Thursday, August 30th, 2007 at 4:06 pm in Kids & Tweens.
A Colorado elementary school has joined a half dozen other schools in banning the game of tag from recess. Running is OK, so long as youâ€™re not chasing anyone. (And letâ€™s face it, kids only run if thereâ€™s a purpose â€“ to catch someone or something.) The decision came after some children complained about being harassed or chased against their will.
Banning tag at recess isnâ€™t a new phenomenon. The first reported ban occurred in 2005. Since then, some elementary schools have added contact sports, such as soccer and touch football, to the no-no list. Schools follow this Trouble-Free Playground program as a means to reduce â€śsquabbles.â€ť Trying to protect children is understandable, even commendable, but striking tag, chase and 90 percent of sports from a kidâ€™s recess repertoire seems too over the top.
For starters, kids need to learn to settle their own â€śsquabblesâ€ť and better they learn how on the playground rather than being ill-equipped to do so in an office or boardroom one day. Add to that the fact that 1 in 6 children in the United States were overweight in 2003-2004 and the need for physical activity is paramount. Would schools prefer kids line up on a bench to play hand-held video games instead? Most wouldnâ€™t, which is why the National Association of State Boards of Education lobbies for recess time to â€śencourage physical activityâ€ť and build healthy schools.
Maybe the schools can establish designated areas instead. Reserve half of the playground for games of tag or contact sports. Let all the children who want less â€śphysicalâ€ť activity make use of the rest of the playground. In the real world, we call this compromise. Kids will need to know how to do that one day, too.
– Ann Tatko-Peterson