Where Do The Children Play?
Opportunity for Film Screening and Community Discussion
“This film challenges communities of all kinds to address the policy issues that need to be faced in relation to children’s outdoor activities, their health and well-being . . . Millions of parents who are troubled by these issues will watch it closely.”
– Roger Hart, City University of New York
Where Do the Children Play? is a PBS documentary, book, and outreach project about the vital importance of open-ended play for the healthy development of children. This kind of play is disappearing from children’s lives because of unsafe neighborhoods, parents’ fear of “stranger danger,” even in safe neighborhoods; the seductiveness of electronic games and entertainment; an increase in teacher-led instruction in preschool and kindergarten that is pushing child-initiated learning and exploration out of the classroom; and children’s diminishing access to woods, fields, vacant lots, parks, and other semi-wild play spaces.
The Children’s Museum in Easton is offering a free film and discussion on the benefits of play. Schools and organizations that are interested in bringing this program to their teachers, parents, and community leaders are invited to call the Children’s Museum in Easton at 508-230-3789 to arrange a time that is convenient.
Modern children have a different kind of childhood. The Web is where they go exploring when it once was just a spider’s home. The disappearance of outdoor play can be blamed on many different factors, including the limited access to outdoor play spaces, electronic games and entertainment, and the fear of “stranger danger.” Children today spend an average of twelve hours a week less in unstructured play than those twenty years ago. Child development specialists are concerned that the lack of access to free play in the outdoors is having a negative impact on children’s health and overall development. The Children’s Museum in Easton is addressing this issue by offering a free screening and discussion of the PBS documentary, “Where Do the Children Play?”
The presentation will open with an introduction by Paula Peterson, the executive director of the Children’s Museum in Easton. After the 50 minute film there will be a conversation with a panel of local children’s specialists about how the children in the local community play and examine the social and creative benefits of unstructured play. Schools and organizations that take advantage of this opportunity will enlighten their parents and caregivers about the importance of play.
The film and presentation is based on the research of children’s studies scholar, Elizabeth Goodenough. Goodenough is a member of the Alliance for Childhood whose goal is to “inspire concern and action for children’s play.” As children have “more screen time and less play time” they miss out on a broad range of benefits that can only be gained by free play.