Does your elementary school have rigid playground rules? - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
beru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 483
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

(Inspired by this thread: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1389452/do-you-let-your-child-go-up-the-slide/80)

 

I received a handout from school outlining the expectations for children at recess in elementary school.  This went way beyond being respectful of others, no bullying, no fighting, etc.

 

1. It outlined the rules of the games that they play: kickball, tag, etc. The rules outlined were the ones they are to use.

2. It states that children are not allowed to exclude any child from joining in who wants to

(I think I'll update this letter with the exact wording later.)

 

I am disappointed.  This is supposed to be "free play". They should be making up games and making up the rules by committee. #2 is a good idea in spirit, I would just rather instruct children on the qualitiies that lead them to the right decision than to put it out as a hard and fast rule. When it is stated as an absolute, they don't have to think about it.

 

*Later*:

Here is one example of rules:

KICKBALL EXPECTATIONS

  • ·         Three outs each inning.
  • ·         No bunting.
  • ·         Pitchers need to change each inning. No pitcher should repeat in any one recess until all students wanting to pitch have had a chance.
  • ·         No asking for specific types of pitches.
  • ·         Players must “tag up” after a caught fly ball or they are automatically out.
  • The kicking order remains the same throughout the game. Players should always follow the same player. The person who kicks last would be last in line the next inning.
  • ·         New players join the smaller team at the end of the line.
  • ·         2 outs per team = 1 inning at morning and afternoon recesses
  • ·         3 outs per team = 1 inning at lunch recess
  • ·         On base runners should not leave the base until the next player kicks the ball. Leaving early will result in an automatic out.
  • ·         Runners cannot advance on foul balls.
  • ·         No advancing bases once the pitcher has the ball.
  • ·         All players need to kick the ball from behind the plate

i

I understand providing a few guidelines but I don't understand why the kids can't alter these rules any way they like by committee.

beru is offline  
#2 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 06:33 AM
 
Imakcerka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 4,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)

The point it is to ensure the SAME kids do not get excluded EVERY SINGLE TIME.  And instead of singling them out and forcing people to include them the no exclusion rule applies to everyone.

Imakcerka is online now  
#3 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
beru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 483
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am very curious about others' thoughts on this.  I was one of the SAME kids who got excluded all the time, or at least picked last, so I am torn.  I would just prefer that my kids' freetime at recess is not spent in a microcosm that bears no resemblance to the real world - where people have to negotiate their relationships with others and where life isn't fair. I think this changes the nature and learning opportunities of recess. Isn't it social micromanagement?

 

In some ways, the arguments I am presenting - I am doing so as a devil's advocate.  I don't have a firm opinion on this. I am really just trying to think it through.

beru is offline  
#4 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 08:10 AM
 
contactmaya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,031
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)

I think the rule about not excluding kids is fair enough. The other rules seem very detailed....the fact is, school does not reflect the real world at all. If a person is consistently excluded from a bunch of people they dont get on with(or who lack compassion and sensitivity lets say), they can go elsewhere, and choose not to associate with them. In school, a child has no choice but to spend the entire day with these people.

 

There are different rules of discipline at school  compared to home, because of the large numbers of children involved, and the fact that it is a completely unnatural environment.

Imakcerka likes this.
contactmaya is offline  
#5 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 12:00 PM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,735
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I think the rules about not excluding are good, especially if the children are playing games with school equipment which tends to be limited in quantity and should therefore be shared. I don't think rules should be imposed that limit creativity and negotiations among children when setting up games unless safety is a concern.
One_Girl is online now  
#6 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 06:33 PM
 
grumpybear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 918
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Still collecting my thoughts on it but wow... how many playground aides do they have?

How do they expect these rules to be enforced. Because you know, if there isn't a consistent enforcing of rules, the rules will just serve to be more of a factor in arguments rather than harmonious playing.

grumpybear is offline  
#7 of 19 Old 10-12-2013, 07:56 PM
 
NiteNicole's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

I think they only have so much recess time and only so many teachers on duty.  To make a detailed list like that, it tells me they were having some problems.  The kids probably had more than enough chances to sort it out for themselves so instead of saying "no kickball" they said, here are the rules...because we all know that kid who wants to make up new rules all the time, right?  The truth is, some kids don't play fair and I do believe that fair play is something we should be trying very hard to instill when they're small.  Otherwise one day they're in charge of the government and when they don't get their way, they take their ball and go home and net thing you' know, we're on the verge of economic collapse ;-) 

NiteNicole is offline  
#8 of 19 Old 10-13-2013, 09:09 AM
 
SweetSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westfarthing
Posts: 5,007
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)

What else do they have rules about?  

 

If it were just kickball, then I would agree that it was about the kickball, but if it involves other games then I would tend to think this was overreaching.  Kids should have control of their own rules, and if something is really unfair that is what the teachers or aides are on the playground for.  I seem to remember having very distinct rules when I went to school (1970's) but I'm not sure where they came from, anymore than I know where the procedure for "Ring Around the Rosie" came from.  They simply Were, handed down from class to class, generation to generation, eon to eon.  

 

I'm not really sure about playgrounds in general these days, but one of the schools my girl scouts attend does not allow balls on the playground anymore (no foursquare?  no handball?  no kickball?  no soccer games?)  I'm always sad hearing stuff like this.  There's always a "good reason" for the decision, and  think that's sad.


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
SweetSilver is online now  
#9 of 19 Old 10-13-2013, 12:30 PM
 
contactmaya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,031
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

 

I'm not really sure about playgrounds in general these days, but one of the schools my girl scouts attend does not allow balls on the playground anymore 

I think thats appalling.

contactmaya is offline  
#10 of 19 Old 10-17-2013, 05:24 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,551
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

Kids should have control of their own rules, and if something is really unfair that is what the teachers or aides are on the playground for.

 

yeah, but that's a heck of a lot easier if there are some set rules and all the teachers and aides are enforcing the same set of rules. It is very confusing for kids if there are a bunch of different authorities and everyday the rules on playground are a little different depending on whose day it is to have playground duty.

 

The rules in the first post are clearly set up to protect weaker kids from being bullied.

 

I monitor a school playground, and our kids have a lot of freedom to make up their own games (such as one that involved a football, 27 players, and was played on the baseball diamond.) However, same basic rules such as those listed above hold for basic games like kickball and roll over to invented games.

 

Because if we don't do that, it turns into Lord of the Flies. Rather than kids working things out by committee, some kid ends up being Piggie. Who really wants that to happen?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#11 of 19 Old 10-24-2013, 12:08 PM
 
lrj85's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I really think the school is over reaching. I get we are trying to get our kids to be inclusive and not exclude other children. However a big part of life is negotiation and expectation management as well as problem solving. Having rigorous rules like for the kickball game that are actually enforced seems to rob the children of important skill building and character building opportunities. Can feelings get hurt in these situations? ABSOLUTELY but you know what part of life is dealing with disappointment and learning to negotiate the world that is not always fair. So I believe in more free range play. This attitude that everything has to be FAIR all the time is really not realistic no everyone gets included all the time and there will always be rule breakers but its important for children on both sides to learn there are social and environmental consequences to acting out or to be acted out on and how to deal with those things.

crunchymama19 likes this.
lrj85 is offline  
#12 of 19 Old 10-26-2013, 05:21 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,551
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrj85 View Post
 

I really think the school is over reaching.

 

no, a school putting in place rules that work for 75 kids to play on a playground together with a minimum of injuries and sadness isn't over reaching.

 

I get we are trying to get our kids to be inclusive and not exclude other children. However a big part of life is negotiation and expectation management as well as problem solving. Having rigorous rules like for the kickball game that are actually enforced seems to rob the children of important skill building and character building opportunities.

 

There are many, many ways for kids to build those important skills. Lots of those opportunities happen at school, sometimes during class and sometimes during open play. However, a kick ball game isn't the place to work them out. Its too many people.

 

Can feelings get hurt in these situations? ABSOLUTELY but you know what part of life is dealing with disappointment and learning to negotiate the world that is not always fair.

 

Because these kinds of things aren't fair to the exact same kids, over and over. Already, the game isn't going to be fair because some kids are naturally more athletic and some kids have had more opportunities to build their skills. Adding into that a child's ability to convince the others of the rules they want doesn't improve the situation for any body. 

 

A small group of kids can usually work together pretty well. But 30 or so kids really can't work something out in 20 minutes. No body would end up playing kickball.

 

So I believe in more free range play.

 

This is about recess, so if your child went to this school and felt the same way you did, they could go free play. If they wanted to play kick ball, they would also have that option. If they just wanted debate until either the most powerful kid won or the time was up, they would have to create that experience over something other than kickball.

 

This attitude that everything has to be FAIR all the time is really not realistic no everyone gets included all the time and there will always be rule breakers but its important for children on both sides to learn there are social and environmental consequences to acting out or to be acted out on and how to deal with those things.

If a child wants to play kickball on our school play ground, they will get to. Every one is included. Special needs students aren't tagged out, either. There are social consequences for rule breakers. One kid, who doesn't usually chose to play kick play, tagged out a child in a wheel chair, and the other kids told him off. (There needs to be an adult limit on what social consequences children are allowed to inflect on each other, or it ends up as lord of the flies.)

 

Life isn't is fair, and some kids are stronger, faster, smarter, more emotionally strong than others. The reason things like kick ball need to be as fair as possible is because so little in life is. ALL kids should get to play kick ball at recess if they want -- my god -- its one of the few things we can make fair.

 

Your precious snowflake will have plenty of opportunities to negotiate with others and exclude the slow kids. Schools are doing their job by making sure that ALL kids get to have a decent recess, not just the strong the ones.

 

You've never tried to make use that a child who was just put in foster care is doing OK at recess, or that kid in wheel chair has fun at recess. You really don't get how very, very, very uneven the field is. Rules help protect the kids who are struggling with so, so much -- heartbreaking things no child should have to deal will. Those are the kids you think need to learn that life isn't fair. They already know.

 

I'm sure your child could learn something by following the rules in a game that is inclusive.
 

One_Girl likes this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#13 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 07:28 AM
 
contactmaya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,031
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

Life isn't is fair, and some kids are stronger, faster, smarter, more emotionally strong than others. The reason things like kick ball need to be as fair as possible is because so little in life is. ALL kids should get to play kick ball at recess if they want -- my god -- its one of the few things we can make fair.

 

Your precious snowflake will have plenty of opportunities to negotiate with others and exclude the slow kids. Schools are doing their job by making sure that ALL kids get to have a decent recess, not just the strong the ones.

 

You've never tried to make use that a child who was just put in foster care is doing OK at recess, or that kid in wheel chair has fun at recess. You really don't get how very, very, very uneven the field is. Rules help protect the kids who are struggling with so, so much -- heartbreaking things no child should have to deal will. Those are the kids you think need to learn that life isn't fair. They already know.

 

I say, exclude the kid with the wheelchair....its an important lesson for the kid to learn after all....(just kidding of course).

 

Thanks for your post Linda.(on the move)

 

Like i said, school isnt real life. As an adult, i get to choose where i go and with whom i  spend  my time. Kids dont have that choice at school, weaker stronger,  insensitive, sensitive, smarter, cooler, not so cool, short sighted, long sighted, athletic, slower moving, whether or not they have chemistry, they spend all day together. (this is the worse part about school in imo)  Also, the numbers change the dynamics, that is why rules are important- i believe the term`for it is 'group dynamics'.

One_Girl likes this.
contactmaya is offline  
#14 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 08:14 AM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,735
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I think that in many ways school is like work and those rigid rules about inclusion are probably part of teaching kids how to get along in the real world at work. Getting used to having to get along with people at work even if you can't stand them is a good life skill. Learning social skills is very important for young kids who enter school still in that stage of rarely thinking beyond themselves and their wants and needs.

Kids are only at school about six hours a day leaving another six to eight on weekdays and fourteen on weekends and holidays to play and include or exclude others all they want to.
One_Girl is online now  
#15 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 08:39 AM
 
AllisonR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,137
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I feel like I am reading rules made for an extremely rigid place. Here there is huge emphasis about no bullying, playing in groups, sharing, not excluding. But playground, recess time, is do whatever you want, as long as you follow the above words. If you want to play ball upside down and backwards, fine. You don't want to play ball at all, you want to make forts out of the old christmas trees, fine. You want to go on the moon cars, practice tricks on your scooter, apply face paint, sit in a corner or chat on the swing, whatever. 

 

I have another thought though. Here it would be soccer that kids are serious about. In younger grades, it is whomever shows up and wants to play. But when they are older, if some of the kids (not the parents) wanted to have a more serious game, they might want to make such rules. But then these kids would get together and decide the rules for themselves, and inform everyone that wanted to join in that they could, but that they had to go with their rules. Kids that wanted to just kick the ball casual would have to do that with another group.

 

FWIW, I only see with one eye and don't have depth perception, so basically I stink at sports. When a game was mandatory I was ALWAYS LAST, every time. Did it hurt, yes. But frankly, a lot of other things hurt a lot more. I would have been happy to be living with the rules that my kids now have, to not bully, to not exclude, to share in play. Having friends and a good social life is much more confidence building than if you are first or last in a football game. I wasn't dumb. If there were all those rigid rules above were in place, I might not have been picked last, but I would have seen right through it. Kids today aren't dumb either. Rules or not, they know what it is all about.

AllisonR is offline  
#16 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 08:57 AM
 
JollyGG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,647
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I guess my question would be "how many balls are available at recess?" If there are sufficient balls that one group can devise whatever wacky game with their own rules they want to while another group plays kickball I see absolutely no issue with these rules.

 

There are games that have rules. My kids play YMCA basketball, there are rules to the game. If I don't want to follow those rules I don't sign them up for basketball. If my kid doesn't want to follow the rules as to how kickball is played then they are perfectly welcome to go find a different game that they do like the games for or go find creative play elsewhere.

 

I don't really have any problems with those rules.


Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
JollyGG is online now  
#17 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 08:59 AM
 
SweetSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westfarthing
Posts: 5,007
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)

I wonder though.... we still have not heard the context of this particular situation.  I don't think that having rules are always overreaching.  There could have been good reason at that school to institute PE-like rules to playground games.  I never, ever encountered those rules growing up.  If they were there, I had no idea.  I had a worse experience n PE, where everyone was required to play and the rules didn't quite even things out (dodgeball, anyone?) 

 

Conversely, just because rules can help smooth the chaos and favoritism, it doesn't mean their existence isn't overreaching.  Yes, they can help prevent singling kids out, bullying, favoritism.  But if those aren't present, and if incidences can be solved by an adult stepping in briefly, then why not give the kids some freedom and the chance to solve issues on their own?  The end result is not always "Lord of the Flies"

 

(Aside: My English teacher loved pointing out that the LOTF children were rescued by a civil adult from a naval warship who was involved in the oh-so-civil World War II.... oh-so-superior to that violent *chaos*, wot?)


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
SweetSilver is online now  
#18 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 09:51 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,551
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 30 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
 

I guess my question would be "how many balls are available at recess?" If there are sufficient balls that one group can devise whatever wacky game with their own rules they want to while another group plays kickball I see absolutely no issue with these rules.

 

We use a grocery cart to take balls, jumpropes, and hula hoops out to the playground. There is a lot of equipment, and most of it doesn't have much in the way of rules associated with it. Kids return the equipment to the cart after recess, and then it can easily be stored inside so it stays nice. We have a basketball court with 6 hoops, a ball pavilion that is painted for 2-square and 4-square, a soccer field (which follows basic soccer rules) and an empty field area for whatever (in addition to the kick ball field). Kids are welcome to make up all sorts of games, and that happens every single day. But if you want to play kickball or soccer, then you play kick ball or soccer to standard (yet simplified) rules. It lets those games happen and cuts down on kids just arguing. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
 

But if those aren't present, and if incidences can be solved by an adult stepping in briefly, then why not give the kids some freedom and the chance to solve issues on their own?  The end result is not always "Lord of the Flies"

 

Adults at our school step into playground situations every single day, encourage kids to speak to each other and work things out respectfully, help solve problems when that isn't working, make kids sit out when they are just unable to work towards solutions without resorting to fighting/screaming/etc.

 

Even with kickball rules, there are still tons of opportunities for kids to work things out, therefore, there are lots of times for adults to step in. Sometimes we need to have an adult on the kickball field to help enforce the rules, most days we don't.

 

However, one of the difficulties of recess is that there are so many of us who monitor recess at different times of the day: teachers, TAs, campus monitors (and some schools have parent volunteer help too) that having some rules predetermined so that all the adults are saying the same things is very helpful to the students. Dealing with so many children and so many adults is really quite different than taking your own 2 kids a couple of friends to the park. I feel like some of the solutions offered here don't understand this difference. On the playground I help monitor, about 15 different adults help monitor at different times of the day/week. It is SO MUCH easier for the kids when we are all saying the same things.

 

Also, most of the negative views on this thread assume that all children prefer to make up all their own rules without having them imposed by an authority. But what I see at school is that some kids want to play a game -- they want to run, kick, throw, score, and cheer for their team mates. That's fun for them. That makes a great recess for them. They don't want to spend the recess talking about what would make a good game, they just want to PLAY. Rules let that happen.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

 

....If there were all those rigid rules above were in place, I might not have been picked last, but I would have seen right through it. Kids today aren't dumb either. Rules or not, they know what it is all about.

 

 

I didn't see anything in the rules about how teams are picked, just that they need to be even. With those rules, you would still be picked toward the end (though before the kids with Downs Syndrome, wheel chairs, etc, who most likely weren't even at your school or you wouldn't have been last). What I see in the rules is an attempt to make sure every kid gets a turn. For example, the rule about how many outs are in an inning are different for 2 different recesses. I'm guessing that those recesses aren't the same length, so they need to have fewer outs during the shorter recess so more kids get to play.

 

Also, the pitch rule is so that as many kids as possible get a chance to pitch -- not just the same kid for the whole recess (which would also be the same kid at every recess).

 

I'd lay money that those rules have evolved over time to what actually works so the kids who want to can play kickball can. They aren't stopping other kids from doing other things.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#19 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 10:26 AM
 
SweetSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Westfarthing
Posts: 5,007
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

Also, most of the negative views on this thread assume that all children prefer to make up all their own rules without having them imposed by an authority. But what I see at school is that some kids want to play a game -- they want to run, kick, throw, score, and cheer for their team mates. That's fun for them. That makes a great recess for them. They don't want to spend the recess talking about what would make a good game, they just want to PLAY. Rules let that happen.

 

I'd lay money that those rules have evolved over time to what actually works so the kids who want to can play kickball can. They aren't stopping other kids from doing other things.

First, I'm not disagreeing with you across the board.  I don't see the existence of rules automatically being overreaching, and I certainly don't see rules as being something that is unwanted.  I think in the OP's situation, these rules did evolve over time according to need (though until we hear from the OP we can only debate the issue in general, and we are left guessing as to her school's needs).  

 

In my personal (and limited) experience, "rules" were there.  They just weren't top-down rules on the whole.  In dh's experience, there was some negotiating and changing of that day's rules of play.  

 

You could take that as an endorsement of your point of view (which I take no issue with, BTW) or mine, which is that top-down rules of play (specifically meaning as much detail as OP's example and not basic rules of fairness) should not be implemented without need, and then with as light a hand as possible.  


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
SweetSilver is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off