Play is good for children, tell us something new

Anyone who is subject to enjoys a spot of BBC 5 live radio on a Sunday morning will be familiar with the concept of “not news”, a slot where Al Murray and guests discuss a news story which is effectively not news, but has been reported as news.  I often find myself fighting the urge to shout “Not News!” at the tv/computer/radio when I come across an item like this one .

When working with archive collections, I often have moments of convergence between my work (which is generally based in the past) and what is going on in the outer world (which is thrown at us a lot of the time due to 24 hour news coverage). For example, I noticed the aforementioned news article, while cataloguing the papers of the Pre-School Playgroups Association. The Pre-School Playgroups Association was established in 1962 after one mother set up her own playgroup a year earlier in response to the lack of government support. Many of the papers of this grass roots organisation stress the importance of play for children’s development, and they are not the only collection related to the history of education and child development we hold at IOE Archives which show similar views, many much earlier in the 20th century.

PPA1002 PPA1001

The National Childrens’ Bureau, who initiate Playday appear to be a great organisation, and I’m by no means criticising their work. Rather I find it interesting that time and time again such organisations have to reiterate what has already been established long ago, in the very papers I am currently cataloguing.

And moreover why is it that as a nation we cannot learn from the past and build it into our collective future? Perhaps someone should write a report on that…

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