Friday, January 27, 2012

John Dilnot

I'd buy this in a heart beat if I actually had somewhere to hang it (and my kids didn't want Star Wars and the England football team on their walls instead).... Still, it is quite beautiful and I will pop it on my wishlist, along with his "boxes". Check them out as well.

Wouter Van Buuren

 Fantastic photography by Dutch artist, Wouter Van Buuren.

Swedish school: Vittra

These classrooms have come a long way from when I went to school. Such amazing spaces for kids to learn in.

The Principal said:

"In 2025, our first children of Vittra Telefonplan will graduate. Equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to study further or find a workplace where they can implement their ideas - anywhere in the world! They’ve had a schooling that motivated them to ask questions and deepen their knowledge. They solve problems with creativity and innovation and they have a strong belief in their abilities."

We should watch out for Sweden..... if these schools live up to the blurb (and I have a feeling they are on the right track....), great things will happen......

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Born to Learn

Interesting idea, create simple animations to explain how humans learn and consequently how children should be brought up.......

"The 21st Century Learning Initiative is pledged to get even more people to question their old assumptions in an essentially “play-like” manner, and so accept the truth of Einstein’s oft-quoted statement that “imagination is more important than knowledge.”"

Link here.

The Good Childhood Report 2012 from the UK

The latest well-being report by The Children's Society in the UK has found that half a million children across the country are unhappy with their lives.

Key findings include:

  • Choice and family have the biggest impact on children’s happiness. 
  • The quality of children’s relationships with their families is far more important than the structure of the family that they live in.
  • Low well-being increases dramatically with age – doubling from the age of 10 (7%) to the age of 15 (14%).
  • Children as young as eight are aware of the financial issues their families face.  Children in families who have experienced a reduction in income are more likely to have low well-being. 
  • Children who do not have clothes to ‘fit in’ with peers are more than three times as likely to be unhappy with their appearance. Children who are unhappy with their appearance are also much more likely than average to experience frequent bullying.
Not sure if a lack of independence and the great outdoors factor into this but it's not good......
Check out Tim Gill's post on the report.

(The sour looking woman is Mrs Twit by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm dotty about this....

Yayoi Kusama’s ‘The obliteration room’ 2011 at The Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art.

Such an excellent project. Found via Colossal.

Seed faces

A bizarre yet compelling idea. Plant a little face filled with seeds..... Here. (Sold out at the moment but I'm sure they will have more.)

A cultural moment


English Teeth, English Teeth!
Shining in the sun
A part of British heritage
Aye, each and every one.
English Teeth, Happy Teeth!
Always having fun
Clamping down on bits of fish
And sausages half done.
English Teeth! HEROES' Teeth!
Hear them click! and clack!
Let's sing a song of praise to them -
Three Cheers for the Brown Grey and Black. 


 By Spike Milligan.

I apologise to all the English people reading this (of which I'm one), but Spike's poems were part of my childhood and they are quite brilliant.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

High Line Play Opportunities

I had a feeling of deja vous when I checked out Cas Holman's website, so I apologise if I have posted about these before.

The High Line Park had these Workyard kits available for kids to play with. The programs available for this city park is incredible. If we were all so lucky.....

Found via the always interesting playscapes.


Really lovely idea by Christina Kazakia to encourage kids to get out and be creative in nature.

Check out her website.

The Value of Nature

Here is Pavan Sukhdev over at TED with a thoughtful talk on the economic value of nature.

Plus an article by George Monbiot called "Why Libertarians must deny climate change" on a similar vein.

"Let us accept the idea that damage to the value of property without the owner’s consent is an unwarranted intrusion upon the owner’s freedoms. What this means is that as soon as libertarians encounter environmental issues, they’re stuffed.

Climate change, industrial pollution, ozone depletion, damage to the physical beauty of the area surrounding people’s homes (and therefore their value), all these, if the libertarians did not possess a shocking set of double standards, would be denounced by them as infringements on other people’s property.

The owners of coal-burning power stations in the UK have not obtained the consent of everyone who owns a lake or a forest in Sweden to deposit acid rain there. So their emissions, in the libertarian worldview, should be regarded as a form of trespass on the property of Swedish landowners. Nor have they received the consent of the people of this country to allow mercury and other heavy metals to enter our bloodstreams, which means that they are intruding upon our property in the form of our bodies."

Designing Healthy Communities

PBS will be airing a 4 part series by a Dr. Richard Jackson who looks at the impact the built environment has on obesity, diabetes, heart, asthma, cancer, and depression. He connects bad community design with America's burgeoning health costs, then analyzes and illustrates what citizens are doing about this urgent crisis. The miniseries will air in early 2012.

Check out the preview here and look out for the series itself.

Playgrounds Too Safe to Keep Little Kids Active

Interesting article over at medpage today, about:

"A qualitative study of childcare center providers found that safety concerns, budgetary limitations, and emphasis on early academic readiness led to children in preschool not engaging in enough physical activity."

It was noted that "Strict safety rules for equipment and low budgets at childcare centers were largely blamed for playgrounds that don't make kids feel like playing......"

And let's face it, who would want to play, day in and day out, on the play structure above, particularly if there are identical ones in all the neighbourhood parks?

Friday, January 6, 2012


What an experience this man had. It's gone viral so maybe I'm a little late with this.

I follow The Kid Should See This as they post such wonderful videos and saw it there.Check out their other posts. My kids love it.

New Years Resolution

This struck a cord.....

"Remember that there are only three kinds of things anyone need ever do. (1) Things we ought to do (2) Things we’ve got to do (3) Things we like doing. I say this because some people seem to spend so much of their time doing things for none of the three reasons, things like reading books they don’t like because other people read them. Things you ought to do are things like doing one’s school work or being nice to people. Things one has to do are things like dressing and undressing, or household shopping. Things one likes doing—but of course I don’t know what you like. Perhaps you’ll write and tell me one day."
C. S. Lewis, in a letter to Sarah, his godchild, on 3 April 1949

Maybe it's time for me to do more of no. 3......
Found over at Bobulate.

Wolves save trees

I know it sounds quite fantastic but apparently since they re-introduced wolves into Yellowstone Park they have affected balance of nature and trees aren't suffering with an over run of elk. With trees comes birds also.

So exciting. Article over at Good.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

Here's hoping 2012 is a good year to us all.