Tuesday, April 17

safety in school

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.


  1. Children need these little 'risks' in life to enjoy what childhood is all about. Maybe after school you can get a little group together & all go to the playground together so the teacher can see no ones afraid of dirt

  2. I wonder what it was that makes Italians so afraid of the weather/dirt/playground. Very strange.
    Hey, good luck on quitting your job!

  3. For the LOVE!!! They might as well stuff the kids into small individual cages and pass them their lessons through the designated slot in the cage door! How ridiculous!

    For the record, The Brit shamelessly eats food that's fallen on the ground as well as food that is well beyond its expiration date (blech!)...and he has an impenetrable immune system. He NEVER catches my colds!

    Clearly, germs are NOT getting the respect they deserve!

  4. they are SO arrogant about this cleanliness and cold air business (is IS true, don't try to convince us otherwise--we live there) that the irony (and hypocrisy) of infants in laps of women in the front seats of cars never escapes me.

    and don't get me started on the fact that many of these children are kept safely closed inside of a house filled with smokers.

  5. I can not believe these Itlaians ( so called and sterotyped) being full of them selves and superior, are afraid of everything that comes thru fresh air and normal life! Let them have kids that need to be protected by their mothers till they are in thier mid 40's and let them breed a whole bunch of weird children that will be studyed by the physchotherapists of the world for their odd OCD triats that occur....oh come on Positano it is 2007 - not AD...D x

  6. My son's school is the complete opposite. He regularly comes home with filthy hands and loads of germs. Such should childhood be, right?...

  7. Will they let the kids play outside now that the weather is warming up? They'll still get dirty.

  8. oh my goodness, how frustrating that must be! what is wrong with those people?!? props to you for having the courage to speak up.

  9. ...and this is why I CANNOT understand why people move to live here.
    I was born here, married/had a child/work here and unfortunately have to struggle and fight this contorted way of thinking and acting but you...you people...why in the name of the Lord do you move here when you have much better school/medical/social systems???
    This is a mere question I constantly ask myself, not an accusation, please don't get this wrong.
    Because I would move out of here in this very minute, if I could.

  10. Time to post this on the town web site. Does the teacher have children of her own? Good luck!

  11. Kids shouldn't be placed in plastic bubbles. I'm with you - reopen the playground. Clean it up, or something, but let the kids have a place to play - OUTside!

    The cactus looks fab!

  12. I am an elementary teacher in Minnesota and our kids go outside every day unless it is lower than zero degrees Farenheit!

  13. I am Italian. I have travelled and lived around Europe a lot (spain, Greece, Uk, Belgium, France). Those countries were giving me many good job opportunitiers which my home country was not giving me. So I felt welcomed and accepted (which quite never happens in Italy were foreigners are considered as people getting jobs destined to the Italians….).
    Our cultures are different. According to me many things of the places I have lived in were absolutely ok, but many others were wrong. But never never never complained about what, to me, sounded a negative aspect ‘cause I had chosen to live in a foreign country and it was me who was supposed to accept what I liked and what I don’t without judging.

  14. But the real question is...does the cactus still have it's eyes and lips?!?!


  15. I think organizing a group to go out an play sounds great. Kids need fresh air. You have been fight this battle for a while. It's a very small town, where generations of families have lived forever. I doubt there are going to change, unless you rally a majority of the parents.

    To the anon poster saying the Italians were raising weird kids who live at home til their 40s and will have OCD, at least none of them have slaugtered 33 kids on campus. (there was a shooting at Virgina Tech this week)

  16. how does this school contain those wily little kids that just can't sit still for more then a half an hour at a time? I suppose they drug them with some drug to keep them in a zombied state.

    Dirt is the natural way to buld ones immune system. I do not know if it is true but those in the most impoverished parts of the USA during the polio epedemic tended to have less children inflicted with the disease. On the other hand the upper middle class children who lived in less soiled environments were hit the hardest.

    Do you thik Angelina Jolie is as prickly as a cactus?

  17. Ahh, seeing that picture has made my afternoon! I hope it stays up for a while and makes lots of people laugh! Daniela

  18. Love your cactus darling...lets hope it stays intact for a few days at least!

  19. Em, I think you forgot something. Don't you think he needs a warm wooly cap? Afterall, he may catch a chill from the cool fresh air, and die . . . oohhh noooo!
    It seems they keep coming up with new excuses as to why it is not ok for the children to play outside, but I think it's more they can't be bothered?
    Keep being vocal and suggest change, it can't hurt and maybe, just maybe they might actually hear you one day.
    At least you get outside as a family.

  20. Niki I think I did not explain well the sentence you commented. I am not telling that the foreigners in Italy steal "our" jobs (as if jobs had a label on it!!!!!!!!!!)I was explaininig quite the contrary: Italians consider the foreigner workers as people taking our chances and I find it ridicolous (whereas when I was abroad people welcomed me even though I was a foreigner working abroad.....'cause only Italians could think such a stupid thing!).
    But if one (I do not mean You) chooses to live in a place he/she has to consider that cultures are different and that not because they are different from his ownthey must be necessarily wrong or must be criticized anyway!

  21. Niki,
    I like to read your blog because you deliver a fantastic style of writing about your life in Positano. Especially, for those of us who have never been there.

    You have every right to complain about the lack of exercise and fresh air that the kids don't get in the school. Hopefully, you don't give up and you'll be able to show a different side to a culture's way of thinking.
    What does your husband think? Does he back you up?

    What I'm appalled at is the comments posted here by so many pointing their fingers at the Italians and categorizing every Italian the same way. If it's the schools policy for whatever reasons, don't label all the italians the same way.

    When my family moved to the States and we complained about anything, we were told many times to go back where we came from. How funny, how so many Americans have to experience that.
    You're probably going to delete this comment, but at least you have read it.

  22. I was telling my husband (who's Italian and neapolitan, btw)yesterday about this situation you've been writing about in Positano and he was appalled by these stupid conditions! He told me that when he grew up in Monte di Procida that their professoressi would take them out into nature for lessons.

    His advice was "tell her to call striscia la notizia". Just want to say brava for speaking up...and wondering if there's other italian moms there who feel the same way as you?

  23. in response to nyc/caribbean ragazza
    "To the anon poster saying the Italians were raising weird kids who live at home til their 40s and will have OCD, at least none of them have slaugtered 33 kids on campus. (there was a shooting at Virgina Tech this week)"

    Oh come on... please, so you're trying to say the italian "mammone" culture impedes these things from happening here? well maybe you should read more italian news because there are MANY crimes & murders here too (apart from the mafia ones). the only difference is that in italy guns are NOT easy to obtain, so instead we hear about people (men, women & children) being stabbed, strangled, or slaughtered. read up on your news before making such a huge generalization. mi dispiace!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...