knowledge?

http://cmap.ihmc.us/

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?Screen shot 2015-01-20 at 14.58.33

EMERALD

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/S1537-466120140000018001

Fascinating. Astonishingly bad translation into English though. Not blaming the author who is probably not a native English speaker. Am blaming the publisher. Besides taking the weird file slinging it on the web and charging me 25 quid to read it, what exactly do you people do to, as they say, add value. A suggestion: hit some editors, good ones and pay them well. It is difficult enough understanding new research and thinking without having to also simultaneously translate from gobbledygook into English. Again no blame to the author. You, air or madam, have been done a huge disservice by Emerald.

But despite all that,

Fascinating…

KIND THINKER OUT IN THE WORLD: an elegy for Perry Else

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.

Arthur Battram

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:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/people/obituaries/perry-else-1959-2014/2013792.article

Media coverage of play/child-related issues: David Spencer Ramsey’s ongoing (and therefore partial) list

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!).

davidramsey1234@yahoo.com

——————————————————————–

DAVID’S LIST ( as of MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 2014)

——————————————————————–

The Overprotected Kid

The Atlantic, March 19, 2014

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

Why Free Play is the Best Summer School

The Atlantic, June 20, 2014

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-results-clear-the-schedule-and-let-kids-play/373144/

Recess Without Rules

The Atlantic, January 28, 2014

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/recess-without-rules/283382/

Inside a European Adventure Playground

The Atlantic, March 19, 2014

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2014/03/europes-adventure-playgrounds-look-way-more-fun/284521/

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play

The Atlantic, June 30, 2014

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/how-finland-keeps-kids-focused/373544/

Kids These Days: Growing Up Too Fast or Never At All?

National Public Radio, March 20, 2014

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/20/291922339/kids-these-days-growing-up-too-fast-or-never-at-all

Where the Wild Things Play

National Public Radio, August 4, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/08/04/334896321/where-the-wild-things-play

Play Doesn’t End With Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too

National Public Radio, August 6, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too

Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain

National Public Radio, August 6, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/08/06/336361277/scientists-say-childs-play-helps-build-a-better-brain

When Kids Start Playing to Win

National Public Radio, August 5, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/08/05/331412567/when-kids-start-playing-to-win

What Kids Can Learn From a Water Balloon Fight

National Public Radio, June 25, 2014

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/06/25/325218402/what-kids-can-learn-from-a-water-balloon-fight

For Kids With Special Needs, More Places to Play

National Public Radio, August 27, 2013

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/27/213827534/for-kids-with-special-needs-more-places-to-play

Kids Need More Structured Play Time, Not Less

New York Times, May 1, 2014

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/kids-need-more-structured-playtime-not-less/

All Children Should be Delinquents

New York Times, July 12, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/opinion/sunday/all-children-should-be-delinquents.html

Mom Faces Felony Charge for Letting Girl Play in Park

ABC News, July 28, 2014

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/sc-moms-arrest-sparks-child-care-debate-24745801

Play for Children: Form and Freedom

Huffington Post, July 11, 2014

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-rosker/play-for-children-form-self-discipline_b_5575864.html

If Children are Learning, Then Let Them Play

Huffington Post, November 1, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bethany-wilinski/if-children-are-for-learning_b_4184361.html

Dad Charged With Endangerment After Son Skips Church to Go Play

Huffington Post, June 30, 2014

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/30/dad-arrested-son-skips-church_n_5544661.html

Stressed Out in America: Five Reason to Let Your Kids Play

Huffington Post, February 28, 2014

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hurley/stressed-out-in-america-5-reasons-to-let-your-kids-play_b_4869863.html

Banish the Playdate

Huffington Post, July 24, 2014

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-bernholdt/banish-the-playdate_b_5577558.html

Best Type of Play? Let Kids do What They Want

NBC News, 9News Colorado, August 6, 2014

http://www.9news.com/story/news/health/2014/08/06/free-play-kids/13694309/

How Play Wires Kids’ Brains for Social and Academic Success

KQED California, August 7, 2014

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/08/how-play-wires-kids-brains-for-social-and-academic-success/

Let ‘Em Out!  The Many Benefits of Outdoor Play in Kindergarten

KQED California, July 23, 2014

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/07/let-em-out-the-many-benefits-of-outdoor-play-in-kindergarten/

A Land Where Kids Roam Free

KQED California, July 18, 2014

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/07/audio-file-wont-embed/

Can Free Play Prevent Depression and Anxiety in Kids?

KQED California, June 29, 2014

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/06/can-free-play-prevent-depression-and-anxiety-in-kids/

Cities Want Young Families to Play and Stay

Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2014

http://online.wsj.com/articles/cities-message-to-young-families-play-and-stay-1407279639

Playing Children, Out of Sight and Mind

New York Daily News, August 4, 2014

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/playing-children-sight-mind-article-1.1889019

Visiting Lecturer Says Play is Effective Learning Tool

Iowa City Press-Citizen, August 1, 2014

http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2014/07/31/visitng-lecturer-says-play-effective-learning-tool/13395155/

In This Era of Helicopter Parenting, Letting Your Child Play is a Crime

Charleston City Paper, July 23, 2014

http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/HaireoftheDog/archives/2014/07/23/in-this-era-of-helicopter-parenting-letting-your-children-play-is-a-crime

Play: The Work of a Child

Green Bay Press Gazette, July 12, 2014

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/life/2014/07/12/play-work-child/12534161/

The Best Toy for a Kid on a Plane is Not an iPad

ABC News, July 23, 2014

http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/best-toy-kid-plane-ipad/story?id=24588355

Send the Kids Outside to Play: Study

Chicago Tribune, July 17, 2014

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sns-rt-us-kids-outdoors-fitness-20140717-story.html

Even Playing Dress-Up Teaches Children How to Handle Emotions

Springfield News Leader, July 11, 2014

http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2014/07/11/even-playing-dress-teaches-children-handle-emotions/12546701/

Letting Imagination Win

Washington Post, August 8, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/08/08/playing-not-winning-the-game/

Ten Ways to Fix the Mess That is Kindergarten

Washington Post, August 7, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/07/ten-ways-to-fix-the-mess-that-is-kindergarten/

Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today

Washington Post, July 8, 2014

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/

Are We Overprotecting Our Kids?

Katie Couric Show, July 9, 2014

http://katiecouric.com/2014/07/09/are-we-overprotecting-our-kids/

Should Parents Let Their Kids Take More Risks?

PBS NewsHour, May 9, 2014

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/parents-let-kids-take-risks/

Does Overprotecting Children Put Them at Risk?

CBS News, March 20, 2014

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/does-over-protecting-children-make-them-less-independent-and-creative/

Let Kids Run Wild in the Woods

Slate.com, May 2014

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/05/kid_play_zones_in_parks_leave_no_trace_inhibits_fun_and_bonding_with_nature.html

What Playfulness Can Do For You

Boston Globe, July 20, 2014

http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/07/19/what-playfulness-can-for-you/Cxd7Et4igTLkwpkUXSr3cO/story.html

How the American Playground was Born in Boston

Boston Globe, March 28, 2014

http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/03/28/how-american-playground-was-born-boston/5i2XrMCjCkuu5521uxleEL/story.html

A Parklet Rises in Boston

Boston Globe, July 14, 2014

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2014/07/14/parklet-rises-boston/6R0DwaikXFFpgILJ6trzGL/story.html

Help Kids’ Imaginations Soar

Miami Herald, July 13, 2014

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/11/4231708/help-kids-imaginations-soar.html

For July, Let Kids be Kids

Columbia Daily Tribune, July 13, 2014

http://www.columbiatribune.com/opinion/columnists/for-july-let-kids-be-kids/article_95b39566-73a9-5fb2-9ec1-297e1ba16d03.html

The Cognitive Benefits of Play: Effects on the Learning Brain

ParentingScience.com, 2014

http://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of-play.html

7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders

Forbes.com, January 16, 2014

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/01/16/7-crippling-parenting-behaviors-that-keep-children-from-growing-into-leaders/

Too Much Too Soon: Why Children Should Spend More Time Playing and Start School Later

Forbes.com, January 30, 2014

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/01/30/too-much-too-soon-why-children-should-spend-more-time-playing-and-start-school-later/

Why Playful Learning is the Key to Prosperity

Forbes.com, April 10, 2014

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2014/04/10/why-playful-learning-is-the-key-to-prosperity/

Mom Arrested After Letting 7-Year-Old Son Walk to Park by Himself

KTLA News, July 31, 2014

http://ktla.com/2014/07/31/mom-arrested-after-letting-7-year-old-son-walk-to-neighborhood-park-by-himself/

“Work is about a daily search for meaning as well as daily bread…”

As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.

(I still respect him, but I’m no longer a fan of Apple’s products. Not since MacOS 10.4 in 2005. Just so you know I’m not a blinkered fanboy.)

Now, here’s one reason why I rate Jobs, which you can file under: “Insanely Great!” his most famous catchphrase.

When the Mac was produced in 1984, he insisted, at significant extra cost, in having the names of all the engineers who designed it engraved INSIDE the case, where almost nobody would ever see those names. I was lucky enough to see them, because I once watched an engineer remove the casing. (Oh yes, circuit boards can be beautiful, why are most of them ugly?)

You can also file under: respect for the dignity of the work of other human beings.

Which leads me on to my next couple of stories.

Studs Terkel has been described as a historian and a sociologist but he prefers to call himself a “guerrilla journalist with a tape recorder.” He created controversy we’re told when Tony Blair resigned and he asked: “Why was he such a house-boy for Bush?” Studs Terkel died in his Chicago home on 31st October, 2008 at the age of ninety-six. He asked that his epitaph should be: “Curiosity did not kill this cat.”

He said:

“When you become part of something, in some way you count. It could be a march; it could be a rally, even a brief one. You’re part of something, and you suddenly realize you count. To count is very important.”

Working (1974), is his account of people’s working lives. Terkel wrote:

“Work is about

a daily search for meaning

as well as daily bread,

for recognition

as well as cash,

for astonishment

rather than torpor,

in short for a sort of life,

rather than a

Monday-to-Friday

sort of dying.”

This is an edited excerpt from the interview that opens the book:

(Mike LeFevre was thirty-seven in 1972). He works in a steel mill. On occasion, his wife Carol works as a waitress in a neighborhood restaurant; otherwise, she is at home, caring for their two small children, a girl and a boy...

“You don’t see where nothing goes. I got chewed out by my foreman once. He said, “Mike, you’re a good worker but you have a bad attitude.” My attitude is that I don’t get excited about my job. I do my work but I don’t say whoopee-doo.
The day I get excited about my job is the day I go to a head shrinker. How are you gonna get excited about pullin’ steel? How are you gonna get excited when you’re tired and want to sit down? It’s not just the work. Somebody built the pyramids. Somebody’s going to build something. Pyramids, Empire State Building-these things just don’t happen. There’s hard work behind it. I would like to see a building, say, the Empire State, I would like to see on one side of it a foot-wide strip from top to bottom with the name of every bricklayer, the name of every electrician, with all the names. So when a guy walked by, he could take his son and say, “See, that’s me over there on the forty-fifth floor. I put the steel beam in.” Picasso can point to a painting. What can I point to? A writer can point to a book. Everybody should have something to point to.”

~

taken from this PDF which I found on the net,

so you can too: StudyGuide-Working.pdf

A Study Guide Of WORKING

From the Book by Studs Terkel

Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso

Original Production Directed By Stephen Schwartz

FORT WAYNE CIVIC THEATRE

IN THE WINGS Arts-In-Education Program

PERFORMANCES FOR SCHOOLS

AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Saturday, May 8, 2009 @ 2:00 p.m.

Teacher Tom: Everyone Protecting Everyone

Teacher Tom: Everyone Protecting Everyone.

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.

Reflecting on reflective practice: “A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.”

“A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.”

Photo from: http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=2750.0

This is a blog about reflective practice, which like Western civilisation, I think would be a very good thing.

I’m quoting Gandhi, who was asked what he thought of Western civilisation, as he stepped off the boat at Southampton wrapped in a sheet, having been a lawyer in South Africa. He replied: “I think it would be a very good idea.”

I’m suggesting that a lot of what passes for reflective practice is nothing of the sort, and yet it so easily could be.

Playworkers make notes in diaries, they keep records. They take photos, to attempt to present their work to others.  Some keep journals, some turn their journals into whole books, like m’esteemed colleague Eduardo Nuttall. Some write whole books, based on the work of a lifetime, or at least a significant chunk of it,  stuffed with observation and reflection – I’m thinking of  luminaries like Perry Else and Saint Bob himself (no offence). Some blog, like moi, and Joel, and Lily and many others. Some don’t do any of that, but they do think, and ponder, and talk about stuff down the pub or over a grotty cup of bad teabag tea in a hut.

But those honourable exceptions aside, often what passes for ‘reflective practice’ is nothing more than a few scrappy notes in an ‘incident book’ or an ‘office diary’, grudgingly scribbled as you rush to go home. Why do we need to write stuff up, we mutter. What’s the point?

Easy for me to criticise, but what am I doing about it?

Good and fair question. I’m currently developing  what I hope will be a new and improved approach to playwork reflective practice. I have started by distinguishing three aspects of the thing I’m pointing at –  avoiding using the term ‘reflective’ or ‘practice’ to avoid association with existing approaches, recognising that this may result in the usage of clumsy neologism, for which I apologise.

These three aspects are:

documentation – the recording of numbers and names and other details, as required by Caesar. “Render unto Caesar that which is Ceasar’s” said a Jewish prophet, and in our context that means: keep the records that your employer requires, for the good reasons that they require it. Chief among those reasons is, most likely, the keeping of funders happy.

promotion – the gathering of photos, and stories, etcetera, for reasons often confused with the above, to wit: to be able – at AGM or conference, or on telly or radio, or in print, be it press, or exhibition – to tell people what you do and why you do it and why it is deserving of their support, financing or involvement, be that as volunteer, worker or committee member or officer.

journaling – the writing of a personal and private journal of your personal reflective practice.  By which I mean recording some of what you observed and thinking about it, and writing down some of your thoughts, and relating them to your work, presumably with the intention of improvement – the making something better. I’m referring to a thing my erstwhile chums in management consultancy call ‘change management’.

(I’m not interested in ‘change management’, I’m interested in ‘improvement management’, which is, admittedly, a subset of change management, but is much harder. Given that change is happening all the time, the real trick is to detect and amplify the beneficial things, while avoiding the bad things and hoping they’ll go away. I say this because if we focus on the bad things, everybody gets upset and the good things get neglected – better to focus on making the already good a little bit better, which is nice and not too challenging for any of us, is it not?)

Anyway, a personal and private journal. Can’t be done in the office dairy because you can’t be yourself in the glare of your office spotlight. What will they think if I write that? I can’t write that, so I don’t, and so I don’t think about it either, which means that I’m self-censoring.  Not a good start. How can I reflect on the unthought and unwritten? Reflection is personal – what do I think about what happened? Not what do the Playwork Principles tell us to think (our very own PCness), nor what my boss wants me to think or do, nor what my mates or colleagues think, or want me to think. And, if it is personal it must be private, initially at least. I can always edit juicy bits for public consumption as part of our promotion or as an extension documentation later.

Hope all that helps. I’ll be piloting this approach soon, and I’ll let you know how it goes, if you’re interested.

This particular peak

Onwards and upwards to the top of this particular peak, which is the consideration of these words:

“A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.”

We don’t know who said this, the only reference we have is ‘Zen saying’.

M’esteemed colleague, Mr Joel Seath, has written about being truly present as a playworker. Bearing witness to the play of children, as our great play theorist* Gordon Sturrock, has it.  He doesn’t blog, so you can’t read him online. Joel does blog, here:

http://playworkings.wordpress.com

What do we mean by being present, by witnessing?
Ben Tawil has a wonderful story about not interfering in play:

A teenaged boy is contemplating a leap from a high tower on an adventure playground. Ben, from a distance, is contemplating the situation. If the boy makes the jump, he will massively injure himself, that much is certain.

You’ll have to ask Ben if you need to know what happened. If you have ever been present, witnessing, you’ll know why you don’t need to know what happened. Of course you want to know what happened, as did I. I’ll ask him, and he might give me his version of the tale, which I can share here.

I know I’m being annoying and obscure: I can’t help it. I don’t have the time or patience to write a longer explanation or a shorter one for that matter•. In any case, this Zen stuff is not about Western-style explanation, it is about Eastern-style contemplation.

And contemplation is another word for reflection.

When I hear the word, I reach for my gun

Now pay attention, dear reader••, as I pick up my Zen gun and shoot myself in my metaphorical foot, by essaying that very Western sin – explaining the unexplainable. I may amuse.

So when we say: “A thousand mountain ranges separate the one who reflects from the one who is truly present.” I think we are saying that reflection is impossible if you have not been present, meaning that if you have not been present in the moment, living it, being there, witnessing everything that is going on, around you and inside you, outside of you and inside your head and your heart. Me, I don’t do that often, and I don’t do it often enough, not by a long chalk. I’m just saying that if you weren’t there, you cannot speak of it, can you?

So I offer you this: the key to reflective practice – key in the sense of opening the door –  is being truly present.

And once the door has been opened, you may or may not choose to step through, of course – that’s up to you.  And if you step through, you may fail to wander very far in the garden of reflection, but it’s a start. I’m exploring that garden myself, so I might bump into you there.

So…

Think on, as my dad used to say.

(Which is, of course, just another way of saying do some reflection.)

efd941a7eecc45aa70c0f924de6750f2

 

Footling footnotes at the foot of the present mountain:

*we have but a few truly great theorists of play: Bob Hughes, Bashō, Gordon Sturrock, Marc Bekoff, to name but a few (boys).**

** oh, and one  token girl: Judith Rich Harris.***

*** oh, alright then, one more girl: Penny Wilson

• A wise man apologised like this for going on at length –  well, I won’t take more time to explain, I’ll just refer you here:

http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/04/28/shorter-letter/

•• reader? I hope for plural.

Disagreement is good: think on…

This link won’t make a lot of sense unless you both value and regularly practice not agreeing with people.

I put it that way to avoid the term ‘disagreement’ which, in these politically correct times, appears to many pale souls to be synonymous with being ‘disagreeable’, which is not.

When did it become fashionable to believe any rubbish?

When did it become stylish not to challenge daft ideas?

When did not agreeing or approving become almost the same as a hate crime?

(And in the case of some causes/issues/groups, when did it ACTUALLY become a hate crime?

I am entitled to my opinion!

(Still, I think – last time I checked)

You can’t learn without disagreement, even if it is disagreeing only with oneself.

And you certainly can’t ‘do reflective practice’ without, at the very least, disagreeing with yourself, and preferably with others.

Have a read, and as we used to say, think on.

“Argument: When losing is winning” http://feedly.com/k/152O0ku

A challenge for playwork: The scary world of 12 year olds

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.

Parenting And Stuff

alicia and grace

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…

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Teacher Tom: The Shape Of The Block In My Hand

Teacher Tom: The Shape Of The Block In My Hand.

 

Lots of wisdom in this blog. It’s also hilarious.

 

Marit stared at me as if I were an idiot, “We’re the bad guys.”
“We’re the bad guys?”
“Yeah, they’re the good guys and we’re the bad guys.”
“My whip has magic in it and turns you into a toilet!”
“We have a invisible pet monster that eats your whips!”

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.

My favourite A.S.Neill anecdote: if it featured a car, I could have called it ‘Cars and Girls’

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:

“Yes.”

§

 

Thanks to Joel, for evoking this with your blog, to be found here:

http://playworkings.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/comparisons-of-some-early-twentieth-and-early-twenty-first-century-thinking-about-children/#respond

Start your reading about Neill here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._S._Neill

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/23/leila-berg

(I think I would have first heard of Neill by reading an article in New Society by Leila Berg)

Has the play movement* done it’s job? Do we even need to save it? Should we just shut up and let playful people remake the world, in a onesie, one library at a time?

Definition (extract – Encyclopaedia Ludica, 5th edition 2027)

*Play Movement, The  (UK terminology, see disambiguation)

”The Play Movement, characterised by its obsession with free play for its own sake, the garish primary-coloured clothing of its fervent early adherents and their wearing enthusiasm, was born in the squats of Notting Hill, in the 1960s. Some say that it was influenced by the Dutch ‘junk playground’ experiments, and the Arts Lab movement. Others trace its genesis to the free festival ‘Playstock’, held in a field near Bolton, Lancashire, where a massive artwork featuring a large number of small holes dug in the ground was created by participants. An early presaging of crowd-based art, that also inspired  a verse in the Beatles’ song “Day in the Life”.  Since the late 1980s, the movement, some say, took a wrong turn and became mired in the qualification structures of childcare. Meanwhile, in wider society, playfulness blossomed.”

(Authors: Fernando Pessoa and Hugo Grinmore. ©Wintermute/Geneva AI holdings SARL)

That entry forms a preamble to this interesting article:

Would More People Use the Public Library If It Had a Water Slide?

“In 2010, Poland’s National Library performed a survey to determine the reading habits of the Polish citizenry. The results were not buoying: 56 percent of Poles had not read a book in the past year, either in hard or electronic form. Just as bad was that 46 percent had not attempted to digest anything longer than three pages in the previous month – and this included students and university graduates.

But who’s to blame here: The willfully non-literate masses for not trekking to the public library? Or is it the library’s fault for not attracting these individuals, what with its classically stodgy, hermetic-cage-for-learning design?

At least one Polish architect believes libraries should bear some of the blame for a lack of reading. Hugon Kowalski, who runs UGO Architecture and Design, thinks that no matter how grand or inspiring a library’s appearance is, many people will not flock to it unless it offers amenities other than plopping down with a book. “A modern building will not attract new users to a library, at least not in the long run,” he writes. “People interested in its novelty will probably go there only once.” So Kowalski conceived of a new kind of library…“

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/03/would-more-people-use-public-library-if-it-had-water-slide/5019/

Even the sports guys think there is not enough play and too much testing

 

child-custody

“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!

 

http://www.drkwamebrown.com/above-and-beyond/

 

 

 

 

 

SNOWBALLS. SOME SCHOOLS CLOSED. SOME CHILDREN SLEDGING.

Ooh, there is snow.

snow

Snow picture borrowed from my chum: A snow day means a play day!

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.”

COBRA discusses growing AlbertKyder threat
COBRA discusses growing AlbertKyder threat

 

Some schools are open, some schools are closed. Maybe some questions should be asked.

School shut, kids have fun in snow.

Snow?

Balls.

Ffs: just go chuck some.

New rules for fragile, vicious children

Attention, people who work with children, these are the truths you should teach your customers:

  • You can do what you like, steal or hurt others, it doesn’t matter, so long as nobody sees you, or your mate will lie for you – because guilt is dependent on proof and not conscience
  • Deny everything and call them liars. demand proof
  • Don’t apologise! It isn’t in your own interest
  • Accuse people –  it feels good and makes you powerful
  • Zero tolerance is great – they’ll assume they did it!
  • Children shouldn’t choose who they play with

What’s that? You don’t agree? Why not? You are against bullying, aren’t you? You don’t agree with bullying, do you? You support AntiBullying Week, don’t you? How dare you disagree, you bully!

Well, if you support anti-bullying, you must support those statements, because all those ‘truths’ are the consequence of anti-bullying policies. Which leads me to this article denouncing anti-bullying policies, which contains the most cogent argument I have ever read on the issue. Read these quotes, then follow the link below:

“Whether we like it or not, arguing, teasing and fighting are normal parts of childhood. Learning to tell the difference between a spat and systematic bullying should be a basic parenting skill, but our much vaunted zero-tolerance policies on bullying make it impossible. They also make it very difficult for children to reform their behaviour.

”…[W]hen every incident is treated like a potential crime, teachers’ roles change dramatically.

“She cannot simply say: stop it! Nor can she simply scold the perpetrator or propose such age-old solutions as ‘shake hands and make up’. Her job is no longer to educate, but to investigate. Once a report is being made, the accused child’s parents immediately – and quite naturally – become Jack’s defence advocates. They tell their child to deny everything and challenge every accusation by demanding irrefutable proof. …

“The process demeans the teacher’s authority, eliminates arbitration and belittles personal responsibility, as it teaches children that guilt is dependent on proof and not conscience, and that sincere apologising is not honorable but contrary to self-interest.

And children do learn. They soon learn that making accusations gives power, and zero tolerance means the presumption of guilt. Our current interpretation of bullying is entirely subjective, thus bullying occurs whenever someone feels he or she has been bullied. We have already had a case of bullying where Jack told Jill she has a nice hat. Jack thought he was complementing her, but Jill interpreted it as a sarcastic remark.

“In another case, boys who didn’t allow a girl into their game were considered bullies by way of exclusion. So children no longer have the luxury of choosing who they play with. It was not systematic shunning; but a single incident was enough.

”For those of us who still believe that children are neither as vicious nor as fragile as we are now led to believe, it’s time to realise that the over-officious anti-bullying campaigns are a part of the problem.”

Eero-Iloniemi-AntiBullying