Kids as Advocates for Play

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All month, I’ve been talking about the importance of play. And all month, my focus has been on what adults can do to protect and rescue kids’ right to play. Well, yesterday my very own children reminded me not to underestimate the power of children.

My 11- and 8-yr-olds came home fired up. Outside recess had been cancelled — AGAIN. (The kids said it was because the adults said the playground was too icy.) Now, I don’t know how things were when you were a kid, but when I was a kid, even inside recess was active, at least most of the time. Sometimes we stayed in our classrooms and played board games, but most of the time, we were sent to the gym, where we could run around, play with balls and jump rope. Today? The kids get herded into the auditorium, not the gym, and it’s all quiet play. They can walk around the auditorium, but that’s about it.

So the kids started a petition. At school, at recess, they drafted a petition and began circling it among the students and teachers. At home, they refined it a bit. You should have seen those boys (two of mine, plus a friends from school!) debating word choice as they created their manifesto! This is what they ultimately wrote:

We have started a petition and we demand outside recess. We are sick of being inside all day long. All the grades that have recess demand for the right to be able to stay in or go out except for in extreme weather. For safety issues we request that you send home a permission slip and for those whose parents are not comfortable with this decision that way they can choose not to let their child/children have the choice.


Kids grades 3-6

I think they did a pretty good job of expressing their concerns and offering a solution. What do you think?

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