Children’s Museum Launches
In July, Providence Children’s Museum launched a new
discussion listserv called “PlayWatch: Connecting the Community to
Promote Children's Play.”
The PlayWatch listserv was inspired by community screenings of the
documentary "Where Do the Children Play?" the Museum presented in the
spring. From the lively discussions that followed the film, it
was apparent to the organizers that many people are concerned about the
lack of time and space for children's play – and that they’re eager to
keep talking. These important conversations have continued
through the listserv, which provides a way to share information,
articles, events and more – including ideas about what we, as a
community, can do to safeguard children's play.
In the few weeks since PlayWatch was established, the listserv has
fostered an enthusiastic exchange of ideas and a growing sense of
community. Members have actively used the list to share
questions, advice and links to resources and organizations that promote
open-ended play, as well as anecdotes about what they see happening in
their communities ¬– and their backyards.
In one active thread, participants debated whether they felt
comfortable allowing their children to be on their own – playing in
their yards, riding bikes around their neighborhoods, walking with
friends to a nearby park – and many parents recognized that their own
children have fewer freedoms than they had growing up. A parent
asked for ideas and resources for developing a natural playground at a
Providence elementary school in another thread.
“We wanted to ignite a community conversation about the issues around
children's access to free self-directed play,” explained Museum
Executive Director Janice O’Donnell.
“By sharing ideas and
strategies, as well as concerns, I think we can change a disturbing
trend that undervalues and severely limits time and space for
children's play. The response has been even livelier than we
dared to hope and I love that it's a local conversation that has
attracted attention from some national figures, too.”
to view the listserv archives or to join the
conversation. For more information about PlayWatch, contact Megan
Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (401) 273-5437 ext. 126.