Some educators and I have been talking about this and we’ve been writing down our stories;
As a child we would break glass bottles and then use the pieces as ‘covers’ for our flower and leaf arrangements…
There was a weeping willow tree that we used as a fort, we played in it for hours, we all knew we just needed to be home for dinner….
My brothers and I would use left over construction materials to build forts in the forest. We were told to make a lot of noise while we played there to keep the bears away…..
We used a rope to swing over a stream, but if you fell in you stayed wet all day, no matter what the season…..
We played hide and seek with all the neighbourhood kids and designated nine back yards as the game territory….
This leads me to think about discussions Danielle and I have with educators around rules, specifically the “slide rule”, you know the one I mean: no going up the slide, feet first coming down the slide, come down on your bottom please!
Danielle and I use this rule as a starting point for discussion, and boy, do we get discussion! Educators want to keep kids safe, they want to help avoid conflict, they want little kids to feel safe among big kids so they have the slide rule. All with the very best of intentions.
But it seems to me that we might be missing something when we create these rules, we miss that fact that kids can negotiate, that they they can take care of little kids, that falling off the slide might be worth the benefits of the great fun of climbing up it.
Reflecting back on our own childhoods might be a way begin to rethink some of the rules we have. Relative to broken glass and bears a slide is pretty tame!
Let me ask the obvious question…..did anyone ever tell you how to use the slide when you were a kid?