The emergency exit to outdoor learning...
YES! The teenagers in our village skateboard down the school path and across a road because it's the only good slope. We've asked and asked about getting a bit of a ramp built at the rec (which is huge) but the committee who manage it say it would spoil the appearance of the place and might encourage young people to congregate! Eh? What is a recreation ground if not a place for young people to congregate. There seems to be a massive gap in provision between swings for the littlies and a place for the adult dog walkers. If we want teenagers to step away from their screens there has to be somewhere worth going.
I think there is need of a major attitude shift re teenagers generally so that they are not censored for meeting up and being visible in public. I do think there could be more designated places such as skateboard parks but that the real issue is to stop thinking the worst of the teenagers whenever they dare go outside. I have 4 children - the oldest 2 used to roam the village freely with friends and were known and accepted, one of the younger ones was brought home by the police for doing much the same thing - the only difference being new villagers not recognising or being prepared to tolerate teenagers near their patch. I'm not sure that designating areas for play/leisure is necessary, just acceptance and tolerance of their presence in any outdoor space would be a start.
Posted a comment over at Engage for Education but it seems to have disappeared. Totally agree, attitudes need to change, not just adult attitudes but teenagers too. As a teenager I remember thinking I was doing something wrong just by being at the stage in life I was. Because of this I'd let adults push me around in public spaces. They'd ask me and my friends why we were there and tell us to move along and because we were polite and respected adults we would move. This isn't right, we need to empower teenagers and help them understand that it's their park/riverside/other public space too, provided they aren't breaking the law no one has a right to move them along.
Thanks for your comments - Perhaps I should have said there is a time lapse with the Engage for Education blog. The comments don't appear until the administrator(s) have approved them and this depends upon when they work.
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