Dear Elementary School,
I’m pretty outraged that you banned running during recess.
My husband and I fought, really hard, to get our son into your great program. But we feel that, as of lately, we are being let down.
Our son is active, we know. He has trouble staying seated from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but what child wouldn’t? We fell in love with your school’s curriculum and your dedication to being a top tier school in our state, but there’s got to be a balance between education and giving these kids some time to blow off some steam.
They way things are right now, he has only one day a week of gym. When I was growing up, we always had two. I wasn’t like my son, as I dreaded those gym days and would have rather been chatting alone with my girlfriends or reading a book, but he loves it. He loves it so much that since first grade he has been telling his father and I that he wants to be a gym teacher when he grows up.
This is where we are already falling behind.
The problems started with gym class. Your teachers started using missing gym as a penalty or punishment for the class talking too much or misbehaving. Having gym is not a reward. Gym is a class. It’s also a part of your curriculum for the same reason as math – because kids need to learn how to adopt an active lifestyle into their entire life, just like they will need to use math to manage their adult bank accounts. Our kids have no future if they don’t learn at this age how important their health is.
We tried to be agreeable. Understanding even.
We nodded our heads and tried to accept this as parents. We made sure he got more park time on the weekends, and enrolled him in group swim lessons to balance out any physical needs that weren’t being met during the school week.
But then, last week, our energetic boy came home and announced a new rule: no more running around at recess. Instead, running was to be replaced with sitting. More sitting. As if being at a desk all day for an eight-year-old wasn’t enough, he had to figure out a way to keep his wiggly legs in his chair during what was supposed to be his free time instead. Yes, he could play board games with other children at their desks, but through my mom eyes, this just isn’t enough.
What is this teaching these students? As a healthy-minded mom, I want my son to grow up being active, and know that being active is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. Yes, we do our part as parents at home to reinforce this, but let’s face it — my son spends 40 hours per week with you, and we need to do better to give these kids some freedom to move around throughout the day.
I do worry about how this will impact him in the long run.
I don’t want to look back on his early years and feel like we made a mistake. Something needs to change for these children, or else we’ll probably be looking into other education options in the new year. While yes, I want our son to leave your elementary school, get into a good middle school, and eventually go out into the world with high testing scores and vast knowledge of everything he needs to be successful in life, I don’t want him to look back and feel like he spent his childhood sitting at a desk.
One concerned mom
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