when I read the newspaper headline, Out-Of-Control Kids Driving Wichita Teachers Away, Union Says, I felt a little like cheering. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m against anyone hitting, biting, or engaging in property damage, which are among the things this article alleges. I am fully supportive of teacher’s unions that fight for both educators and students. And I have nothing but respect for public school teachers, whose already difficult jobs have been made even more difficult over the past couple decades as anti-child policies like No Child Left Behind (Bush), Race to the Top (Obama), and Common Core (Gates), are turning our schools into high-pressure, drill-and-kill, test-taking coal mines. Yet still, when I read that headline I could only think, “Damn straight, the kids are fighting back.”

“I mean, public schools have never exactly been a bastions of freedom, and kids, like all humans, love freedom.”
What he is describing is recalcitrance. Kicking back against the System.
That’s why I called THAT presentation the Edge of Recalcitrance.
“It’s shocking, frankly, that we didn’t rebel more than we did: it’s a testament to the capacity of children to thrive under any circumstances. But now consider that the pressure has been slowly increased over the past couple decades: high-stakes standardized testing and the millions of hours of test prep; the narrowing of the curriculum to focus almost exclusively on math and literacy at the expense of life-savers like the arts, wood shop, physical education, home economics; the slashing of budgets leaving schools poorly maintained and and supplied; and a drive toward longer school days and school years. “
 
“I assure you that I, a generally well-mannered kid who was good at school, would have rebelled a long time ago.”
Playwork starts where teaching stops.
Teachers have to leave when they become recalcitrant. Resign or be sacked or obey the system, your call, pal.
Google John Taylor Gatto. New York teacher of the year. Three times. On the day of the award ceremony, to be his 3rd time as T of the Y, he walked. He walked, but not before he told them what he thought of what they were doing to the kids.
Like teachers, playworkers have choices.
Teaching is about educating children, supporting their learning, not doing the stuff that Tom describes being done to them in his blog.
Your job, as playworkers, is to work with the recalcitrance of the weasels, to hold a space in which they can be free to become, to do, to be. To doo be doo be do, if that’s what they wanna do.If you can’t do that, then what you are doing may be useful, or worthy, or positive…
andnotbut™…
It’s probably not playwork.

This is why you should say no to Big Data

https://m.facebook.com/ArtLearning/photos/a.402772463087922.99151.402701759761659/1367923639906128/?type=3

The following is taken directly from the link, with the tacit approval of the owner, who wishes to widely disseminate these views and information:

Competency Based Education: The New Reformer Scheme for Collecting Common Core Aligned Data from Children Every Single Day of the Week…

“CBE (Comptency Based Education) is a data driven education system that follows a set of prescribed standards and requires demonstration of “competency” before advancement. It has embedded testing within the curriculum that collects hidden streams of data via unknown algorithms. Stealth, continuous data–collected by vendors, can be shared with third parties–parental consent not needed. The goal is to digitalize education so data can be collected and, remember, data is gold.” 

~Sue Kingery Woltanski 

Competency Based Education: Destroying Public Schools One Profitable Data Point at a Time https://accountabaloney.wordpress.com/2016/01/26/competency-based-education-destroying-public-schools-one-profitable-data-point-at-a-time/

Competency Based Ed- the culmination of the common core agenda. https://stopcommoncorenys.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/competency-based-ed-the-culmination-of-the-common-core-agenda/

CBE Online is Neither Personalized Nor Higher-Order Thinking! (Nancy Bailey) http://nancyebailey.com/2016/01/23/cbe-online-is-neither-personalized-nor-higher-order-thinking/

Great Schools Partnership and the Covert Agenda of Assessment Reform (Emily Kennedy Talmage) http://emilytalmage.com/2016/01/27/great-schools-partnership-and-the-covert-agenda-of-assessment-reform/

Competency Based Education (Read with care, this reformer website puts you inside the Mothership of the new Common Core aligned Snake oil the reformers are selling) http://excelined.org/competency-based-education/

Digital Learning Now- From Cohorts to Competency – “provides specific guidance regarding the adoption of Common Core State Standards and the shift to personal digital learning.” http://digitallearningnow.com/site/uploads/2013/01/CB-Paper-Final.pdf

Latte pappas. You mean mothering isn’t genetic?

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AeonMagazineEssays/~3/O7mkfDJn5Dk/swedens-hands-on-dads-and-the-hormones-of-fatherhood

My tutor on the Advanced Training Manager ITD now IPD whatever qualification also taught adult basic skills and personal development-type stuff.

The concept of Andragogy was a thing back then: the teaching methodologies for adults. We must have been having a discussion about gender differences. Women were supposed to be more holistic and integrated, they found it difficult to learn abstract information without relating it to their own lives. She didn’t agree, and neither did i, which is why I say: tell that to the ‘Coloured Computers’ who did the abstract calculations that made the Moon Landings possible (Hidden Figures,  the movie out next month: https://youtu.be/RK8xHq6dfAo )

She reported that the single parent fathers displayed the same holistic approach to learning that the single parent mother’s did.

 Booyah.
Dads. Hormones. Strange. Human.

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