I received a warning phone call this morning that the teachers from the school had found out about the article I wrote on the playground being out of use. As I dropped Skye off in the classroom the teacher summoned me and took me outside to talk.
"I just want to get my facts straight," she explained. "I was told that you lamented about the playground being closed. Is that right?"
"Yes, I think that it is wrong to keep the children closed inside all day with no exercise. They should be allowed out to play." I thought it best to keep it simple, surely I didn't need to spell it out? But the reply I got left me thinking that whatever I said would not be understood by them.
"But the playground is dirty, did you not notice? We can't let the children out, they might get dirty hands and then put them in their mouths. We cannot risk the children getting sick."
Oh, this is ridiculous, I thought."But that is what children DO! They are supposed to play outside, get dirty and run around. You can't keep them locked up inside for seven hours! It's not natural. Children need fresh air."
The teacher looked at me and sighed."Well where you come from things may be done differently but here we do what we think is best for the children. Anyway we can't let them out too often, the playground is too small."
Huh? Too small, too cold, too dirty, too dangerous? Well I'm glad she explained it to me so well. I can rest assured that my daughter will get no cold fresh air and will not be at risk of grazing her knee or tripping over. She will not be trampled by hoards of children squeezed into a too small playground, or get ill from putting a dirty hand in her mouth.
Yes I can rest assured that my daughter will spend her day sitting safely on a wooden chair, breathing healthy over-heated, germ-ridden air, stuffing her clean paint and glue covered hands into her mouth with no risk of becoming ill.