We have some serious climbers in our preschool class. There are twin boys who literally climb everything in sight. You name it: the book shelve, the sensory table, a teachers leg a wall, what ever they can grip onto, constantly testing their heights. In the side yard of our classroom we have a playhouse butted up against a concrete wall. The roof is about five foot high, there is a three-foot railing around the perimeter, and the concrete wall beside it is roughly four feet high – and the “play oven” inside the playhouse is just perfect for a boost themselves onto the roof. This playhouse is prime time for climbing and there is a select a bunch of kids, who like to defy gravity.
And here comes the teacher on a sunny day watching the kids at play, as three or four of them will wiggle their way out of the playhouse and crawl on top of the roof. “Stop climbing on the roof, it is not safe. Please get down,” is my normal response. Every week it is the same words. Arrrhh… is the sound under my breath. I want them to explore and it’s really not that risky, but what the hell do I tell a parent if their son and daughter falls off the roof like humpty-dumpty?
Physically and developmentally they crave this interaction, other wise they probably wouldn’t be climbing the roof about once a week. This sort of risk is important part of growing up, as they improve their coordination, self-esteem, and confidence, yet each time their climbing the wall I ask them to stop and get down. This activity is not nearly as dangerous as playing near traffic and the roof could be much higher – and the ground could consist of concrete, instead of about 2 feet of wood chips and sand, but I have this safe teacher role to play – and they totally see through it. There’s always this grin on their face and the plead for me to help them down, knowing it is not something we allow at school, and knowing that they accomplished something far more superior then my incessant nagging– a whole new horizon in play with or with out my consent.
Preschool Punks. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint/publish, please contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org