Why should we save Childhood?

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Boo inside an ENORMOUS Oak Tree Trunk #FreeNature

Childhood – an enormous word encompassing so much. There is such emphasis put on ‘childhood’ today and as parents it can feel very confusing knowing what you should give your child in order that they: ‘get the best’ childhood.

Of course, for every parent that means something different, perhaps a safe home, a garden, violin classes after school, private school, Steiner school, home-school, playdates, being vegetarian and on and on. There is a myriad of things we worry we should do more of, or cannot compete with, or simply cannot afford to give.

Yet research has found, over and over again, just giving a child the chance to connect and be free with nature, dirt and the earth around them is, quite simply, one of the most vital and important experiences they can have.

Encouraging children to play by themselves is essential. Get them outside and away from screens. Let them roll in the grass, chase butterflies, make ‘perfume’, plant seeds, blow a fluffy seed clock, run barefoot in the grass, listen to the birds, poke holes with sticks, taste fresh berries off a tree, build a fairy house with leaves, moss, stones, talk to animals, trees, flowers, clouds, the moon. Just let them really feel. 

This natural play is the building blocks of intelligence. To discover how to feel connected with the earth and yourself, to know you can return, any time you need, and re-tune throughout your life. It is so simple and all we need to provide is a green space.

One uncluttered with screens, tests, exams, the pressures of what to look like, be like, speak like, act like – leave it all behind – un-necessary weight.

The value of creative and experimental play in childhood, and adulthood, is often undermined and we need to ensure that we, as guardians of the next generation, are strong enough to stand true to the simple values of letting the children of our future be free.

Be truly free to experiment, get dirty, to imagine, to really feel and to play with their beautiful and wild imagination.

Britain has plenty of parks and open spaces and it is up to us to try and get everyone out for a walk and to deeply breathe in fresh air.

This year the Save Childhood Movement is partnering with National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK) on 17th May to celebrate: The Science and Magic of Play. Here in Bath that celebration will be in partnership with The Forest of Imagination ( a four-day contemporary arts event in Queen Square). This will include of a number of free talks given by the likes of, Wendy Ellyatt, Chief Executive, Save Childhood Movement, Steve Chown, Director, Play England and James Findlay of The Play Foundation. To hear these inspiring speakers and to find out more go here.

Tweeting without flatulence

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There is an absent-minded acceptance to the endless clouds of flatulence floated out across, so-called, social media.

Reams of farted out flannel, regularly drip into the vast ocean of characters held afloat by the likes of Twitter or Crackbook.

And there is definitely a compliant misery by us as we wade through the endless drool in the hope of finding a glimmer of meaning, interest or words that are just plain useful.

And then, in March, Sir Terry Pratchett died, and left us with, what felt like, his last public words in the form of a tweet…Here it is:

‘Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.’

And then, his final tweet…

‘The end.’

How poignant. So simple, direct. Many of us have a much to learn from Sir Terry and his use of just 140 characters to communicate directly from his heart, with meaning and clarity.

This is an art form in itself.

George Monbiot intrigues with his statement: ‘lets re-wild the child’.

This brilliant expression is directed at re-educating parents, teachers, political leaders and others about the essential need to allow children to explore their natural world and to discover learning through interacting with nature. Rather than sat, day after day, in a classroom being stuffed, like a French goose, with information.

Check out his short and simple video about re-wilding the child here.

Giving your social media and communication meaning is key to conversation – no-one likes a bore, lets face it. No-one likes to be endlessly sold something.

But having a meaningful, fulfilling and potentially intimate online conversation is a benefit to everyone.

Do you have any favourite tweeters, or Instagramers who really connect with you on a personal and fundamental level?

Please tell me know they are…share it with me below.