Staying Safe or Wrapped in Cotton Wool?

Time for a little blogging synthesis.  As I was taught a long time ago, blogging is all about grabbing ideas and putting them together in a coherent manner.

Andy Ross (Primary Teacher UK) has pointed out the Staying Safe consultation under the Social Care, Welfare, Protection element of Every Child Matters.  As the website states…

Staying Safe is a major consultation, which provides the opportunity for the government to consult with parents, children, young people, our partners and the children’s workforce on children’s safety.

Ed Balls’, in a recent Guardian Online article, asserts that

Childhood is a time for learning and exploring. Through playing and doing positive activities, children and young people can learn to better understand the opportunities and challenges in the world around them, and how to be safe.

And then I found this on YouTube:

Should we be ashamed, as teachers, if we prevent children from being physically active when not in a structured PE lesson?

With the wrap-around care of extended schools, the question begs: with whom is the responsibilty of encouraging the “playing and positive activities”.  With parents?  Not if extended schools become popular?  With schools?  Not if the ECM consultation puts more health & safety hurdles in the way.

So, if we want our children to be children, to grow through play & exploration, what is to be gained from the organisation of an end of year ball for 7-year-olds?  Where is the time within childhood to explore the world in a more physical way?   We are in danger of allowing our children to withdraw into their heads.  Less competitive sport, greater connectivity through ICT, less parental involvement, higher academic targets, fewer Outdoor Education experiences all lead to the evolution of intelligent but incomplete individuals.  Feed the mind, yes, but not at the expense of the body.

However, as we celebrate 100 years of scouting, perhaps we should take a leaf out of Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys Manual (on lifesaving skills)…

Plunge in boldly and look to the object you are trying to attain and don’t bother about your own safety.

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