Driving past school playgrounds I find myself saying “If only I could have been a kid now” or ” I wish we’d had that equipment to play on.” This led me to think of the differences that climate may have had on where you might have spent your breaks at school. Perhaps some of the time is taken up with prepared meals or going home to eat and therefore little time was spent in the playground. It made me wonder what would be the differences between countries, city and rural living and between generations. I hope you’ll join in and give us a view of school playgrounds around the world and between generations.
Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.
The playground of my primary school was a ripe ground for skinned knees, abrasions and other injuries. It was a huge barren wasteland where the girls were segregated from boys. The girls were allocated to the asphalt area where the only break in the grey hard surface was the white lines painted on it for various ball games. The boys were allocated to a paddock of grass where they played more violent games in their short lunch breaks.
Our school day started on the asphalt with school assembly. The flag was raised. We sang God save the Queen and the Principal gave any notices and orders for the day. It was often quite hot at school opening and I had some unknown sickness that caused me to faint so I was one of the few kids who were allowed to sit on the hot paving.
Morning Classes were broken by morning tea where we’d all spill out onto the asphalt. We all stayed on the asphalt for this short break but the boys naturally avoided the girls. The government had decided that all school children were to get allocated a bottle of milk which had been delivered in crates into the playground during class, heating in the sun. The warm milk was enough to turn your stomach and I was so grateful to my illness that the doctor decided must be due to a dairy allergy that I had the magic letter from him allowing me to forgo my bottle.
When the bell rang for lunch we all filed out onto long benches that were around the perimeter of the playground. Few were in the shade and it was before the days that hats were compulsory. I had a permanently peeling red nose but luckily my olive skin saved the rest of me from the melanomas that were probably laid down for many at this time. Sitting on these benches we ate our packed lunch that we had bought from home. Mine was always a sandwich with a variety of different fillings and an apple or orange. The fruit usually returned home with me unless I could persuade someone else to eat it. We sat there quietly – one teacher was allocated to playground duty – until the whistle blew to let us know we could get up and play for half an hour before classes resumed. The girls tended to play with whatever the fad of the moment was. This could be hula hoops, skipping, hopscotch, yoyos. The only game the girls didn’t seem to adopt was marbles.
Apart from these breaks our playground was also used for classes – sports, dancing (this we all thought was yuk) and the occasional nature class. Even though they were devoid of play equipment and shade we relished the time we spent in our playground.
Now for your memories……
UK Working Class Northern England