A PLACE FOR PLAY is framed by interviews with experts from Where Do the Children Play? a 60-minute documentary from Michigan Television. This companion volume to the film, with a foreword by Richard Louv, explores key issues that have captured national attention in recent years: namely the ways in which free play outdoors is slipping from children’s lives. Responding to the sense of lost childhood and fear that pervades our society, this full-color, richly illustrated anthology surveys the history of playground design and the children’s garden movement, the benefits of universal access to natural resources, and the challenges of developing child-centered and green communities. Essays address multiple social issues, including restrictive patterns of sprawl, to explain why children are losing the ability to travel on their own or explore green spaces.
Summaries of the research evidence by Nancy Wells, Sandra Hofferth, Stuart Brown, Robin Moore and Nilda Cosco examine the ongoing influence of outdoor adventures and experiential learning for the young. Joan Almon, Kenneth Ginsburg, Jack Zipes, and William Crain explore topics central to children’s imaginative life and physical health. Offerings by Penny Wilson and Bob Hughes, Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard, and Mark Powell will appeal not only to recreation specialists and childhood scholars but also to parents, teachers, planners and practitioners in many fields. Essayists such as Clare Cooper Marcus, Louise Chawla, David Driskell, Jane P. Perry, Rosemarie Hester, and Susan Solomon offer practical advice and model programs. The collection concludes with a portfolio of playgrounds by award-winning aerial photographer Alex L. MacLean.
A PLACE FOR PLAY will change the way families think about their neighborhoods, and it will encourage those who work with children to envision recess and leisure time in new ways. The film and its outreach seek to engage communities in a conversation about the role children and nature must have to thrive and be sustained. A PLACE FOR PLAY documents the diverse array of partners working on the growing national movement to reconnect children with nature. This anthology helps us understand the creative magic that can arise when children are allowed and even encouraged to play with abandon, and it explains why inventive freedom and contact with living things have always been at the heart of emotional memory.
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