Just when you thought health and safety regulations couldn’t get any more bizarre we now have a headteacher banning running in the playground .
According to reports, the ban was introduced in a primary school in Cornwall in order to prevent injury and to reduce “negative behaviours”. In its place, break time activities such as Jenga and Lego have been introduced.
Naturally many of the parents of the pupils are none too happy with the new initiative and have signed a petition urging the head, Dr Tim Cook, to reconsider.
However, he has defended the ban stating “children are now more confident to play because [they] know they won’t be knocked into”.
Running is what children do. It’s how they interact with one another, play together, learn about spatial awareness, and, more importantly, burn off the abundance of energy that surges through their body.
It’s what they should be doing, every single day, as part of their development mentally, socially and physically.
NHS guidelines suggest children and teens should do at least an hour of aerobic activity every day and no prizes for guessing what its Choices website says is one of the best ways of achieving this activity – running in the playground.
Master A is constantly coming home with cuts, bruises and scrapes where he has either fallen off play equipment, tripped over while running or collided with one of his contemporaries in the playground.
It’s part of his growing up. The playground is his jungle where, like an animal in the wild, he learns about the world, how to negotiate its twists, turns and tumbles, and ultimately how to survive. It’s also where he can be spontaneous and enjoy imaginative and child-led play.
Put a curb on running, introduce teacher-led playground activities and one is in real danger of creating insipid, scared and unadventurous children – but, hey, they will be bump free.
Run, Forrest, Run!