It’s a shame our kids have less time to just be kids – Blaise Tapp
For many people our school years are something we would rather stay consigned to the annals of history, along with nit cream and our first hangover.
But, whether we loved or loathed those 12 years in uniform, our formative years remain with us forever.
Even if school was difficult, whether down to lack of academic attainment or the fact you weren’t one of the top dogs, it tended to be easier than life is right now.
I have fond memories of my time in primary and secondary education but this isn’t down to a yearning for a return to lessons about the history of the industrial revolution. Any fuzziness I feel about those largely care-free days some 30 years ago is pretty much solely down to break times.
They provided me with some of the best moments from my youth. Where else, other than the playground, can a youngster score the winning goal for their country in a World Cup final with an airflow ball and hand-me-down snorkel parkas for goalposts?
The playing fields were where many of us had our first kiss, forged lasting friendships and, dare I say it, had that first illicit drag on a cigarette. Break times toughened me up, particularly the occasion when a bunch of shaven-headed Year 10 lads stuck me in a shopping trolley and pushed it down a particularly steep hill.
Even taking the odd duffing up into account, those hours at school spent away from the classroom helped shape who I am today, which is why it is perplexing to learn that kids today get far less free time than we ever did.
Over the past two decades infants have lost an average of 45 minutes a week of break, while kids at high school have seen their free time reduced by well over an hour. While it might not seem a big deal to many, the erosion of time when children can be children should be a concern to us all.
We all know about the distractions and pressures facing our young people in the 21st century, which is precisely why they should be allowed their own free time.
They have as much right to have happy memories of their time at school as their parents did.