I saw a story that I found interesting about parents being outraged because their kids were forced to play outside in the rain at school. I remember playing outside in the rain a lot growing up in a small town in Washington. Rain was part of our daily life. I now live where the sun shines on a daily basis and we look forward to rain like it’s a special treat.
In “Parents’ fury as primary school toughens up pupils with play in the rain” Camilla Turner, education editor for The Telegraph, a UK publication, says this:
“A school’s attempt to toughen up the ‘snowflake’ generation by forcing them to play outside in the rain has met with a backlash from furious parents.
“The head of Piper’s Vale Primary Academy in Ipswich has insisted that playing in the rain is a ‘normal’ part of children’s development but parents said they are ‘disgusted’ by the new policy.
“Ben Carter, the school’s executive principal, apologised to parents for not communicating the change in policy to them but urged them to send their children to school with “suitable footwear and a winter coat or jacket.”
“He defended the ‘wet play’ approach, saying: “Compared with previous generations, children today spend a lot of their time looking at screens and staying indoors. Many have relatively sedentary lifestyles.
“Paradigm Trust academies place great value on outdoor play and exercise as part of children’s education and wellbeing. This is why we encourage our pupils to make the most of their time outside during lunch and breaks, even in damp conditions.
“This type of wet play is part of children’s normal development. However, in adverse conditions, we will, of course, provide options for pupils to play and be supervised indoors.”
I agree with the school that playing outside is healthy and rain won’t hurt children. I also believe there was a lack of communication and if the parents didn’t know about the new policy, their kids might not have had the right shoes or coats and could have gotten drenched.
When I was growing up, we had these clumsy rubber boots that went over our shoes. Also, ugly yellow rubber coats that I couldn’t stand. I hated to wear those things, but my mom made me. At Emerson Elementary School, we had space to hang up all our wet rain gear and remove our boots. I was jealous of my best friend’s “bubble umbrella” that was clear plastic. Mine was a normal shape and you couldn’t see through it.
There were plenty of days where we were forced to play inside. When I was in first and second grades, we played on a cement floor in a huge room with a tin roof, in a building that was nothing more than a big garage. I loved the sound of rain on the tin roof when we could hear it above the noise of the kids playing. It’s where we lined up after school to leave the school. The games we played were square ball and keep away.
Once I reached the third grade, we got to play in the gym/cafeteria where we hot lunch were served on sectioned plastic trays. After we finished our lunches, which we ate in our classrooms, we lined up and walked single file into the gym without saying a peep. Once in the gym, we rolled around on little square scooters, a few inches off the floor or played a rough game of dodgeball. I don’t envy whoever was assigned lunch recess duty on the inside rainy days!
When I was in college at the University of Washington in Seattle, I don’t remember rain ever slowing us down. My best friend and I would ride bikes or run around Green Lake rain or shine. I do remember hating walking across campus when the rain was coming down sideways and my jeans would get soaked.
Do you think schools should make kids play outside in the rain or in bad weather? What do your kids do when it’s raining outside? When you were growing up what memories do you have of playing in the rain?