“Mommy, why can’t I do cartwheels at school?”
I look down at my daughter and wonder how to answer her question. I don’t know what to tell her, truth be told. I can guess at why the administration in many schools don’t want their students to engage in gymnastics in the schoolyard. It will have something to do with liability. But I can’t explain that to my daughter. I can’t tell her the reason she can’t do what almost all 7-year-old girls (and some boys) do is because there are a bunch of adults in this world who are afraid that they will be sued if she happens to fall and hurt herself while she is cartwheeling through the air.
I can’t tell her that no matter how good she thinks she is at gymnastics or how many hours she has spent in gymnastics class, the adults who are charged with protecting her throughout the day are more concerned with getting in trouble and being faced with a law suit than they are about her physical well-being and abilities to use her body as it was intended: for play, for movement, for expansion of her skills and for exploration of the world around her.
So I tell her that it could happen that someone gets hurt at school and the principal may have to make a rule so that no one else gets hurt in the same way.
But I don’t like telling her that. And I know she knows it.
So we weren’t surprised when we found out that there are other parents who are not happy about a cartwheel ban in schools.
The Toronto Star ran an article about it last week. Click on over to The Star to read the article and watch the video.
Apparently, though, there is no ban at the board level.
“The TDSB’s official position on this is that “cartwheels are absolutely acceptable.” If your school has banned cartwheels, you are urged to contact your school board trustee to find out what your options are if after speaking with your school’s principal the ban remains in place.”
There is no official ban at my daughter’s school, but there are several teachers who won’t permit cartwheels at recess when they are on duty. I think that’s confusing to kids and it sends the wrong message. There needs to be a clear rule. (And personally, I think the rule should be in favour of cartwheels and all manner of childhood physical movement.)
Kids have enough to deal with in this world without having to restrict their movement any further.
What do you think? Should cartwheels be banned in schools?