Figures released by the National Trust earlier this month paint a picture of a generation of children disengaged with nature and outdoor play, largely ignorant of the joy of unbridled exploration. According to the charity, fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago, a third have never climbed a tree, and one in ten can’t ride a bike. But has children’s play really changed in recent decades, and if so, how?
Next week something rather unusual is happening at Unicorn Theatre in Tooley Street. Having taken over its new state-of-the-art building in 2005, Unicorn was, and is, London’s first and only purpose-built theatre for young audiences. Today it caters for ages 2-21.
Unicorn formally launches its “Greeks” season on 1st May, after some preview performances – as [...]
Jane Kassim, mother to twin daughters through surrogacy, is fighting for equal maternity rights – after she discovered that she is not entitled to the same rights as birth mothers.
The underlying and valid concern is that the cultural experience of children and young people is alarmingly hit and miss. Far too many never see live theatre, hear/make music or visit museums, galleries or places of historical interest. Henley’s brief was to make some concrete, preferably inexpensive, suggestions for ways of making cultural education an entitlement for all children.
Sitting on a train last week were two children, a girl of perhaps 11 and her younger brother who was about 9. They were being escorted home to parents after a half term jaunt, I inferred, by their grandmother. After a bit they were ready to settle. Both asked Granny for their Kindles which they then read with total absorption until the train reached St Pancras station 45 minutes later.
So half of all parents believe that it isn’t their job to teach their children about history and culture. According to a survey of 1200 parents of children aged 5 to 12, commissioned by Visit Birmingham and published last week, these people think that this sort of thing is the responsibility of schools.
There is no use in sugar coating it: parents are falling down in the job. Though most people will concede we mean well, the sad truth is, when it comes right down to it, most things are our fault. Climate change? Our fault. The debt crisis? Our fault. Economic decline, obesity, poverty? That’s us too.
Women in the UK wait longer than anyone else to start a family, sometimes making use of abortion as a backup to contraception to control fertility on the way. Is this reflective of a culture of unadulterated self-centredness, or a society, which, far from showing disregard for human life, takes the decision to have a child very seriously indeed?
Last week’s Twitter spat between ‘Dragon’s Den’ star Duncan Bannatyne and website Mumsnet over whether 13 year old girls should be allowed to undergo waxing treatments in his health spas was the latest in a long line of unedifying instances of otherwise normal adults displaying an unhealthy interest in young girls’ bodies.
Victoria exudes motherhood, even amongst the dank synthetics of Finfine’s old, strip-lit bar. And even now, whilst rain drills the potholed car park outside, in the uncomfortable company of harsh-featured afternoon drinkers and without her daughter, this elegant European transmits a contradictory familial comfort. She is one of those parents so in love with her [...]
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