Tuesday, April 12, 2011


J is for Jerks! The jerks that run our Health and Safety Laws as they apply to schools and licensed childcare centres.

The country is going mad with over regulation.

If something can go wrong, or an accident may happen, some jerk justifying his job, with his snout in the trough of the public purse has just got to apply the letter of the law in the most ridiculous of situations. No room left now for individual responsibility, or of allowing children to exercise their sense of adventure to learn by experience.
If they're playing around an animal, they need to learn it may bite, or claw them if they aggravate it! That's life. We learn.

How will kids ever learn how to interact with animals if you do not allow them to fondle, feed, play with them?

My wife and other teachers at her playcentre arranged to take the class of pre-schoolers to an animal farm sanctuary, where they would be able to feed and touch sheep, donkeys, goats, rabbits, piglets etc. A huge range of domesticated and tame animals. A day her class thoroughly enjoyed, being able to stroke, and play with them, under supervision of several adults. What a wonderful day they had! And the animals responded as they enjoyed likewise the interaction they could enjoy with humans who mean no harm.

While there, a class of pre-schoolers from another centre arrived. Their visit had been arranged after an inspection pre-visit, the purpose to assess the safety hazards of the farm sanctuary.

This other pre-school had to assess the risks of their kids petting sheep, goats and rabbits and the odd chicken, goose, piglet etc! Oh, there are mice and rats too.

 Now 1'000's of kids are growing up around similar animals everyday in New Zealand. That's what we are- a country heavily based on farming.

The operators are women who have been around animals, have young children of their own, and do know which of their animals are suited to interact with any age of child.

Not good enough! The pre-visit assesment for the other play-centre laid down rules that their children, on their visit were not to touch, feed or play with ANY animal...only to look!

What jerks! How do children learn to respect, care for, or handle carefully any animal if they are not allowed too?

Would they not have saved themselves all the hassle of driving all those kids to the farm sanctuary, if they'd gone and hired some DVDs on farm animals and sat the kids down to watch them safely?
Jerks are in charge these days!

The pics above are of my daughter feeding a Kunekune piglet at an animal farm sanctuary.


Laura said...

I agree... why even bother taking the kids if they cannot interact? That is like taking them to a playground and telling them they can only look at the swings and slide, or taking them to McDonald's and saying they can only smell the food. They should have just made them watch a DVD... grrr...

Savira Gupta said...

Kids have to learn by interacting be it with other kids )to learn social skills) or animas ( to take care and understand)
What planet do hay come from Lawmakers?

Jim said...

Hi Laura and Savira,
I was flabbergasted when my wife told me this. I have been there and while there are risks, as there would be, if enough adults are accompanying the children, and they're only allowed around the smaller animals, then why cannot they be allowed to pet sheep, chickens, piglets etc?
That's why it's open to the public- to encourage families to visit so to allow children to learn to appreciate animals.

tbaoo said...

i've given a lot of thought prior to posting this comment .. so here goes. i understand your anger jim, but as i could be one of the "as you so described" jerks, i can't comment too much .. it's sad to hear that the kids may not, under the insurance of the child care, enjoy the interaction, but outside of their obligations and care, may be able to do so with their parents, complicated issue, but labelling the messenger as jerks may not be the most enlightened response .. :)

alejandro guzman said...

It's everywhere Jim. These stupid rules made by even more stupid people that are making our children dumber. It's way out of control this PC Crap!!


Jim said...

Tbao, here in NZ there situation is a wee bit different than Aussie. We have ACC which is a 'no fault' system of accident cover. Pre-schools would not be financially liable. But the Health and Safety rules in our schools and play centres, as for every work place require health and hazard checks. So one playscentre accepts there are minimal risks and takes their children along for a day of feeding and petting the animals,. While the other takes their children along and will not allow their children to do same.
So it comes down to some dipstick jerks of teachers who assessed the risk as too great.

Finding One's Way said...

Kids learn by interacting with with animals and people. Jim I think ever where Companies are afraid of being sued God forbid some thing happens they just don't want the liability. Many small business will and can go under if a law suite is won on negligence better they cover their asses

Jorie Pacli said...

There is only one point I can say with this scenario Jim: "No pain, no gain." So if the children are not given the chance to explore freely with their surroundings, tendency is they never gonna get the full chance of acquiring hands-on knowledge through real-life experience and learning is just a mere see-hear-follow-i-get-it-but-hollow..... Wonderful post...;)

Manzanita said...

Jim, I didn't know you were A-Z'ing. I'd have tried to get to you but it's hard to get to everyone, isn't it? Only so much computer time in a day. On your post, I agree. It's been so long since I interacted with kids and things must have changed a lot since mine were young. Petting zoos used to be popular. Good awareness post. I'll be around to see you more.

Roy Durham said...

Jim great post but jerk is to polite a word. in the us we have some of the same idiotic law makers. when i col down i will find a better word for them. thank you and god bless.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

I'm following your blog and find it interesting, delightful and insightful. Yikes about the rules and the kids. We have one weekend a month at our horse riding stable for children to come and ride. The kids may have physical disabilities, just plain old love horses or try a horse out to prove to Mom they really do want riding lessons. We are insured as mandated by state law. Let's hope it never goes beyond that!
Regards, Mari
I'm now following your blog. It's wonderful!! I found you on BLOGGERS ISLAND . Hope you will follow me also.

Regards, Mari

Debra said...

A sad commentary here on how the country is going mad with over regulation. Whatever happened to “hands-on learning?” It’s the same here… and it’s the same everywhere.
Contextual learning is reality-based, outside-of-the-classroom experience, within a specific context which serves as a catalyst for students to utilize their disciplinary knowledge. And what better way for children to learn how to interact with animals than to fondle, feed, and play with them? Love the pics of your daughter feeding the Kunekune piglet!
I’m with Laura: “grrr…”

Julia said...

Sounds just like the UK. I used to be a teacher and we weren't allowed to take the kids anywhere till a full risk assessment had been carried out. The problem was, we were scared to take them anywhere in case something did happen and the parents sued us. Very sad!

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