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See-saw tips against children

Sarah Thomson's timely research into playgrounds and playtime in primary schools makes depressing reading.

Her conclusion that schools impose excessive restraints on children's play demonstrates the lack of understanding adults have and how little research there is into playgrounds.

One of the major difficulties is that the amount of money available for such research is severely limited and is often focused on the exploration of problems.

The heartening thing about children is their ability to subvert the best-laid plans of teachers and dinner ladies and have fun in spit of their surroundings.

A forthcoming book, Play today in the primary school playground, edited by us, and published by Open University Press, pound;16.99, consists of a series of papers which consider what children are learning in the playground from their peers in terms of physical agility, language, music and kinaesthetics as well as how the layout of the playground affects play. We hope this series of papers will help redress the balance for children.

Julia Bishop Mavis Curtis The National Centre for English Cultural Tradition The University of Sheffield, Sheffield

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