Friday, November 20, 2009


Today we went to the playground. Our playground isn't huge, it has some climbing structures and some newly installed swings... Oh how we love swings. The kids are beginning to get the hang of swings. The skills necessary to get on, get them moving, jumping off, and watching for other kids in front of and behind them. I wish I had some pictures of the kids on the swings today, you see the swings in my yard are nice and low and perfect for the kids to get on and off on their own. They can also lie on their bellies and pretend to fly. Not so with the swings at the playground.

The swings at the park are so high off the ground you would think they were designed for teenagers, not young children or even young school aged kids!! Yet today I saw a determination that only a preschooler can exhibit!! I have a strict policy that if you can't get up on a piece of equipment by yourself, then you probably can't get off either... so they can only go as far as their bodies can take them. This is to prevent falls or a child using a piece of equipment that is beyond their skill level, and yes a little bit of selfish reasoning that I won't have to get a child up or down a million gazillion times (but really that is just a small part).

Anyway... the kids all went over to the swings and began trying to get up on those swings. No one asked me to help, and only 1 child got on themselves. He got down and instructed the other kids on how to do it, and even helped a few try to "jump" on. Another child got on too and was very excited. Some of the others just decided it wasn't that important today to get up and ran to the climbing structures and began a game of tag. However, we had 1 little girl who tried and tried and tried to get up on that swing. She asked friends for pointers, she tried to pull herself up, she tried getting on her stomach and bringing up her knees, for about 10 minutes she struggled to get up on that swing before she got so frustrated she started to cry. Her friend came over and tried to help her again, she was invited by others to play tag... she was having none of it. She wanted to get on that swing. Her Mom finally went over and helped her on the swing... showing her how to put her hands and pull herself up... she was happy to be on the swing, but you could see that she wanted to get on that swing by herself. It was a mixed pleasure. And because of it she only lasted on that swing for about 2 minutes... huh.

Is there a time to intervene?? Her Mom asked if she could show her some pointers, she said yes. But in the end was it as gratifying to her?? I do believe that when we go to that playground again she will have the same determination, if not more, to get on that swing herself. I can't wait to see the look on her face when it happens!!!


  1. I have the same policy. It's a smart one, not to mention saving our backs!

    I love the story about the kids helping each other and the little girl's determination. These are important skills you're teaching!

  2. We have the same policy, too, and for the same reasons. But I don't believe it's selfish at all - if we help a child onto a piece of equipment that they are not ready for, we are either stuck there when we may be needed elsewhere or we leave a child stranded.

    A headstart teacher got upset with me at the park one day when I told her to stop putting my kids on equipment they weren't ready for!