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Mindless educators and No Hat No Play

By longshanks 28 May 2012 53

Let me say up front that I’m a believer in public education, and I reckon that most (although not all) teachers in public schools do a great job.

However, I’m a bit sick of the whole “No Hat, No Play” policy that ACT public schools subscribe to. Don’t get me wrong – in the middle of summer it’s important to ensure that kids are protected. But at this time of year? Come on. One day last week one of my kids was told by a teacher that he couldn’t play outside at morning tea because he didn’t have his hat. Apparently the only months where it’s safe for kids to play outside without a hat are June and July.

Obviously, most teachers are sensible about this sort of thing. But I find it concerning that some teachers are so lacking in common sense as to prevent a hatless child from playing outside for 20 minutes in late May. And at 10.30 in the morning to boot!

I’d be interested to know if this is just a public school thing, or whether independent schools have the same approach, i.e. compulsory hat-wearing all year except June and July.


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Mindless educators and No Hat No Play
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birder 1:15 pm 07 Jun 12

Thought I’d add a bit of research (closely, but not directly, related) to the mix:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/slathering-on-sunscreen-early-and-often/

Merle 4:58 pm 30 May 12

For everyone freaking out about Vitamin D deficiency – it’s not as though the child leaves school and is immediately whisked away into a pitch black dungeon (I assume). If you want your kid to get more sun, let them play outside after school. They’ll probably get less UV then anyway.

Watson 2:10 pm 30 May 12

Couldn’t be bothered reading all the comments, but I agree it is overkill. I am perfectly ok with my child not wearing a hat this time of the year.

However, I am quite thrilled about their way of enforcing the rule. It is very rare for schools (and most people here too it seems) to put some responsibility on the kids for these sort of things. Normally they will just complain to the parents. I do not pack my child’s hat. If she doesn’t do it, she can stay inside if that is the rule. I don’t particularly care very much if the rule isn’t fair or common sense. There are quite a few other school rules that I find way more annoying and that are not dependent on the child remembering to pack stuff in their bag.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:56 pm 30 May 12

No hat no play is a good rule. Not only does it protect our kids from sunburn and the associated health issues, but it’s a simple rule with a clear (but minor) consequence that motivates kids to take some responsibility for themselves.

Rollersk8r 1:51 pm 30 May 12

longshanks said :

jessieduck said :

No, you lost me when you called them a mindless educator. It’s a policy that offers the broadest scope of protecting your child and gives them good habits.

OK, I acknowledge that “mindless educator” was not a good choice of words. I just find it disappointing that a teacher would not be willing to apply a bit of common sense in this instance.

Common sense in this case being the teacher lets 1 kid play without a hat – and all other kids immediately realise the policy no longer applies….

gourmetmumma 1:01 pm 30 May 12

cranky said :

How the hell did we baby boomers make it to 60+? Can’t remember ever being issued with a hat!

I realise that sunlight CAN, on rare occassions, cause problems.

But this is just more of the Nanny state.

I am a cancer care nurse and I urge you to come & visit any of the Oncology clinics around our country and you’ll quickly realise many ‘baby boomers’ are only just scraping through their 60’s receiving copious amounts of chemotherapy for their UV/sun exposure related cancers.
My kids school, as nearly every other school in Australia has a no hat no play policy…it’s not my job to make sure they remember their hat, but it’s only taken a couple of days of them sitting on the sidelines watching their friends play while they have no hat, to remember to take it every day.
I’m sure if your child came home with sunburn or skin damage from sun exposure you would again be on your high horse saying the school didn’t take enough responsibility.

Sgt.Bungers 10:19 am 30 May 12

Be careful how you address this with your child.

It’s pretty obivious that you disagree with the no hat no play rule being in force in May, as would I. However if the rule is well published and the kids know about it, then they are required to obey it. Telling your child that the rule is silly and he or she shouldn’t have been punished, will indicate to the child that it’s OK to break some rules rules and disrespect the authority who enforces those rules. In a few years you may catch him or her being arrested for spray painting “I HATE CANBERRA” somewhere on Northbourne whilst screaming abuse at a police officer.

Consider telling your child that while they must always question then man, doing it the wrong way by simply breaking the rules will always result in a consequence. Doing it the right way via research into the topic, followed by tactical protest to have the rules changed, will see them turn into a powerful leader and revered member of society.

Overheard 8:43 am 30 May 12

Special G said :

If you don’t like the amount of sun the kids are getting during recess tale your child and let them play outside after 3pm for the next 2 hours without a hat. Your call.

What, and rob them of all that precious gaming time? What are you, some sort of communist?

Overheard 8:43 am 30 May 12

crackerpants said :

Gosh you lot are a grumpy bunch of stick-in-the-muds. As people who comply with 100% of the rules 100% of the time, no lapses, you would fall off you chairs if you knew the sort of things I forget. I guess I’m one of *those* parents. You know. Thing. Mindless. Comparing forgetting a hat with drink-driving? Cripes.

I’m in the incredibly fortunate position whereby my kids’ daycare centre recognises that not all parents are RiotAct posters with superhuman remembering abilities, and that sometimes we’re a little rushed, flustered, stressed and disorganised. Should a child not have a hat (possibly due to hat 1 being buried in the sandpit for the last week, hat 2 being in the other car which is in for a service, and hat 3 being totally MIA – it happens), they just bung a spare hat on the child’s head. Win-win – child not punished for parent’s grievous lapse, parent smacks own forehead in guilt and realisation when they see their child in non-regulation Dorothy the Dinosaur hat and remembers to pack one the next day. They also apply the first lot of sunscreen if the parent has forgotten this also.

I support sunsmart policies, and yes, I suppose we need to enforce the rules as much as possible. But there does need to be reasonable interpretation, and our daycare is hats off (to be substituted with beanie/hood) for June and July.

So the daycare centre keeps a few spare hats. Huzzah. Win.

Unclench!

crackerpants 7:51 am 30 May 12

Gosh you lot are a grumpy bunch of stick-in-the-muds. As people who comply with 100% of the rules 100% of the time, no lapses, you would fall off you chairs if you knew the sort of things I forget. I guess I’m one of *those* parents. You know. Thing. Mindless. Comparing forgetting a hat with drink-driving? Cripes.

I’m in the incredibly fortunate position whereby my kids’ daycare centre recognises that not all parents are RiotAct posters with superhuman remembering abilities, and that sometimes we’re a little rushed, flustered, stressed and disorganised. Should a child not have a hat (possibly due to hat 1 being buried in the sandpit for the last week, hat 2 being in the other car which is in for a service, and hat 3 being totally MIA – it happens), they just bung a spare hat on the child’s head. Win-win – child not punished for parent’s grievous lapse, parent smacks own forehead in guilt and realisation when they see their child in non-regulation Dorothy the Dinosaur hat and remembers to pack one the next day. They also apply the first lot of sunscreen if the parent has forgotten this also.

I support sunsmart policies, and yes, I suppose we need to enforce the rules as much as possible. But there does need to be reasonable interpretation, and our daycare is hats off (to be substituted with beanie/hood) for June and July.

Special G 7:06 am 30 May 12

If you don’t like the amount of sun the kids are getting during recess tale your child and let them play outside after 3pm for the next 2 hours without a hat. Your call.

poetix 10:32 pm 29 May 12

HenryBG said :

I-filed said :

Hats all year is the go. Ask any woman who spent her youth as a beach babe in Australia and then moved to Europe – they are invariably thought to be 10 or 15 years older than their real age …

The bizarre practice of roasting yourself for hours on end, day after day, resulting in thick leathery skin is not the issue here.

The issue here is that at our latitude and at this time of year, the sun is low all day, providing little UV, which we need for health reasons.

Children spend all day indoors and have two short breaks outside, during which they should be getting some sun on their skins.

The consequences of not enough sun due to the over-zealous sunsmart cover-up Taliban includes the rickets/bones issues mentioned above, plus,

Multiple sclerosis
Type 1 diabetes
High blood pressure
Tuberculosis
Schizophrenia
Depression

My God, I think it’s happened!
What’s that me dahlin?
I agree with Henry Higgins!
That’d be Enery BG, me love. And are you sure as what e’s researched heverything?
But it’s happened! It’s happened! I could post all night!
‘ats off then me love. All them ‘ats hoff.

KeenGolfer 10:15 pm 29 May 12

Peak UV time at the moment is between 11.40 – 12.00 and at 10.30 am they’re still getting 90% of the peak UV for that day. Sensitive young skin can and does burn easily, it’s also teaching them (hopefully) life long sun safe habits.

HenryBG 9:55 pm 29 May 12

I-filed said :

Hats all year is the go. Ask any woman who spent her youth as a beach babe in Australia and then moved to Europe – they are invariably thought to be 10 or 15 years older than their real age …

The bizarre practice of roasting yourself for hours on end, day after day, resulting in thick leathery skin is not the issue here.

The issue here is that at our latitude and at this time of year, the sun is low all day, providing little UV, which we need for health reasons.

Children spend all day indoors and have two short breaks outside, during which they should be getting some sun on their skins.

The consequences of not enough sun due to the over-zealous sunsmart cover-up Taliban includes the rickets/bones issues mentioned above, plus,

Multiple sclerosis
Type 1 diabetes
High blood pressure
Tuberculosis
Schizophrenia
Depression

I-filed 6:10 pm 29 May 12

Hats all year is the go. Ask any woman who spent her youth as a beach babe in Australia and then moved to Europe – they are invariably thought to be 10 or 15 years older than their real age …

beeshive 4:54 pm 29 May 12

Yes some sun smart policies are a bit over the top. E.g girl guides subscribe to a sun smart policy that has girls excluded from outdoor activities if they have no hat to wear at 6pm in may. When the sun has set. Take heart in the fact that the public education system loses interest in this by the time they reach high school.

Gerry-Built 1:31 pm 29 May 12

Kids need firm limits and structure – even your kids. Young kids (generally) have no sense of time; and certainly not enough to think “oh… it is late May, UV is down slightly, I’ll be alright outside without a hat”. Starting to play with the “do this… except when…” will go down as well with a young kid as a verbal list of 10 instructions.

How about you just get on board and wholly support the staff – at least in front of your kids? If you disagree with the ruling, attend your P&C and move a motion to have it modified. The School WILL listen to parents because they are absolutely obliged to – and the P&C is the CORRECT forum.

All the comments here seem to fall into two categories:
-do it because it is the rule
-agree with OP because kids need sun and activity
if you feel point 2 gives enough reason to modify the rule, approach the School the right way; and if enough of the School Community feels the same way, you will have given your kids a good lesson in how to do things the right way. I’m not aware of any High Schools that enforce the SunSmart policies, so at worst, you are only up for a few years of this minor inconvenience.

Rules won’t change because you whinge and complain about them.

djbel 11:58 am 29 May 12

My son attends a “SunSmart” school and I think the teachers all do a great job to protect him, his mates and themselves for that matter from too much sun (this is Australia) . The school enforces a hats on policy when UV levels reach 3 and above- this is what the Cancer Society in Canberra recommends, so I am happy with this. In fact, currently hats are not really enforced at his school because UV levels are under 3 all day in Canberra. This is not rocket science people. Perhaps more schools should upload a SunSmart Web Widget to even better assist with their SunSmart responsibilities. http://www.actcancer.org/sun-smart/Free-SunSmart-Apps-and-Web-Widget.aspx

Overheard 9:42 am 29 May 12

miz said :

Agree with the poster on this subject. We need sun at this time of year for the Vit D.

You can soak up vitamin D quite nicely through your forearms. My quack last year actually prescribed 15 minutes a day in the sun with bare forearms to correct a vitamin D deficiency.

Overheard 9:41 am 29 May 12

“Obviously, most teachers are sensible about this sort of thing.”

Where’s the obvious part? Aren’t they just following a policy that could soundly and roundly reamed for not following? As someone else said, they’re instituting good behaviours. If the parent is too negligent to provide a hat or the kid forgets, they suffer the consequences.

It’s a good, early lesson that if you forget or lose stuff, you miss out.

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