My kids brought home some interesting news from school today. Aparentally, the principal announced that it is no longer allowed for a younger student and older student to play together. In order for two people to play together, they have to be either in the same grade or one grade apart, either higher or lower. Trying to get to the bottom of it, I asked why. The answer that my kids gave me is because older students play rougher. Well, talk about taking the sledgehammer to a problem. My kids can no longer pay together at recess, even though for the last three years they have played together at recess at least once a week without incident.
Why on earth would someone want to prevent intergenerational play? It's good! Good for the younger kids to look up to the cool older kids. Good for the older kids to look out for the younger kids. If there has been an epidemic of injury to the younger kids due to rough play with older kids, I have not heard about it. If it has been a one case thing, well then GAH! (That was a scream of frustration, just to clarify.) Last week my five year old ran out onto the street without looking for cars. So, all five year old must now stay inside at all times. Got it! Oh, and on Monday, my almost ten year old fell down the ladder of her bunk beds so no more bunk beds for ten year olds, OK?
I want to address this with the principal. I think it needs to be addressed. It is a ridiculous rule that does not need to go into effect becasue 1) older kids are usually less rough when playing with younger kids, and 2) younger kids are just as likely to be rough with each other as older kids, meaning they can still get knocked down, bruised, scraped, bumped and whacked. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent these things from happening. If there is something happening, it needs to be addressed on an individual basis and stopped. But, to ban a grade seven student from helping his grade three brother and his friends practise some soccer moves? Yep. Dangerous!
I need to know what to say to the principal. I want to let her know the benefits of play between younger kids and older kids. I want to tell her how sweeping generalizations are never a good thing. I want to say that kids will get hurt and no amount of rules will ever stop this. I want to include something about putting kids in a bubble gives them an unrealistic view of the world. They will get hurt. It's going to happen. Let them Let them learn how to play with younger kids. Let them learn that sometimes it's not a good idea to play with older kids. Let them learn how to get along with each other. Don't isolate them. Include them.
So, how do I say all of that? And does anyone have a web site I could point her to?