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Teaching kids the wrong lesson

After we heard about a Nashua elementary school’s decision to ban the game of tag at recess, we devoted last Friday’s Forum page to a look at other playground games being prohibited across the country – and around the world. Here’s what readers had to say:

Children must learn how to handle risk

Re “Tag – you’re it!” (Monitor Forum, Oct. 25):

We’re programming out the ability of our children to assess and handle risk. A student who is too rough with his or her playmates and is corrected by the teacher on duty learns something valuable. The child who is denied the opportunity to pay tag learns nothing.



In the real world, not all players are nice

Re “Tag – you’re it! (Monitor Forum, Oct. 25):

I find it totally insane that schools are obsessing on how children play games at recess. Isn’t recess where kids don’t have to do what the teacher says? Maybe the kids in Port Washington, N.Y., would learn more in class if their teachers weren’t supervising cartwheels at recess. Portland, Ore., has done away with playground swings, slides and seesaws.

Maybe the kids there will learn how to have fun with recreational chemicals instead.

Too bad that competition, innovation, risk-taking and even some peer-pressure stresses are being eliminated from our students’ lives. Where will our next generation of entrepreneurs come from? Being bullied isn’t fun. But it sure teaches how to deal with adversity a lot better than a program that cancels dodgeball so you won’t be the last one picked for a team. We live in a global economy, where not all players believe in being nice. I fear for our kids if we don’t teach them how to deal with a world in which success requires the ability to sometimes be “It.”



1950s restrictions

The recent news stories and Monitor’s Oct. 25 Forum page suggest that banning playground games is a relatively recent phenomenon indication that we are now raising “soft” children.

There were restrictions on “tag” when I was in elementary school in the 1950s.

For all of those years Germany (a fast and potentially rough form of “tag”) was restricted to the Germany Field at the far end of the playground.

For at least one of those years regular “tag” was restricted to the Germany Field with the clear goal of forcing out Germany without making a rule about it.

Perhaps toughness was more valued then.

If news reports are to be believed, the concern currently in passing restrictive rules is the safety of the participants.

The restrictions on tag were put into place largely because of the danger to non-participants.

No restrictions were placed on the jungle gym (which had many injuries) until after my time.



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