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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Climbing in Preschool

In almost every preschool the monkey bars are a big hit. There is something so free-ing about climbing to the top and looking down on spectators. It's magical to monkey from one side all the way to the other side.

A few years ago, a students in the preschool where I worked at fell off the monkey bars and knocked out her front tooth. The teachers on the playground were beside themselves with worry. Thankfully, the parents were completely understanding, since she was the "tom boy" of the family. After she was all cleaned up and the space where her tooth had been finally stopped bleeding she was back on the  monkey bar again. Understandably, her teacher shrieked with fear and ordered her "down from there".  It was a long time after that before any kids were allowed to climb those monkey bars. Here are some "ups" and "downs" to consider when using or installing monkey bars that will make them and keep them a big hit.

The Downs

  • If children aren't properly supervised there is always an increased chance of injury
  • Callused hands; from holding the equipment so tightly 
  • Bruises; from bumping the equipment
  • Injuries to the mouth
  • Falling
  • Sprains
  • Broken bones

The Ups

  • Climbing is Fun
  • Exercise
  • It's a work-out they probably wouldn't get a home
  • Builds confidence
  • Can be solitary, parallel, associative or cooperative play
  • Provide opportunities to come up with new ways to use the same equipment
Here are some tips to keep you from going bananas
  • Always check the equipment for safety before you allow children to play on it
  • Always ensure there is enough ground covering under the play equipment
  • Always discuss your expectations on the play equipment
  • Stand close by and be ready to lend a hand
  • Encouragement from you improves their confidence and lessens the chance of injury
  • Limit the amount of children on the monkey bars at one time
  • Remind and model taking turns

Unfortunately, there's a chance there will still be accidents. You can do everything right and there's still bound to be some bumps and bruises along the way. The most important thing is you're informed, prepared and ready to take action. 

Here's to the "up" and "downs" of climbing in Preschool, 

1 comment:

  1. Sound advice here & was so glad the school didn't rip them out. We use plastic milk crates to sit on/climb/walk/build with etc. and yes we have had accidents but as you say if you are prepared & parents well informed it is not an issue. However in the big school playground when 1 child fell off a crate they were all removed!!!!! sad but true