When I first started teaching, one of the first purchases I needed was a warm winter coat and snow pants for recess duty. Kids are all running around and warm, but the adults are just standing there–watching, protecting…policing.
I think it is interesting how snow brings out the joy and excitement in children. One good snowfall and they are all rolling snowmen and trying to throw snowballs (without getting caught).
Years ago, the maintenance crew would plow the sidewalks and drive area into a long low “snow mountain”. The kids loved to climb and dig and slide. Unfortunately, that is a thing of the past–too dangerous.
The other “fun” children always enjoyed was an icy patch on the blacktop. They would line up to run and slide. Yes, sometimes a child fell. But I don’t remember anyone ever hitting their head or any major issues. But that too is now abolished. Salt and sand are thrown down to prevent slipperiness.
No “slips, trips, or falls”!!!
I remember slipping and sliding purposely on the ice and building snow tunnels–they never caved in and I was never suffocated by the snow.
You know, snow isn’t usually good for packing into snowballs or rolling to make snowmen. Here in Wisconsin, it is usually pretty dry and fluffy with a crust on the top.
This brings me back to my own childhood recess. I hated going outside for winter recess. I was one of those kids that would stand or walk with the teacher. The one who was always being told to “go play”.
Well, I solved that problem once…
It was mid-winter and Mary and I got our snow things on for recess. Our teacher, Mrs. Murphy let the class outside. My friend and I were at the end of the line and. we just. didn’t. go.
Instead, we skedaddled back down the hallway and continued to the boiler room which was just a bit farther down the hallway. Once there, Mr. Fry, the janitor met us and invited us to sit (on piles of old textbooks). Mary and I spent the next 15 minutes or so talking. When Mr. Fry heard the class returning, he said, “Well girls, it’s time to get back to class.”
I remember feeling very special that a grown-up understood me and was willing to spend time…just talking.
This only happened once, but I thought of it often as a teacher who made children go outside for recess!
Recess and recess duty are activities that I don’t miss in my current life. Let someone else dictate children’s winter fun.
As I drive slowly past a local school–Washington Elementary, the same one I went to as a child–I see the kids playing. It looks like they are having fun. My eyes also look for the teachers. They look pretty much like supervisors, monitors, and guards…
Thankfully, I’m not the snow police any longer.