Killing with kindness
Scottish children record the lowest feelings of wellbeing in Europe. Could that because so many are cooped up indoors without stimulating play because of adult inadequacies and fears over safety?
Lesley went to visit four kindergartens in Norway this March -- every child has a statutory right to a kindergarten place from 1-6 for a maximum of £200 per month.
She filmed kindergartens where the children spend the bulk of the day outdoors in snow showers and temperatures of minus 5 degrees. The kindergartens are often situated near farms where the kids feed and play with animals, watch slaughtered cows being dissected, grow tomatoes and make hay. The Norwegian belief is that children divorced from the whole of nature – the cycles of life and death -- become couch potatoes, estranged from nature and the outdoors and less independent, confident, co-operative and happy as young adults.
UNICEF’s wellbeing index shows the Nordic countries like Norway at the top and Britain bottom of the 17 countries surveyed. Scotland came lower still.
On every indicator – health, drug use, educational attainment and general happiness – Scottish children are doing less well than Nordic children in particular.
Could that be because.......
- We coop up children indoors and try to insulate them from all risk – ironically making them more susceptible to danger by exposing them to nothing.
- We are generally spending too little cash money on the early years – and too much trying to “retrofit” skills onto the casualties of poor childhood learning experiences?
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