Eleanor Image of the Play Association of Tower Hamlets (PATH) shares with Tim Gill on Rethinking Childhood, the tale of trying to add in more natural elements to a play space and the ensuing debate that errupted as a result. So Eleanor set about with great determination to disspel this widely held myth across western cities across the globe that planting shrubs or trees in playspaces increases the risk of ‘nasties’ hiding there waiting to prey of children.
Elements such as shrubs, trees and groundcover provide the ‘currency’ for play in terms of small open-ended elements that can be used for everything from play money to make believe people. Elements such as shrubs, trees and groundcover provide the intimate spaces where imagination can run wild or exploration can occur – undisturbed by adults or loud and active play. Most importantly elements such as shrubs, trees and groundcover provide a connection for children to the natural world….vitally important for those living in increasingly urbanized cities.
You might remember (if you’re old enough) that once there wasn’t playgrounds or playspaces at all….merely open space, trees and shrubs and kids made their own games and fun. In some cultures this is still the case and they must think us mad!