The Alliance for Childhood collaborates with parents, professionals, and like-minded organizations representing a broad spectrum of interests. We are committed to a healthy and creative childhood for every child and are deeply concerned that modern life makes it more and more difficult to achieve this goal.
In part, we work to lessen the obstacles to a good childhood, but in even larger part we work toward strengthening the elements that comprise a vibrant and wonderful childhood. These are captured in our joint campaign called the Decade for Childhood: 2012-2022. To learn more about this initiative, please visit www.decadeforchildhood.org.
Much of our current focus is directed toward restoring play to the lives of children. We speak out to promote play with the media and through lectures, workshops, and publications. We strive to overcome barriers to play, including the fear of risk. To help parents and the public better understand the value of risk in play, we recently released our newest publication, Adventure: The Value of Risk in Children’s Play. The Alliance also co-hosts events to help prepare adults to advocate for and support play in a wide range of settings.
The Alliance has been introducing the profession of playwork to parks departments, children’s museums, camps, and others. This is a well-established field of work in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. Playworkers understand play for all ages, support it in a variety of settings, and do not interfere with children’s natural inclination to play unless it is clearly called for.
Another area of focus for the Alliance is on preserving experiential, play-based learning in preschools and returning it to kindergartens. Through play, young children explore the world and make it their own. It is the most potent form of learning available to them, yet it is often neglected in favor of less effective teaching methods that can be detrimental to children’s healthy development. The Alliance has published a number of articles and reports on this subject, and is developing an online toolkit for implementing play-based experiential education in early education.
As we extend our reach, we take on new areas of work. Linda Rhoads, the Alliance’s new Executive Director, comes from the environmental education field and has strong links to organizations with deep commitments to advancing outdoor experiences in nature for young children. With them we are developing local and national strategies that create and promote opportunities for children to engage in nature play.
The Alliance works on projects and advocacy work at local and national levels, believing that social change happens among the grass roots as well as at the grass tops, and everywhere in between. To keep abreast of Alliance activities, sign up on our website to receive monthly updates and periodic alerts. Additionally, all of our publications are available to download or order through our website.