Education Quandary: We object to our daughter's school showing Disney films during 'wet play'. What can we do?

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Hilary's advice

Your difficulty is that the school has already responded to your objection by offering to have two wet playtime rooms, one for films and one for play activities.

But, as you rightly point out, this is a nonsense, because what child will ever turn down the chance to sit, slack-jawed, in front of a cartoon?

However, unless you are willing to spend hours struggling to get the majority of parents behind you, you will probably now just have to put up with it and console yourself with the thought that wet playtimes don't come round that often.

But I can see how galling it must be to have your school behaving like this, when at home you are battling to limit your children's screen time.

If I were running a school, I would not show films at playtime. I would, I hope, behave more like the infants' school in West Sussex that recently spent £260 on all-in-one waterproofs so that pupils can go outside and stamp in puddles no matter how bad the weather.

A school might argue that there is no harm in letting children watch the occasional film, but a really good school would hold in mind that modern children are already spending far too much time sitting passively in front of screens, and think more creatively about how to use rainy lunchbreaks.

Maybe you could write about these issues in the school newsletter, or on its parent forum, to persuade others of your case?

Readers' advice

Our school is on the Creative Partnerships creative learning programme, which has enabled us to extend our storytelling club during playtime. The club, led by our dinner ladies, takes place in the playground but is easily transported into a hall during "wet play". The children have been enthralled, especially as the dinner ladies use "props" stored in the pockets of the storytelling aprons created for them by one of our grandmas.

The club also gives our children the opportunity to recount their own stories, which their parents have passed on. Many of them have grown in confidence and increased their language and social skills. As a result, they are now able to use those skills in other areas of school work.

Anita Thompson, Head of St Benedict's Infants School, Small Heath, Birmingham

Your daughter won't come to any harm watching the occasional Disney film, and there's a lot of fun to be had in laughing and chatting with other children while she does it. My own daughter watched the usual quota of films during wet play at school. She also watched films at home with us and developed a passion for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! Now she is an omnivorous film and theatregoer and reader.

Jean Gallafent, London NW1

Children do not always opt for films but, even if they do, it's not life-threatening. For the brain to be in "idle mode" for this time may enable better concentration later. I'm sure the head would be grateful if you could stop interfering in such unimportant matters!

Keith Warren, Essex

Next Week's Quandary

I agree with what the head of Harrow School said recently about "soft options", but can this head tell me how to persuade my reluctant 16-year-old to consider choosing A-level sciences when he resolutely maintains that "everyone says they are too hard and too much work"?

Send your replies, or any quandaries you would like to have addressed, to h.wilce@btinternet. com. Please include your postal address. Readers whose replies are printed will receive a Collins Paperback English Dictionary 5th Edition. Previous quandaries are online at www.hilarywilce.com. They can be searched by topic.

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