Film Screening and Discussion at URI
Ask ‘Where Do the Children Play?’
KINGSTON, RI -
A provocative documentary film, “Where Do the Children Play?,” will be shown at a free public screening on Tuesday, October 12 from 7:00 - 9:00 PM at the University of Rhode Island’s new Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences
(Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881). The film examines an issue of
growing concern among pediatricians, mental health experts, educators
and environmentalists: more and more children are growing up today with
few opportunities for unstructured play, especially outdoors.
An audience discussion about the ideas explored in the film will follow, led by Providence Children’s Museum director Janice O’Donnell; Meadowbrook Waldorf School faculty chair Su Rubinoff; RI Families in Nature founder and director Jeanine Silversmith; and URI Child Development Center director Sue Warford.
“Where Do the Children Play?” grew out of Elizabeth Goodenough’s work
on “secret spaces of childhood” at the University of Michigan.
The film was written and directed by Christopher Cook and produced by
Michigan Television. “Children need free time every day to
discover their own abilities, desires, and limitations,” said
Goodenough, who also edited the film’s companion volume, A Place for
Play. “Open-ended exploration and play in woods, fields, vacant
lots, or other semi-wild spaces enhances curiosity and confidence
A marked decline in children’s spontaneous, unstructured and creative
play is a key factor in their increasing stress levels and mental
health problems, according to a 2007 clinical report from the American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Causes of the demise of include
parental fears of “stranger danger” and the explosion of electronic
entertainment in the lives of today’s children. These and other
issues are explored in the film.
The lead author of the AAP report, Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg of the
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, appears in the documentary, along
with Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, British
“playworker” Penny Wilson, and other experts in child development,
psychology and urban planning.
Most striking, however, are the scenes of children themselves engaged
in the rapt state of self-directed play and then describing the
importance of time and space for free play in their increasingly hectic
The event is presented by Providence Children’s Museum, University of
Rhode Island’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and
the URI Child Development Center, with assistance from Michigan
For more information, contact Megan Fischer at email@example.com or visit the film’s website: http://www.michigantelevision.org/childrenplay/.