For Immediate Release: August 6, 2009
Contact: Megan Fischer
Marketing and PR Manager
(401) 273-5437 ext. 126
Photos available upon request
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Children’s Museum Launches Community Listserv

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.”

Visit www.playwatch.org to view the listserv archives or to join the conversation.  For more information about PlayWatch, contact Megan Fischer at fischer@childrenmuseum.org or (401) 273-5437 ext. 126.



Providence Children’s Museum – a joyful place for children and families.
The Museum is located at 100 South Street in Providence’s Jewelry District.  September through March, open Tuesday through Sunday and Monday school holidays, 9 AM to 6 PM, and selected Fridays until 8 PM.  April through August, open 7 days. Museum admission is $7.50 per person; always free for Museum members.  Call (401) 273-KIDS or visit www.childrenmuseum.org.