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By Opal Dunn, children's author and language consultant.

2007 marks the centenary of the opening of the first children's house in Rome and the birth of the Montessori movement. The centenary provides an opportunity to think about what Montessori means in 21st-century Britain.

Given a real family, even institutionalised children can develop their potential, says Robin Balbernie.

It is great news that the Department for Children, Schools and Families will be taking joint responsibility with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for policies on children's play. As children reclaim the streets for play on the 20th annual Playday on 1 August, it reminds us that play and recreation has a central role in children's quality of life.

Is a child's conscience shaped by their parents or the culture around them, wonders Pat Wills.

The childcare sector has good news and bad news to ponder lately, as viewed by Alan Bentley.

Charter for Childhood is a two-pronged attack on the commercialisation of childhood, calling for restrictions on advertising to children and better provision for outdoor play.

Childcare professionals from all over the globe can find common ground at conferences, says Helen Penn.

SAPHNA, the School and Public Health Nurses Association, welcomes the Government's White Paper Care Matters, and recognises it as a valuable vehicle for improving the poor outcomes, particularly in relation to health, of looked-after children and young people.

There are many theories of children's play. I doubt that any of them, even combined, fully encompass the range of activities and experiences that children undertake as play.

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