Wednesday, November 17

Toilet Tag

As a little girl, I loved recess. I used to jump rope, play hopscotch, sing little songs with my classmates, and play Freeze Tag. Ahhh, the good 'ol days....

My twinnies are in kindergarten. When the school year began, they loved recess. In fact, when we asked about their day at school, they would only mention the games they played while outside with their classmates. We would get blank stares when we asked, "But what did you learn today?".

Things started changing a couple of weeks ago. Bethie stopped playing with her classmates at recess. When I tried to find out why, she said that she didn't want to play with her class because they would play "inappropriate" games (yup, that's how my kids speak. Sigh). When pressed, she told me about Toilet Tag.

Here's how to play: One person is "It". This child tries to tag as many children as possible. "When a player is tagged, he/she must assume a toilet position (one knee on the ground and the other knee up, one arm straight out to the side).  The tagged player must remain frozen in this position until they are rescued by another player.  To be rescued, a player must sit on the knee of the frozen player, grab their straight arm and make a WHOOSH sound while pulling the arm down to simulate the flushing of a commode.  Once a player flushes the toilet of a frozen player, the frozen player is freed." (Mr. Gym).

I was horrified to learn that the children play this in the school yard. This is a disgusting and scatological game! I was proud of my daughter. She had decided that she didn't want to be used as a "toilet" and did not want children to pretend to urinate and defecate on her. At age 5, she stood up to the crowd. What a strong and proud daughter I have!

There were other problems for Bethie at school, so I wrote a note and asked to speak with the teacher. Yesterday, Miss N and I sat down and talked about the issues that Bethie faces in school. When we came to the games of Toilet Tag being played in the school yard, Miss N said "I think that may be my fault. I taught the children to play this in gym class".

I was, truly, speechless. I was shocked. Miss N is about my age. She's a mother. She's an experienced teacher. How is it that she and I have such vastly different views on the appropriateness of this game?

In my shock-induced silence, all I kept thinking was that this is a "Tribes School". This means that there is a super heavy focus on the "four agreements": Mutual Respect, Listening, Appreciation, and Participation. How can the school foster "mutual respect" when asking the children to pretend to be toilets?
We kinda glossed over the whole Toilet Tag because we moved onto matters that I thought to be more serious. But it haunted me. Am I being a prude? Am I so out-of-touch? Should I just keep my mouth shout?

I don't know what to do. I am at a loss. If any of you have any thoughts about Toilet Tag, please let me know.


Pam said...

Ah, yes, toilet tag. I couldn't believe that one either! I suppose it has a certain appeal to some kids but is it really so hard to get the kids to play tag? I'm guessing no harm was meant but now that it has been brought up to the teacher, perhaps she will do another variation next time.

Bill Hunter said...

You are being APPROPRIATE. What was going through that teacher's mind? Stand your ground!

Bibliomama said...

To be completely honest, I don't think you're being a prude, but if my daughter had told me she played this at school, I would have laughed. What do kids love more than fart jokes and toilet humour? I would have been worried about a lot worse than this if she had mentioned 'inappropriate' games. (I did admit recently that I do have a very juvenile sense of humour). I don't think it's disrespectful of anyone unless they are forced to play when they don't want to.

Gwen said...

Pam: Good point, kids like to play tag. I'm sure there are 100 variations that all of the children would LOVE!

Dad: I should have said in my blog that Miss N is a WONDEFUL teacher who has been nothing but great to me and my children. I am thrilled that they have such a creative and fun teacher at the beginning of their educational careers. Having said that, I think this is a case of good intentions gone a bit badly...

Bibliomama: Had the twinnies simply mentioned this game to me in passing, I would have rolled my eyes and complained to Dan, and left it at that. The problem came when both girls, but Bethie specifically, began to isolate themselves in order to dodge playing this game. And THAT breaks my heart. They are such happy and sociable children. The thought of them standing alone on the sidelines, feeling badly, makes me want to weep.

Sallie said...

I am amazed that there is a teacher in our school system that actually taught this game to a kindergarten class! I am appauled at the insensitivties! Does no-one remember when a classmate had an "accident" at school? Does no-one remember the tears, the embarrasment, the snickers of the other kids? It is a traumatic experience never forgotten if you are the child.

Now flash forward to this school where the teacher actually dreams up this "game" about a bodily functions and encourages everyone to play in gym class. I do so pray that no little soul in that class has an accident; that no little person in that class has a bed wetting problem or even just an accident one night. I hope to goodness there isn't a child there that worries about getting to the bathroom on time because in this class apparently everything related to the toilet becomes a group game - a joke - who wants to be the last child frozen as a toilet?

I fail to see how this game could teach anything about mutual respect, sportmanship or any other valued principle.

Bibliomama said...

I absolutely agree that that needed to be addressed.

Gwen said...

Mum: Thank you. Maybe YOU should go to the parent-teacher interview in my place! I'm not kidding.

Bibliomama: I know that you agreed that it should be addressed. Thank you for saying that. Normally, I am soooo sure of what to do. But I feel like I am being "over-protective" and silly. They have only been students for 51 days, and already I am lost.

Double the Giggles said...

OK, I had to giggle a little, but only becasue you used the word "scat"-ological. Toilet Tag... it's just an odd concept altogether. Good for your little one for opting out!

Mary Lynn said...

Oh gosh...I confess my kids would probably think the game is hilarious. But you are is an odd thing for the teacher to have taught the kids, and if it has become something that makes other kids feel excluded, then it is inappropriate to play at school.

I think when you have kids who are all about the potty humour you become so desensitized to it that you don't actually see it as something that could make people uncomfortable.