I’ve been feeling a little downhearted this year about education and the way things are going for children in some schools, about their learning and play. So it was uplifting to come across this little film showing something different. And as it’s the shortest day, with the most dark and least light, I thought I’d share it with you.
The film was made during one normal lunch time in a Bristol school that is lucky enough to Continue reading →
I’ve just been filled with inspiration for parks again after reading the Welsh poet and wordsmith Dylan Thomas. I’ll share his wonderful words and childhood memories in a minute.
First, what’s the difference between playing inside or outside the fenced-off play area? Twelve years ago when my children were really little, I spent hours at a time in local parks big and small. Sometimes, by 9am, I’d be down there Continue reading →
There were three wonderful teachers in my life when I was little. I’ve never forgotten them. They – and the school – helped to inspire my children’s story St Cuthbert’s Wild School for Boys. And now, 35 years later, I’ve seen them all again…
But let’s go back. It’s 1977, and so far I’ve had a grey school life at a tough and gritty Nottingham primary school, without a blade of grass Continue reading →
I saw Richard Linklater’s film ‘Boyhood’ last night. Go and see it if you can – it’s a wonderful, moving film about children growing up.
In case you don’t know, the director made the film over 12 years with the same actors. It follows an angelic looking boy aged 5 and his sister and separated mum and dad through all sorts of stages and phases and problems and joys (and toys and music and films) as he grows into a boy on a bike, a spotty adolescent, a young man, and then leaves home.
The moment he finally packs up his stuff and it hits his mother that he’s off, that both children are gone, and that her raising of children is done is so brilliantly acted and so moving.
I won’t say more, but whether you relate to the children or the parents it will make you think about time and change and families and love. And as the mother of a 15 year old boy and 13 year old girl, I afterwards saw their lives, too, pass before me like a film. And how quickly, so quickly, it is going. And how I need to make the most of it.
So often, what children say is heard as cute or funny. But what if we heard those exact same words from adult mouths, in adult situations, would we hear them differently? You can decide for yourself by watching the short trailer for Monkey Bars at the bottom of this post, a wonderful Continue reading →
First the wide open days of summer narrow towards September; then the half-exciting half-boring rush of practicalities (new shoes, pencil case…); and then, after an early night, the first day back – nearly always a day of pure late gold.
What I also notice now, in my own children, is a readiness to get on with things after the long holiday and a new willingness to experience school afresh.
If only at that moment, our education system allowed teachers to really seize the inherent hunger for learning and doing that is within children, just think what young people could do! Continue reading →
Every year for the past 10 years we have gone on holiday to a little kingdom in Somerset: a long row of beach huts with grass on one side and the great expanse of the beach and sea on the other. Continue reading →
Alice and I were presenting Playing Out to hundreds of attendees at the April 2013 Flourish Conference. It was organised by The Save Childhood Movement, set up following UNICEF research findings that children in the UK are among the unhappiest, most pressurised and commercially vulnerable in the developed world. In itself, enough to make you want to cry…
“We may not have the answers,” the Movement’s founder Wendy Ellyatt said in 2012, “but what we can no longer say is that we don’t have a problem.” Flourish brought together Continue reading →