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Blog 39

Islington Play CEO

I know it has been a while since my last blog. I was waiting til I felt a bit more settled and knew what to say but I can see that this is not going to happen anytime soon so here I am.

I am feeling overwhelmed by social media and am a bit reluctant to add to the outpourings of very real emotion with my own thoughts. I guess if I feel like this then others do too.

I am struck once again at the sophistication needed by young people to be able to cope with the immediacy and rawness of social media. I have grown up and been used to my news being filtered through lenses that may have, to a greater or lesser extent, been relevant. I have spoken before about my dependence on the Guardian to provide my news with a slant that I find comfortable.

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BBC news story flagrantly manipulates statistics on school accident claims

Good, Tim. Needs nailing.

Rethinking Childhood

A major news story on the BBC website this morning uses false comparisons and basic errors to create a highly misleading picture about the sums paid out for accident claims in schools. Far from revealing a ‘claims culture’, the figures actually show that payouts make up a tiny proportion of education budgets, and are not on the rise.

Screengrab BBC News home page 7 April 2017 with school payout story circled

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I am compelled to share this

Truly, there are no boundaries to the surreal.

Or perhaps Rockhampton Regional Council wishes to demonstrate its sense of humour.

playground-sign-s-africaOr a particular world view taken to its logical conclusion – reductio ad absurdum

With thanks to Liselle Wolmarans  and Free Range Kids

Follow-up: copy of email from anti-sats test strike campaign – thought you might like to know

Wow what a 24 hours!

KS1 SPaG cancelled, national media outlets getting in touch with us to speak to YOU our lovely supporters up and down the country about the incredible #KidsStrike3rdMay events YOU are organising, mentioned in the New Day newspaper and on BBC Radio 4 breakfast news!  We also hit the 10,000 likers mark on our facebook page!

We believe this is the first time parents have made such an active stand against the Government on a national scale and we have achieved an incredible amount in just over 3 weeks by WORKING TOGETHER to show our SUPPORT for schools and teachers.

We are delighted that KS1 SPaG tests have been cancelled, however we need to carry on our campaign to make sure this is only the start as OUR children still have other SATs to sit in 2016.  We have the perfect chance NOW to show that teacher assessment alone IS enough and SATs should be removed from OUR schools.

For everything you need to take part on 3rd May please visit the Let Kids Be Kids website  – there’s FAQs, absence letters and you can add your event to our map to ensure that every person who makes a stand is accounted for.  Many wonderful headteachers and lovely class teachers have come out to support our campaign – we really think this is a turning point in how our children will be taught in the future.  Thank you for being a part of it.

We are very close to 25,000 people signing our peititon to support a SATs boycott… please keep sharing… Parent Power is proving to be very powerful!

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/parents-support-sats-boycott-kids-strike-3rd-may

Thank you, Let Our Kids Be Kids.

For its own sake – an end of year mull (of the non-alcoholic sort)

Looking back over the past, say, thirty years, future historians might think it distinctly queer that we have spent so much effort and time in promoting a view of play that is somewhat to the side of what we value, what we believe: that is, the non-instrumental value of play.

But who are ‘we’? ‘We’ are those who hold that play is its own justification, that it is an expression of, and initiation into an idea of freedom. That its outcome is itself. That it is a state of mind, a state of being.

It is that the player is sovereign in their own self-created world. Play may have instrumental value in the pursuit of extrinsic goals, but it may not; in any case there are plenty of other ways to achieve any amount of extrinsic goals that, really, play should not need to bother itself about that. Adherence to this way of thinking is beyond, or before, any evidence that might be adduced in its favour. Evidence here is redundant, this because for those holding the above as true and necessary, it is beyond refutation. Continue reading

When the evidence bites back

I quote:

For three-and-a-half years, all pupils at St Ninians primary have walked or run a mile each day. They do so at random times during the day, apparently happily, and despite the rise in childhood obesity across the UK, none of the children at the school are overweight.

The daily mile has done so much to improve these children’s fitness, behaviour and concentration in lessons that scores of nursery and primary schools across Britain are following suit and getting pupils to get up from their desks and take 15 minutes to walk or run round the school or local park.‘  The Guardian Monday 28 September.

The scheme was introduced by the now retired Headteacher, Elaine Wyllie. In an interesting interview on the Today Programme  (6 November. The interview starts at 2.43.32, near the end of the programme) she filled out more details of the scheme: Continue reading

Making Places to Play – Is not Enough

A useful contributioon to developing a more wide-reaching critique. The ‘Is not enough’ tag line is correct. It prompts the question, ‘if not enough’, what then?

Playground Guru

This article was first published in Playground Professionals Newsletter, July 20, 2015

trash boys

As a child of the sixties I spent my teen years grappling with the issues of the Vietnam War, the free speech movement, and civil rights. Our generation wanted to do something to make the world a better place.

Having graduated from San Francisco State with a major in art I went on to Pacific Oaks to learn to be an early childhood educator. One of the great things about Pacific Oaks is that they had preschool classes on campus and all of the graduate students had daily interaction with children. It was at Pacific Oaks that I first experienced a loose parts playspace. We used cable spools, old doors, boxes, tarps, and the like.

Seeing how well these worked I realized that I could combine what I could use in my background from both school and like…

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