Bookmarked ‘We don’t mollycoddle them’: The preschools letting kids spend hours in the dirt (ABC News)

While there’s a huge appetite among educators for bush kinder programs, Elliott cautions against seeing nature as just another playground.

For bush kinder to be truly meaningful for children, she says, it must focus on leading them towards a deeper, more sustainable relationship with the natural world.

“It’s about the relationship between humans and between humans and the Earth,” she says.

Lisa Clausen investigates the world of the bush kinder program and the potential for problem solving and the appreciation for the environment through outdoor learning. This feels like it fits with Brendon Hyndman’s research into the power of play, while others such as Narissa Leung, Adrian Camm and John Johnston have explored the topic. Sadly, such experiences of getting outdoors are often restricted to things such as school camps.

via Weekend Reads

Listened From ball pits to water slides: the designer who changed children’s playgrounds for ever – podcast from the Guardian

Eric McMillan revolutionised playground design in the 1970s. Why has the spirit of experimental play that he championed been lost?

Nicholas Hune-Brown explores the legacy of Eric McMillan and his revolution of playgrounds in the 1970’s. He was responsible for designing for designing Children’s Village in Ontario.

At Children’s Village, McMillan built two and a half acres of mayhem under an orange canopy – reproducing in the safety of Toronto his feral childhood spent scrabbling through rubble, with mountains of colourful vinyl and foam. He erected an enormous spider web structure that hung from soaring watchtowers. He built a series of wooden ladders that spun on their axes, hurling would-be climbers to the mats below. He strung swinging monkey bars over a pool of water and suspended a forest of punching bags at the centre of the village that was, for decades, the most reliable producer of bloody noses in Toronto.

However, Hune-Brown explains that as time passed, creativity was replaced by concern about liability:

If the design for children in the 60s and 70s had been full of possibility and experimentation, the prevailing mood in the 1980s was of caution. “In the 80s, there was this real turn towards a safety culture,” says Lange. “We tamped down on a lot of innovation and a lot of the risk and reward of the children’s environment.” After a series of lawsuits against playgrounds, “liability”, not “creativity”, became the most important word in children’s design. The adventure playgrounds that once dotted North America were shuttered. The massive wooden jungle gyms in schoolyards were replaced with modest climbing structures.

It is interesting to think about this alongside reflections by Brendan HyndmanNarissa Leung, Adrian Camm and John Johnston on educational play spaces.

Bookmarked TER #115 – Teaching Game Design with Bill Cohen – 22 July 2018 (Teachers' Education Review)


  • 00:00 Opening Credits
  • 01:31 Intro
  • 01:44 Selective Schools
  • 18:46 Feature Introduction
  • 20:31 Interview – Bill Cohen
  • 01:09:12 Sign Off
Cameron Malcher interviews Bill Cohen about game-design. Cohen goes beyond the usual coding and computer-aided approaches to focusing on ‘low-tech’ games. This included engaging with boardgames and outdoor games. This play-based approach focuses on developing clear metalanguage, feedback for mastery and working with an iterative design process. This reminds me in part of Amy Burvall’s notion of ‘rigorous whimsy‘ and BreakoutEDU. Some resources Cohen shared include Boardgame Geek and Lady Blackbird, while in a seperate post, Clare Rafferty has shared a list of games associated with History.

If there is one thing that I have learnt as a teacher is that nothing leaches out fun mor than dropping a layer of education over the top of it – Bill Cohen (50 mins)

Malcher also provides a reflection on the place and impact of select entry schools on equity and equality.