DER Documentary

Vermont Kids

Vermont Kids previews of each film are below

by John Marshall
color, 58 min, 1975

NEW! Institutional Streaming Options:

I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

In the summer of 1975 John Marshall and Roger Hart documented the outdoor play activities of the children in a small Vermont town. Roger had just completed his dissertation from Clark University on the geography of children. John's 13 hours of 16mm footage comprised part of his detailed research on children's outdoor lives, studying the role of play in children's psychological development as well as its relationship to their understanding of nature and their surroundings. The long takes of children completely absorbed in their own private worlds provide a rare document of the complexity, creativity, and spontaneity of children at play.

A year after shooting, Roger received an invitation from the BBC to make a film on children's creative activity outdoors. John's footage of the children's imaginative play constituted more than half of the program Play and Place: Transforming Environments produced for the Open University division of the BBC. On the day of broadcast it was selected as the "Pick of the Day" by The London Times, and the director of the BBC called the film's producer from his vacation to congratulate him on the remarkably moving footage of children's free play.

Several short films were edited later but never released. DER is proud to present on DVD these four cinema verité shorts:

Playing House (12 min) launch preview watch a preview
In the Dirt (16 min) launch preview watch a preview
Treehouse (16 min) launch preview watch a preview
Sandbank (14 min) launch preview watch a preview

View more photos on

Related Resources
Roger Hart on Wikipedia
Article discussing Roger Hart's work: The Overprotected Kid, The Atlantic, by Hanna Rosin, March, 2014
Article: Interview with Roger Hart

Related Films
Hand Play

Catalog of New Films DER new films catalog cover
Join Our Mailing List
Suport DER
Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts