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Children on the streets, 1912.

I wonder what the Calgary parents are going to do to keep the children off the streets during the summer holidays--the long two months when there is no school? It is the mothers who are particularly facing the problems, the mothers of large families and the mothers who can't afford to take their children to Banff or Gull Lake or to any country place.

It is hard, I know--the hardest and one of the most puzzling problems to find the time and to work out the plans that will keep children from the streets and interested at home. Even the wee-est toddler, as soon as the gate is left open by the grocery man or the milk man, responds to the lure of the street life. And now the overworked mother, the woman who is facing the long day of meal getting, sewing, scrubbing, and training children, has one more problem added to her already overflowing list of them. If there is a back yard, the problem is solved considerably. A playhouse--even if it's a box turned upside down--is a magnet, a centre of attraction. Then a shovel or some old tins for mud pies. Dirty I know. But safe, and oh, so full of appealing delights to the child. This will settle the problem of the junior children, but what about the bigger boys, those of eight years and older?

The city is taking action toward the provision of playgrounds and the movement is a most commendable one. Already the few playgrounds that have been established are places of keenest fun and such healthy fun for the growing boy. It is so much better to have these places provided than have the moving picture shows swarmed by small boys who spend their spare money enjoying the grotesqueness of some of the plots of the ordinary moving picture shows. Then the knowledge gained by children from the streets and the street language is not elevating. It is rough and sometimes of the most degrading order. How much of the parent's anxiety is relieved to know that places are being provided where their children are perfectly safe from the dangers of the street traffic, where they are not exposed to the roughness of the street training and where they are enjoying their time in the best and healthiest way that tends toward the highest mental and physical development.

--Calgary Albertan, July 3, 1912.
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Author:Bailey Elizabeth
Publication:Alberta History
Article Type:Reprint
Geographic Code:1CALB
Date:Jun 22, 2003
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