Why the Unsupervised Playgroup at Central Park Is a Bad Idea

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3) Community at Large.
Skenazy’s scenario is also missing out on the participation of the community at large. While my children are too young to participate in the neighborhood play group, I know all of the children, as do my neighbors. Without intending to, we are informally looking out for them. As each of us go to and from our homes, we are invariably aware of the whereabouts of these children and if they need assistance. We are also aware of the comings and goings in our neighborhood and therefore prevent the "stranger" intrusion which is of the up most concern in the Central Park model.

It sounds like Skenazy wants to expose children to the childhood cries of “Game Off…Game On.” (To help non-hockey parents: When children play hockey in the street, they cry “Game Off” whenever a car is coming, signalling that the children need to stop game play until the car passes. “Game On” signals the car has passed and play can continue.) These cries are the core of free range play -- children outside, playing together, without constant supervision, while looking out for each other.

I don’t live in New York, but I suspect exposure to this sort of childhood play is a challenge. An unsupervised play date in Central Park is not the answer. Arrange a regular playtime in an apartment courtyard, or a park close to a number of apartment buildings or a school park. Hosting a regular playtime at a community location would help bring the aforementioned qualities which facilitate free play, without the risks associated with a Central Park drop off model.

 

Originally posted at: http://laughingmom.com/2012/09/15/game-off-game-on/

Photo Credit: pixculture.

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