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Nov
16
2012

When I left the city and moved to the suburbs, there were a few things I didn’t expect….

SUV’s so big that trying to get them into a spot is pretty much like trying to land a fighter jet on a aircraft carrier runway in the middle of the Atlantic.

Expensive athletic wear is apparently appropriate for day, evening and sleeping.

On rainy days, my elementary school children will often watch TV at recess.

Yes, in our very excellent school district, kids watch TV during school hours. This is how my daughter got very familiar with Cindy, Jan and Marcia. This is how she was introduced to Sponge Bob.

Now thankfully Sponge Bob has been pulled from the rotation and more age appropriate shows like Magic School Bus and Little Einsteins have been shown.

But STILL. WHY ARE KIDS WATCHING TV IN SCHOOLS?!ย  I’ve been told it’s a space problem. On rainy days, there aren’t enough public spaces to put the kids during recess and teachers are resistant to giving up their rooms because they want time to prepare and don’t want their rooms trashed.

Which I get.

EXCEPT kids are watching TV at school. Now the academics are challenging at my girls’ school. Once you hit first grade, you work hard and do homework every night. So what’s a small break to watch videos?

Because it would be so much better if they spent that time doing yoga, playing board games, doing art, making music, reading, singing, laughing, talking, drawing, throwing a ball, being creative or smoking. Okay, not smoking. Just making sure you are still with me.

This really is an embarrassment in a top school district. Actually make that any school district.

On the upside, when it comes to regional testing, they will ace The Brady Bunch section.

On the downside, our kids deserve better. Please figure out a way to turn off the technology and let them be free to play. It is recess after all.


23 Responses to my kids are watching TV. in school. what?!

  • Betsy says:

    I agree. I cannot tell you the number of movies and tv shows the kids watched in school last year. And not just on rainy days. It is very frustrating. We are also in what is considered an excellent district.

  • Leigh says:

    My kids also go to a similar sounding school. Highly academic, homework in 1st grade and finals. Then they watch tv on rainy days. My daughter is in 4th grade and I think at that age you could control the trashing of the classroom by organizing board games.
    They took the cookies away from their school bought lunches but stick them in front of a tv instead.

  • Fiona says:

    I find this so unbelievably strange.
    We live in Switzerland, where it often rains, and can get seriously cold in Winter.
    And the kids here go our for break time every, single, day.
    Absolutely no exceptions.
    If it rains we send them in rain gear, and when it is cold they wear warm stuff.
    I find it astonishing that tv is considered an acceptable break time activity just because it is wet outside.

  • LB says:

    Wait. WHAT?!!! I’m flabbergasted. Floored. Appalled. Not enough adverbs. That’s just pure laziness on administration’s part. I get it: money, time, rambunctious kids. (Don’t most of us have too little of all but the latter?) But REALLY? They can’t come up with a Plan B for indoor recess? Sounds like maybe the teacher/principal/school board needs a wake-up call on this one. Or even a local news station. Hmmm… know anyone with connections there? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Melissa says:

      I agree, unacceptable. When I taught Kindergarten, each classroom had an indoor recess box, purchased by the PTA. The box contained grade-appropriate games and play items. The children would play in their classrooms, supervised by the lunch/recess aides. The room was always left the way it was found, never trashed. Very surprised more parents aren’t upset about this!

  • Marcia says:

    Granted, we send our daughter to parochial school, but academically it is the absolute best in our district. They also watch videos (in her kindergarten class) on rainy days, but they relate to something they are studying in some way. Lives of the saints, Finding Nemo when they were studying the ocean, etc.
    If there are two rainy/too cold days in a row (and the policy is that the kids are outside unless it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below) they send all the kids to the gym for recess and shuffle the PE classes around so everyone gets moving at least a little.
    Our school is small in size (90 kids per grade, K-8) but I don’t see why something similar couldn’t be done in a public school. It comes down to parents making an issue of something they believe in strongly. It is important to the parents in our parish that our children get time to play, and we’ve made that known to the administration, so it happens. Maybe talk to some of the other mothers and see if you can’t get a little face time with the principal?

  • bitsy says:

    Kids need recess! Running around, free-play, energy-expending recess. It boosts their ability to focus later. They sit way too much as it is. Sitting around is also why kids are now fat. Move those little buggers around!

  • Issa says:

    They still do this? Weird. I remember doing it as a kid on super rainy days. On extreme weather days, my girls school lets every grade have an hour in the gym. It’s pure mutiny I’ve heard, but it works.

    Colorado is a very pro-recess state…which I love.

  • Cara says:

    Wow. I remember that on rainy days we were just confined to the gym and an area of the parking lot with an overhang. We hated it, but TV sounds a lot worse. Kids need to run off some steam!

  • No TV in our school. In fact, they push to have no TV at home too (which we fudge and watch a bit on the weekends…. shhhh) But we go to a Waldorf school. Best decision I’ve ever made in my life. My kids are beyond thriving, even with a philosophy of ‘no academics’ until after first grade. And we too go outside to play every single day, rain or shine. (Makes sense when I hear the European commentors mention this as well, since Waldorf educatino first started in Germany.)

    Sounds like you may need to get back on the PTA board and whip those recess helpers in to shape! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Loretta says:

    I debated about commenting because I enjoy this blog (tho. my kids are grown) because of Kelcey’s wit and thoughtful/funny choice of topics. And from the above comments, her readers are intelligent and take parenting seriously, so I know I’m stirring the pot. However, having been “in the trenches” in elementary schools for 25+ years (library teacher), I’ll try to rationalize why schools might allow the use of a TV in the classroom during recess, when they otherwise are doing a good job academically. No would argue that it is best when children can get outside at recess. Yet, it is a health and safety issue on rainy and/or cold snowy days. So many children now come to school dressed in clothing and footwear not appropriate to the conditions and the conditions of the grounds in wet/snowy weather bring their own additional hazards. And it is a safety concern, if a gym is actually available (which is usually not the case), to pack 150+ students in there, esp. if the phys. ed teacher(s) need to keep gym equipment set up for the classes that will be using the gym after recess. Not to mention, the 2-3 teachers who are on recess duty are not usually the phys. ed. teachers who are better trained to have children do activities safely. Usually, the only other large space is the cafeteria which the custodian and cafeteria workers need to clean for the next lunch or the variety of activities that take place there once recess is over. That leaves students going back to their own classrooms, often without their own teacher’s supervision because the teacher is grabbing a quick lunch in the teacher’s room, getting materials ready in the teacher workroom, and/or having a meeting with a parent, administrator or colleague. Which means 2-3 teachers are patrolling several classrooms and learning spaces and often need to spend more than a few minutes in each one to be sure everyone is engaged in an appropriate activity or settling the inevitable “crises” that occur because of not being able to go outside. It can’t be helped (unless parent volunteers are willing to come and help on inclement weather days) that students will be “alone together” for brief periods of time. I am not happy that teachers use a TV at recess and it should be just one of the many options for activities; but it is a sad commentary that so many students don’t know how to enjoy or play games courteously, may need a break from reading, and need something else to do so everyone is safe. It certainly is a topic that should be discussed with administration if enough parents are concerned.

  • Shanna says:

    I think Loretta’s post above probably sums it up.
    It was never an option where I grew up to not go outside for recess. Rain. Sleet. Snow. We were out there. I don’t get why we don’t send our kids to school prepared for wet weather on rainy days, or for cold weather on chilly days, but there you go- apparently we don’t. I’m not outraged that they’re going to watch the Brady Bunch at lunch. And let’s be honest, kids aren’t the best audience so most of them are probably talking through it anyway.
    Love your blog, Queen Kelcey! I just won’t be banging the drum in the “Occupy Lunchrooms” protest.

  • Patty says:

    When my son was in 1st grade I happened to be working on a volunteer job during a rainy day recess and I was appalled. I know this might sound overbearing, but it was not good. He was in a K-3 program and all the children were eating lunch, playing games or other activities at tables. The teachers were all out of the room. Sixth grade students were “babysitting” the younger kids while the TV blared loudly and nobody watched it. I still complained about the TV to the principal because it was on a cable channel that showed commercials for scary, adult shows during children’s programming. Also, the babysitters had access to the remote and could put it on any channel. They changed the channels while I was there.

    The younger children were actually all very well-behaved. It was the babysitters that were teasing each other and then finally ended up chasing each other around the room. Running in the classroom. I’m still flabbergasted, fifteen years later. There was supposed to be a yard duty that would walk around and check inside each classroom but that’s not supervision.

    I wasn’t as upset by the TV being on as I was by the lack of supervision. That said, I didn’t know why a TV had to be on if nobody was watching anyway. And why was it OK for kids to watch commercials for anything while at school, not to mention one that mentioned murder and featured a gun?

    Now I’m a teacher myself and we always do our own indoor recess when it rains. We don’t watch TV at school either. But I have a friend that’s a teacher, and she has a DVD that is a fun physical movement lesson for rainy days.

  • Tara says:

    When I was a teacher….5th grade no less, my kids LOVED playing stupid games like Head up 7 Up and 4 corners so they could run around the classroom. Tv was never an option!

  • melanie says:

    i too was horrified to learn very recently that when the days are too cold to go outside, the kids will sit in the auditorium and watch bill nye the science guy. seriously!? i do not in any way understand tv/movies at school. not in any way.

  • British American says:

    My 2nd grader gets to sit in the hallway with the whole school when it’s raining outside. She can color in a notebook or they have a locker full of board games they can play.

  • Heather says:

    I am going through this now. My kindergartener watched TV 3 days in a row and those were the first three days of school! He came home and said you don’t learn anything at school ( I homeschooled him previously) you just watch “a bunch of TV and videos”. I am just curious how you went about it? Right now I am trying to have him switched to a different class.

  • Catherine says:

    My daughter came home yesterday telling me she watched Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer in Music class. Her regular music teacher was not there so a substitute popped the movie in and voila! Why do we need a sub for that? Could she not have at least sung songs with the children vs. watching a movie? US education system is atrocious and oh so responsible for creating lazy couch potatoes. At 5 years old they only get 2 recesses at most of 15 min each, one being inside to play quiet games. If it is too hot, too cold, rainy, snowy, kids don’t go out. They might melt. If they have PE the same day they don’t go out either. In PE they toss balls around, no running or jumping, we would not want them to get hurt, poor little things… And finally the cafeteria (my daughter brings her own lunch most of the time) where every day of the week you can order pizza, choice of drinks : milk or chocolate milk (loaded with sugar), if they want water they need to get out of the cafeteria to fill up a cup at a water fountain, and a multitude of junk snacks to choose from Cheetos, Doritos, cookies, candy bars… Ice cream for dessert. I am just sickened by all of it. I agree that parents have a responsibility but when I entrust you with my child from 9am – 330pm, I expect her not to be watching TV, to have some physical activity so she can get her energy out, get some free play time, and only have decent food choices in the cafeteria.


kelcey kintner


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