play time

I went to visit Braden's school today. I wanted to observe his recess. For the past few weeks his teachers have told me that Braden has been getting in trouble on the playground for fighting. I wanted to see for myself what was really going on.

Today he stayed mostly on the swing. Which was different from Friday in which he ran around with a group of boys like a pack of dogs bumping into and pulling people down into dog piles.

There are about a hundred kids on the playground at a time. With 6 adult supervisors. Which apparently is a really good ratio....at least statistically. Public schools are only required to have 1 or 2 adults per 100 students.

As I watched the kids today running around at full tilt, it seemed as if it was total chaos and madness. It is a beautiful playground, but I don't think that it is large enough to handle as many kids as they unleash on it. The adults all stayed in different areas of the yard. They didn't huddle together and talk. But still this one pack of boys dominated the play space. And I can see why Braden is attracted to this group of boys. They are the ones interacting and 'playing' with everyone.

To me it seems as if they are bored. With only one tire swing 4 regular swings 2 slides and a small monkey bar area I think they have 'nothing' to do. So they play chase. And they play tackle. And things are okay for awhile. But today I noticed one little boy shoving kids for the fun of it. Just every once and a while he walks up and shoves a kid to the ground. From the side, from the back, straight on... doesn't seem to matter. And then of course the other boys follow suit.

After 5 kids had been knocked down in the span of 5 minutes (by this one kid) I went over and walked him to his teacher. I explained what I saw happening and she tilted her head to the side and said... 'Yeah... he's been known to do that." She takes him from me and begins to talk to him about the situation as I walk away.

My first question is "well, if you know he is prone to doing that sort of thing, why isn't someone watching him closer?"

I know I don't know enough about this situation to make any sort of suggestions or formal complaints. I must do a lot more reading and observing. But it certainly was an education experience to watch all those little kindergarteners running around.

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