To help flesh out the discussion we’ve been having I’d like to give you some links to articles that I’ve come across that bear on this whole idea of child-centered play.
My point in promoting the concept of “play attendant” is that the venues for kid’s generated play activity has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared from contemporary society. This article No Freedom to Play or Explore Outside for Children from the Guardian updates studies that go back now over a decade that substantiate this claim.
We all agree that play is important but often the way this is presented is pretty dense … just try reading Piaget! Recently Peter Grey was interviewed the the Journal of Play and the following article Play as Preparation for Learning and Life is the result.
Laura Grace Walton writes a great blog to promote “Free Range Learning” and her recent pots list 55 summertime activities that are just wonderful, inventive and fun. While these activities often require some adult participation they do epitomize the kind of role and the sort of learning that the “play attendant” idea is meant to promote.
My friend and associate Mike Lanza conducts a “summer camp” from his home every year. This year his Huntopoly featured treasure boxes with built in GPS that were used to augment the game. These proved to be a huge success illustrating that child-centered play for today’s kids will not be just about trees and dirt but will also include technology play.
I’ve previously mentioned the wonderful blog that Angie Six produces. In her most recent post Life is Full of Bumps and Bruises she explains why she lets her kids try risky things.
I came across a rant in the Newman Time-Herald by John Winters, Let Kid’s Play that he wrote after seeing a warning sign on his neighborhood playground. He goes on to suggest his own sign which I agree with except the No Technology admonition which I think kids will, and should, ignore.
Finally, there is this: Create a Commons in Your Front Yard. This is what Mike has done and it bears on what I am promoting with the Play Attendant idea, that is, we need to find mechanisms through which neighborhoods can band together to use undeveloped properties within walking distances for free play and to use these on an informal basis for child centered play.