Blog

Scotland ‘gets it right’ for children

16 August, 2018
Categories: Blog

As Chief Executive of Play Scotland, Marguerite Hunter Blair would be anyone’s first choice to share the expansive work it is doing to support community play strategies – not least for the most vulnerable children. Child in the City World Conference 2018 will have that pleasure in September when it welcomes her to the stage.  Full blog

Why I withdrew my child from the P1 Tests

16 August, 2018
Categories: Blog

I recently withdrew my son from taking the new primary one Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs). While I think the four key priorities of the National Improvement Framework are admirable, the idea that testing in primary one will help to achieve them is misguided at best and detrimental at worst.  Full blog

5 surprising ways digital technology is changing childhood

24 July, 2018
Categories: Blog

When even tech veterans such as Napster founder Sean Parker critique how smartphones are affecting childhood development, you know a shift is coming. In 2017, Parker warned that social media “literally changes your relationship with society, with each other…God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” Parker has two young children, so he’s surely familiar with the universal tactic of handing over a screen to buy a moment’s peace – the so-called “digital pacifier”.  Full article

 

How you talk to your child changes their brain

24 July, 2018
Categories: Blog

Most parents know that talking to their child helps them develop. But a new study has revealed that it’s how you talk to your child that really matters for their brain growth. Rather than just spewing complex words at them, or showing flashcards in the hope of enriching their vocabulary, the key is to engage them in “conversational turns” – in other words, a good old chat.  Full article

 

Third of primary school children ‘cannot ride a bike’, survey finds Only a fifth of children surveyed by Keep Britain Tidy said they would rather be on a digital device than playing outside.

18 July, 2018
Categories: Blog

A third of primary school children have never been taught how to ride a bike, according to new research.

And almost half have never climbed a tree or played with a frisbee, the Keep Britain Tidy survey found.

However, almost two thirds said they were most happy when exploring outside and three quarters would like to spend more time outdoors, the environmental charity said.  Full article

 

A call for new thinking on play safety around the world

12 July, 2018
Categories: Blog

Playgrounds have for decades been shaped by a zero risk mindset, with, any injury seen as a sign of failure. But things are changing, in what the New York Times recently called a “movement for freer, riskier play.”

I am proud to be a part of this movement. And this article introduces a new report on play and risk that I have written for the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the influential early childhood organisation, as part of its agenda-setting Urban95 initiativeFull blog here

 

Ban on toy guns prevents kids’ harmless make-believe.

4 July, 2018
Categories: Blog

“Bang, bang, you’re dead.” “No I’m not, you can’t get me!” Such cries have long rung out in playgrounds across the land as children acted out the shootout at the OK Corral, the endless chase of cops and robbers or some such drama. Thankfully for the nation, the vast majority grew up to be peaceful, law-abiding citizens rather than Al Capone wannabes.  Full blog here

 

The Benefits of Outdoor Play

28 June, 2018
Categories: Blog

Kids are naturally drawn to playing outside and there are numerous benefits of outdoor play: it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. Playing actively outdoors also increases flexibility, fine and gross motor skills, and is related to the development of a wide variety of physical skills, including those involved in sports.   Full blog

 

Let Your Children Risk a Little: The Case for Risky Play

18 June, 2018
Categories: Blog

I often see the quote “What if I fall?  Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” used as a caption on various social media outlets, usually underneath a photo of an adorable little human, and posted by a proud mama who wants nothing less than the world for her child. Full blog here

UK child obesity worst in poorest cities

18 June, 2018
Categories: Blog

Thousands of UK children, mainly in deprived city areas, are already classed as severely obese when they leave primary school.

A report by the Local Government Association (LGA) warns that severe child obesity rates are leading to a multi-million pound ‘ill health time bomb’.  Full blog here