The Whole School Did What?!

Not much surprises me anymore. But today something happened that left me speechless.

On the way home from school, I asked the typical, “How was your day?” Well my oldest son, who is in 2nd grade, responded, “A little good and a little bad.” Immediately, my ears perked up and of course zeroed in on the negative. “What do you mean a little bad? What happened?”

He started to explain that when he was outside playing in the snow; he realized that he had two different gloves on. One glove was too big and kept falling off.

Sounds pretty normal, except that today it was snowing (albeit it only accumulated an inch or two) and 25 degrees out here in NJ. We are new to the school district, having just moved here 3 months ago, but I felt pretty sure that it isn’t common practice to have outdoor recess in the freezing cold and especially not in the snow!

“Wait an minute! You had outdoor recess…today?!”

My kindergartener chimed in, “No mom we played in the snow in the morning.”

Ok, then I was really confused. Both of them were outside just playing in the snow?

My oldest, “We went out right after our math minute in the morning, just for a little while to play. The whole school did, but not all at the same time.”

Just in case you missed it.


With all of the focus on raising the standards and increased accountability and testing, a principal, our principal,  thought it was important to make a little time for the kids to play in the snow. This in a time where recess minutes are being cut and preschool is becoming universal and “standards-based.” In a time where children from age 3 are asked to start preparing for college and careers. In a time when standardized tests are claiming over 9 hours of instructional time not counting time spent on test preparation. In a time where teachers, schools, and principals are being judged by their students’ test scores.

It took me a sad number of questions, before I even understood what my children were telling me. The idea of  principal letting kids play in the snow was so foreign to me. All of the principals that I have have ever known (at least 7) have been damage control specialists. I could hear their questions in my head.

Wouldn’t parents call to complain that it was too cold? What if a child wasn’t properly dressed in a warm coat, hat, and gloves? What if their shoes got wet and then they developed hypothermia? What if a child slipped and fell on the ice? What if the kids got too wild or threw snowballs? How much instructional time would be lost?

I had a friend and colleague who once got into trouble for taking her math students outside to draw geometric shapes on the concrete walkway. The assistant principal said it was a security threat for her to have propped the door open for the 15 minute lesson, and he also wanted to know if the chalk would wash off. (sigh)

As soon as I got home, I called my mother and my mother-in-law to tell them that the kids played in the snow at school today and both were just as shocked as I was. After I hung up the phone, tears welled in my eyes. I was so happy that my children are able to learn in a school that understands and values the wonder of childhood. But those tears were bittersweet, for I know that so many of America’s children are not so lucky.


10 thoughts on “The Whole School Did What?!

  1. Christine says:

    One simple word….YES!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. seahawk318 says:

    Oh Paige,
    What a wonderful world you have moved into!! At first I thought you were critical, but about one paragraph down you brought me to tears! Yes, this is what it is like in most schools, away from materialistic, and sheltered neighborhoods. When my girls were small, their elementary school would cancel recess if it was under FORTY DEGREES. Ridiculous! One morning, I called my old Elementary school in Durham, CT, still up and running, busses coming in, little ones getting off the bus and heading to the playground. I asked the head secretary, if the kids had recess, (It was 25 degrees outside in Connecticut that morning) and she incredulously asked where I was calling from. I told her, and she said, “Yes, the kids are at recess” (and are you crazy?). She reacted as if I was from another planet.
    Moral of the story: Kids are like Atoms, they never stop moving! They are super heated and don’t feel cold unless we make them stand in line. Let the kids be kids, let them play, take away the electronics when it is snowing, sleeting, raining, or sunny. That about covers it! CHA!
    Our Job as parents in this generation is to introduce real play.
    Paige is our line leader!
    Thankful that we have people like Paige!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paige says:

      Tracy, your comments are so incredible that I still say that you need your own blog!! Your wisdom as a parent shows through in your children. They are such joyful and curious girls. I am thankful for you too!!!


  3. seahawk318 says:

    PS: I want to commend your Principal for letting the kids play!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paige says:

      The principal sent me the sweetest email thanking me for the post. I think that the education environment is so tense right now, everyone needs to start seeing the good in things and in people!


  4. Miss Trayers says:

    I live in Texas and obviously we don’t get snow very often. One of my fondest memories was of a day we started to get flurries and I bundled all the kids up and took them outside (others did think I was out of my mind!). They all stood around catching snowflakes-I have a great pic of the experience! Definitely a great thing that school did! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. tweetmom17 says:

    I want to play in the snow too. We ALL need a chance to play! ☺☺

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Cindy B says:

    We live in a small, very rural district – one elementary, one middle school, one high school. One of the things I am grateful for is that at all the schools there are teachers who try to mix things up by doing different things, including outside lessons and playing games to give the kids a break. And yes, they play in the snow. The kids are sent outside for recess until it is below 20 degrees and there is no such thing as a “snow day”. I’m glad your little guy got to experience that magic!


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