Thursday, June 02, 2005

Enough already with kid gloves (article)

It seems that many adults today regard the children in their care as fragile hothouse flowers who require protection from even the remote possibility of frustration, disappointment or failure. The new solicitude goes far beyond blacklisting red pens. Many schools now discourage or prohibit competitive games such as tag or dodge ball. The rationale: too many hurt feelings. In May 2002, for example, the principal of Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica, Calif., sent a newsletter to parents informing them that children could no longer play tag during the lunch recess. As she explained, "In this game, there is a 'victim' or 'It,' which creates a self-esteem issue."


Anthony Pellegrini, a professor of early childhood education at the University of Minnesota, has done careful studies on playground dynamics. I asked him what he thought of the national movement against games such as tag and dodge ball: "It is ridiculous. Even squirrels play chase."

This is a bit of a follow up to the red pen story that was discussed a bit back. Really, kids need to learn how to cope with failure, be it doing bad on school work, or getting hit in dodgeball. If we never let our kids fail then when they do in real life they will not have developed the proper response to it. It is stupid to not allow children to play competitive games. In Nicole's class when a competitive game was played the kids preformed better than when they were just learning the material for themselves. I think that a kid that is sheltered from competition will be woefully unprepared for life.

I mean I am still disappointed that the little league never kept track of win and losses in Garden when I played. (While playing soccer in Arizona we had a playoff system and even an All-Star game. I was 7 at the time and loved striving for a goal.)


Braveharte said...

Hey that's my prof! I had a class this semester and he asked me to do a book review on play behavior. He's the best and a strong advocate for maintaining recess in schools... Interestingly though, he is not as strong an advocate for organized sports and competition as he is for "free play". The competition seems to be less productive in its benefits than play that is non-competitive.

Braveharte said...
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