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    Bird Lady

    My youngest child recently started high school, and on thinking about our experience of primary school I would have to say one of the best things the school ever did was put in a really large sand pit- by large I mean that up to a dozen children could play in it at once. The sandpit was suggested by one of the parents who was an expert in children’s play. It was simple to do and didn’t cost much (I recall it was a working bee activity) but provided endless hours of play for both girls and boys, through all the grade years. Not quite nature, but it was under the trees and provided a very diffenret play experience to the asphalt in the rest of the school yard

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    Some great observations. magazine (The Age 2-4 April 2010) Greg Bearup wonders whether fear of litigation has made Australia a timid nation. Geographer Prof. Harvey Perkins from Lincoln University is quoted ‘…we in NZ accept that living and experiencing life always involves a little bit of danger and a little bit of risk. As a result , we still have children’s play grounds over here that are not boring. Not like you guys over there in Aus’.

    How true – what has happened to the adventure playground movement in Australia? I think we have 3 in Victoria (St Kilda Adventure playground & Skinners Adventure playground, one in Kensington and one in Ballarat). Most of what passes for play grounds across the state are ho-hum. At best they are aesthetically pleasing constructions for adults which sometime also offer a bit more options for creative play. The vast majority are just so bland.

    Perhaps its time to develop child driven designs, modified and adapted by on-going observation of what actually motivates kids. And perhaps we should look at the NZ system of no-fault public liability insurance (obviously matched by maintaining high design safety standards) – See ‘No fault public liability insurance’ (Bronwyn Howell, et al (2002) Other actions that would make a difference would be traffic calming on all our suburban streets – to help liberate neighbourhoods from the very real risks of reckless driving.


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