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Let's hear it for Adventure - Adventure Playgrounds, and enlivening adventurousness
"Better a broken bone than a broken spirit." So runs the mantra for adventure playgrounds - as coined by the woman who did more than anyone to establish them in the UK, Lady Marjory Allen.
This half-hour radio/podcast article is Seriously worth listening to whilst it's available (it is available for 26 days from Friday 17th September):
There are many powerful and compelling interviews - from children and grown-up children, parents, playleaders and instigators, including from Lady Marjory Allen, the 1930's instigator of English Adventure Playgrounds (you can also hear more from Lady Allen here on Tim Gill's Rethinking Childhood.)
In these current days of ours, an increasing aversion to risk means these places designed for children to swing from ropes, jump from trees and generally run free are in trouble. Many of them have been either shut down or re-purposed - a trend only made worse by local authority funding cuts.
Josie Long thinks this is a terrible situation. Adventure playgrounds, she argues, have never played a more important role, with children ushered from bubble to bubble between home and school, after decades in which active and seemingly hazardous play has been undermined. But are adventure playgrounds much safer in their own way than the 'toyland whimsy' offered by conventional playground designs where children don't learn to assess risk?
Josie talks to Michael Rosen about how much more creative the play offered by adventure playgrounds can be, encouraging independence and developing vital social and psychological skills alongside an amazing amount of fun. She spends two days among the children and play workers at the Baltic Street Adventure Playground in the East End of Glasgow, seeing first-hand the incredible and radical difference such a space can offer - not just to the individual children but also the community at large.