Thank you Dr. Gutman for a very enlightening discussion that truly reflected an interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood.
Please take a moment to comment and share reflections/thoughts on the talk.
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Marta Gutman discussed the idea of childhood and how it is viewed as unstable. It is viewed as unstable because it is constantly being revised. The environment is always expanding and making changes in order to offer children more choices in their learning.
A member of the audience asked Dr. Gutman if she had recently seen any promising developments regarding spatial and physical settings designed for children. Unfortunately, she replied by saying she had not. I believe that it is important for physical settings to reflect the Montessori philosophy. The philosophy includes a sense of self, the home, the community, and the world.
Children need to feel both independent and supported by others in their environment. They need to feel as though they are able to increase their level of exploration and not feel restricted in doing so.
Dr. Marta Gutman last night gave a wonderful lecture about how children use the physical space. She used photos from landscapes where children occupy like playgrounds, schools, children’s homes, and parks. Dr. Gutman added that children are actors who shape and interpret material and culture as theirs, regardless of adult anxieties. I truly believe that children see through their eyes, hands, hearts and imagination where they can create anything that make them happy. For example, Dr. Gutman showed a photo of some children playing in a playground that was rebuilt after war – junk playground in postwar Britain. The children seemed happy and content while playing at the top of the “climber”. She added that children learn about race and racial hierarchies through the spaces by domestic scenarios. Children see, watch, observe and create from their experiences. We need to keep in our minds that the physical space has a very important impact in all children no matter what age they are.
I wanted to congratulate Dr. Gutman for her success in the making of her book. This takes a lot of dedication, hard work and time. I learned a lot in this lecture and in what I’ve read. Made me realize how difficult it is to actually create a community in which children can freely express them selves. Is very important to protect children from dangers that they might face outside of their home, especially those living in urban areas.
I would like to thank Dr. Gutman for sharing with us her work. I think she mentioned very important issues that children face many years ago and they still facing them now. Due to technological changes, the influence of media , society is staring to forget what means to be a child. I think that nowadays, people see schools as a place where children only go to learn and memorize new concepts, but nobody is playing attention to their physical and social environment and the big impact that they have on children’s development.
A lot of issues were the topic of discussion at Dr. Gutman’s lecture, the most important to me being, how race and space is still an enormous issue today as it has been for an extreme amount of years. Most children who live in urban settings have to play on playgrounds that have broken materials such as basketball hoops, making this space unstable for the children who play in these places. I believe that children should grow and mature in a space where the resources and materials at hand should represent a sense of positivity and safety, and in a lot of urban neighborhoods these issues may not be overlooked but they often get ignored.
-Another point that was stated by Dr. Gutman’s colleague (I have forgotten her name), “Older children are not children anymore, they are corrupted by consumption”. This is a very true and very sad fact, it seems as if children are the target for commercialization and consumption of product, wrapped up in a world where the media and technology that is constantly changing and results in having an effect on schools and learning.
-I also enjoyed the question from our own Professor Matthews, which was about the attachment theory. Similar to having an attachment to a person, children adopt attachments to places in their environments as well. What happens if a place that a child has chosen to be attached to? Whether it be a playground or place in their neighborhood, if that place is destroyed by, for example a natural disaster, how do we as educators, parents, adults etc… deal with this issue? The sad part is no one really deals with these types of issues so there is not much discussion about it. Dr. Gutman’s talk was very influential to me, and brought up a lot of topics/issues that are very important in regards to children, but are not being addressed.
Designing Modern Childhoods which the book discussed was further explained by Martha Gutman and I found the context of the discussion to be very interesting. The argument was that, “Landscapes are good to think with”, and i think that is a very good point that was being made. If we look at her argument in the context of play, socialization and development of cognitive abilities, we can definitely see the benefits a well constructed landscape can produce. Ms Gutman stated that childhood was a changing construct, and i absolutely agree because if you are a person of a certain age, you can look back at your own childhood and see how different things are today. Her thoughts on attachment and forming bonds was very interesting because I think that children not only form bonds with people in their lives but also with the places they go (their space); the park, school etc. I would like to thank Ms Gutman for a very eye opening talk.
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First of all, I like to thank you Dr. Gutman for coming to CWE and give us a rich and informative lecture. It is interesting that sometimes we do not pay so much attention to the physical environmet where children occupy. You brought vivid stories and images from children playing and being children in playgrounds, parks, schools, and in the grass.I do believe that children are actors too, “who shape and interpret material and culture as theirm regardkess if adykt abxuetues”( Gutman, M., 2012). Children use their minds, hearts, eyes and and hands to criate and perform their imagination. And, in a represention form to express their ideas, they use the physical space to reproduz to performance.
I really enjoyed Dr. Marta Gutman’s talk; she is very passionate about her work – that’s quite motivating. I liked her examination of the history and of the very different designs of summer camps and schools, as well as her dedicated focus on development of healthy public spaces for children. Also, I have to agree with Alison, I liked Prof. Matthews question about attachment theory, and was quite sad that the question was answered but not as we would all hoped to. In other words, there is little attention paid to actual philosophy of attachment which I believe should be more developed when it comes to building facilities and public places for children.
I also enjoyed Dr Gutman’s talk, she seems to love what she does and is willing to put blood, sweat, and tears into it! Very inspiring and was very taken by the expressive way she brings you into her world.
I thought your presentation was informative and I look forward to reading Designing Modern Childhoods: History, Space, and the Material Culture of Children. Thank you for joining us at CWE!
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