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Are Our Children Overprotected?

English: Street photography - photograph of a ...
English: Street photography - photograph of a child watching children play on the grounds of Arts College at Osmania University, Hyderabad, AP - India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Overprotected Kid: (via the Atlantic)

If a 10-year-old lit a fire at an American playground, someone would call the police and the kid would be taken for counselling. At the Land, spontaneous fires are a frequent occurrence. The park is staffed by professionally trained “play-workers,” who keep a close eye on the kids but don’t intervene all that much. Claire Griffiths, the manager of the Land, describes her job as “loitering with intent.” Although the play-workers almost never stop the kids from what they’re doing, before the playground had even opened they’d filled binders with “risk benefits assessments” for nearly every activity. (In the two years since it opened, no one has been injured outside of the occasional scraped knee.) Here’s the list of benefits for fire: “It can be a social experience to sit around with friends, make friends, to sing songs to dance around, to stare at, it can be a co-operative experience where everyone has jobs. It can be something to experiment with, to take risks, to test its properties, its heat, its power, to re-live our evolutionary past.” The risks? “Burns from fire or fire pit” and “children accidentally burning each other with flaming cardboard or wood.” In this case, the benefits win, because a play-worker is always nearby, watching for impending accidents but otherwise letting the children figure out lessons about fire on their own. more ...

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