— My guess is what we have here is a terrible insurance regulation or some such. This is from Ontario, Canada:
Dear Free Range Kids:
My kids, grade 1 and 4, are among the few at our suburban school who actually walk to school. We have several playgrounds in our neighbourhood, and with a “buddy system” in place (my choice — not mandated), they are sometimes allowed to go to these parks unattended.
Our public elementary schoolyard is one of these places. Trouble is, the school has recently, by way of formal email to all parents, decried that no children are to be on the schoolyard in the mornings prior to 9:00 a.m. (when “supervision” begins) – stating that because there is no supervision, the yard is not safe. Lately staff members have been conducting “stings” whereby they check the yard before 9:00 and bring kids who are in attendance into the office for a “talk” and call to their parents!
Am I wrong to be offended by this? On a gorgeous spring morning I hate to tell my kids they have to stay inside with me or go to a different park when they are already on their way to school. The school yard is not fenced in any way, and is considered public use space any other time outside of school operating hours. There are no signs posted advising that access is limited.
I don’t like to cause problems with administration and I know they are well-meaning, but I feel strongly that if it’s outside operating hours, the school park is just that – a park. Just because some people think outdoor morning play is “unsafe” doesn’t mean I have to. — Ontario Mom
Lenore here: It feels so arbitrary — one daylight hour the park is safe, another daylight hour it’s not — that clearly some kind of unseen policy is in place. I’d suggest you try to hunt it down. Once you know the actual “reason” for this rule, then you can discuss it, either with the PTA, the community, the principal or the local government. Or the press! We’d love to hear how it goes!