Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mud vs. Mud Slinging

Mud vs. Mudslinging

My youngest kid... the blonde; the one who isn't Asian... the one made in the USA and not adopted from China. This is the kid who attends the Chinese school. Someday I can tell you all the reasons for this... there was a logic as shaky as it seems sometimes in retrospect. At any rate... the issue of mud play came up on the school email and it is just too good to be true. The names have been changed to protect everyone concerned.

From: "Mei Lin"
To: :3rd and 4th grade parents list
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 6:45 PM>
Subject: Yew Chung recess today>>>>

Hi parents,>>>> This is so that you are aware. I was at school during afternoon recess
today and saw some 3rd graders playing with mud. I don't mean "sand & water",
it was "soil & water" (you know, that strip of dirt between the footpath next to the playground and the doors into our classroom, except this hole is towards the gate end).

I personally feel that it's extremely unhygienic immersing one's hands into the mud hole (which they made by adding water). Mr. S. was the only teacher at the playground so I told him that I'm concern there are germs like Salmonella in the soil and they might not wash their hands properly afterwards. His response was that he had never heard of germs/bacteria in mud, kids do play with mud... etc, etc.

So to cut a long story short, I told Megan not to play with the "mud" anymore. It's actually not the kids' fault. It was too hot to play on the playground and there was really nothing much for them to do. Anyway, just thought you might want to know.>>>> --Mei >

Wed, 14 May 2008 21:46:04 -0700,
"Lori Li Chan" writes:>
Hi Mei and Other 2/3 Parents,>>
Thank you for sharing today's incident with us. With the weather getting warmer these days, and the children probably not wanting to be out in the sun so long, I have thought about what other options are available to them. Coincidentally, I talked with Mr. Drabman about this issue today. He is fine with the idea of opening the library to the students during lunch break IF there's a responsible adult to watch over them. Most of the staff are on break at that time, so it is not fair for them to stay in the library to supervise the students. So I am wondering if, for the remainder of the school year (4 weeks), we can have a parent volunteer in the library from 12:20 to 1PM. With the number of parents in elementary, I think we'll need to be "on duty" only once until school ends for our children to have this added option. They can read books, play board games (available in the library), or have a cool place to draw and write.
Thoughts, anyone? Is this a feasible idea?>>Lori >>-----

Thanks for including me on this interesting thread... There's certainly a lot to think about here. I understand the concern about the potential hygenic problems posed by mud -- a friend and I just yesterday had a long conversation about the pros and cons of Calistoga mud baths that were all the rage in the go-go 90s (the attendent will hose you off while you stand there naked?! now there's a big problem on at least 3 levels ... think about it... you can get fungus from a pedicure... bathing in mud!? eeeeh.)....
A few observations:
...A quick search on the internet reveals that most mud-related disease in kidsa occurs with contaminated soil. Balancing this is the desire to avoid making kids afraid of everything in life. Courage is a life skill.
....A few years back, the Ryan, Kia and Michael made a mud hole in front of the current 1st grade class, and the science lessons I saw blossom from this experience seem to win in my mind over the small potential for illness. So far the 3 of them seem to have weathered this with their health undinted.
.... Frankly, I worry more about kids damaging their social-emotinal development with mud-slinging and by that I mean the mean-spirited whispering and exclusion kind of mud. Real mud seems tame in comparison.
... So with all this in mind I come down firmly on the side of playing in mud. We have cultivated quite a few mud holes in our yard lately, so I rather think Eliza was leading the charge. On the other hand, apparently I am one of those high-risk takers and indeed married a man who actually jumped from airplanes... So I defer to your collective judegment to avoid my daughter being punished by the herd for my sins.

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