For Parents of Children in Progressive Schools....
Our son was going to attend Crestmont, but we moved out-of-state. He currently attends a Crestmont-like school here in Ohio and though he had a wonderful kindergarten experience, some issues have come up this year in his new group, which is kids aged 6-9 years. Most of these issues are in regards to physical safety, and I'd like to learn how other progressive, child-centered schools handle safety while also encouraging exploration and independence. I'd like to offer our school constructive solutions that are in practice at like-minded schools.
The kids are given more independence than in K, and with that comes a lot more unsupervised free play. During this free play time, we've learned of children being hit, punched, pinched, having their arms twisted, getting hit with sticks, being excluded from group play, name-calling, etc. It is such a far cry from the nurturing and inclusive environment of K that many parents are bewildered by this shift. When conflicts arise, children are supposed to get a teacher and hold a "meeting" between the affected parties, but not all of them follow this process. Thus the behavior continues unchecked, and some parents are concerned that a child may get seriously hurt. When we have expressed our concerns to the teacher and school manager (it's a democratically-run school so technically nobody's really "in charge"), they have said they would keep a closer eye on the kids during free play time, but still the behavior continues.
At your child's progressive school, are there parameters on how playground equipment is used, i.e. don't stand on top of the monkey bars? Also, are there rules regarding playing with sticks so nobody pokes out an eye or gets hit?
Any insights you can share into how we can create a safer and more inclusive school environment while still nurturing independence would be appreciated more than I can tell you...thank you so much!