Film Asks ‘Where Do the Children Play?’
Providence Children’s Museum and Partners
Present Documentary Screenings and Discussions
Providence Children’s Museum is partnering to present two free public screenings of “Where Do the Children Play?” in October. The provocative documentary examines an issue of growing concern among pediatricians, mental health experts, educators and environmentalists: more and more children are growing up with limited time and opportunities for unstructured play, especially outdoors.
An audience discussion about the ideas explored in the film will follow. The film will be shown:
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 play 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 Last Child in the Woods author Richard Louv, 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 lives.
"As an advocate for the importance of children's self-directed play – both indoors and outdoors – Providence Children's Museum has partnered with schools and other organizations across the state to screen this powerful film,” said Museum director Janice O’Donnell. “We – as parents, as educators, as policy makers, as a community – must safeguard time and space for children's play.”