Today was my 6 year old daughter's first day at school. She
is in the first grade. At dinner, she told us she played a game
with her friend at recess. She explained they turned it into
a walking game. After I asked what she meant, she explained they
were not allowed to play chasing games during recess.
PE and recess cutbacks across the nation and in light of the
national obesity epidemic, it would be preposterous to even imagine
school districts banning these sorts of running games. Dodge
ball has even been banned from the games children can play, even
in PE class (if there lucky enough to have that). Children have
been playing these sorts of games since the beginning of history.
A quick search on the internet found many schools around the
country forbidding children from playing chasing games:
After thinking more about this, I now remember picking up
my daughter from kindergarten last year. I recall on several
occasions seeing some overweight teachers yelling at kids to
stop running- even if they were running a reasonable distance
away from the other kids. These same teachers also kicked these
kids off of the playground equipment. In all fairness though,
the teachers cannot be blamed for enforcing the rules.
Safety, violence prevention, bullying and potential lawsuits
from parents are the main reasons schools have instituted restrictions.
School administrators claim chasing games are dangerous (author's
note: we wouldn't want anyone to fall and scrape their knee!).
It seems to me schools should just worry about violence and be
happy these kids just want to run, play tag, recreate, and be
physically active on school grounds. There's a difference between
fighting, groping, and bullying versus bumping, tripping, or
falling into someone. Kids should be taught fair play and respect,
not have childhood traditions taken away from them, least of
all, running games such as tag. I'm sure glad when I was a kid
school administrators could stand up to some whining parent whose
kid got a boo-boo on the playground. School administrators and
policy makers have taken the easy road at our children's expense.
The real danger is not allowing our kids the opportunity for
spontaneous and interactive play. I'm sure the policy makers
have their rationale, but these rules further erode opportunity
for our children to receive the suggested minimum hour per day
of moderate to intense physical activity. Sure, children maybe
saved from a few bumps, bruise and scrapes along the way, but
they will ultimately pay for these sorts of policies with their
health and fitness later in life.