I first read Lia’s story on Free Range Kids a few months ago.
In a nutshell, Lia ran a small, home-based childcare program not unlike the one I run. She lives in Santa Barbara, and took the kids on nature outings a couple times a week. One day, they were at the beach and she was closely supervising a few kids climbing a bluff. The lifeguard came over to “help” the kids get down and a bystander called the police. Subsequently, she lost her license to operate a home childcare.
Since I also run a nature-based childcare program, this story hit close to home for me. This morning, a friend passed me this link to a fundraising event to help her fight the system.
Let’s be clear. I don’t know Lia. She might be great with kids, or she might be a total flake. The bluffs she let her kids climb might have been dangerous cliffs or they might have been steep hills like the ones my kids scramble up at every opportunity. I’m not registering an opinion about her or her abilities as a parent or teacher.
But I know that what happened to her and her little school was wrong. Assuming she’s telling the truth (and I’ve no reason to doubt her), she lost her license and her livlihood, and these kids lost a wonderful, nature-based education, because of fear. None of the kids in her care were injured, and no charges were filed against her. But someone was afraid that her style of schooling – out in nature, trusting children to find their own limits, being a little wild – would lead to injury, so they shut her down over the protests of the happy families whose kids she cared for.
That’s not right.