My heart goes in my throat every time my kids start moving quickly. Four, five, six and seven-year-olds may think they have all the speed in the world, but that gangly run where they can’t quite control their legs that are a quarter-inch longer today than they were last month just makes me nervous.
“STOP RUNNING!” I often scream as they burst down the sidewalk. I know the toes are going to get tangled and a face plant is coming — the ripped out knees, scraped elbows, and chewed up chins are proof.
So when a letter that has gone viral among local parents landed in my Facebook feed, I didn’t share the same level of outrage other parents were displaying.
The grade one teacher sent the note home to the parent of a boy who was “involved in a chasing game with other children in our class at recess.”
“There are many fun and safe ways to spend recess,” the note continued. “Chasing is dangerous because we can lose control of our bodies and others can get hurt, as they did today.”
“Maybe he can imagine he’s having fun,” the parent who posted the letter mocked on a since deleted Facebook post.
“Hahahaha that made my day!!! #stopthechasing what a joke,” chimed in a friend.
“Both children chasing and the children being chased have a responsibility to stop the chasing games,” the teacher’s note warned.
I didn’t join the mockery, I wanted to know the rest of the story. The child in question is six. We get how six-year-olds are. They run and chase and flail and push. A simple game of tag can turn into tackle football — or at least look like it.
So I get why the teacher was trying to change behavior after a student got hurt. Is sending a note home in the last ten days of school the best approach? Likely not.
Is dropping a “stop the chasing games” line into the letter going to win you friends? Just look at the mockery that ensued especially when the chasing game freeze tag is suggested as a replacement.
But I still get what she was driving at. School play areas are covered in slippery gravel and pavement. My sons have blown many tires simply running after a ball bouncing down the street. So it will happen. Kids will fall, they will get hurt. Kids don’t know their personal boundaries which is why we’re constantly reminding preschool kids to “use your words” instead of hitting, biting, or acting out to get their way.
My son recently took up skateboarding. A new survey says parents deem it to be the most dangerous sport for kids. Still, I’m encouraging him to fall, get up, try again, and learn his boundaries. I’d like to think this teacher was trying to teach boundaries, but instead slipped into a bubble wrap trap.
What do you think? Should we ban chasing games?