Sunday 23 October 2016

World outside should be a child's playground

Published 18/04/2016 | 02:30

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Many children get less playtime outdoors than prisoners, an Early Childhood Ireland conference at the weekend was told, and it's so true and so sad.

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All too often we rob children of the healthy enjoyment of playing outdoors.

The 'keep them inside' drive is prompted by various changes such as increased concern over child safety, 'helicopter' parents who think children should be engaged in more 'productive' pursuits, and the ubiquitous availability of computers and electronic games.

But, as educational consultant Claire Warden told the conference, outdoor play pushes boundaries.

It allows children to assess and take risks and to learn in a natural setting, rather than in an indoor and sometimes sterile environment.

Excessive time spent on electronic games is unhealthy and can lead to social isolation.

Yes, parents should keep a watchful eye on their children when they are playing outside but they need the space to grow and develop with their peers.

Irish Independent

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