Despite my best endeavours to encourage, calm non-violent play in a sharing and cooperative environment, the children in my nursery were constantly using whatever construction equipment they could find to make model guns. These were then brandished around the inside and outside of the building at an alarming volume with little or no regard to my opinions about how they ought to be playing or what they could/should be learning.
On one occasion I sat with a loud and raucous group on the mat and talked about how it might scare the other children – especially the younger ones, and went on to remind them about all the other nice things we had to do and how guns were not good things to play with.
“But my dad has a gun!” pipes up cute little girl with ringlets.
“He keeps it under his bed and takes it with him when he goes to work.”
“Does he?” I asked “how do you know that?”
“Because me and my sister play with it when he’s out.”
This being one of the rough parts of town, and her dad being one of the tougher looking parents in the playground, I felt obliged to write out a report about this.
Some paperwork later, and an assurance that I would not be identified as a source of information (a kind of witness protection scheme for teachers), things settled back to normal with the comments being relegated to staffroom banter and a running joke with the younger teachers.
I laid off telling the children how they should and shouldn’t play for a while though.