Banning ‘Chasing Games’ Won’t Stop Kids From Getting Hurt

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chasing-gamesParents took to social media yesterday to complain about a letter sent home to a Calgary parent from a public school teacher who thinks chasing games are too dangerous for recess and need to stop. Really? What should we stop next? How about any sport that involves movement, as it may be dangerous for kids. This is unreal.

The letter says, among other things:

Chasing is dangerous because we lose control of our bodies and others get hurt, as they did today. Both children chasing and the children being chased have a responsibility to stop chasing games. If they cannot do this independently they are encouraged to see a supervisor.

The teacher indicated in the letter that one of the children in the group of six-year-olds got hurt or became upset while playing a chasing game. She recommends the children think of other ways to “play nicely at recess, for example freeze tag, imagination games, or use equipment.”

Isn’t freeze tag still a chasing game? Imagination games are okay – but I guess only the ones that don’t involve movement.

It’s impossible to totally prevent kids from getting hurt on a playground. Skinned knees and hurt feelings are kind of a part of growing up. Recess is where you begin for the first time to figure out how to be social on your own – without being under the watchful eye of a teacher. Yes, there is supervision, but it’s not the same as being confined in a classroom. We can’t shield our kids from everything that may hurt them. It’s important for them to learn to use their bodies in a physical way and what about the importance of some aerobic exercise?

Kids have to learn boundaries – and they do that through experiences like playing at recess. Growing up involves a bunch of trial and error and injuries. When I see letters like this, it makes me think that some adults have completely forgotten what it is to be a child. You have to allow kids to navigate stuff like this. They have to learn to play nicely – and they aren’t going to learn that by just ceasing certain types of play all together.

(photo: Olesya Feketa/ Shutterstock)