Counting on the swings is a form of socialism!

Janelle - posted on 02/01/2013 ( 48 moms have responded )

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Okay, maybe I'm over thinking this but I don't think its right when a child who enjoys the swings puts in the effort to get ready for school in a timly manner so he/she can be at school early enough to play on the swings only to be booted off by any other kid coming in late who counted to 30.

In our school (K-5) if the kids want a turn on the swings they pick a kid/swing and start counting to 30 (more or less, most teachers or yard duty don't even know the exact #. It seems to be up to the kids). Then the child they "counted on" has to give up their swing for the child who counted on them.

Is this right? Or is this teaching our children at a very early age that whatever they work for can easily be taken away form them by someone who put in little to no effort to get it?

How do we teach our children to share and put someone elses needs/wants before their own out of kindness and copassion if everything they have is forcefully taken from them? I have taught my kids to share because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to... (Most of the time. Come on, their still kids, but on their way to being great adults.)

So what do you ladies think: Is "counting-on the swings" fair? And is the "fair" thing the "right" thing to teach our children? Or is it possiably robbing our kids of true character growth? Obviously I have my opinonion but I'm open and I'd really like to hear yours.

~Janelle

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Jodi - posted on 02/04/2013

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"Or demanded the parking space I had gotten, Both *community property*, but I have the right to use those items until I am finished with them."

Actually, with things like parking spaces, in many areas here, you either PAY for your space by the hour, which at that point gives you some level of ownership, or there is often a time limit (i.e. 2 hour parking, 2 week limit on borrowing books at the library).

"How is *I will count to X number and then you have to get off* NOT demanding it? Asking would imply that there's the option to say *no*."

You're right, there is not option to say no. It is one of the rules they have set for the playground. It is the equivalent of the 2 hour parking sign ;) It isn't the child demanding. It is the child applying the playground rules that have been set by the teacher in order to manage the limited community resources. If you don't like it, buy your kid a swing for your backyard to have whenever he likes. But when you use community resources, you need to comply with the community rules set to ensure everyone has the opportunity to use them. When it is community resources, your child has no right to monopolise it, and every child has the right to have a turn.

"It was still not a big deal. I just tried harder the next day."

And my point is that sometimes, it isn't about trying harder, it is about being disadvantaged in other ways. Some children, no matter HOW hard they try will never get a turn if the attitude is about first in best dressed. And that is not fair either.

Jodi - posted on 02/03/2013

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"How would you feel if you went in to a coffee shop, bought a coffee and a donut, and some person, not a friend, but someone you may know in passing, or someone you don't know at all, demanded that you give it to them."

It isn't the same thing. That coffee and donut are YOURS becuase YOU paid for them, therefore they belong to you. That is where the choice comes in. It isn't the same as sharing common area playground equipment. If it doesn't belong to you, you don't have the option of whether you wish to share or not.

Besides, no-one was demanding anything. BUT schools need to find a way of sharing that works, and to claim that a system that is working is unfair because the child shouldn't be forced to share (as per OP) is just selfish. It's not his property, so yes, he should be forced to share.

"If a kid didn't get there early enough in the morning to get a piece of equipment, they waited until recess or lunch and made sure to get out as early as they could. If they didn't get it one day, they were quicker the next. It was never a big deal."

And this kind of attitude excludes a whole variety of children from the use of the common equipment. What if that child catches a bus in the morning and it gets there later? What if mum and dad simply can't get there earlier, should the child suffer because of that? What if the teacher kept the whole class in for some reason not necessarily that individual's fault? What if another teacher happened to let their class out early? What if your child decided to stay back and help the teacher with something because they were asked, and then misses out because of that.

Seriously, I am actually quite astounded at the selfish attitudes here that seem to think the children shouldn't be forced to share common equipment through whatever method works for the school. It isn't THEIR property. You have every responsibility as a parent to teach your children that when it doesn't belong to them, and it is common property, they MUST share.

Jodi - posted on 02/03/2013

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It's called sharing resources, and I have no problems with that. But then, I'm Australian, apparently we are socialists if you listen to popular belief.

With regard to teaching to share if they want to, not because they have to, that is all good and fine if it is THEIR property. But this swing does not BELONG to your son, so it isn't his right, any more than it is any other kid's right. It is there with the PURPOSE of sharing, so it isn't a case of whether your son wants to.

Jodi - posted on 02/18/2013

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"Jodi, do you happen to be a college professor?"

Actually no, I am a high school teacher, but I have a major in Sociology and Psychology in my University studies. However, ultimately, that is irrelevant. My views are those of a citizen as the world, a wife, a mother, and the perspective I have based on the society in which I live.......

"Have you lived in a country with socialized medicine?"

I live in Australia. So yes, I have.

"But the counting system described in this post sounds more like a corrupt form of Socialism that still leaves a lot of room for improvement. I would prefer a timer managed by an adult for this age group."

I actually agree with you here, I think there is a better way of doing it. But many of the posts here have focused on the "forced sharing" as being the issue, and this is where I totally disagree with them. While I understand there are possibly better ways of imposing the rules ( and I am sure the school would probably welcome constructive input), I don't see a problem with the forced sharing OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY. In life, we are forced to share community property/space. Every single day. And most of the time, that is quite fair.

Jen - posted on 02/13/2013

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The reality is that there are several instances in our adult life when we are 'forced' to share in a manner similar to 'counting to 30.' The two hour parking limit, the 30 minute / 1 hour computer times, 20 minute limit on the treadmill, some Paneras or McDonalds have signs requesting you sit at a table no more than 30 minute during a busy meal period... All of those are instances where an establishment is imposing a restriction on ADULTS to essentially make us SHARE something that belongs to SOMEONE ELSE so that everyone may have a turn. Do you all have a fit every time you see a sign announcing one of these restrictions?
My guess is that teachers / administration / maybe the kids themselves came up with the 'count to 30' rule to prevent kids from demanding that another kid give up the swing or whatever RIGHT NOW. So in the interest of fairness, the current occupant of the swing has the time up to 30 to 'finish' his/her playing before giving the other kid a shot. I'm surprised that nobody asked (or maybe I just missed it) what happens if the first kid starts counting to 30 once the second kid gets on? Wouldn't this help teach kids turn taking? I mean, we've all seen instances where a kid who is playing with a toy for 10 minutes 'agrees' to share with his/her friend, only to screech "MY TURN!" after the friend has played for all of 20 seconds. Maybe it's not perfect, but I think it's a good thing, and a reasonable (not perfect) attempt at having kids share and take turns.
So for those who say it is FORCING sharing... I think young kids have to be 'forced' to share, and to say please and thank you, and to do all kinds of things that later we hope they will do for the 'right' reasons... But until they do them for the 'right' reasons, it's good practice for them to do it because they 'have' to. What about the flip side of this? Suppose your kid gets up half an hour early to get to school to have 30 minutes on the swing, only to find that another family has arrived at school 90 minutes early and won't get off the swings? If your kid has made that effort to get there early, isn't it possible that so did the other kid? How early do you have to be to justify a monopoly on the swing?

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Isobel - posted on 04/07/2013

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so if the kid who wanted the swing said "hey, can I have a turn?" and the school said once somebody asks for a turn, you have 30 seconds to finish up and get off, you'd have no problem?

I guess I misunderstood, I thought you had a problem with forcing kids to share, not with HOW they asked.

I guess I agree with you. They should ask first, but they should still HAVE to share.

Denikka - posted on 04/06/2013

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Isobel, I never said that every kid was perfect at sharing. In fact, I believe I said on multiple occasions that yes, there were bratty kids who didn't want to share, would hog things, etc. I believe I have said that there are always that type of person, who feels entitled or whatever and will not want to share.
What I said about my school was that when this happened was that the kid who wanted a turn either was just told no and found something else to do, with it not being a huge deal, or the kid who was hogging was pressured by their peers to give up possession of whatever they were hogging and join them in something else. There were VERY few instances that involved a teacher and I cannot actually recall any off the top of my head. I know they existed, but they were very low key when they happened at all and there was never any school wide policy put into place because it wasn't needed for the majority.
As for bullying, yes, it occurred, but not nearly to the extent that most people hear about now. There were never any physical fights that I know of in my elementary school (K-grade 7) and the majority of bullying that took place was in the form of not being involved with the person who wasn't liked. Not involving them in games, not playing with them, ignoring them, etc. There was a certain amount of name calling, but i cannot think of a single instance where anyone went out of their way to torture a specific person on a daily basis, especially never in any physical manner (knocking books out of their hands, swirlies, pushing, violence, etc). It was generally situational, they did something or said something dumb and were bugged about it. It may last a day or two, then was forgotten.

I do not appreciate being called a liar. I lived my life, you've never had any part of it, so I would appreciate if you would watch how you phrase things. It can cause one to get defensive and can tail spin topics into petty bickering.

I have also never said that I don't think that kids should have to share. It's the way that this particular way of going about it that angers me. To me, this is not teaching children to share. This is teaching children to demand what they want and to get it. As I have stated, if anyone came up to me, in any situation and used this tactic on me, I'd be pretty pissed off. This, to me, crosses the line between asking and demanding. I do not respond to demands.
It is one thing to have a reasonable time frame in which a person should turn something over for another person to use.
It is another having someone breath down your neck counting down the seconds.

As I mentioned in my other posts, in situations like the gym or whatever, yes, there was a time frame. A person was allowed on a piece of equipment for 20 minutes. To me it makes all the difference in the world to have someone come up to me and say *hey, can I use that when you're done* versus having someone stand off to the side, checking their watch to count down the seconds, then coming over and demanding that I vacate that piece of equipment RIGHT NOW because my time it up. Ask versus demand.
As for specifically being FORCED to return library books, I personally have never had, nor heard of, the library police busting into someones home the instant their books are due, physically ripping the books out of that persons hands and returning them to the library. There may be a fine for late books, but in my experience, there are usually polite, reminder phone calls and/or letters, and that fine is usually dropped after you return the books. So I would not say that people are FORCED, unless there is someone out there who actually has a story of the library police busting in on them and I've totally missed that. :P

Isobel - posted on 04/06/2013

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oh and yes, Denikka...no going to the library, they FORCE you to return the book after a certain amount of time so that others can have a turn ;)

Isobel - posted on 04/06/2013

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I haven't finished reading everything yet but I have to comment because I find this argument ABSOLUTELY insane.

As a Canadian (also socialist, like the Aussie), of course we all MUST share public resources.

I call bullshit on Denikka for saying she went to the ONLY school on the planet where every child knew how to share and it was never an issue (I'm sure there was also no bullying, you know who thinks there's no bullying problem at schools? Bullies.)...if so I think you should go find the former admin and ask them to write a book, cause the entire planet needs to read it.

Of course if you follow the capitalist (first come first serve, nobody shares) system, at LEAST half of the school will never have an opportunity to even try the swings. That's not OK in my books.

In my house we only have one iPad, when one child is using it and the other child WANTS to use it, they have to say, "I'd like a turn" and from that moment the other child has 5 minutes to finish whatever they are doing on their game...I don't see the difference. It's giving somebody a chance to finish up what they are doing before having to get off immediately.

I'd like it better if they had to count to 50 or 100, but whatever. I'm not ok with letting some selfish little brat hog the equipment all day every day because they are bigger and stronger (and possibly not bright enough to understand sharing)

Denikka - posted on 03/08/2013

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** I would guess that asking the kids to ask politely was the first solution...**
To me, that's still taking the bad behaviour of a few and condoning it for everyone.

Some kids are bullies. They name call, push other kids around, etc. Talking about it doesn't stop every kid from being a bully. In some schools it's getting to be more and more of a problem. Does this mean that we just allow it? No! It means that we continue to teach about it, continue to work towards stopping that behaviour.
I don't see this as much different. There's an unwanted behaviour. There will always be kids who exhibit that unwanted behaviour, especially in schools where there's such a high turn over. Just because kids are going to do something, that doesn't mean that makes it okay. That doesn't mean that you condone that behaviour for all kids just because a few are going to do it.

Some people are going to murder or rape others, others won't, that doesn't mean you allow it. Some people are going to drive drunk, others won't, that doesn't mean you allow it. Some kids are going to throw tantrums, others generally won't, that doesn't mean you allow it. Some kids are going to try to stick forks into light sockets, others won't, that doesn't mean you allow it.
You continue to make it against the rules, because it's a negative behaviour. You continue to teach kids NOT to do it. You continue to work towards making them better people.
YOU DON'T ALLOW A BAD BEHAVIOUR JUST BECAUSE A FEW KIDS ARE GOING TO DO IT NO MATTER WHAT.

Yes, there will be some kids who will continue to be polite no matter what. Other kids need more teaching. How are they being taught to be polite when politeness is not enforced and rudeness is?

Christina - posted on 03/07/2013

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You are assuming that every kid is going to demand the swing, not politely, because there is a counting policy in place. Counting policy or not, rude kids will be rude and nice kids will be nice. Also, there probably is not a counting policy at every school. This particular school obviously was having an issue and needed a solution. I would guess that asking the kids to ask politely was the first solution....

Denikka - posted on 03/07/2013

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If the person on the swings says *no*, the other kid finds something else to do. As I've mentioned in my previous posts, that's what we used to do. If we couldn't play with one thing, we found another. Either another piece of equipment, or we went and played a game with other kids. Asking worked for us. For the 7 years that I was in elementary school, and for at least the few years after when I was still hearing from my friends siblings, it worked.

You're right that kids won't learn manners overnight. You're right that's why they need to be taught. But this isn't teaching them manners in my mind. It's the opposite. It's teaching them to demand something...and then be rewarded by getting it.
I don't think that taking away the counting will lead to bullying, as you suggested. I think that the counting in itself is a form of bullying. A child demanding what they want and threatening the other child to get it. **If you don't give me the swing at the count of 30 (or whatever) I'm going to tell the teacher that you're not following the rules** And while, on paper, technically it's true, it can EASILY be used in an unfair manner and, I believe, much more likely to be abused than a more hands off system like *first come, first served, ask and maybe you'll receive*

I realize that there will always be kids who don't share well (or at all), I believe I've also said that in previous posts.
But to me, this counting thing is bad behaviour and not teaching the kids anything positive. And I do not believe that the potential for bad behaviour from some children (potential hogging of school equipment, etc) means that it is okay to condone and even encourage bad behaviour from all of the children (demanding, instead of asking, in regards to the counting)


I look at it this way. I look at 2 scenarios.

1) Would I condone a certain behaviour from my child (at ANY age) towards me?

Would I be okay with it if, while I was using something, anything, if my child came up to me and said *I will count to X number, and when I'm done, you HAVE to give me that item*
My answer? Hell NO!
My children can come up and ASK for what I'm using (*may I please use...whatever it is*). If I'm done, or almost done, I may say yes, or give me a second to finish what I'm doing. Or I may say no, for any variety of reasons. Some of those reasons may be legit (it's dangerous, etc) and some may not be so legit (I don't feel like cleaning up the glitter or paper scraps when you're done).

2) Would I be okay with another adult who exhibited a certain behaviour towards me?

I understand that some things have time limits on them. Parking, gym equipment, potentially computers at the library, etc.
It is one thing for someone to come up and say to me *sorry to disturb you, but you've been on there for the allotted time and I'd like to use that now* (which would be how *I* would handle such a situation and, this far in life, I've found it to work 99% of the time).
It is another for a person to be staring over my shoulder, counting down the seconds and then telling me that I have to *get off that equipment/computer/move my car RIGHT NOW!* because I've hit the allotted time. That kind of behaviour tends to tick me off and now I'm going to do everything in my power, such as moving as slowly as humanly possible if not outright telling you that you're being rude, to let you know that I'm unimpressed with being treated that way.

Christina - posted on 03/07/2013

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Denikka, I feel like you are way over thinking this. I understand what your issue is. Certain kids will demand or count too quickly, repeatedly. In a perfect world, a child should be able to say, "can I please have a turn now?" Ask and you shall receive! This is not human nature. Kids don't naturally be polite. They learn from example, listen to teacher's instructions all day about using manners and learn this at home. This doesn't mean that they learn this overnight. It takes a lot of time for things to sink in for kids. My point is that you can't micromanage the swings or any other situation. Like in all things in life, systems are put into place for a reason, some people will use them as they should be used, some will abuse them and some, there will be little of both. I feel your thinking is off base because you don't really propose a solution to the problem. If you take away the counting, kids will be bullied and pushed off the swings, kids will demand it's their turn, kids will hog the swings. If there is counting, you say kids will be bullied because kids count too quickly and demand things. What's a better alternative? Your suggestion that they "simply ask" will not work.....what happens when the person on the swing says "NO!"

Denikka - posted on 03/01/2013

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"But many of the posts here have focused on the "forced sharing" as being the issue, and this is where I totally disagree with them."

Perhaps here is where we butted heads more than anything else :) As I've been having some problems the past few months, I probably haven't been coming across in the way that I actually WANT to come across :)

I do realize that people, including children, sometimes need to share even when they don't want to. A timing system done by the teachers, or, a system like the one my sister described to me (a bell would ring to signal *half time* during a break. At that time, the children who were on a piece of equipment would have to leave to do something else.)
I guess in my mind, the situation that the OP described would be one kid just going up to another, counting (and counting quickly) and then just DEMANDING that the child on the swing *GET OFF THE SWING RIGHT NOW!! I WANT I WANT I WANT!!*
I see some kids getting picked on, one kid seeing them on the swing, and running over to count and take the swing away from that kid (and this happening consistently).

It's the counting I have a problem with. The demanding. The *I WANT IT NOW!!* portion of it.
As I mentioned before, what happened to asking? What happened to *hey, I'd like a turn on the swings please*.
Granted, that may not always work. Some kids will be twits. But asking politely should be a first step.

In the situations that Jen posted, along with the other examples that have been given through this thread, it's one thing to request that a certain time limit be adhered to. It's a request. An establishment asking that people to remember to be polite. It would be different to have a person physically standing over you, counting down the milliseconds until your time was up, and then threatening to call security, or pulling the plug on the computer, or pulling you out of your seat, or whatever.
In the playground situation. it seems more like bullying. If a child has literally JUST sat down on the swing and another kid comes up and starts counting, that doesn`t seem right, but it does seem like it would be a relatively common occurrence, especially if the child on the swing was an outcast or not liked. But, technically, the *rules* would have been adhered to in that situation.
How do you go to a teacher to complain that so and so is being a bully because they followed the guidelines that were set out in an unfair way.

Christina - posted on 02/16/2013

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It's great that your kids are so great at sharing and love it, most of the time. However, have you ever taken your kids to any public park or event? I'm sure you have :) I find, most of the time, that I'm the ONLY parent who teaches her child to share! We have been at the Splash Pad at our local park numerous times and have had to tear my child away from certain toys that every kid likes, only to give it to another kid who then takes it for 30 minutes! Then I have to leave with my screaming child who thinks " why isn't it my turn again?". My point is that it is not a child's natural reaction to WANT to share. Kids need to be taught to share. If they didn't make them count and take turns, how many kids would be going to the teachers crying saying they were not given a turn. I think it is a great solution to a problem.

The other thing is, life is not fair. It's a great life lesson for your children to realize that even though he got ready early for school so he could play on the swings, doesn't mean they are all his for as long as he wants. You don't know what other children went through to get to school that day. Maybe a turn on the swings was the only good part of their morning.

Jodi - posted on 02/16/2013

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Which is why forced sharing is sometimes required ;) Because the alternative is Utopian. I have already said that.

And socialist ideals DO work in many places for many things. It isn't a negative idea. It isn't about being mediocre, but clearly that's how you see it. It is quite obvious you don't agree with it. But that doesn't mean it sometimes isn't necessary and that doesn't mean it doesn't work. That is merely your opinion based on the highly capitalist society you live in and support, and the people you associate with.

Consider why there is availability of free education. THAT is a socialist initiative. DO you dislike that one? Imagine how much worse it would work if you DIDN'T have free education for all?

Consider the countries where health care is free for all vs countries where it is user pays (and if you can't pay, well, that's just tough luck).

Socialist ideals are not as negative as you make them out to be. And forced sharing is a fact of life. Anyone who thinks it isn't, and thinks their child shouldn't have to participate in that, is also living in Utopia.

Jodi - posted on 02/16/2013

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Actually, it never failed. Communism never failed either. They were never implemented as originally theorised because those in power feared their position in society. So what is not implemented can not fail. The US is the epitomy of fearmongering about socialism and its basic values, and it is a truly misguided fear. Socialist principles have been implemented quite successfully in many countries. Many in the US, however, are far to focused on their own needs to be at all sympathetic to the values of socialism.

Even teaching your child that if they are first at the swing, they shouldn't have to give it up promotes that first in best dressed mentality of societal power, lack of empathy towards others, an lack of ability to do what is ultimately the best for society, rather than what is best for oneself. I fail to see the positives in those values.

Jodi - posted on 02/15/2013

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You all use the term "socialism" like it is a bad thing. Is that because it threatens your position in the society you live in?

Claire - posted on 02/15/2013

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I think most schools have to do some forced sharing and I think that teaches all to repsoect each other. When my son was in nursery they used egg timers on the swings (2 swings for 30 kids and limited time for break) and he was proud that everyone in his class were good sharers and considered other people. Now he is in Reception he prefers to run round and play races etc, but he tells me that you count number of swings before the next persons go. I don't see a problem with sharing a communal resource, and neither do the kids as they all seem happy with the system. When they come to play we use the same concept and all is well with the world!

Janelle - posted on 02/15/2013

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Hey Jen,
I like your reasoning. But I do think it would be easier if a time limit was set up in place when a kid took the swing. If they knew "okay so I have 10 min. then I have to give up my swing and do something else." Just like the Panera table. I think the difficult part is when a kid or group of kids decide to single out another kid to get his swing. (Often this leads to a type of bullying, where they continuously count on the same kid even though other swings open around them.) But if there was a way to set a time limit when a kid got the swing then the swinger could more easily adhear to a simple set of ruls set by the school or establishment and not by a demanding (possably bullying) peer. Hmm, something to consider.

Also I liked this point you made: "What about the flip side of this? Suppose your kid gets up half an hour early to get to school to have 30 minutes on the swing, only to find that another family has arrived at school 90 minutes early and won't get off the swings? If your kid has made that effort to get there early, isn't it possible that so did the other kid? How early do you have to be to justify a monopoly on the swing?"

This question makes me wonder, would the challenge cause the kid who wants to get the swing use his imagination to explore new options. New things to do or new ways of getting what he wants? Would this encourage the birth of new industry? Or would it only cause a never ending cycle of hard work that leads to only more hard work, stress and bony fingers. Causing us to question: when do we say enough is enough? (I'm thinking in abstract, hypothetical terms of the swing being something like your income or lively hood).

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2013

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Here's the thing. I am not denying that children SHOULD be taught to share. I absolutely agree with that. And in an ideal world, we wouldn't need any rules for the playground because the children would be quite happy to share when asked.

HOWEVER, the reality is that not all children ARE taught to share, and as a result, playground rules are needed accordingly. Obviously, in this situation, walking up and asking if you could please have a turn has not, in the past, worked well for them. So as a result, there have to be rules to force sharing on everyone, and I don't see why you guys have such a problem with that. It isn't about YOUR child not sharing. It is about managing a large number of children with different views of what sharing means (some of whom it means nothing). It is also about minimising and preventing potential playground disputes BEFORE they erupt into major problems, such as a fight or someone getting hurt.

Denikka - posted on 02/06/2013

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Maybe that is my problem Jodi. To me, sharing has always been about willingness.
Theft is taking something that you didn't work for, don't currently have, that someone isn't willing to give to you. If I have a sandwich and someone comes up, takes it from my hand, eats half and returns the rest to me, I would view that as them stealing half my sandwich. Even if that sandwich had been set out with a plate of other for an entire group to share. Even if they had made their purpose known before actually taking it from me. Likeways, if they had threatened me in any way shape or form to hand over that sandwich instead of them actually taking it from my hand.

If I'm eating a sandwich though, and someone comes up to me and asks for it, and I give it to them and they return half, or none, I would view that as sharing. They have requested something, I have honoured that request.

In the case of the swings, the child who is on them has possession of something. The swing. The child who wants the swing comes up and basically threatens the child on the swing with getting into trouble with an authority figure if they don't (pretty much) immediately give up the swing.

Yes, the swings are there for sharing. I won't deny that. They SHOULD be shared. Kids should be taught to share.
How is it that no one else sees that it is WRONG to demand something by threatening another person!?
I have never said that the swings shouldn't be shared. But for heavens sake, what happened to ASKING? Politely?? What happened to requesting, and then waiting until the other person is finished instead of stamping your little foot and saying *now now NOW!!*

Yes, some kids are brats. There will always be brats, whether they're 5 or 50. There will always be those who hog items that should be shared by everyone. But that's life. Since when do we as a society allow the bad behaviour of a few to dictate that everyone can now behave badly? That's like going to the mall with your kid and seeing another child having a tantrum and getting what they want. You don't look at that and tell your child that since that child behaved badly and got rewarded, now your child can do the same. You hold the bad behaviour up as an example of what NOT to do.

You know what we used to call the kids who used to come up and demand the use of classroom scissors, or the swings on the playground, or equipment in the school gym? What we used to call ANYONE who DEMANDED things? We used to call those kids spoiled brats. In some cases, they were called bullies. And they used to be corrected and told to ask nicely.

ASK and you shall receive. Demand and you get nothing. That is the rule of my life and my household. Not everyone will abide by that, I hold no illusions. But I will NOT tolerate that kind of bad behaviour in my life. I will not give my children anything they demand. I will not give adults what they demand. I don't care what it is. If you choose to speak to me, to request anything of me, you will do so POLITELY or I will turn my back and ignore you. I have a standard that I maintain in my life. I treat others with dignity and respect. I expect the same.

Janelle - posted on 02/06/2013

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Maybe we should have written a contract in regards to how the swing should be shared. teehee ;-)

Jodi - posted on 02/06/2013

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share
/SHe(ə)r/
Noun
A part of a larger amount that is divided among a number of people, or to which a number of people contribute.
Verb
Have a portion of (something) with another or others
To divide and parcel out in shares; apportion.
To participate in, use, enjoy, or experience jointly or in turns.
To relate (a secret or experience, for example) to another or others.
To accord a share in (something) to another or others

Just saying. Perhaps you are not operating on the "actual" definition of sharing. Technically, even when you don't WANT to share, it is still called sharing. Nothing in the definition says it is about wanting to. I get that this is YOUR idea of it, but it isn't the technical definition, so you can't assume everyone is using the same definition. Forced sharing is still called sharing.

Denikka - posted on 02/05/2013

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My issue is that it's called *sharing* when it's not, it's taking.
My issue is that any kid can come along as soon as one kid gets on the swing and count to 30, count quickly and then get the swing.
My issue is with the fact that the counting has turned it into a demand instead of asking politely.
My issue is the fact that one person can work to achieve something (for example working really hard to get there early) and someone else who has put no effort in can come along and snatch that achievement away from them.
My issue is with the sense of entitlement that this creates. (I want what I want and I want it NOW. I deserve it because I'm here)

I realize that not all kids know how to share. It's been a pretty universal things from way back. There are always going to be those brats.
I AM teaching my kids that yes, sometimes they'll have to share when they don't want to. You're right, that IS a life lesson that they're going to be taught, one way or another.
But I'm also teaching them basic manners, which is where I feel this falls under. If you want something, you ASK. You REQUEST. You don't DEMAND. If my kids demand something, they do not get it. Period. They ask. They say please and thank you. And they wait until I am ready to give them what they requested. Sometimes that's immediately, sometimes they have to wait for a few minutes.

My kids have been to the park a few times with kids who didn't want to share. Now, these were very small kids, under the age of 5. There have been occasional where one kid has done their best to hog an entire swing set (6 or 8 swings). Or didn't want to let my kid go down the slide. Or whatever it's happened to be. And the parents, sitting/standing right there have chosen to do nothing.
We go over and ask politely, to use whatever it is. And sometimes the kid is a total brat about it. Instead of making a big fuss about it, I tell my kids that sometimes people act badly and do things, like hogging, that aren't very nice. Then we go and find something else to do.
On the rare occasion that it has been my kid hogging something, I correct them. They either take their turn, or they stand aside to allow the other child to go.
If they're on the swings, and some other kid comes up and demands the swing they're on, I will generally direct the other child to one of the other, empty swings. If the other kid doesn't like that, too bad. There's a bunch of other swings, they don't need the one my kid is on. If there are no other empty swings and the kid demands the one my kid is on, I will generally say no and remind them that we were there first and that we'll be done soon. They can have the swing when we're done.
If the kid (or their parent) comes up and asks nicely, then I'll turn to my kid and ask if they're done and we can give this child a turn. Almost always, my kid will say yes and get down. On the rare occasion that my kid says no, I will tell them they can stay for a few more swings or whatever, then we have to get down and give others a chance.

My hubby and I talked about this last night. After reading this thread, he agrees with me whole heartedly.
We also agree that if we ever find out that one of our kids is the one doing the counting instead of asking nicely, they will be punished. We have yet to agree on exactly what a fit punishment would be, but I will not accept demanding bratty behaviour.
You cannot control others actions. Yes, some people will be rude twits. But you can control how YOU act and how you respond to other's bad behaviour. I expect my children to be the bigger person in that kind of situation.

Jodi - posted on 02/05/2013

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"How is it fair to make them count?"

"I just cannot see how forcing a child to give up what they, rightfully, have is going to be a positive. Sharing is a choice. Forcing it is NOT sharing."

So which is your issue? The method by which it is shared? Would a timer be a more acceptable method? Or is the issue about the sharing in itself, and all kids should know that sharing is right, but timing that sharing is not okay. All kids DON'T know how to share. if you could see the homes some of these children come from, believe me, they are not sharing SHIT with your kid if there is no method of controlling that in place. If the teachers (all 4 of them at a stretch) are unable to police it, and the children can't seem to work it out because the 3 little shits over there won't share, then why shouldn't there be a method of forced sharing in place?

It is fantastic that your children know how to share. It's a pity you can't see that not all children do. And wouldn't it be a pity if one day your children came across those children, and wouldn't the song you sing be very different then?

The fact is, no-one is forcing these children to share something that is theirs. It isn't theirs. They don't have a right to choose not to share it with others. Maybe you should teach your children that in life, they WILL be forced to share sometimes, whether they want to or not, especially when something doesn't actually belong to them. Consider it a life lesson and get over it. Moral issues? No, the teachers are just doing what they can to prevent playground issues. If you have a better solution other than "let the children choose when to share", then by all means, present it as an option to your school. But if you are worried abotu teachers teaching moral issues, now would be a good time to look into homeschooling, because to be perfectly honest, if teachers have to avoid moral issues because parents are suddenly offended by that, I invite you to see the results of that in the playground.

Janelle - posted on 02/04/2013

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Dove, your funny ;-)
Of course my kids have been forced to share at times, I have 3 of them. But I think they share so well because they haven't been forced to share everything. Sometimes they have something special to them that I wouldn't force them to share. They feel empowered to be kind. Sure it's a work in progress but do we really want our schools teaching them this? Someone within the school system has determined this is an issue they want to enforce, even with limited resorces (playground aids). It almost makes me feel like they are teaching something that I would consider a moral issue.

When and why did someone decide to kick the kid off the swing instead of taking the little counter by the hand and encouraging him/her to learn a new game. It just seems strange to me. Like our kids may be being trained to look to goverenment to do all their thinking and sharing for them. I agree with Denikka, back in the day kids learned through positive peer pressure how to behave rightly.

I'm sure your kids behave so well because your a good mom ;-)

Dove - posted on 02/04/2013

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Our library has a one hour limit on the computers and always has.... ;)

Denikka - posted on 02/04/2013

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And I do think the fair thing to do is to take turns. However forcing our children to do the "fair" thing I don't think is the right thing. When teaching children to share, forcing them is really a two-steps-backward kind of thing. It just makes for sneaky mean kids who learn how to manipulate the system while being crule behind the rule inforcers backs.



This. This is what I see. It's SO easy to take advantage of a *count to X number and get off* type of rule. Count fast. What about the really young kids who can't count to 30 or whatever yet? I remember how I used to count in kindergarten. I know some of the people in my grade 1 and 2 classes still had issues counting to 50. What about the mentally disabled kids? Not necessarily severely disabled, but I know it can take them longer to master certain skills, so they may be functional without a constant supervisor, but be unable to count to whatever number easily until later than the other kids. How is it fair to make them count?

I just cannot see how forcing a child to give up what they, rightfully, have is going to be a positive. Sharing is a choice. Forcing it is NOT sharing.
Yes, there will always be circumstances where a child, or person, has to give things up when they don't want to. That is part of life. But so is not always getting what you want, when you want it.
To me, forcing it just entitles the other child to what they want, when they want it. It doesn't teach them to wait their turn, or be more gracious when the other person is being a twit. It teaches that they have a RIGHT to come in and take whatever they want, whenever they want it, just because it's communal property.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's how I was raised AND the area I was raised in. But I haven't found much difference between my home town and where I live now.

If I go to the library and want to use a computer, but they're all taken (there's no time limit on them here or back home), I'll either wait and go read a book for a little while, or talk to one of the people who's already on the computer and let them know that there's someone waiting to use it.

If I go to the gym and someone is using the piece of equipment I want to use (20 minute limit), I let them know someone is waiting and stay nearby doing something else until they're done. I don't stand over them with a stop watch counting down until their time is up, then demand that they get off RIGHT THIS SECOND as soon as their 20 minutes is up.

Like wise with a parking spot, I'm not going to hover over the person and flip out if they go 2 minutes over their 2 hour limit.
I'm going to find somewhere else to park, even if that means I have to walk a little further. And I think it's kind of a dick move when parking meter attendants hover over a meter counting down the last few seconds and give the guy a ticket as soon as it runs out, even if the guy is literally 5ft away trying to find change.

Dove - posted on 02/04/2013

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My kids have been forced to share at times. They are pretty much the opposite of what you've described. I have two kids that went through elementary school with the 'swing counting rule' and have had zero issues with it whatsoever....

Of course, we also believe that NOTHING is really 'ours' and that everything we have comes from God (no, please don't turn this into a religious debate... that's not why I'm saying this), so sharing really truly IS the right thing to do even when we don't necessarily feel like it. Granted, 'our' possessions are 'ours' to share or not (though they are still God's), but everything else is totally 'up for grabs' to share with everyone.

Jodi - posted on 02/04/2013

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I think you missed my point with the paid parking Lavender. I made the point that free parking was time limited because they were public resources. Paid parking becomes an ownership of sorts. I think perhaps either you misread or misunderstood what I was saying.

And with regard to "the right thing to do" you have evidently never worked in a school where there are some children who don't understand that concept.

Janelle - posted on 02/04/2013

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I also have to add that paid parking is not really fair either because people with unlimited $ can simply continue to pay for more parking time and not offer any other people looking to park a turn. Not really an equalizer.

And my memories of my playground expirences were much like Denikka's in that kids shared because it was the right thing to do. The need for playground attendents was minimal because kids were self governed and they did a good job of it. Probably because we weren't forced to share.

Janelle - posted on 02/04/2013

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You ladies have all brought some good points to this disscussion. I love hearing the perspective of an Australian.

I just had a couple thoughts to add: 1) When I was a kid I think I invented some of the greates, funnest games with friends because all the swings were taken. I think it's possiable to be limiting the "mother on invention" by offering the "dissadvantaged late commers" a easy way to get what they want. But still some situations may prove impossiable for a kiddo to ever get the swing, and as a lover of the swings myself, I have to agree that would stink. Also the mind doesn't work as well when a person (adult or child) doesn't have proper food or rest, proper housing or proper care. Of course I'm thinking beyond the swings at this point.

2) Part of teaching my children to share means not forcing them to share. They have choices, like if they take a toy to the park they know the rule is to share it with whoever wants it. It has to be a toy they don't mind loosing too, because that's just a reality of sharing. But raising them to feel empowered over their own bodies and their own things and personl space does give them heart, confidence, compassion and ability to be good sharers.

3) I totally agree about following the rules the school has created because they get to make the rules, it's there equipment. However as parents or PTA members we also have a responsibility to create and or change those rules, thus the point of disscussing them.

4) Also, just another thought: how much do we really own? Even money in your pocket has a government image or stamp on it. Your home or land you "own" is still owned by the government. We pay property tax and I think it can still be taken from us. So I don't think the argument of the swing belonging to the school really has a place in this disscussion.

And I do think the fair thing to do is to take turns. However forcing our children to do the "fair" thing I don't think is the right thing. When teaching children to share, forcing them is really a two-steps-backward kind of thing. It just makes for sneaky mean kids who learn how to manipulate the system while being crule behind the rule inforcers backs.

Again, thank you ladies for all this great disscussion on the matter. My kiddo is sensory sensitive, he has Tourettes syndorm and pdd-nos. Basically all his senses can feel overwhelming to him and the swings is one thing that helps everything for him calm down. But I do want him to follow the rules everyone else follows. This has just been one rule I think should be changed. ;-)

Jodi - posted on 02/04/2013

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If it becomes a first in first served, and everyone else can fuck off if that kid decides they don't want to share, there is absolutely the potential for some children to be totally excluded. It happens ALL the time. Sure, YOUR children may have a great sharing ethic, but not every child is YOUR child. You can't set playground rules based on each individual child's sharing philosophy, because that wouldn't work. You have to base it on the fact that some kids simply won't share.

The point here is, that apparently the teachers saw a need to put a measure in place so that the equipment could be shared. *IF* the children were sharing of their own choosing, they wouldn't need to, so evidently there have been issues with it. The same reason they end up putting up those 2 hour parking signs, and deciding to put 3 hour short term loans in some university libraries. Limited resources, high demand, and children who have a problem with the concept of sharing. Maybe not ALL the children have a problem, but it only takes a handful of children who won't share and it creates a problem for everyone.

And on that note, let's face it. In real life, we are often forced to share things that don't belong to us, whether we like it or not. Consider it a life skill for your children to learn.

Denikka - posted on 02/04/2013

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Apparently you are seeing something that I just am not. I cannot imagine a scenario, excluding a child with disabilities, where any child could go through an entire school year, or even an entire month, without a fair chance to use the swings (or any piece of equipment really).
Yes, occasionally a child may be forced to stay in, or may occasionally stay behind to help the teacher. Even if they're late in the morning, every single morning, there's still recess, lunch, and in some situations, after school.
Beyond that, in my elementary school, where I'm drawing my experience from here, the other kids wouldn't let one or two people constantly monopolize any piece of equipment either. The other kids understood about letting others take turns. So even if you were the first one there for a full week in a row, morning, recess and lunch, as decent human beings, we just didn't keep that piece of equipment to ourselves. If someone else ASKED, we would finish what we were doing (maybe swinging high enough to jump off, or swinging high enough to see the bar, or whatever) and then we would stop and allow the other kid to have their turn. That included the disabled kids.
But you know, if the other kid came over and acted bratty and demanding, we mostly wouldn't let them. Because to get anything, you asked nicely. You said please, and you received. Maybe not at the exact second that you wanted it, but for the most part, within a reasonable amount of time.

Maybe kids are just much more selfish and entitled now. I don't know. My current experience with children comes from my own childhood and from my 2 and 4yr olds, who aren't in school yet. Maybe when my kids hit school, I'll have my eyes dramatically opened and I'll realize what a HUGE difference there is now. I don't know.

But for now, I know how my own school yard ran. We never needed to count out another childs turn, because we ALL understood how to share, and if one kid didn't, their friends or other kids stepped in to enforce things (like suggesting that the hogger come play a different game with them, or siding with the kid who wanted the equipment, Not all peer pressure is negative). The behaviour of every student was held to a certain standard. By the parents (most of them anyway), the teachers, and especially the other students. It worked very effectively. There was very little arguing, there were no physical fights, there was very little negativity. It worked for us.

Dove - posted on 02/04/2013

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I have absolutely no issue with forced sharing of school property. It doesn't belong to the kid using it, therefore who ever does own it gets to make the rules. I make the rules for MY belongings... the school makes the rules for theirs. I see nothing unfair about that.

Heck, when my kid brings his own toy to preschool I tell him he needs to share it or it stays in his cubby. That's the right thing to do and until he is old enough to DO the right thing on his own (he's getting there, but... he's 4)... I am going to make him do the right thing because teaching him to do what is right because it is right (whether he wants to or not) is my job as his mother.

Denikka - posted on 02/04/2013

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Okay, I can see the point about the coffee/donut thing. But I'd still be pissed off if someone came over and demanded to use the piece of gym equipment that I was using. Or demanded the parking space I had gotten, Both *community property*, but I have the right to use those items until I am finished with them.
Or back at a school setting, I would be pissed off if some kid came up and demanded to use the classroom scissors or classroom marker I was currently in the middle of using. I remember that the rule was *wait till I'm done, THEN you can use it*.

How is *I will count to X number and then you have to get off* NOT demanding it? Asking would imply that there's the option to say *no*.

What I don't understand is the attitude that kids needs and deserve to have what they want, when they want.
As I mentioned earlier (you actually quoted the passage), if a kid didn't get to play on a piece of equipment during the morning, they found something else for the morning and they tried again at recess, if they didn't get it at recess, they played with something else and tried again at lunch. If they didn't get it one day, they tried again the next.
It was never a big deal.
The swings were also my favourite playground equipment. There were many times that I just didn't get to them first. Either I got dropped off late, or I stayed behind in class for whatever reason, or whatever. So I'd find something else to do nearby, let the kids already on the swings know that I wanted to play on them, and I'd wait until someone else decided to get off the swing. I didn't always get it that day, and sometimes I only got on a few seconds before the bell.
It was still not a big deal. I just tried harder the next day.

You see a selfish attitude in the child who is at the equipment first and doesn't want to HAVE to get off and share,
I see a entitled, demanding, gimme gimme NOW attitude in the child doing the counting.

Denikka - posted on 02/03/2013

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I'm going to have to disagree with you here Dove. I greatly dislike the concept of forced sharing. Sharing should come from the heart, not because you HAVE to, or ONLY because it's the right thing.
How would you feel if you went in to a coffee shop, bought a coffee and a donut, and some person, not a friend, but someone you may know in passing, or someone you don't know at all, demanded that you give it to them. I would classify that as being mugged. I don't see that as much different from the forced sharing.
If someone works to get something, it's not sharing to have someone else come over and demand to have it. That's not sharing, that's stealing.
It's one thing to come over and ask to use something. It's another to DEMAND it.

I realize that yes, there are going to be those kids who DON'T have a concept of sharing. Who are just little brats and are going to hog things. That happens. There will always be those people. I teach my kids to be the bigger person, let it slide, and go find something else. I teach them that you cannot control what others do, and some people are going to be jerks. But you CAN control what YOU do, and you can behave, and I expect my kids to behave, better than that.

Dove - posted on 02/03/2013

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It's pretty standard to do the counting thing (happens in our elementary) from my understanding and I don't have a problem with it. They only have a certain number of swings and usually a lot of kids that want ON those swings. Sure, it would be nice if the kids all shared nicely out of the goodness of their hearts, but then you could also have the bully 'gang' getting there first and never getting off the swings for any of the other kids.

I don't have a problem with forced sharing to a point cuz I AM teaching my kids to share because it's the right thing to do, so by the time they are in school.... sharing is just 'common sense' to them already.

Denikka - posted on 02/03/2013

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Amanda, how does it sound like a prison yard? We had supervisors to make sure everyone was pretty safe. We kids knew how to share for the most part are there was little monopolizing of the equipment. If one kid, or a group of kids, was monopolizing something, we went and played somewhere else. It was never a big deal. We may have grumbled a bit during that lunch or recess, but nothing major.
I don't remember a single fight in the 7 years I was at that elementary school. The only *physical* confrontations I remember would have been between the very small kids (K, grade 1 ish) where one pushed another down.

If a kid didn't get there early enough in the morning to get a piece of equipment, they waited until recess or lunch and made sure to get out as early as they could. If they didn't get it one day, they were quicker the next. It was never a big deal.

Amanda - posted on 02/03/2013

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Denikka, what you've described sounds a lot like a prison yard.

And we had the same thing at my school, we had fights every week. I remember watching one my friends kick a boy in the genitals. I doubt there weren't any fights.

Chelsey - posted on 02/02/2013

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Hmmmm...back when I was in elementary school I do believe we had to count to 100 lol. I do see why the child who got there first in the morning would be upset if they had to get off before they were done, but not everyone can be at school super early for reasons out of their control (bus arrival times for example) and since it is school property it has to be shared by everyone at school.

That same child who gets there early all the time may never let anyone else on that swing. While you may have taught your children that sharing is great, not every parent has and not every child will give a rats ass that someone else may like to have a chance on the swings. The "counting on the swings" may not be altogether fair but it's a better solution than having some kids never be allowed to play with schoolyard equipment or having a fight about it.

Denikka - posted on 02/02/2013

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Over populated?
Maybe inside the classroom. But I think that's a load of crock for the outside and in situations like this. My elementary had roughly 500 students in any given year. We had a MAX. of 4 adults outside at any given time during the entire 7 years I was there.
For 4 of those years, we had 2 outside supervisors. That was cut down to 1 during my last 3 years.
Sometimes there was a teacher outside, sometimes there was an aide (for one of the disabled children) Mostly though, the disabled kids stayed inside, so that was sporadic, and the teachers only came out if they felt like, didn't have any marking to do, etc. So they usually didn't come outside either. When we were cut down to our single supervisor, they started working in shifts, one would come out one day, another the next day, etc and so on.
Then there was the various principals. We had 3 in the time I was there. They were usually out there about twice a week.

So MOST of the supervising of 500 kids was in the hands of 2 people on any given morning, recess or lunch.
We had 5-13 yr olds (K-grd7). Roughly 500 students.
We NEVER had a fight at our school. We never really had much bullying, and never physical bullying. We took turns on the equipment and, trust me, there wasn't much of it to go around. 99% of the school population got along and/or COULD get along. Sure, there were the kids that no one really liked, who had bad, whiny attitudes, or who couldn't get the hang of personal hygiene or whatever. But we generally just ignored them and, if they wanted to use the swings we were on or whatever, we just went and found something else to do somewhere else.

So I cannot see how, if 2 people can control a playground of 500 kids, *over population* in our schools should have such a negative effect on the behaviour on the playground. It's the sense of entitlement that so many kids, and adults, have. They want what they want and they want it now because they DESERVE it, because they're special, because they were born.

Janelle - posted on 02/02/2013

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Hey Amanda,
Thank you for bringing it back into perspective. Our schools are over populated and sadly under maned. You would think the play ground duty or aid wouldn't have the time to actually help a child who counted to kick another child off his/her swing, but they do.

Thank you for replying.

Janelle - posted on 02/02/2013

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Denikka, Good input. Thanks for taking the time to consider my rant. I totally agree with you about the concept of forced sharing.

Amanda - posted on 02/02/2013

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I think schools are under-manned and this is their way-out of having to actually handle and discuss with children sharing and turn taking. Plus the teachers (and aids) don't even have to keep track of children, what they are doing, or how long they've been doing it. It is not fair, or right, but with the way (US) schools are going I don't see it getting better any time soon.

Denikka - posted on 02/01/2013

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I think think it's fair and I don't think it's right. I dislike the whole concept of forced sharing in this manner.
It's one thing if two kids are racing to get the swing, or both get there are the same time. Then, taking turns IS the polite thing to do. But to have been there for 5 minutes already and to have someone just come up and demand to have the swing just because they want it, that's just wrong. And in my elementary school years, the other kid would have been laughed at an ignored.

First come, first serve. The first to reach a piece of equipment was the one who got to use it. Most kids were pretty reasonable. If they wanted to play with something, like the swings, they asked and then waited. The other kid either said no and so the asker moved on to a different swing hoping for better luck there, or the other kid said yes, and the asker just waited until the first kid decided to get off the swing.


I just cannot imagine how this would realistically translate into to the adult world. Maybe a gym scenario? Someone is using the bench press and someone else wants it, so they start counting? Yea, I don't see that playing out well. Especially with some super body builder type already on the equipment. I can just imagine the reaction.
No...the adult thing to do is to either lurk around and wait, or ask the other person how long they figure they'll be. Make your desire for the equipment known, then find something to do nearby until it's available.


I don't know about robbing the kids of character growth and stuff like that, but it sure gives the taker a sense of entitlement and the giver a sense of powerlessness.

I figure that it you work for something, you deserve it. If you don't work for it, you don't deserve it. Obviously there are situations where this is exempt and allowances should be made. But in general, you should reap what you sow.
Whatever happened to teaching our kids about the grasshopper and the ant? Where the hell did that lesson go?

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