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Zero Risk, Zero Gain: Tom Sawyer, Won’t You Please Come Home?

by Michael Gramling
March/April 2010
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/zero-risk-zero-gain-tom-sawyer-wont-you-please-come-home/5019250/

Playgrounds used to be pretty scary places. See-saws (or teeter-totters) for example, were standard equipment on most playgrounds, and while children loved them, they were a caregiver's nightmare. The see-saw, for those of you who have never had the pleasure, was a simple piece of equipment that employed the basic principle of the lever and the fulcrum to allow children who were willing to cooperate and to 'play nice' to take turns going up and down on its opposite ends. Children who did not play so nice though, soon discovered that it was a lot more fun to abruptly abandon the socially approved role of counterweight, leap off their safely-grounded end of the see-saw, and drop their partners on their bottoms with a teeth-rattling jolt. Also standard equipment was the merry-go-round, a piece of equipment that likewise required cooperative play in order to be properly enjoyed. Some children were riders, but to others fell the more important role of the pusher or spinner. How fast can we get this thing going? How many of the riders will beg for mercy and how loudly will they squeal? Or better yet, can we create a centrifugal force strong enough to break the desperate ...

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