Support children and families, taking into account the importance of community and environment for child development.
We carry out this mission through a lense of empowerment and respect.
According to the United Nations, play is a right. The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) and all signatories to the Position Statement on Active Outdoor Play recognize free play as a child’s right and an essential component of children’s physical and mental health and development. However, the CPHA also recognizes that “societal pressures and parental attitudes towards supervision and overprotection are increasing, while children’s independence is decreasing.”
As a community organization, The Lion and The Mouse brings its members together to create an environment that encourages play. Our vision of change is rooted in the three fundamental actions of our mission: to create, encourage and advocate for spaces for child-led play. Facilitated programs create a space for exploration and prove that play is possible. The experiences shared in these programs also allow for the sharing of knowledge, thus contributing to a collective understanding of our world and the empowerment of individuals so that they can encourage play in other spaces. With a committed and motivated play community, advocacy and collective action then reduce the individual barriers faced by families. This allows more people to have better access to play-friendly environments, resulting in a similar butterfly effect in their home community. This work is done taking into account factors that contribute to children’s decreased independence, such as society’s focus on success, alarmist messages from traditional and social media and pressure from other parents, as well as geographic and socio-economic factors that limit access to safe play spaces.
Since The Lion and Mouse and its members are based in Montreal in an urban environment, access to safe play spaces is at the heart of our collective work. This subject leads us to work in partnership with Les Amis du Champ des possibles, the community organization that co-manages with the Plateau Mont-Royal borough one of the public green spaces where our community meets regularly. We are also working with other community groups and public agencies to ensure that our city reflects the reality of families and supports children’s right to play.