Monday, October 10, 2011

Can anyone explain this to me?

While I was on the way to drop off my neighbor's boy at school today, I realized that we were a bit earlier than usual.  So I turned to him and said, "Oh, we're kind of early!  That's ok, because you'll just have more time to play on the playground before school starts."
him: "We don't play on the playground. I'm not in kindergarten.  Only the kindergarten plays on the playground."
me: "What do you mean?? The big kids don't get to play?  Why not?"
him: "Only the kindergartners are allowed on the playground.  We just have to walk around in a circle."
me: "Seriously?  Don't you want to play?"
him: "It's ok.  I don't really like the playground."
me: "We go to the park all the time!  I know you like to play on playgrounds!  Seriously?  That's just weird."

By this time we had arrived in the front of the school and I could see with my own eyes what he was talking about.  In the foreground were the kindergartners playing and having fun.  In the background were all the other students, carrying their backpacks and walking in line in a huge circle around the playground while a couple adults stood sentry. 

I was shocked!  I wanted to jump out of the car and go shake the kids and say, "What are you doing?? Don't you know that you're kids??  Don't you know that you should be playing??"  And then I want to march to the principles office and demand an explanation.

Is this normal?  I remember when I was in elementary school that the time before the bell rang for the day was considered first recess.  And I wished sometimes that Mom would drop me off earlier so I could have more time to play with my friends before class started.

So, is this normal for elementary schools now?  Has this always been the norm?  (Was my old school weird?)  Is this just another sign of public schools going down the toilet?

Update:  I talked to the school today.  Read the update here.


  1. Holy Cow!!! This is a sign that the school has forgotten what it's there for. Kids are kids, not robots. They learn from playing. If they don't want to deal with the problems of kids on the playground then they need to find a new occupation.

  2. WOW that is scary. What school was that? When I worked/volunteered at Cowan the kids played before the bell rang. That school needs to be reported. It is just wrong. Kids need to be Kids...

  3. Usually schools have a kindergarten playground and an older kids playground because Kindergartners often get trampled if the older kids are playing with them. Maybe this school doesn't have that. That's the only reason I could think of that the older kids wouldn't be allowed to play with the younger ones. I'm sure they are not prohibited from playing on the playground all the time. Unless they are, in which case that school is weird.

  4. That sounds like PRISON!!!! I remember playing and having fun every morning before school started for the day. You should really talk to the school or something because that is ridiculous!

  5. Katrina: on the nose! Hubby's first thought was that it was like prison, too!

  6. We had two playgrounds when I was a kid. A kindergarten playground and a "big kid playground." We weren't allowed to play together because 5th graders are WAY bigger than kindergarteners. Maybe this school doesn't have two playgrounds and they have to split time? But the whole walking in a circle thing is kind of strange.

  7. That was what Madelyn had to do last year. And they weren't allowed to run on the playground either. I felt so bad every time I dropped her off and had to leave her there. This year she is in a different school. I like it so much better, I can see the difference. And they can play!!!