Are they not aware that a picture of an adult feigning excitement pointing at a computer screen—while two bored and apprehensive children gaze vaguely in the direction of her finger—does not constitute effective marketing of their crappy mindmap software, which merely replicates at US taxpayers expense, the ton of freely available freeware and shareware applications which nobody uses apart from 3 PhD students and that nerd in HR who does the organisation charts?
7 year-old girl to School Board:
“Have you ever been in a kids’ lunch room at lunch time? If you go to many of these cafeterias, you will see there is hardly enough time to even eat. Many kids end up throwing their food away. Some of the teachers often ask us if we are sure we want to throw the food away but many do anyway because we want to play for the few minutes we have.”
What else do we need to say about the importance of play?
And by the way, this is also why Maslow was an idiot.
And, also by the way, this is why 7 year-old girls should rule the world.
Sobering, eye-opening article. Also, of course, true of the UK. Here is an edited summary of the data:
” • EDUCATION: This is the first generation of boys in U.S. history who will have less education than their dads.
Yet male teachers are scarce. Recess and vocational education are being curtailed.
Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, drop out of school or be expelled than girls.///
• FATHERLESSNESS: A third of boys are raised in fatherless homes. This lack of a dad leads to poorer academic and behavioral results for them than it does for girls. A recent study of boys revealed that by the third grade, boys with absent fathers scored lower on every achievement test.
Most gang members come from homes without dads.
• EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Depression remains hidden in boys because of the male taboo against the showing of feelings.
Boys’ risky, anti-social or violent behavior often serve as a mask for depression. Usually that behavior is punished but the underlying depression not treated.
Between the ages of 13 and 20, BOYS’ SUICIDE RATES SOAR TO FOUR TIMES THAT of girls of the same age.”
An occasional series of provocations for management thinkers.
May contain elements of offense.
(File under: contentious and and half-baked)
WHY OH WHY DID THIS HAPPEN, CAN YOU SEE WHAT IT IS YET?
NB: My target here is managerialism, not committed, ethical, hard-working public sector employees and elected representatives.
Rearrange these into the correct order:
1. Give police targets determined by politicians, and managers subservient to them
2. Import managerialism into the public sector
3. Destroy the multi use approach to city and town street life – thanks planners, abandoning the streets after 8pm to ne’er-do-wells, clubbers, drunks, and the poor and desperate.
4. Think it clever to save social services budgets a few quid by buying cheap places in care homes for vulnerable kids in depressed towns like Rochdale.
5. Close your children’s homes and allow the market to create cheap children’s homes in low cost areas.
6. Send vulnerable kids half-way across the country
7. Don’t see children and youth as valid members of society with needs, rights, and AGENCY, so don’t cater for their leisure and affiliation needs
8. Rack up business rates so that only poverty-level wages for fast-food work are viable in town centres.
9. Prioritise car theft, based on public complaint, over missing children who don’t complain because they don’t matter (“scrubbers” anonymous policeman, BBC Radio 4 Friday, September 12, 2014 13:37).
That was a trick question: there isn’t an order only a pattern.
Then wonder why the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal.
Discuss. Use both sides of the argument and the brain.
if you find this offensive is it less or more offensive than the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal?
Introducing ‘musings: half-baked
This is a new category, in some ways going back to my original idea of a scrapbook in the form of a blog. So half-baked musings are scraps of thinking, that I might do something with, or might pique my or someone else’s interest.
So here is the first one, file under ‘who should run the world and why’.
Very cool lady judge presiding over the Pistorius case. I’m going to extend the ‘the world should be run by 8 year old girls’ to include ‘successful black women of pensionable age’ (context: where black is an oppressed group within the dominant societies on this planet. Your culture may vary. May contain traces of nuts).
Despite being jovially couched, this is a serious notion. Its about experiences and perspectives. Its an idea emerging, slowly.
The idea is to specify, in a quasi-scientific manner, the ‘necessary and sufficient conditions’ for a thing. In this case ‘running the world nicely’. It’s like a concept car for management systems thinkers.
KIND THINKER OUT IN THE WORLD
Kind thinker, out in
the world, away
from the white towers;
down by the riv’r.
Forthright, flexible and firm —
the three frees.
Living, in the realm
of the possible:
not ‘they should’, only
‘well, maybe we can…’
Else we forget, the
value of play
and the value of
his playful life.
10:26 AM, Thursday, June 12, 2014, revised 2:02 PM Friday, September 5, 2014 , and again so the scansion is better Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 2:04 PM.
A fitting obituary is here:
David has kindly given me permission to share his list of media coverage of what I have labelled ‘play/child-related issues’.
The list is a partial one, as he explains below. He says:
“Interesting research fact: There have been more than 50 articles, news reports, and radio pieces in mainstream media (New York Times, Slate.com, Washington Post, NPR, KQED, ABC News, etc.) in the United States on children’s play since the beginning of 2014.”
“So right now I’ve collected data on the 50+ media references since start of 2014. I’m in the process of going back year-by-year over the past 5 years to see if 2014 does indeed stand out as having a significantly higher number of ‘mainstream media’ (broadcast, print, web) discussions of play. I can easily provide you the 50+ references for 2014 with date, publication, url, title, etc., it’s all in a Microsoft Word doc.”
“I am … interested in looking at things from a different perspective, ie., is there a potentially larger social-cultural shift occurring in America that is either allowing or actively encouraging this sort of mainstream media coverage to happen? In other words, why now? Why these particular stories? What does this say, if anything, about American society in 2014?”
My own cynical view is that this media kerfuffle does not, of itself, signal a change in US (or UK) society. I wish it did. Nevertheless, if nothing else the covering is cheering, and may inspire. Feel free to use the list anyway you wish.
Please contact David directly if you have any questions or requests. For my part I will update this item whenever I can (not guaranteeing!).
DAVID’S LIST ( as of MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 2014)
The Overprotected Kid
The Atlantic, March 19, 2014
Why Free Play is the Best Summer School
The Atlantic, June 20, 2014
Recess Without Rules
The Atlantic, January 28, 2014
Inside a European Adventure Playground
The Atlantic, March 19, 2014
How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play
The Atlantic, June 30, 2014
Kids These Days: Growing Up Too Fast or Never At All?
National Public Radio, March 20, 2014
Where the Wild Things Play
National Public Radio, August 4, 2014
Play Doesn’t End With Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too
National Public Radio, August 6, 2014
Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain
National Public Radio, August 6, 2014
When Kids Start Playing to Win
National Public Radio, August 5, 2014
What Kids Can Learn From a Water Balloon Fight
National Public Radio, June 25, 2014
For Kids With Special Needs, More Places to Play
National Public Radio, August 27, 2013
Kids Need More Structured Play Time, Not Less
New York Times, May 1, 2014
All Children Should be Delinquents
New York Times, July 12, 2014
Mom Faces Felony Charge for Letting Girl Play in Park
ABC News, July 28, 2014
Play for Children: Form and Freedom
Huffington Post, July 11, 2014
If Children are Learning, Then Let Them Play
Huffington Post, November 1, 2013
Dad Charged With Endangerment After Son Skips Church to Go Play
Huffington Post, June 30, 2014
Stressed Out in America: Five Reason to Let Your Kids Play
Huffington Post, February 28, 2014
Banish the Playdate
Huffington Post, July 24, 2014
Best Type of Play? Let Kids do What They Want
NBC News, 9News Colorado, August 6, 2014
How Play Wires Kids’ Brains for Social and Academic Success
KQED California, August 7, 2014
Let ‘Em Out! The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play in Kindergarten
KQED California, July 23, 2014
A Land Where Kids Roam Free
KQED California, July 18, 2014
Can Free Play Prevent Depression and Anxiety in Kids?
KQED California, June 29, 2014
Cities Want Young Families to Play and Stay
Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2014
Playing Children, Out of Sight and Mind
New York Daily News, August 4, 2014
Visiting Lecturer Says Play is Effective Learning Tool
Iowa City Press-Citizen, August 1, 2014
In This Era of Helicopter Parenting, Letting Your Child Play is a Crime
Charleston City Paper, July 23, 2014
Play: The Work of a Child
Green Bay Press Gazette, July 12, 2014
The Best Toy for a Kid on a Plane is Not an iPad
ABC News, July 23, 2014
Send the Kids Outside to Play: Study
Chicago Tribune, July 17, 2014
Even Playing Dress-Up Teaches Children How to Handle Emotions
Springfield News Leader, July 11, 2014
Letting Imagination Win
Washington Post, August 8, 2014
Ten Ways to Fix the Mess That is Kindergarten
Washington Post, August 7, 2014
Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today
Washington Post, July 8, 2014
Are We Overprotecting Our Kids?
Katie Couric Show, July 9, 2014
Should Parents Let Their Kids Take More Risks?
PBS NewsHour, May 9, 2014
Does Overprotecting Children Put Them at Risk?
CBS News, March 20, 2014
Let Kids Run Wild in the Woods
Slate.com, May 2014
What Playfulness Can Do For You
Boston Globe, July 20, 2014
How the American Playground was Born in Boston
Boston Globe, March 28, 2014
A Parklet Rises in Boston
Boston Globe, July 14, 2014
Help Kids’ Imaginations Soar
Miami Herald, July 13, 2014
For July, Let Kids be Kids
Columbia Daily Tribune, July 13, 2014
The Cognitive Benefits of Play: Effects on the Learning Brain
7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders
Forbes.com, January 16, 2014
Too Much Too Soon: Why Children Should Spend More Time Playing and Start School Later
Forbes.com, January 30, 2014
Why Playful Learning is the Key to Prosperity
Forbes.com, April 10, 2014
Mom Arrested After Letting 7-Year-Old Son Walk to Park by Himself
KTLA News, July 31, 2014
“For my street – and the others who have shared their experiences – new and rich connections have grown from sharing time and fun on the street during playing out sessions. And they have changed the way I feel about living here for the better.”
We know more about regenerating a rainforest or a prairie than we do about regenerating the public realm.
We really need to get out more.
And we really need to study more.
PlayingOut, is one neccesary, but—of course—of itself, insufficient condition for this regeneration of the public realm to take place. Pun placed intentionally!
Read and follow their excellent bloggery.
“When the girls came outside, the boys chased the girls chased the boys, wildly, around and around our outdoor space, all flushed and breathing hard, chasing without catching, everyone protecting everyone.”
The way he did it, honestly sharing his opinion, not adding any judgment,and the playful shuttle diplomacy he practiced, is pure playwork.
Shame that many playworkers don’t do it like this.
This is either because they aren’t allowed to, or they haven’t been shown, or, probably, they haven’t been allowed to learn how to.
One of the many things I find curious about the playwork field here in UK is the extent to which it ignores the world of parenting. I’m not sure why, although I have some ideas (which I won’t share now for fear of annoying my playwork chums).
I wonder how we can blithely talk about providing play opportunities and the importance of risky play and all that, when we take no notice of the family life of twelve year olds like this one? Some women playwork writers have talked about a marginalised female perspective within playwork, and I agree largely, but my point is this – are we aware enough of these phenomena? And if we are, are we doing enough to offer a safe place for girls within our play provision?
I guess my comments are aimed more at the rufty-tufty adventure end of the provision – after-school childcare schemes might provide more girl-friendly spaces. Perhaps. And it’s not just about girls: boys have similar pressures, though they tend to act out in different ways, perhaps.
I’m not saying this to be contentious, I’m just saying that consideration of these questions might lead to us modifying some of our ‘offerings’, as the jargon has it.
It was an evening last week when I learned that my Tween, a very sensitive and empathic girl, is chatting with a friend who is, at the same time over the phone with another friend escorting the local police searching for another (fourth) friend suspected of trying to commit suicide, per her FB.
In case you’ve lost me, this is the situation: My kid is sitting on her bed trembling and crying, while I am staring at her I-pad unbelievably, chat lines running extremely fast saying: “Diane is not at the living room… wait, looking for her at the kitchen…not there! Perhaps she already did it! Wait, the police is entering the bathroom… Here she is! She is alive! She tried to kill herself!” Etc.
Once I was sure that Diane (which my daughter is not familiar with) is ok, and that her parents are aware of what’s happening in…
View original post 266 more words
Lots of wisdom in this blog. It’s also hilarious.
Thanks to Cath Prisk for alerting me to it, I’m doing a bit of e-housekeeping while I listen to Diane Abbott arguing with Hezza wondering which one is more annoying, and I just now found her email from two months ago.
Here’s my favourite Neill anecdote, told in my own words. It works like a stun grenade lobbed into the ivory tower of pedagogy and pediatric development, I reckon.
I’d like a snappy title: how about this:
“MANUAL WORK IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL”
Once there was a boy at Summerhill who could not read. Teachers were concerned about him, and wanted to help. Neill said, calmly and firmly: “No.”
The years went by and the boy – still utterly illiterate and fast approaching his final year of school – wanted a motorbike: the key to his freedom to roam the leafy lanes of East Anglia, and the key to meeting GIRLS in the nearest town, several miles away.
That summer, as he turned sixteen (and became eligible for a provisional license to legally ride a 50cc motorcycle), he discovered a rusting moped in a hedge. He dragged the wreck back to Summerhill and set about restoring it. He scrubbed and cleaned until it gleamed. Of course it wouldn’t go. It would need masses of mechanical and electrical know-how to get it going, if this were even possible.
So he went to Neill, they all called him Neill, and knocked quietly on the half-open door of Neill’s study, clutching the Haynes manual for the Honda 50, and asked: “ Neill , please will you teach me to read this?”
And Neill said, calmy and firmly:
Thanks to Joel, for evoking this with your blog, to be found here:
Start your reading about Neill here:
(I think I would have first heard of Neill by reading an article in New Society by Leila Berg)
Thank you to Morgan for sharing this quote:
“I am of course employed as a leader, but on an adventure playground this is hardly the same as the accepted idea of a leader and organizer who works, as it were, from the outside. Rather, mine is a function which arises within the actual framework of the playground where I am in a position to give the children every opportunity of putting their plans into practice. This initiative must come from the children themselves and when the necessary materials are to be had these give the children the inspiration for play. I cannot, and indeed will not, teach the children anything. I am able to give them my support in their creative play and work, and thus help them in developing those talents and abilities which are often suppressed at home and at school. I consider it most important that the leader not appear too clever but that he remain at the same experimental stage as the children. In this way the initiative is left, to a great extent, with the children themselves and it is thus far easier to avoid serious intrusion into their fantasy world.”
from John Bertelsen’s “Early Experience from Emdrup” in Adventure Playgrounds,p.20-1.
Now, note the word: ‘arises’.
Something that arises is something that is emergent.
He is not saying his role is mandated by his employer, nor is it subservient to, or defined by, his ‘customers’. Rather, it is, from my complexity perspective – an emergent phenomenon within the playspace.
Which brings me right back to my presentation in 1997 at PlayEd: ”Designing PossibilitySpaces – the key task for playwork“. It is this emergent quality of the playspace, which is not a simple linear result of the staff and the physical environment, that determines and creates the playspace. Yes, it is circular. And yes, it is emergent from many interactions between many humans – mainly the children with each other, but also with adults.
(Author’s note: I’ve added single quotes around the phrase ‘the child’, just like that. I did this just now: Thursday, April 18, 2013 14:27. The reason being that I wanted to clarify that I am focussing on the concept we point to when we use the phrase, and I am indebted to Morgan for pointing up what I was doing. I was taking for granted that my audience would know what I meant, which is always dangerous. Like Morgan, I wince when ever I encounter the idealised child in print.)
Yet we continue to talk about children in the singular. Playwork is not about ‘the child’. As I have said before, and been mightily misunderstood and majorly castigated for: playwork is not about helping children. Playwork is about providing playspaces (a term that needs to be defined, but not now, but see below*) for children – PLURAL, not helping ‘the child’. SINGULAR.
Playwork is not about ‘the child’. Leave that bogus concern to social services, who have discarded all they knew about families as interactive systems in favour of a tabloid-driven heroic rescue mentality.
Playwork is about children en masse. Groups of children. Large numbers of children.
If we focus on individual children and we neglect to focus on the playspace*, – the culture being continuously recreated autopoietically, the resulting emergent behaviour of the denizens en masse – then we stop doing playwork and become rescuers.
The role of the playworker
is an emergent responsiveness
to the playspace.
Thanks again Morgan, for sharing that Bertelsenic nugget. More please.
“I told a friend today that it’s time to take a stand. Here is that stand.
“I have been an advocate for, and more importantly a community worker in Active Play for quite a few years now, and have worked in a number of capacities. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to watch our advocacy develop in the context of physical education, sports performance, the so called “obesity crisis”, and the push for academic “excellence”.”
Above and Beyond
“During this time, there have been herculean efforts made to justify ”moderate to vigorous physical activity” for kids and teens in terms of things like “productivity”, “test scores”, and “health”. All you have to do is look at the terminology. It is clinical and measurable. That’s what I keep having to justify play against – clinical and measurable. I will submit to you during this article that play can’t compete with measurable on it’s turf, but measurable is no match for LIVING.”
Go read it!
Ooh, there is snow.
Some schools announced this morning, that they will be closed tomorrow – how do they know? Other schools are open. Apparently Five thousand schools were closed today. Ooh… Interesting…
The weather is different in different parts of the country. Some schools within a mile of each other are differently open: one is closed, while another is open. Some heads insist on opening, making a special effort. Others close if they think significant numbers of children won’t be there, perhaps because it affects their absence records, which in turn affects their league table position. It’s complicated. Questions are being asked.
An ambulance man said, on the telly, that there had been a number of sledge-related incidents, and advised people to wrap up warm, despite not being a weatherman or weather woman. Seems that stating the sodding obvious in a serious way is within the purview of all who appear on the gogglebox.
Snow threat receding, we are told – how on earth do the Scandinavians cope?
Given that lots of schools are shut, and a lot of children are sledging, we might expect a few incidents.
No broken bones, because, if there had been, we would have been told about the ‘snow shock near-death horror’ by a meejah desperate for something more than:
“School shut, kids have fun in snow.”
Some schools are open, some schools are closed. Maybe some questions should be asked.
School shut, kids have fun in snow.
Ffs: just go chuck some.