A somewhat historic month in the proud annals of the Australian education system has just passed, and it should be given appropriate acknowledgment.
Officials at one school banned children from performing gymnastic manouvres, especially cartwheels in the playground.
I realize we now live in a society of increasing litigation, and that reduced levels of child mobility may concurrently lower the risk of such sue-age. But it concerns me that we may be interfering with some basic evolutionary necessity. Perhaps young children propelling their torsos around the horizontal exis are acting instinctively in order to correctly settle the malleable and pliable developing brain firmly into the cranium.
Our own daughter, Globet, in fact went through a lengthy phase of cartwheeling, interspersed with handstands which were mostly not of a quality and duration needed to draw a standing ovation. They were nevertheless practised at school, at home on the lawn, in the living room, up the stairs, and also over her pet cow who viewed the whole procedure with her usual bovine amusement. Her gymnastics were probably a biologically driven necessity to find out which view of the world she preferred. Fortunately it was only a temporary part of her life, and these days she perambulates her way around the world in a more or less normal manner.
During my school days, the breaking of a bone was seen by my peers as a particularly courageous and honorable achievement.
The greatest accolades were reserved for those who dropped head first from the monkey bars on to the asphalt below and were able to break both an ulna and radius simultaneously. It was good for the victims self esteem, giving him weeks of being the centre of attention, and it enhanced written English language and artistic skills for those given the special privilege of inscribing the plaster cast. Sandpits were subsequently installed underneath play equipment to allow Mother earth to share some of the pain, but we found even more innovative ways to fracture and break body parts. There were walls, trees and fences to be climbed.
I hope the kids can find a loophole in this legislative stupidity.