Free-Range Kids

Preschoolers Told Not to Play on Preschool's Playground Equipment

Slides were designed for kids 5 and up, and these tots are only 4.


Nadezhda1906 / Dreamstime

Tots in a pre-school program in Nova Scotia can look all they want at their playground's equipment: they just can't, you know, play on it.

That's because the play structures are labeled for use by children age 5-12, and the pre-schoolers are ages 3 and 4.

That doesn't mean the equipment is a Monty Python-esque contraption of rotating knives, only that a cautious company labeled its slides and such as suitable for older kids, and the program is worried its insurance won't cover any kids injured on equipment not officially deemed for them.

But, as points out:

Let's remember that these school playgrounds are open to the public after hours and kids can play on the equipment as they choose regardless of age.

Kids have always played with equipment that did not have a specific age range attached to it. Hills, rocks, streams, and trees do not come with "ages 5 and up" warning labels. If something is too hard for three-year-olds to climb, they won't climb it—or they'll try to, and learn about bravery, taking risks, and maybe how it feels to fall. How can we expect to raise resilient kids when we don't trust their resilience, even on playground equipment fit for kindergarteners?