BBC south today and the Bournemouth Echo have reported the most bizarre news story. A Dorset Montessori Pre-school has been banned by their council, and a government inquiry, from allowing the children to play or learn outside for more than 2 hours a day. I was gob-smacked and wanted to know what it was all about; here's what I found.
- the preschool nursery is in a converted house in a residential area
- the local residents have complained about the noise nuisance that the children create
- the preschool obtained funding and permissions to build an outdoor classroom
- the preschool would like to have learning opportunities outside in small groups; the free-play time wouldn't increase
- the majority of commenters on both the newspaper and news websites feel that the preschool should have the children inside
What is society coming to?
People used to be pleased to see kids outside and revelled in the sheer joy of childhood.
Since when was the noise of children playing a nuisance?
It always brings a smile to my face; it's the sound of hope and life and happiness.
Why aren't we encouraging children to play outside?
Society likes to critics parents for relying on the TV and computer games to entertain their kids; yet when kids do play outside its too noisy. This is not going to encourage parents to change things.
Is it a mere matter of time until we are chastised by our neighbours for the noise of kids playing in our own gardens?
This summer Rachel has played in the garden at least three hours each day; and sometimes we've been outside all day. It's not been overly noisy but it's been effervescent and energetic with sounds produced. That's the sound of family fun. I hope the neighbours like it. I like to hear their families, especially when they're with Rachel.
Let's encourage children to play outside; at home, at nursery, at preschool and at school; it's good for them and great for society to see that kids matter.
I have to end it there; Rachel wants to play out on her bike.