Tim Gill, 2008 author of No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society, formerly director of Play England praises Street Training

Submitted by Lottie on Mon, 2014-04-21 11:47

“Jacobs’ paradigmatic ‘place of socialization’ is the busy, lively sidewalk of a downtown city street – as poetically described in ‘the ballet of Hudson Street’ a much-anthologized lyrical evocation of her own neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan. By hilights, the secluded, largely unpopulated spaces within Sceaux Gardens would seem desperately unstimulating. Yet by comparison with what is on offer to many of London’s children, the young residents of Sceaux Gardens are well provided for. Most children today, if they play at all, play indoors or in sterile, unchallenging playgrounds, and their playmates are highly age-segregated. Contact between children and unfamiliar adults is in decline, and is actively discouraged.

Sceaux Gardens is by any measure a deprived part of the capital, so I do not have any illusions about the difficulties faced by children growing up on the estate. And yet, what we saw and shared on that cold day reaffirmed my view of the transformative, even redemptive power of play. For me, the value of Lottie Child’s street training is that is reminds us of the human appetite for playful engagement with what is around us, no matter how depleted the environment may appear.”

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