Let Our Children Roam Free
23rd September, 2005
Fear of traffic risks and ‘stranger danger’ are holding our children captive indoors. For the sake of their health and development, and for the environment they will one day need to protect, we have to find ways of getting them into the wild.
Here's an unusal request from a feature writer: I’d like you to stop reading this article right now. Take a few seconds to remember your favourite place to play as a child. Where was that special place? What did it look like? How did it smell? Don’t carry on reading until you have this place clearly pictured in your mind’s eye. Ready to read on? Good. Here are some predictions. Your favourite childhood place to play was out of doors. It was away from adults. And it was a ‘wild’ place – not truly wild perhaps, but unkempt, dirty, and quite possibly a little bit dangerous. How can I be so sure? Because over the years I’ve asked lots of grown-ups this question – parish clerks, senior civil servants, nursery workers, landscape architecture undergraduates, council officials, foresters, politicians, teachers – and they all say the same thing. If you doubt me, just raise the subject at your next coffee break or party and see what comes up.
Now some more memories: what did you do there, in that magical, mysterious spot? Maybe you played tag and hide-and-seek, made mud pies or built dens. You definitely hung out with your best friends, and perhaps you spent time there on...
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