Thursday, January 7, 2010

wrestling at preschool

Do you cut rough and tumble play short because you worry that it will all end in tears?  I know I do. 

Which is a shame because rough and tumble play offers so many unique opportunities for children's social, emotional and physical learning.

How can we provide opportunities for children to play rough without injury?

Now, don't laugh, but at our preschool we wrestle.

We have brainstormed rules with the kids on how to keep the play appropriate, and we support them in recognising body language or using words to communicate that the play is getting out of control for them.

There is a teacher "ringside" at all times.

Wrestling respects the children's need for full body contact play.  It gives children the tools to recognise their own limits and those of others.  They learn what their bodies can do.  They develop self control.

And as odd as it may sound in the context of wrestling, they are learning to be gentle with each other and to think about other people's feelings.

Wrestling outside - I highly recommend it!


  1. Yay! I thought we were the only preschool on earth who wrestled as part of our curriculum.

    One thing I've learned is that while it tends to be boys who will spontaneously wrestle, once I made it an "official" part of preschool the girls join in equally.

    I wrote a post about this awhile back, but the first time we tried wrestling it turned out that one of our 4-year-olds had been leaning Aikido and went about systematically dispatching the other kids with a series of very efficient throws! Impressive, but not so fun for the other children! =)

  2. oh, i love this. and i am reminded of all the outdoor fun we'll have once it isn't freezing (literally!).

  3. i'd like to incorporate this into our class. What are some of your rules?