Monday, 19 June 2017

Israel’s first outdoor preschool incorporates switchblades and scorpions | Jewish Telegraphic Agency


Israel’s first outdoor preschool incorporates switchblades and scorpions | Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


"It sounds like a Jewish mother’s nightmare: a preschool class held outdoors in the desert. But parents in this remote Israeli town drop off their children at Gan Keshet every weekday during the school year, setting them free to cook on a campfire, whittle sticks with switchblades and search for scorpions. Class goes on rain (rare) or shine (intense).
“The kids meet real life when they come here,” said Ron Meltzer, the school’s soft-spoken principal and visionary. “Spending time in nature — without an iPhone or computer — gives them many important gifts. I think it’s a solution for a major problem in our culture today.”

UN links child-friendliness to environment | Child in the City

UN links child-friendliness to environment | Child in the City

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


"In its report of the DGD the UNCRC says ‘the impact of environmental damage on children’s rights is not a new issue. Yet, despite data explicitly linking environmental harm to child rights violations, increased awareness of environmental crises and numerous international agreements, the understanding of the relationship between children’s rights and the environment is still in its infancy’.


The report finds that ‘the parallel development of environmental law and human rights law has contributed to a lack of coordination between institutions dealing with child rights and environmental issues within both governments and the United Nations. This coordination gap is one of the reasons for inadequate monitoring and accountability for child rights violations that relate to the environment’."

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Back to nature: Getting dirty boosts child development, say experts - The Mainichi

Back to nature: Getting dirty boosts child development, say experts - The Mainichi

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


Playing in nature while coming into contact with dirt and insects has an impact on child development. "By using all five senses to experience the outdoors, children are able to feel that they are a part of nature," says Michio Kawasaki, specially appointed professor of developmental psychology at Takada Junior College. Different from standardized man-made things that are sold as products, nature and living things that are a part of it have a form and a shape -- they move, they have a smell and a certain feeling when you touch them with your hands and even have a taste as well. Surrounded by the diversity of nature, children keep developing daily. "Humans are a part of nature. I think through being connected to nature, we can be surprised or moved, comforted or soothed," Kawasaki explains.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Official unveiling of the Sylvania Heights Public School new playspace.


What an absolute pleasure it was to join the children, staff and other dignitaries at Sylvania Heights Public School for the official unveiling of their new playspace. Thank you for the invitation and the warm welcome. I would love to revisit in a few months when the new plants have grown out and the local aboriginal artists have completed painting the totems. A few photos from my visit.




























What happens when Toronto takes the ‘play’ out of playground - The Globe and Mail

What happens when Toronto takes the ‘play’ out of playground - The Globe and Mail

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

"Ms. Yunusov wistfully recalled the old slide, with a curving set of climbing bars up to the platform. “It was fun because there was no easy way to get [up],” she said. Now, she added, glancing at her daughter wandering around the new park, “there’s nothing [fun]. We don’t really go here any more.”

Such are the unintended consequences when liability concerns trump play. As the city, the school board and other agencies install the newest generation of CSA Group-approved equipment, the result is often playgrounds with gear designed almost exclusively for very young children; the more traditional elements – including sandboxes and swings suitable for under doggies – have been scrapped in the name of risk management. “Everything is built with litigation at the forefront.”


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Preschools without walls: why children need outdoor play



Preschools without walls: why children need outdoor play

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

“Historically, outdoor spaces in pre-school facilities have been the last thing to be considered,” he says. “Hence, many pre-schools are left with inadequate or non-existent outdoor play spaces.

“So we need it to become instinctive among professionals to immediately consider the provision of a decent outdoor play area when constructing, designing or managing a pre-school.”

“The benefits of outdoor play are multi-faceted and span the entire gambit of a child’s development; physical, mental, sensory and social,” he says.  “Through play, children make sense of their world – infants and toddlers investigate and learn during this sensory motor stage of development.

“This means they are learning through their senses and through movement. Outdoors, children’s senses are naturally stimulated through the ever-changing sights, sounds, smells, taste and touch of the world. “As their bodies and minds grow and develop, outdoors provides endless opportunities for new experiences which are unavailable inside.”......

“And it’s now a tempting option to hand a child a tablet or mobile phone rather than to bring them outside – the instant engagement screens provide for children is to the detriment of outdoor play.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Children who play outside more likely to protect nature - Manitoba Co-operator

Children who play outside more likely to protect nature - Manitoba Co-operator

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


“Developing positive experiences in nature at a young age can influence our attitudes and behaviours towards nature as adults,” says Broom. “It is important to study these childhood experiences in order to develop environmental awareness and action in the next generation.”

Online tool supports ‘risky play’ | Child in the City

Online tool supports ‘risky play’ | Child in the City

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above


Associate Professor of Paediatrics Mariana Brussoni, whose team have developed the outside play.ca tool believes that once commonplace, everyday activities have become progressively less available to children because parents are increasingly controlling and limiting where and how their children play without considering the negatives effects of this on their children’s health and development.


She says that research has found that risky play is associated with increased physical activity in children, and the development of social behaviours, self-esteem, and risk management skills without increasing the number of reported injuries. “You still need to manage risks and hazards, but not automatically default only to safety”

Kids need access to nature for mental health

Kids need access to nature for mental health

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

“We are genetically wired to be in nature,” said Louv. “When you lose something that is so central to human existence, of course you aren’t going to do so well.”
He notes that Harvard University Prof. Edward O. Wilson says that humans are innately attracted to nature — what he calls biophilia — and that we need experiences in nature for our psychological, physical and spiritual health.

Major Findings | Nature of Americans

Major Findings | Nature of Americans

The full article can be read through the hyperlink above

"Foundational to these recommendations is the core premise that connection to nature is not a dispensable amenity but, rather, is essential to the quality of life, health, social well-being, prosperity, and productivity of all Americans. Put a different way, the conservation of species, the protection and restoration of habitats, and the provision of healthy streams and clean air are closely linked to human flourishing. A thriving natural environment helps Americans live happier, healthier lives. It helps children develop socially, psychologically, and physically.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Many thanks to the staff at Billy Kids - Lilyfield for allowing me a quick look around their newly completed playspaces. It's so gratifying to be able to design a playspaces and work with someone who allows it to be built as per my original vision. And it look like things really work out when they do. Another perfect job by Jamie Miller who built just about everything in the 3 separate playspaces you can see.