Both my kids go to the primary school in the village. The same one that has been attended by every generation of the family since their great-grandparents first went, a hundred years ago. There is a single class, containing a grand total of 14 pupils, whose ages range from 6 to 11 years old.
For the last century or so, the children have been allowed to play with footballs, hoops, elastic and skipping ropes during their break-time. These have always been considered items which can cause little bodily harm in the playground. This tradition has just changed. The teacher has banned balls and hoops (in case a child gets hit in the face) and skipping ropes and elastic (in case they trip up). In the absence of physical activity, the kids now spend their break-times bickering; they have got little else to do…
Luckily, it is now the holidays, and our farm remains defiantly an EU regulations free zone. As we are well away from the roads, the children have full run of their immediate surroundings. With a fist full of cousins in tow, they build tree houses in the same willow that their father did and make secret camps in amongst the pines. They “hunt” wild boar with homemade bows and arrows and play at soldiers with wooden swords. They have the space and freedom to be children, even if this sometimes means tumbles and scratches.
Although I always like to know where they are, I try not to ask too many detailed questions about exactly what they are doing. There are times when I would prefer to remain in blissful ignorance, rather than worrying myself into the same mindset as their teacher, forbidding all outdoor games as a result.
Having said that, there is only so much you can turn a blind eye to and I felt that skateboarding in the horse chestnut tree was slightly over-stepping the mark.