During my years at San Francisco State University, I took every course that Professor Sinclair Kirby Miller taught. One of his messages was the best way to discover the truth is to look for the intent of words and actions.
When it comes to rearing and educating children, using this standard is very revealing. What is the intent of forcing children into the unnatural situations that dominate education as it is currently practiced?
What is the intent of playground manufactures? Of park departments? Of Disneyland?
In my experience, the intent is very rarely doing what is best for children.
You must step outside the mainstream to find exceptions. These include play-based early childhood programs such a Regio, Anji Play, Fairy Dust, and the beautiful approach of Teacher Tom Hobson to find programs based on what is best for children.
Are today’s playgrounds the best we can do?
If an alien were to land on earth and do an inspection, they would undoubtedly conclude that our playgrounds are designed to last forever with little or no maintenance. They would look at the little monkeys for which these facilities are designed and note the activities allowed don’t seem to line up with what is needed.
If we look at the institutions whose reason to exist is to protect and nurture children and ask what are they saying, what are they doing, to address the critical issues that face children today? Where is the united voice for addressing climate change, adverse childhood experiences, inequality?
Where is the leadership?
Can it be that those who have an obligation to protect and nurture have become so accustomed to having other agendas as the top priority that they can no longer recognize that going along to get along is not doing what is best for children?
As my grandmother used to warn, “The day of reckoning draws near.” Of course, she meant that in a biblical context, but it resonates now because the reckoning is existential.
We owe it to all those who have gone before us to do what is best for children now.