Reclaiming natural play spaces
I read today about the London Borough of Camden’s development of natural play spaces for children, made possible by a £2.7m grant from the Government’s Play Pathfinders programme. Go to www.camden.gov.uk for some truly inspiring examples of what has been done, especially the Kilburn Grange Park adventure playground.
Sadly, in today’s cash-starved climate, it will no longer be possible to replicate these projects everywhere, but have you noticed how many plots and small pockets of land there are tucked around our cities and suburbs, either local authority or privately owned? Busily driving around every day, we tend almost not to notice them. Chances are most of us could think of one within child-walking distance.
We all know how refreshing children find a simple change of scenery, for example, to hear a story sitting under a different tree. Modest corners of these areas could very easily be turned into ‘mini forest schools’ – a space to run, dig, look for mini-beasts, have a picnic….. All that would be required, by volunteer teams, would be, in many cases, some clearing of the ground, and the creation of an enclosure, plus some time spent, perhaps by governors or the P.T.A, in gaining the necessary temporary permission from the local authority, owner/developer – hopefully not too difficult a task nowadays, with our new government’s very welcome sea-change in attitude towards adopting a more common-sense approach to red-tape.
If you are involved in a project like this, or know of one, do let’s hear about it!