3rd Graders Use of Field during lunch recess at Dixie Elementary

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Proposal

During lunch recess, Dixie Elementary doesn't allow 3rd graders on the grass field. This is an equity issue of our school resources.  The field is a very large area that allows the kids to not only play soccer, but also to relax on the grass or play other sports without worrying about running into other kids nearby.  One simple solution is to rotate use of the field by grade:  August though November can continue to be only 4th/5th grades on the field; December through February can shift to 3rd and 4th grades on the field; and March through June can be for 3rd and 5th grades on the field.  There are 2 sets of goal posts set up, so each grade will be able to enjoy their own separate game.  This idea doesn't present any added supervision needs, as the number of kids who require supervision doesn't change.  I'm open to other ideas that allow for equal use among the 3rd-5th grades (please put your suggestion below in comments).  I look at this format, as the beginning of a parent conversation about this issue.

Background

As the Chairperson for the School Site Council, I had the issue placed on our Sept. 12th meeting agenda.   I presented my rotating grade proposal, (along with a few other creative solutions) and Mr. Manviller, along with a few teachers countered with a firm resistance to changing the policy, citing their main reasons as safety and supervision needs.  It ended with Mr. Manviller stating that he will discuss with the teachers and decide apart from the School Site Council.  After inquiring with several follow-up emails, I'm still waiting for their decision.  So, I decided to put this petition out to all of the 3rd grade parents to allow more voices to be heard on this issue. 

Why

Fields and blacktops for kids offer opportunities that make up a significant part of the learning process.  As much as educators try to teach social emotional skills, the best way for kids to learn how to get along with each other and work out problems is through play.  Specifically, more structured ball games, such as soccer, create a unique opportunity for kids to understand the need for inclusiveness (picking teams), fairness (playing by the rules), and working out problems when it comes to fouls, goals, etc...If soccer or any other "ball" game is creating an issue, that's actually more reason to offer it, rather than ban it from the playground.  As a middle school Counselor, I'm out at recess supervision daily and see the 2 soccer games, football, and plenty of kids using the grass just to decompress from a long day.  If our 3rd graders are given the space to create their own structured games on the field, their confidence, self-esteem, and independence will strengthen.  However, kids learning these skills, as with anything else is a process.  The tendency to ban/prohibit/issue citations when kids show that they don't yet possess mastery with these skills, is not the solution.  Rather, teaching the rules of the games, practicing the skills during PE or class time, and showing them how to work out a problem easily (rock, paper, scissors) provides for a positive playground environment. 

I hope that you will support my proposal of allowing equal access for 3rd-5th graders to use the Dixie field during lunch recess.   In addition to your signature, please consider voicing your support below (or adding another idea) to strengthen our cause.

 



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