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Taking Away Tag

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In continuing with yesterday's theme of overprotecting kids, this story in The Washington Post talks about an elementary school in Northern Virginia that has banned tag from the playground. This isn't the first time I've read about something like this--it seems to happen every spring, with administrators banning the game because of student injuries (both physical and emotional) and parents crying foul while nostalgically looking back on their recess experiences.

What I do think is interesting about this particular case is this paragraph of the story:

Since the prohibition began early this month, physical education teachers have begun a "chasing, fleeing and dodging" unit in 1st through 5th grades. Students essentially play variations of tag, and the teachers remind them about safety rules and point out the athletic skills they can transfer to other sports, said Sue Straits, a PE teacher.

Maybe banning tag altogether is a bit extreme, but this seems like a nice compromise. Administrators are in a tough spot here--they have to make sure that students are as safe as possible and prevent as many accidents as they can while also balancing the "let the kids be kids" mentality of some parents. In this case, allowing students to play various forms of tag in a controlled environment may be a good middle ground for school officials, parents, and students.

1 Comment

Thanks for publishing a blog on an issue routinely underestimated by education reformers: motivation.

The key word in your commentary: nostalgic. Did you notice that the people supporting a temporary ban on tag were those who were actually witnessing the evolution of the playground games? Parents who believe that kids learn from tag are remembering a different playground, and a different time.

As for the mother whose daughter was hit in the head with a rock--of course, the school can't ban rocks, but you have to believe they looked for the rock thrower, and the jungle gym pusher, to set them straight.

I'm not sure this is a "spring thing." In my experience, playground games have become more aggressive over the years. The P.E. unit on chasing and fleeing was ingenious and an appropriate response.

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