Thursday, June 7, 2018

"Play is a child's work and this is not a trivial pursuit." Alfred Adler

 My readers are people interested in Education, and their ages range from the 20's to in the 70's. Those who are older will remember "our" kind of playground - lots of hard blacktop surface with painted hopscotches; a "merry-go-round" with no governor to control speed, allowing kids to spin faster and faster until centrifugal forces threw us off; tall sliding boards,  usually stainless steel or aluminum, both conductors of heat in the sunshine; and the perilous Jungle Jim, and monkey bars, enticing us to compete in tests of strength, leading to many broken arms.  Of course there were swing sets, cemented in the hard blacktop.  The playgrounds of the 1950's, 60's. and 70's had no spots for a soft landing.

Then, along came a group who wanted a softer and gentler playground, which eradicated the dangerous merry-go-round and many other challenges and enjoyments. Playgrounds became safer, but also duller.  It seems the tide has turned again.

I read an article this week, and then saw a television story about changing playgrounds into a risky fun zone for kids. They are called "Adventure Playgrounds', and they are supposed to build confidence and courage, along with resilience, in children.  Psychologists have long agreed that play is powerful for our children, and the adventure playground allows kids to be kids in an unstructured environment with no adult interference.  

I am a fan of this playground concept.  For so many years, parents have planned every activity in their child's day.  I believe that if I were a kid in today's world, I would hate all those planned non-spontaneous activities.  My generation spent every day outside on our bikes and in the ball yard, swooping into the house for short meals, then rushing back outside to play.  No obesity problems back then - we were too busy catching fireflies, as well as playing stick ball and 7-Up; "It" and "Hide and Seek,"  The most important rule of our days was to be home when the street lights came on.  Times were simpler, and we learned to solve our problems on the playground and on the ball field, with no adult intervention. The playground and unstructured days with friends became our summer classroom. 

In 1931, a Danish landscape architect noticed that kids were playing everywhere except the playgrounds.  They loved construction sites, and burned out buildings of WW II were favorite spots for kids to play. Some of the concepts of today's adventure playground borrow from that architect and involve risks.  Loose boards, old engine parts, and other "junk" are scattered on the playground to stimulate creativity.  I would  loved to have played on that kind of playground! 

I urge you to take a look at the article about this idea for playgrounds to help kids learn and be creative.  I think it is an idea whose time has come.  Kids need to be less protected in their homogenized environments and stretch their wings and imaginations.

Here is the link to the article: and here is the link to the news story

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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