RE: Children's Access and Safety Issues
From: Rob Sandelin (Floriferousclassic.msn.com)
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 07:53:24 -0600 (MDT)
Something I have noticed is that when groups who have first time parents with 
young children start programming, these parents focus a lot on the needs of 
their small toddler children. This stage in life, is very short and so I would 
suggest anything you special design for toddlers be something that can be 
recycled into some other use later.

Toddlers grow up, and if they are not replaced, you end up with a bunch of 
toddler structures that are unused. Also, from my experience, the toddlers 
tend to want to play with and be around the bigger kids (sometimes to the 
annoyance of the bigger kids) and so segragating them out into their own space 
is not desirable. First time parents often want to segregate the toddlers to 
keep them "safe".  This actually makes them less safe, because the biggest 
safety factor you will have, will be the older kids, especially the little 
girls who want to play with them and will not do so if they are in the 
"toddler cage". (toddler spaces can get stigmitized by older kids as the place 
for "babies". Even the toddlers pick up on this and won't want to go their)

One of the amazing social phenomena of cohousing to me is when a parent first 
moves in to Cohousing. At first they are very protective and spend much time 
constantly trying to keep their kids in view, under supervision, etc.  Then, 
after about six months, they relax, they see and learn to trust how the kids 
look after each other, how the other adults can be trusted to look after their 
kids.  After about 9 months, they become like me. KIds? Yeah I have 
kids.....They're....Somewhere around here.

People with no community experience are often shocked by this, and often 
quietly think that I am irresponsible as a parent if I don't know where my 
kids are at all times. The reality is, I don't have to know, I know for a fact 
my kids are safe, and having fun, and can turn to any other child or adult in 
our neighborhood, at any time, for help. So, I don't have know where my kids 
are to know they are safe.  This is the big difference that community brings 
for parents.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood

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