Experts "teach" gov't school children "How to Play"-Article. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Program shows children safe way to play

Willoughby Mariano Staff Writer

Nothing's wrong with recess, but something's missing, said fourth-grader Chris Viceconte of Riverside School, during lunch Thursday.

Classmate Ian Brash said he's noticed it too. They've spent some of the 15 minutes of free time sitting around talking or bouncing a ball by themselves on the blacktop.

"It's not as fun as you really want it to be," Chris complained. "But it's recess. You're supposed to have fun."

Maybe they feel left out, Chris said.

Or maybe just bored, although that's not the right word either, he continued.

Whatever it is, students at Riverside School who want to improve their playtime are being taught by a team of consultants how to play and how to teach younger students to play with them.

In a hallway outside the gymnasium, two consultants from Project Adventure of Beverly, Mass., reviewed a game called 'Aroochycha' with 17 fourth-grade volunteers.

'Aroochycha' requires that the children stood in a circle, sticking out their thumbs, bending their knees and spin to a chant they've memorized. It differs from traditional games in that there are not winners and losers, only group participation.

This was the fourth-graders' last-minute preparation for their debut after lunch, when they would teach first-grade students how to play.

Consultant Lisa Faulkingham gently reminded students that their play, though organized, is still play.

"There is no big book somewhere that says 'Aroochycha' has to be played like this," Faulkingham said.

Once they complete their training, these kids will become Riverside Rangers, leaders on the school playground who organize games safely, school Principal John Grasso said.

They also may learn skills that some parents and organizers believe today's young children don't have time to develop in their highly structured lives.

Parent Margaret Harris watched to the side, taking notes with a pad of paper and pen. This effort began last year as a playground safety measure, but she soon realized that what she considered ordinary child's play is also a form education, Harris said.

When she was young, Harris said, she traveled with her friends in packs and learned through their daily contact how to treat other people, lead and accept children who were different than she was.

"You don't see kids out playing anymore," Harris said.

Without this free play, even well-educated and well-rounded children can be incomplete, said Colleen Morey, who coordinates district physical education programs. Unless they're taught, children may be too impatient to work with other human beings. Some learn that taunts, teasing and even bullying is acceptable, while their victims may not know how to cope. On a rare occasion, some children lash out violently.

Yesterday, most of the play leaders were concerned with smaller issues, such as getting to know their young charges.

"They're very playful," Carson Davis, 10, said of the first-graders. "You want to be able to actually know that you can deal with these kids."

Play was hard work, though. By the time she, Chris, Ian and three other fourth- graders arrived at their assigned classroom, a number of the 22 first-grade students they were supposed to train were not inclined to stand quietly in a circle.

A few lifted chairs over their heads and insisted on placing them at the circle's center. A couple interrupted Ian as he gave instructions to 'Aroochycha' by breaking into the circle, pretending they were wielding pistols.

One boy insisted on riding his chair around the classroom shouting "Beep! Beep!"

The Riverside Rangers played on. Most of the first-graders followed.

Meanwhile, Chris leaned out of the circle and touched the boy on his shoulder.

"You can't do that," Chris whispered. "Other people want to play."

The boy said he didn't want to play any more, and chose to return to his seat. But by the time the game was over, he chanted along too.

"Aroochycha," he said from his desk.

This article can be found in Greenwhich Time. March 27 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I know we have gone over the subject of gov't schools alot, but the examples of the idiocy/evil/socialist-leaning/Politically Correct nonsense is never-ending.

No winners? No Loser?


Group-think (Heaven forbid, individuality would be esteemed)

EXPERTS?? To TEACH children how to play?? Oh, brother!

Oh well, you get the idea. Just thought I'd show another example of the waste-land.....

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (, March 29, 2001


Mind-boggling. It won't end until we successfully tell the govt. to get out of our lives. I thought that was what freedom was all about. I think I'll go watch Braveheart and The Patriot again.

-- melina b. (, March 29, 2001.

Hi Wendy,

I guess games like Red Rover, Duck-duck-goose, capture the flag, dodge ball, and good ol' fashioned "TAG" are politically incorrect. *sigh*

I'll bet not one of those so-called "experts" can climb a tree or even build a tree house out of scrap lumber without doing an environmental impact study first! Some of my best days were spent trying to see how high I could climb before my mother yelled at me :)

And what about pumping yourself higher and higher on the playground swing and then launching yourself off the seat at the highest point of the arc? A clean knee is a weak knee!


-- Craig (, March 29, 2001.

Yeah, I'm still thinking about the Patriot, myself... I think this weekend our homeschool is gonna teach the students how to build a turkey pen. We've got 12 little bronze breasteds coming around May 1st. If there's time, we'll build a little plywood brooder box too, that the kids can sit around and point fingers at the smaller weaker creatures inside and chant: "illeatcha - illeatcha - illeatcha..." and teach them how to be safe and not touch the bulb of death.

-- Action Dude (, March 29, 2001.

Can someone define the differance between government school children and regular school children?

-- mitch hearn (, March 29, 2001.

Mitch, I think you are on the wrong forum buddy. Maybe you should go play with others somewhere else. We are all nice to each other here.

-- his (, March 29, 2001.

Could you provide a full reference for this article? I'd like to cut- and-paste it but I know I'll be called to provide *proof*. TIA

-- Hoosiermom (, March 29, 2001.

Scarrryyyyy! This is almost more frightening than some of the more noticeably bad programs in our schools now. You don't teach children to play except teach them some rules for more organized games. Kids are just born knowing how to play and create. I was once watching a nature show about dolphins and the scientist said that one sign of higher intelligence is playfulness. This is one reason they consider dolphins to be fairly intelligent. The same thing can be said of humans. I probably learned more while playing when I was little than I ever did in any book at school. My kids have come up with a new game they play on the back porch. They set up a card table and one of them gets a hammer(gavel) and something for a 'robe' and that one is the judge. The other child plays several roles...bailif, lawyer and defendant. They swap out every so often and try to come up with the proper names of the 'crimes' committed and the corresponding laws. Some of the crimes are pretty silly. Lol...I love to watch Law and Order...I guess that is where they got it from. They came up with this on their own with no prompting from me(actually I tried to discourage it at first...they were using MY hammer).

-- Amanda in Mo (, March 29, 2001.

Can someone define the differance between government school children and regular school children?

-- mitch hearn (, March 29, 2001.

Mitch, I think you are on the wrong forum buddy. Maybe you should go play with others somewhere else. We are all nice to each other here.

-- his (, March 29, 2001.

Hey "his",

Can you explain to me exactly where in Mitch's post he was NOT being nice?

And I think it's a legitimate question that he raises... What IS the difference between "govt school children" and regular school children?

Oh, and by the way "his", you are NOT the arbiter of who can and cannot post on this forum. Just thought you needed to be reminded of that fact...

Ta ta.

-- WTF (want@to.know), March 29, 2001.

-- --- (clean-up@crew.xox), March 29, 2001.

Seriously--and while some people are nice on this forum, I've noticed the 'niceness" disappears as soon as dissent is expressed.

-- Betsy in NY (, March 29, 2001.

Nevermind, I see now that it WAS referenced. That's what I get for trying to do too many things at one time. Thanks for posting the article!


-- Hoosiermom (, March 29, 2001.

Wendy, I probably forgot to say it, because I'm such an Ignatz, but THANK YOU for taking the time to post this. It does indeed seem very silly, and very typical of today's school system's "advanced-thinking- department"

-- Action Dude (, March 29, 2001.

Mitch...I am from Canada,and a home schooler I may be guessing but I think a government school is another name for public school.Your question is legitimate,don't know what the problem is?..teri

-- teri (, March 29, 2001.

Sorry folks,just found out what Mitch"s problem is when I read Hoot's latest post.BE nice Mitch.

-- teri (, March 29, 2001.

Is it okay if I ask Action Dude what is an "Ignatz"? I have not seen that term. If someone thinks this question is controversial, I don't intend it that way, sorry!

-- Joy F (So.Central Wisconsin) (, March 29, 2001.

Probably Ignatz the mouse, who loved his/her (I never got that sorted our) "Little Angel" Krazy Kat (cartoon, in case you hadn't guessed).

-- Don Armstrong (, March 29, 2001.

Don Armstrong is correct. Ignatz was from the cartoon. Lovestruck was probably why she was so distracted.

-- The Action Dude (, March 29, 2001.

(guess I'm showing my age...)

-- The Action Dude (, March 29, 2001.

It's pretty sad when kids are so used to television and vidio games that they aren't passing on the good ol' traditional stuff.

-- Connie (, March 29, 2001.

I guess I have a different perspective. I've seen kids playing that game and they love it, it's a riot. If anyone started playing it, every kid would drop whatever they were doing and run to play. It doesn't necessarily have to be "instead of," but "in addition to."

-- Betsy in NY (, March 30, 2001.

Unfortunately, far too many children in urban centres never know the kind of group play we took for granted even 15 years ago. They're always in home, in daycare, in school, and always supervised by adults unless they're watching tv or on the computer. Unstructured, unsupervised group play teaches kids all kinds of skills: negotiation, co-operation, sharing of equipment, compassion for those less fortunate, standing up to bullies.... How can they learn these things if they're never allowed to sort (even fight!) out situations on their own? I think the program in this article is a very sad necessity given that we have created a society in which it is no longer safe for children to play.

-- (, March 30, 2001.

"Can someone define the differance between government school children and regular school children?"

Much could be said, but rather than go into a lengthy dissertation exploring the differences, I would simply offer this: Indoctrination vs Educating.

In-doc'tri-na'tion - 1. To instruct in a body of doctrine. 2. To teach to accept a system of thought uncritically.

Ed-u-cate - 1. To provide with esp. formal schooling; teach. 2. To stimulate or develope the mental or moral growth of.

There IS a difference. Thanks for asking.

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (, March 31, 2001.

Thank you Wendy. Being an old hermit with no children makes me unaware of currant trends in education and I asked the question honestly since the original question did not define the differance. Possiably all people whom enter questions could more carefully word their statements and not assume that everyone else thinks in the same nitch or patterns. When I read "government school children", it sounded like the government were raising their own, i.e. the master race, hitler, ect. Yes I can be a bit viperous, or call it an arrid sense of humor, (your choise); I find that keeping people alert makes communication much more efficent and if you disagree with me either give me your meanest look or put another chek mark in the "does not play well with others" box!

-- mitch hearn (, March 31, 2001.

It does appear odd that children need to be taught to play. But today many children are not safe outdoors alone or in groups. They live in cities where violence on the street makes outdoor play risky at best. I work in a small but growing city and I have children that I work with who have no other place to play but school. They live in apartment buildings with no yard or playground. Their mothers are frightened of letting them play outdoors and have little knowledge or ability to provide toys and games for them indoors. Many of them (the mothers)don't have the experience of play themselves! I spend much of my time teaching children how to play and then, how to play with other children. It would be easy to place blame, but I find it easier to think of solutions. Teaching children how to play involves lots of playing with them-quess that's why I love my job-I get to play alot!. Even in the suburbs the fear of too much free time for the child has led to overscheduling of sports, clubs, and lessons. These children don't really know how to play either. Not in the sense of imagination and improvision. The world is not the same place it was for children when I was growing up free as the wind to go as far as my legs and bike could take me. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could make the world a safe place for all the children to play in. Just a thought. betty

-- betty modin (, March 31, 2001.

This is for Amanda. Yes, children are born with the instinct for play. BUT not having the chance to use it pushes it into the background and what emerges may be 'unnatural'. I work with children who have communication and cognitive delays. (A four year old with less than 80 words recognizable and the ability to follow one step directions covers about 1/3 of the group I work with) What happens then can be interesting and unnerving to watch. You might see a child who plays with only the wheels on a toy car, or presses the same button over and over on an interactive device. You might find a child who cannot turn the trike around and ride the other direction. Some children pile the blocks the same way time after time-and have to be helped to find a new way or a new activity. (hours, days and weeks of the same stuff is not good for any one) Yes, the instinct to play is there, but it needs an outlet in order to emerge, and sometimes it needs direction. Many children do not have that outlet while they are growing and learning. Then they have to be taught how to play. It does sound strange but I have seen what happens to even very young children who have no outlet. I often think that some of the youth violence we see today is related to the unmet need to play. Just my idea... betty

-- betty modin (, March 31, 2001.

The difference between indoctrination and education is largely a matter of opinion, Wendy. And so what about chanting? "Red rover, red rover, send Johnny on over--" that's a chant too.

-- Betsy in NY (, April 02, 2001.

Thank you Betty, you said it so much better than I could. If infants are not properly stimulated (sights, sounds, smells . . .) their minds don't develop properly. Parents are scared (especially in the suburbs) and keep their children indoors or scheduled. It's easy to see how they could lose the ability to "play" at a very young age.

Here's a post complaining how the "government" is trying to reinstill child-ness into childhood inside the structure of the public school. How did teaching non-competitive games and leadership skills to fourth-graders become a socialist plot? Talk about paranoia!

-- Deborah (, April 02, 2001.

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