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A Manner of Speaking Jul/Aug '94

by Bonnie Neugebauer
July/August 1994
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5009854/

It seemed as if suddenly things were different. Of course, it was only that I saw them differently. The tree in front of a local elementary school, once a real tree, pruned from nature into sculpture for the safety of the children. No climbing allowed. A child and adult walking down the sidewalk; flowers and bushes, stones and bugs begging to be explored. Two wrists harnessed together for the safety of one, the peace of mind of the other. No wandering allowed.

When we visited two child care programs in Vancouver, British Columbia, recently, we were delighted by the presence of plants and animals in the classrooms. Spaces, indoors and out, were relaxed and welcoming - and interesting. Certainly, they were free of hazards, but they were not stripped bare. Darcelle Cottons, administrator of child care services at the University of British Columbia, used the term "acceptable risk," and suddently the child leash, the mangled tree leapt into my mind.

So here we are, rapidly becoming a society of people who believe that no risk is acceptable. We scrub and strip environments bare of any possible obstacles or hazards because we ...

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