Bears, Broken Glass, and the Obvious Question

What do you remember from your childhood about playing outside?

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?


About Kim

Kim is an admitted ECE geek. She and Danielle have bonded over their shared geekdom and have come to terms with it. She is a pedagogical facilitator working with educators in a number of early learning settings supporting and extending new thinking and practice. She loves reading, writing, talking and sharing ideas about the potentials of teaching and learning with ece's and young children. ECE geeks unite!

2 thoughts on “Bears, Broken Glass, and the Obvious Question

  1. Kim. You are not a geek.I don’t find that word in the dictionary. We are passionately involved in children’s developement and like to be heard. It is upsetting to see the injustes we offer the children. It is upsetting to have so little influence in the day to day world of children.
    Again. Has it ever crossed your mind that some of these educators are still playing the same game as on their own play ground. Boss, boss, boss. Tattle, tattle, tattle.
    My sister is an ECE in Denmark, and in her facility, each educator have different levels of comfort when it comes to the freedom in play. But our American way is creeping in. What can be more boring than a play ground full of gravel, one climbing structure and limitied toys to play with for 16 children. No wonder they want to climb the slide. It is the only way children can use their upper body. If there is enough to do, children don’t fight and get into trouble. At least fewer children will.

  2. I think you make a great point, if we provide environments that challenge children to think, try, test, and explore there will be fewer “behaviour’ issues.

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