Michigan Television has produced a local program, featuring Flint native and children’s author Christopher Paul Curtis, to give a Flint specific perspective to the issue of play. It created the opportunity to engage in a conversation examining how children relate to nature and ways that the community can facilitate that relationship. During the first half hour Christopher Paul Curtis re-examines the city of his childhood and discusses how his relationship with the outdoors influenced his creative development. The second portion of the program features a panel discussion about local issues of play and play accessibility. The goal of this project is to help parents, children, policy makers, and program developers re-imagine the child/nature relationship and to help them understand how integral it is to childhood development.
Among the fourth grade set, forget the McMansions: when looking for real estate, kids go after the smallest space on the block.
This was the trend, at least, that three teams of high school students found when they went out to film elementary age kids in their communities. Armed with digital video cameras and microphones, the high school students visited fourth graders at school and at home, asking them about the "secret spaces," both indoors and outdoors, where they go to play, relax, or simply get away. The goal was simple: each team was to produce a two or three minute mini-documentary about where and how kids play. Along the way they collected drawings, led class discussions, toured playgrounds, and were invited into backyards, rooms, and even closets that contain the spaces kids call their own.
With coaching from UM-Flint faculty advisors and film producer Donna Ryen, the student teams collected footage over the course of several months, and then they pulled out themes, created storyboards, and brought everything to Michigan Television studios in Flint for a series of marathon editing sessions. The finished videos can be viewed here.
We chose three different communities in Michigan: Howell, a historically rural town in the midst of a wave of suburbanization; West Bloomfield, an affluent, established Detroit suburb; and an urban community at the edge of Flint, well known for its post-industrial economic woes. More...