In February 2015, the US Play Coalition and the
Association of Childhood Education International
(ACEI) published a paper about the status and
standing of children’s play in America.
‘The Critical Place of Play in Education’
(usplaycoalition.clemson.edu, Feb 2015) opens
by asserting that: ‘the neighbourhood play so
prevalent for Americans in the 1950s-1980s has
changed’ and proceeds to depict a generation
less likely to walk or cycle to school, play outside
in a variety of environments and make diverse
neighbourhood friendships. Instead, a toxic
brew of adult fear (stranger danger, traffic
density), school restriction (shortened playtimes,
‘organised’ activity, poor use of space) and
parental ignorance has resulted in an indoor
norm for children that is characteristically passive,
sedentary, and solitary; thereby making a strong
contribution to the obesity crisis besetting the
American population.

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