Whether virtual or in-person, we’re excited to partner with schools, parent and youth groups, faith-based institutions, or any interested organization to share the film and grow the conversation.
Chasing Childhood was filmed before the pandemic, but the issues explored are even more profoundly relevant today: what is the changing landscape of contemporary childhood and parenting? What is best for my kid? These questions transcend zip code and demographics.
Chasing Childhood is a feature documentary that explores the rapidly changing landscape of contemporary childhood and parenting. In today’s childhood, confined by structure, stranger danger, and helicopter parenting, free-play has virtually disappeared. Experts are ringing the alarm bell about the dramatic rise in anxiety and depression in young children and teens. What if all this well-intended hovering, fear and over-scheduling has backfired? The film takes us to three communities that are trying to shift culture to create room for play and independence with the hope of raising kids to become competent, healthy, and happy adults.
Directed by Margaret Munzer Loeb and Eden Wurmfeld
Impact Producer, Vicki Abeles
“Whatever happened to recess and free play? For many schoolchildren, it’s all but been replaced by rigid schedules. That’s created a critical problem, directors Margaret Munzer Loeb and Eden Wurmfeld relate in this absorbing, relevant documentary.”
– Randy Myers, Bay City News Foundation
“Chasing Childhood is a timely and thought-provoking look at parenting. The film follows the ways in which parents and professionals try to foster confident, independent young people; a subject of particular interest during a time when kids are at home more than ever over the last year.”
– Charlie Swanson, Bohemian
“Chasing Childhood lends specifics and expertise to a largely anecdotal issue: From kindergarten through high school, many children simultaneously face overprotection and rigorous parental demands. Take it from Stanford admissions officials and Long Island school superintendents, treating youth as a mere audition for adulthood cripples both stages of life.”
– Chance Solem-Pfeifer, Willamette Week
“Following parents across social classes and race, from rural to urban environs, Loeb and Wurmfeld diagnose an unexpected problem: children are over-scheduled, given very little freedom by their parents, and the result has been unprecedented levels of anxiety and depression.”
– Alex Heeney, Seventh Row
Julie Lythcott-Haims is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult, an anti-helicopter parenting manifesto which gave rise to one of the top TED Talks of 2016. The book details how a parent can rob a child from developing agency by over-parenting. It emerged from her decade as Stanford University’s Dean of Freshmen, where she was known for her fierce advocacy for young adults and her fierce critique of the growing trend of parental involvement in the day-to-day lives of college students, which was becoming a nationwide trend.
Peter Gray is a professor of psychology at Boston College whose recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. He also authors a regular blog called “Freedom to Learn” for Psychology Today magazine.
After her column “Why I Let My 9 Year Old Ride the Subway Alone” landed her on every talk show from The Today Show to Dr. Phil, Lenore Skenazy got labeled “America’s Worst Mom.” She turned around and founded “Free-Range Kids,” the movement that says kids are NOT in constant danger. That grew into “Let Grow,” a non-partisan nonprofit co-founded with Jonathan Haidt, working to make it easy, normal and legal to give kids back some independence.
Dr. Michael Hynes
Dr. Michael Hynes served as the superintendent of schools in his hometown district of Patchogue-Medford, Long Island. His mission is to spread the message of the importance of a holistic approach to educating children. He emphasizes the importance of play, recess in schools, mental health, yoga and mindfulness in the classroom. He’s also a public school advocate, TEDx speaker, and author of numerous articles on school leadership.