Walking tour of play in the cityPlaytime Latest

01/10/2012 – Walking tour of play in the city

Are playgrounds bad for children? At first glance it would seem that nothing could be further from the truth. We have come to see playgrounds as places where children meet their friends, run around getting plenty of exercise, and have fun!  But for the last fifty years there have been nagging questions about how moving children into playgrounds has affected their freedom and impacted on the rest of the urban space.

As part of the Open Space events during Open House 2012 which takes place this weekend October 5th -7th, Playtime will lead a walk around a number of play spaces in the city centre. It is taking place on Sunday October 7th, meeting up at 11.45am. The walk begins at the playground in the Diamond Park on the corner of Gardiner Street and Sean McDermott Street, then wanders on up to the playground at Mountjoy Square, before heading indoors to St Brigid’s, the mid-century playschool on the north side of the park.

The walk will begin with a discussion of the historical reasoning behind playground provision, both in Ireland and internationally.  The original impetus behind playground provision – to ‘rescue’ children from the dangers of the city streets – will be re-visited from a 21st century perspective where we are deeply concerned by what appears to be the disappearance of children from the public realm. Whether the tendency to shift children into child designated places and away from the streets has led to an increase in traffic will be explored alongside the question of whether or not play provision has in fact resulted in a loss of freedom for children. 

A number of children who play regularly in the playgrounds that are visited during the walk will describe their views on the value of the playground and the extent to which it enhances or inhibits their games. Finally, the walk will head into St Brigid’s, a playschool designed by the architect Máirín Hope around 1960. At this stage, Sinead Jones, the playschool manager will give a guided tour of the facility. She will focus on various aspects of the design, looking at how the architecture reflects ideas about children’s play and how the playschool has been physically adapted to meet changing ideas on play and newer concerns about health and safety. 

The meeting place for the walk is the entrance to the Diamond Park playground on Sean McDermott Street at 11.45am. It is a short walk which is expected to last about one hour, and all are welcome. Call Jackie on 087 251 6148 for further information.