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Naked Children … at School?

nakedkidA New York Times piece on kids running around naked provoked discussion this week about whether and when it’s appropriate. The consensus seemed to be that anything goes in the privacy of the child’s home. Many said hosts should defer to guests’ comfort (if Grandma’s uncomfortable, then cover up those toddlers!). Some mourned the loss of the once uncontroversial state of undress.

But I wonder where the pro-nekkid people draw the line. What would they think, for example, of my daughter’s preschool, where the unofficial mantra could be summarized: if naked feels good, do it.

Everyone from the toddlers to the five-year-olds waiting to go to Kindergarten, nude and semi-nude kids are a common sight. Parents are warned in the mandatory pre-enrollment orientation that this can and does happen and that the school doesn’t discourage it. If parents are not OK with their little exhibitionists, the teachers will direct the child into some kind of body cover. Mostly, from what I can tell, anything goes.

I’ll also mention, this being Southern California, much of the school’s play areas, which are on a university’s campus, are outdoors. It’s fenced in but not totally out of view. Passers-by can see the kids in all their unfettered freedom.

My daughter isn’t big on stripping down when she’s not at home, and she thinks kids running around school in underwear is an odd choice. I’m so used to seeing all that skin that if I had any hang-ups with such a sight, I’m well over it.

I’ve even stopped defending the policy, which is locally kind of famous, and just shrug at the gasps. I know several older kids who graduated from this preschool and, rest assured, they keep their pants on in Kindergarten without even being asked.

Anyway, I know what you’re thinking: that’s SoCal for ya! And it’s true, I’m having a hard time picturing this scene anywhere else I’ve lived – if anything, the weather would prohibit it.

But maybe I’m wrong. Does your preschooler go naked at school? Would you be comfortable at a school where that is allowed?

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Photo: NY Times

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