"DEATH AT PLAY"
A report on the Welsh Assembly Government funded play curriculum which places children in 'life threatening' situations.
TIMELINE - WELSH ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT - CYPE COMMITTEE
|1997||The Welsh Assembly Government established Play Wales as a national charity that advises on the education and other aspects of play. - PWAL2008TFC000e|
In 2001 Play Wales published the "The First Claim", a publication which is aimed at providing Welsh playworkers with a framework on which to judge their performance. - PWAL2008TFC000a-frcv.
|2001||This framework included 'playing with fire as the number one play choice on the basic playworker curriculum............. - PWAL2008TFC023|
|2001||...........and 'deep play' as a choice on the intermediate framework. The framework has a scoring system from 1 to 4. If you always include a play type such as 'deep play' in your play sessions then you score 4 points. The more points you score, the better the playworker you are. - PWAL2008TFC031|
|2002||In 2002 the first Welsh Assembly Government
play policy stated:
"The Welsh Assembly Government recognises the significance and the value of play in children’s development and that children have an innate desire to seek out opportunities to take increasing risks. This is an essential part of their play and learning." - WGOV2002PPO004-06
They followed this statement with
"The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to ensuring that all children have access to rich stimulating environments, free from inappropriate risk, and full of challenge, thereby offering them the opportunity to explore through freely chosen play both themselves and the world." - WGOV2002PPO004-07
The Welsh Assembly Government state "that children have an innate desire to seek out opportunities to take increasing risks" and If 'deep play' is already on the play curriculum then it must be considered an appropriate risk that is "full of challenge".
This means that since 2001 the Welsh Assembly Government's play policy has included 'deep play' and fire as the number one play opportunity.
|2002||In 2002 "The First Claim"
was available to purchase from Play Wales and can still be
purchased today. If we look at the text within
"The First Claim" Booklet we will see that the author
believes that 'deep play'
"... is essential for a child's personal development" - PWAL2008TFC010-03
The author (Bob Hughes) is actually quoting an earlier (Hughes 1996a) work of his own to provide this information.
He later describes 'deep play' as:
CHILDREN PLAYING IN FRONT OF TRAFFIC
RIDING A BIKE ON A PARAPET OF A BRIDGE
RIDING A BIKE THROUGH A FIRE
HIGH TREE CLIMBING, ESPECIALLY OVER RIVERS OR THE SEA
PLAY IN WHICH THE STAKES ARE SO HIGH, THAT IS.. IRRATIONAL .. TO ENGAGE IN IT AT ALL
The source for this information is referenced as:
"The First Claim" is recommended additional reading for 'play education' courses run by the Welsh Assembly Government funded Adult Learning Wales.
"Tools such as The First Claim... assessment frameworks can help with this" - PWAL2018LAP022-08 - PWAL2018LAP022-08
|'Deep play' is still supported by Welsh Assembly Government
legislation dated 2006 & 2014. On checking the original
Geertz in 1972 (relevant section illustrated top) we find that the conclusion reached by Bob Hughes
in his 1996 publication 'A Taxonomy of Play Types' has misinterpreted the original work by
Geertz. Illustrated to the left is Bob Hughes interpretation of
'deep play' as referenced in his 2011 publication 'Evolutionary
The original article "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight" is about the Indonesian obsession with gambling on cockfights. Geertz learned about this illegal pastime during a study visit to Bali in 1958. 'Deep play' refers to adult male gamblers who bet far higher stakes than they can afford to loose in cockfights. Geertz goes on to describe these gamblers as "irrational - addicts, fetishists, children, fools, savages who need only to be protected against themselves" (CGEE1972DPN015). Geertz only uses the term children to identify these adults as immature.The phrase 'deep play' was coined by Jeremy Bentham 1748-1832 in his "The Theory of Legislation" originally published in French and translated into English by Richard Hildreth in 1840 (source Stanford University website ).
Both Bentham and Geertz find 'deep play' irrational as does Hughes, however both suggest that it should be stopped, Bentham sates it should be made illegal and Geertz that those partaking in 'deep play' need to be protected from themselves, meaning they should not take part in 'deep play'.
The article does not make reference to children taking 'high stakes' physical risks. The article is about adult males taking 'financial risks'.
There is no correlation with child's play or 'children' taking 'life threatening' risks during play.
"The First Claim", a Welsh Assembly Government publication has misinterpreted the term 'deep play' which places Welsh children in life threatening situations based upon this information.
To support our analysis that Bob Hughes had mis-represented
Geertz anthropological work we contacted two of Clifford Geertz's former PhD students,
both now professors of anthropology in American universities. Lawrence
Rosen, Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University and
Marcus, Professor of Anthropology at University of
California, Irvine We asked them "what they thought
Geertz's opinion would be on Bob
Hughes interpretation of 'deep play'?
Both professors were in agreement that Hughes had
work. Professor Rosen was of the opinion:
"I think the idea that one can encourage or discourage certain forms of children’s play based on a simple calculus of an isolated factor does indeed miss Geertz’s point and is rather a perversion of his approach than an application of it."
"a complete distortion of how Geertz thought and developed interpretation."
To summarise, two United States University professors of anthropology who knew Geertz personally in an academic capacity believe that Bob Hughes has misinterpreted Clifford Geertz work on 'deep play'. One says it's a perversion, the other a distortion.
Both Bob Hughes and Mike Greenaway of Play Wales say that there is ample evidence to support this hypothesis. Their ‘evidence’, however, is abstract, not factually-based and cannot therefore be considered as anything more than assertion, belief or conviction (in the same way that could be said of a cult or sect).
Playwork, a form of employment for adults to look after children, has given us the theory that 'deep play' is good for children. Playwork is an ideology, it is not evidence based scientific research, it is the personal interpretation of loosely connected scientific material that are the personal opinions of Bob Hughes.
WELSH ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT CONTACT
2019 - The following Welsh Assembly Government - Assembly Members have been made aware that 'deep play' is part of the Welsh Assembly Government funded 'playwork curriculum' and has been misinterpreted. these members are the local assembly representatives of our lead analyst on this subject.
|5/7/19||Jeremy Miles - AM Neath (met in person & subsequent email) - Our analyst met with Jeremy Miles AM at his advice surgery and the AM agreed that 'deep play was irresponsible. Our analyst followed up the meeting with an email supplying additional information relating to the subject. In a reply to this email to our analyst by letter, this Assembly Member used methods of deception to ignore the information provided to him and promised to 'read around the subject'.|
|30/7/19||Suzy Davies (letter hand delivered) - AM South & South West Wales - This Assembly Member who is also a member of the CYPE committee did not reply to our letter. It was ignored.|
|Bethan Sayed (letter hand delivered) - AM South & South West Wales - This Assembly Member did not reply to either of our letters. They were both ignored.|
|Dai Lloyd (letter hand delivered) - AM South & South West Wales - This Assembly Member did not reply to either of our letters. They were both ignored.|
CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE
We completed a report on 'deep play' in the play curriculum and sent it recorded delivery to each of the six members of the Welsh Assembly Government Children, Young People and Education committee.
Lynne Neagle AM, 73 Upper Trosnant Street, Pontypool, , , NP4 8AU, 01495 740022,
We received a reply dated 26 September 2019 from the Welsh Assembly Government Children,
Young People and Education committee. The reply enclosed publications by Play
England and the Health and Safety Executive. The Health and Safety publication
clarifies the position of the Welsh Government which is that life-threatening
play is acceptable for the children of Wales.
"Understanding the purpose of risk control is not the elimination of all risk, and so accepting that the possibility of even serious or life-threatening injuries cannot be eliminated, though it should be managed." - HSE leaflet "Children's Play and Leisure - Promoting a Balanced Approach - September 2012.
When your child leaves home for school or play.............
............give them a special cwtch today.........
............it may be the last time you ever see them, they..........
.............may be off for some Assembly funded 'deep play'.
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