Please kindly give my boy his drawing pad and a pencil to draw during lunch break.

Please kindly give my boy his drawing pad and a pencil to draw during lunch break.

Dear Head Teacher,

I have concerns about Ethan’s welfare at the playground. Because he was away at the end of last term, he has found it uneasy to adjust to the playground during lunch break. He would come back home saying he is very lonely at school.

On Monday, he told me that he had a quarrel with his best friend, which ended their “best friends” relationship. Even though they are now still good friends. I advice Ethan to give his friend some space and that perhaps he would like to draw during lunch break instead. He said he would like that and quite happy to just sit and draw.

On Tuesday, I’ve spoken to his class teacher in the morning and asked if Ethan can do some drawing during lunch break as he was unhappy at the playground. She said that she hasn’t known about this before and would like to talk to the whole class about the situation, insisting me telling her of what the problem was. I told her what happened and said that I am sure they will sort it out by themselves just give them time. She said that she will leave Ethan’s drawing pad in his school bag and if he needs it he can do some drawing so. When I picked Ethan up from school, he said that he did not do any drawings as he couldn’t find his school book bag.

On Wednesday, I separated his school book bag and his drawing pad in a separate bag to hang on his peg for easy access at lunch break. At the end of the school day, he told me that a lady at the playground had told him off and said that he is not allow to draw during lunch break.

Today, I went in and spoken to Ethan’s class teacher again. She denied that she has given permission for Ethan to do drawing at school playground during lunch break whatsoever. I had to remind her of what she has said to me on Tuesday. Then she looked at Ethan’s drawing bag and said “First of all, it is not allow to have a brand name bag in the school.” I apologised to her about this as it was not done intentionally. I can just place it in a plain bag. I asked her again – why is it not okay for Ethan to draw during lunch break, as not all kids want to run around all the time. She informed me that they have other games at the playground and that is it is a security breach for Ethan to come back to the class after lunch when he should be outside and that is the rule.

I fully understood the security reasons, but I am rather disappointed with this decision as Ethan was very much looking forward to do some drawing at break time. Drawing will help him immensely with his current poor writing skills as well as helping his imaginary and creative skills. We need encouragement rather than enforcement models upon children. Support mechanisms and necessary resources should be considered if lunchtime activities in schools are to be meaningfully sustained – who knows this could encourage more kids to join in with this creative drawing activity at lunch break. And years later, what are they likely to remember about the class or the teacher?

Of course there is the chance I will be taken advantage of. I welcome this chance. I resolve to remain a patient advocate for Ethan even if he is testing me. Has the status quo resolved the issue? We should all be extended such grace. Life is a cycle of problem solving. Students learn best in a psychologically safe, mistake-friendly environment. We all make mistakes. How teachers respond has everything to do with whether or not their students feel valued as human beings. We are responsible for creating a psychologically safe playground. In all possible situations, we should seek to uphold the dignity of the student. Even when disciplinary action is necessary, it should be handled in a dignified way.

Please kindly give my boy his drawing pad and a pencil to draw during lunch break.

Yours sincerely,

Ethan’s Mother, Su

13 Comments

  1. 23/09/2016 / 11:11 am

    School playgrounds are hard. I am lucky that the girl’s have got through school mostly ok. But this week my eldest has been upset that nobody played with her in the playground. This caused many tears and her not wanting to go to school – I know it’s a one off but it makes me feel terrible too. Hope Ethan settles more in the playground. Sarah #FabFridayPost
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  2. 23/09/2016 / 12:07 pm

    School playground is a tough place. We had all sorts of issues. One of them being that the teachers weren’t out there do didn’t really know what was going on.

    We agreed with the teacher that my child would have a named dinner supervisor who they could go to when they were having problems, this seemed to help.

    Another thing that worked was having peer mentors older kids in the with the little kids making sure the little ones were ok and were playing fine.

    It’s not very helpful when you find a solution that works for your child and the teacher won’t by into it.

    I have been there…so completely understand, it’s really hard to let go. #FabFridayPost
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  3. 23/09/2016 / 12:23 pm

    As a teacher myself I know playgrounds can be tough. However, why they have taken to strip him of his drawing pad and pencils is beyond me! Surely, the playground should be an area that encourages all activities, rather than policing them. He will benefit from slowing gaining confidence in that environment, which would hopefully lead him to gain enough confidence to join in other group activities at a later date. I hope you get it sorted.
    Potty Adventures
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  4. 23/09/2016 / 8:10 pm

    Oh gosh poor Ethan, if he wants his drawing pad and pencils surely they should be encouraging his interests rather than taking them from him. Eva is really struggling at school, she isn’t enjoying it and is so exhausted, we have been counting down to the weekend since Monday!! #fabfridaypost
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  5. 24/09/2016 / 10:18 am

    I’m amazed, as a teacher, that he has been denied this! At the school I work in, there are actually things placed outside at lunch times for the children to draw on – paper and pencils etc. Why can’t he just use his own? And I understand about him being inside on his own but I’m sure there’s a quiet space in the playground that he could sit and draw. Why any teacher would deny a child the chance to develop their fine motor skills, creativity and imagination is beyond me. Hope it gets sorted for you and Ethan – Childrens happiness should be paramount at school. Otherwise no other learning will follow. thanks for asking me to co-host #FabFridayPost 🙂 I’m really enjoying it! Xx
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  6. 24/09/2016 / 11:58 am

    Such a small request. Not everyone wants to run about and shout at lunch time. I much preferred a quiet place where I could read and when I was able to use a library I was so happy. I understand the security but why he can’t take a drawing pad outside is beyond me. #fabfridaypost

  7. 24/09/2016 / 3:17 pm

    SU, I wish you had a school like my littles go to. Progressive education allows for child led learning and empowerment. They would welcome Ethan’s nee dto draw during lunch. At our school, they have luch and free choice time. They can play, read, draw, build, go into the forest ‘called monkeyland,’ go to music, science, art, library…it’s their choice. It is so wonderful and empowering for them. Choice is real. I wish Ethan well as he re-transitions life into his new norm. And even more, I hope his teachers and teh school realize how important it is for him to do what he needs to do.
    Thanks Su and good luck on this. #FabFridayPost
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  8. 24/09/2016 / 4:52 pm

    This is a tricky one and I can understand both sides. As a mother I understand how it is irritating that a such a small request can’t be accommodated. However, as a teacher I understand just how many kids and families you are having to manage, and the more unique situations you have to deal with the more tasks are added to your already over-scheduled day. Teachers have it hard, so hard, and if only they could get the staff support required to provide the kind of environment we all want for our children. #FabFridayPost

  9. 25/09/2016 / 9:24 pm

    Ah the school playground can be tough. We are all individuals and should be encouraged to be our unique selves. #FabFridayPost
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  10. 26/09/2016 / 1:01 pm

    Children’s relationships are very difficult, aren’t they? My little one often complains about different people not wanting to play with him. I hate the thought that he might be feeling so sad. I hope Ethan resolves his situation soon, with his friend and with the school. #FabFridayPost
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  11. 27/09/2016 / 12:12 am

    I don’t understand what the problem is with Ethan being able to draw during lunch time. Lunch time is a time to have a break from learning and to do whatever it is that they enjoy to do in order to relax. I think drawing is a very good outlet and like you said he would be improving in areas that otherwise he would not have the opportunity to unless it is a creative lesson specifically. I think Ethan’s teacher is being incredibly unreasonable. Hold your ground with them! Good luck and please keep us updated on Ethan’s lunchtime drawing! #fabfridaypost
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  12. 27/09/2016 / 3:17 pm

    This is terrible – as a teacher I just cannot understand why he isn’t allowed to do something which will not only make him happy at school but is actually beneficial to his learning?! I hope it gets sorted for both you and Ethan xx #FabFridayPost
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