This was supposed to be yesterdays post, but my husband gave me a good reason to rant yesterday, so here it is today, a little late but hopefully still relevant.
So, the fun police are at it again.
It appears we’re on the path to banning cartwheels and handstands in the school yard…
‘Drummoyne Public School said children could perform cartwheels and somersaults “under the supervision of a trained gymnastics teacher and with correct equipment. These activities therefore cannot be condoned during lesson breaks.”
Read the full article here.
True, it may be only one school to ban this particular activity, however there seem to be many schools that ban childhood fun, in one way or another.
- A friend recently told me that her kids’ school have banned running on the basketball court.
- Another school in our region has banned the playground game ‘Tiggy’ along with highfives and hugging, under their strict ‘no contact’ rule.
- A school in Queensland encourages students to play “safer” games like Chess and Snakes and Ladders at play time rather than running and chasing games.
- A Melbourne Primary School recently banned ball games in the playground before and after school hours, ie: in the 15 minutes before class starts and in the 15 minutes at the end of the day that you’re waiting for Mum to pick you up.
- Our school does not allow “Cowboys and Indians” or “Cops and Robbers”; no game that requires an imaginary weapon.
No, you’re not allowed to use your pointer finger to form a gun. Absolutely not.
Has the world gone mad?
Unfortunately I don’t think we can simply sit here and point our fingers in blame at the schools. We, the parents, need to think about and take responsibility for our contribution to the situation.
Every parent who has ever called the school angered at the lack of action taken when their child scraped their knee on the playground is responsible for this.
Every parent who has ever marched into the office demanding a meeting with the principal and some kids parents because he might have over enthusiastically lobbed a tennis ball, is responsible for this.
Every parent that expects a phonecall for every minor bump and bruise is responsible for this.
I kid you not, when I filled out the enrolment forms for my kids there was a question phrased just like this:
“Do you want to be contacted in the event of every minor incident?”
I didn’t just circle ‘No’, I wrote in big clear letters, ‘HELL NO!’
Questions like this are indicative of the expectations parents are placing on the organisations that care for our kids. We are forcing our schools to protect themselves from the wrath of over protective parents.
I know every parent wants to shelter and protect their child from harm.
I am no different. I promise.
But surely we understand that some childhood injuries are a rite of passage. Injuries such as a scraped knee, or a bruise, or perhaps a black eye from a poorly aimed footy.
Surely we understand that 8 year old girls are not in any way tumbling across the school yard with the height and speed of an olympic gymnast. They might be lucky to get in one wonky cartwheel before they fall 30cm to the ground.
Dubbed “helicopter parents” due to their incessant hovering, many Mum’s and Dad’s simply do not allow their children to go outside, dig in the dirt, climb trees or build cubby houses. These are the ones who launch an inquest into the cause of the new bruise little Johnny is sporting.
You’ve seen them, at the park less than 1 step away from their child saying ‘No don’t touch that’, ‘No, you can’t go there’, ‘No, that’s not safe’. They’re waiting for a disaster and are right there, in their childs pocket, just in case. They wouldn’t dream of watching from a park bench at the perimeter of the park and allowing their child to figure things out for themselves.
Childhood hurts are a rite of passage.
I know that my kids might fall and scrape their knee on the basket ball court. I know they might bump heads, or fall over. They might cop a black eye or a split lip when a footy is hurled at their face. They might break both arms when they fall out of a tree.
I also know that they will survive. They will heal and learn and grow and live.
The fact is that very few playground accidents result in significant injury, most can be fixed with a Tinkerbelle bandaid and a kiss.
So, relax fun police. Let the kids be kids.
If you’re interested in real childhood injury statistics, you can find them here.