Reception children being taught how to use sparklers safely. WITH REAL SPARKELERS

(188 Posts)
FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 19:52:52

Apparently they're going to be practising name writing and letter formation with sparklers!?!?
Isn't that just asking for trouble?
A permission slip has come home, I really don't want my 4 year old using a sparkler. So I won't be giving permission, but am I being unreasonable to think that it's an insane idea?

Good on the school.
I love sparklers and all my DCs have had early (supervised) access to them grin

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 19:54:32

I would assume that it would be done in small groups and well supervised. Wouldn't bother me tbh.

CaptainSweatPants Sun 20-Oct-13 19:54:43

I think its fine if done safely

As long as they're wearing gloves

Does it mention gloves on the letter?

Zarqoun Sun 20-Oct-13 19:55:54

Imagine that. Learning to use something by using the real deal thing itself.

Hassled Sun 20-Oct-13 19:56:47

It has to be pretty bloody dark to be able to practice letter formation with a sparkler - unless hometime is after 6pm, they haven't thought this through.

Aside from that - I'd rather they were taught sensibly about the dangers etc in that sort of environment than not. And yes, I've let my kids use sparklers from quite a young age - heavily supervised.

Hulababy Sun 20-Oct-13 19:58:38

Hw=ow is it being undertaken?

Presumably they are doing it in very small groups, with adult supervision and with a firework safety discussion beforehand. And they are asking for parental permission too. there will be a hefty risk assessment done too ime.

It seems like a very good thing to me. Many children this age will be given sparklers at Bonfire Night - and usually without the heavy supervision and safety talk accompany it.

Children need to try out more risky activities in order to learn about them properly. If done careflly then there is no reason for this to be an issue.

If you are really concerned either don't give permission or volunteer to go in and help out that day.

LittleBairn Sun 20-Oct-13 19:59:40

I'm all for teaching kids safely but you are talking about a group of 4 and 5 years old its a ridiculous idea! I wouldn't be giving permission I would also make it clear I wouldn't expect my DC to be anywhere near by the 'experiment' either.

movingaway Sun 20-Oct-13 20:00:05

They had sparklers at DS's preschool halloween party last year- with parents and in small groups. It was fun!

StrictlySazz Sun 20-Oct-13 20:02:12

My DC have used sparklers from about age 3. What is the problem? Genuinely confused

moldingsunbeams Sun 20-Oct-13 20:03:44

If done in small groups and well supervised not an issue to me.

Meglet Sun 20-Oct-13 20:05:52

It'll be fine. I let mine have mini sparklers in the garden.

Anniemousse Sun 20-Oct-13 20:14:10

I know it's not AIBU but YANBU

Link here:

"Never give sparklers to children under 5"

Periwinkle007 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:25:38

I was just about to say I thought they advised not for under 5s.

telsa Sun 20-Oct-13 20:36:59

Absolutely fine...sounds good to me.

Talkinpeace Sun 20-Oct-13 20:39:30

I think that school deserves a medal. Brilliant idea.

LoganMummy Sun 20-Oct-13 20:42:55

Not sure about in school, unless it was one-to-one but DS had one last year when he was 2. We both held the sparkler together and he loved it.

grants1000 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:46:59

It is a great idea, it will be totally fine & safe. You are stressing over nothing, time to unwrap that cotton wool a tad. I think your child will be more upset and standing watching her classmates having good supervised fun. They go to school to learn and have new experiences, so let him/het!

EachDay Sun 20-Oct-13 20:53:11

Do they say in the letter how it will be organised/supervised?I think in small groups with usual precautions it will be fine.

Can't see it being much fun or a successful letter writing exercise in day light though.

Worrying about children and sparklers is just one tiny example of how risk-averse we have become as a society and yes, it's something I have a bee in my bonnet about.

Wrt the above link I totally agree that anybody who needs to be told not to use them indoors or not to give them to a drunk adult, should also not give them to an under-5. FFS. All these bits of safety advice are sound enough but are the lowest common denominator. Some 4 year olds with supervision will be fine with sparklers, some 6 year olds won't be. Some teenagers can be fairly accident prone, maybe they should not be allowed either?!

What about conkers?
Cycling/skating without every bit of safety equipment known to man?
Climbing trees? Actual trees? Without a safety mat underneath shock
Going to school on their own?
Going to the local shops on their own?

All of the above will be appropriate in some circumstances and not in others and every bit of indepencence has risks, so surely it is our job as parents and teachers and as society to teach our kids how to handle dangers.

Sparklers are hot, very hot. They can burn and hurt you. This is how you handle them.

I am amazed the school has the guts tbh but am heartened to hear that they do.

Rant over.
I feel strongly about this - can you tell? blush

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 21:10:29

pacific you speak much sense. We love and protect our children but sometimes they have to be allowed to do things. Risky things, in age appropriate ways and with correct supervision before we start breeding a generation of people who reach adulthood unable to do a damn thing for themselves like cook or iron or use a toaster or cross a road.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 21:16:52

thanks for the responses, it's interesting to hear other people's opinions.

The firework safety code which is on NHS website and other various government websites says never give fireworks to under 5s. This is because they won't necessarily understand why they are dangerous. I suppose that's what i was driving at, that they're too little to understand the concept, my DS is still in a world of his own most of the time, he might not be able to understand and follow safety advice and the stakes are too high.
I also think that the school are sending out the wrong message when the official advice is not to give them to under 5s. Even MN firework advice page says that.
I think it's different at home where you are completely responsible for your own child and can make decisions and supervise them one to one, but at school I think it's not a good plan.

dumbelina Sun 20-Oct-13 21:21:32

My son's pre-school had a toast making session last year, with each child putting their own slice in the toaster and putting their choice of spread on it afterwards and eating it. It was well supervised and the children were made well aware of the dangers of putting their fingers near the toaster and how the toast would be hot when it came out. The youngest children were 2 and a half, the oldest were 4. They loved it and it was really successful, but a couple of parents got all stressed and refused to allow their children to participate. I just don't get it, everything in life involves a little bit of risk, if carefully supervised and used as a teaching opportunity about the potential risks, I don't see why schools shouldn't be allowed to try these things.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 21:26:15
FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 21:27:03

making toast and holding a sparkler are very different risks dumbelina though

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 21:35:29

If you don't want to framey then don't. That's why there's a consent form. If you don't feel your child would be receptive or coordinated enough or listen well or any other reason that a child in this situation wouldn't be safe then don't sign.

The option being there though fir parents who feel their kids are up to it is not a bad thing.

You do what you feel is best smile

FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 21:39:42

I will do but I also think it shouldn't be happening in reception. Year 3s etc I could understand, but surely a school should be sticking by the age limit of sparlkers?
To me it's just showing that they haven't got a grasp on the basic needs of the children i.e keeping them safe and sticking by the rules in order to do so.

edam Sun 20-Oct-13 21:41:41

I think it's a jolly good thing - if only more schools were encouraged to help children explore instead of panicking about every tiny risk. Brave teachers - I certainly wouldn't want to supervise a class full of excited four and five year olds with sparklers! I'm sure they must have filled out oodles of risk assessments and will be extremely careful.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 21:43:29

I'm not happy with other things that are happening in the school too, so not to drip feed, (sorry) and perhaps that's obvious from my posts, this is just another example of strange practices from them.

Panzee Sun 20-Oct-13 21:46:32

Will it help to see the risk assessment? So you can see what precautions are in place? Ask to see it. There will be one.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 21:46:36

Bit some of the children will be five. And some will be mentally and physically above their peers at 4.

There's a choice here and they aren't asking people to do anything they aren't comfortable with.

These "rules" aren't set in stone. They are a rough age that some one thought that thru would be able to understand. That age in reality could be 2 or it could be never. It depends on each individual child and they are asking the parents first. I honestly can't see the problem.

I would sign but that's me both my kids had djsrers under supervision. But I would not think bad if people who chose not to. And the teachers won't either. There's likely something planned for those unable to participate and your child won't be the only one smile

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 21:47:36

Sparklers. Auto correct field day today blush

I read 'Never give sparklers to under-5s' as advising against giving them a pack of sparklers and a lighter and letting them get on with it grin.
It's not a law.

I understand that giving them to a larger number of young children is a v different situation from what we might do with our 4 in the back garden of course.

You know your child and you know the school - your call entirely.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 20-Oct-13 22:31:50

Hmm, I read it as... 'Dont give sparklers to under 5s'
When the fire service and the NHS website et all say it I think schools should also tow the line.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 22:39:31

But on the same note you could give it too seven yr old guilt free whilst having no idea if try are up to it yet a body says five. If your prepared to go against it with one child you kinda have to prepare to go against it with another if they are up to it. It's a guide line, like weaning, like nuts, like a&e seats.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 22:39:50

Bloody phone. Car seats

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 22:45:14

Obviously car seats are law the point is that the weight guide lines are 20lb for the stage 2 or nine months. The two arent mutually exclusive. You wouldn't stick a 14lb nine month old in it any more than you would keep a 18 month old kid on the stage one because it said up to 13 kg.

Blu Sun 20-Oct-13 22:47:14

ooh, how exciting!

What else is the school doing?

So far, they sound great!

Anniemousse Sun 20-Oct-13 22:48:02

Yes, lots of activities have risk, but, the stakes are high with sparklers, and not so much with conkers.

It's not just the op's child's ability to handle it safely, it is the group of 4-5 yr olds they are with.

Goldmandra Sun 20-Oct-13 22:56:14

18 month old kid on the stage one because it said up to 13 kg

I did (DD2 was very tiny) grin

OP, why don't you ask how they plan to keep the children safe during this activity? Maybe their explanation will put your mind at rest.

FWIW I've allowed children, my own and childminded, well under 5 to use sparklers, light fires, ride ponies, use sharp knives, play in streams, use hammers and nails and probably lots of other 'dangerous' activities I can't remember. I've always made sure they were well enough supervised to be safe. A two year old can enjoy a sparkler safely if an adult stands behind them, making sure their arm moves within safe limits and the look on their face can is worth the effort ten times over.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 22:59:29

It was an example gold

Trying to point out that being five doesn't actually mean anything. It's the individual child and that's gear the consent forms are for.

It's surely better young with consent than done at 7 , seen as ok due to guide lines and no consent sought.

Goldmandra Sun 20-Oct-13 23:01:47

It's surely better young with consent than done at 7


If you're going to educate children about using something safely then the best time to do it is probably when they are at the lower limit of the age guidance. Once they're 7 they will have been using them for two years.

dizzyday07 Sun 20-Oct-13 23:02:12

I wouldn't have felt comfortable with Reception age child handling sparklers unless their hand was being held - at the same time - by an adult and then it taken straight off her once it went out.

We had some at home a year or 2 ago when my BIL came to visit. All kids involved were 7 and even though they had been told the dangers, and were being supervised almost 1 to 1, my nephew in the blink of an eye, still went to pick one up that had been dropped by his sister!

I have never been a fan of sparklers or even having fireworks at home. The risk involved just doesn't seem worth it!

Timeforabiscuit Sun 20-Oct-13 23:05:26

I'd be gutted I wasn't the first to do it with her grin

I'm very much if the showing and allowing correct handling, my five year old makes the morning pancakes, toast, prepares cucumber and tomatoes as she needs to know how to handle a hot, sharp, electrical tools correctly and better to do this early so she doesn't take it into her fool head at twelve to butter the bread before putting it in the toaster (I'm looking at you dear brother)

Anniemousse Sun 20-Oct-13 23:08:26

There's a reason children need to learn to handle knives, toasters, play near water safely etc
They don't need to handle sparklers.

Goldmandra Sun 20-Oct-13 23:11:23

They don't need to handle sparklers.

They don't need to but, if they've been taught how to do it safely at school, they will be safer when someone offers them one and that could be at a friend's house, or with parents who can't be bothered to supervise them properly.

MotheringShites Sun 20-Oct-13 23:13:54

Wow! A really useful piece of education I think. I bet your DC will get the right hump about missing out.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 20-Oct-13 23:13:56

I guess I'm biased, though, I mean dd2 is that kid you would find in the corner of the sandpit eating gravel bless her. As much as I love her she's not the sharpest tool in the box. Dead bugs for lunch anyone? grin

Yet even she understood the basic instruction last year. It goes out. Drop it, stand back. She was just under two. If she understood there's hope for everyone grin

Xochiquetzal Sun 20-Oct-13 23:15:39

I think its a great idea.

I can remember being allowed sparklers at primary school (not as an educational thing though, just because the school had a fireworks display and it was fun). The teacher was very careful to spend time teaching the receptions each year how dangerous sparklers and fireworks are if not used responsibily. I can also remember a boy transferring in during year 4 and him being the only child stupid enough to mess around with the sparklers and try to get past the tape which marked the safe distance from the fireworks because the rest of us knew how stupid that was from when we were little.

curlew Sun 20-Oct-13 23:18:13

I love my children learning to do potentially dangerous things safely. I just don't understand why other people don't. I would be delighted if a school was sensible enough to do things like this- most are so wimpy-wet. But they have to be because wimpy- wet parents insist on it.

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 20-Oct-13 23:19:47

Hats off to the reception teacher...take it from me, the risk assessment for this would have been many pages and I suspect many other members of staff would have said dont bother, it isn't worth the hassle.

If it prevents one firework related accident in the future, then that teacher has done a brilliant thing.

DS1 did this in yr 1. I was a bit cynical, but no one got burnt and DS enjoyed it.

BackforGood Sun 20-Oct-13 23:31:00

Sounds like a FAB school - teaching children how to do things safely, in a 'real' rather than theoretical way.
Yup, YABU to think it's insane - it sounds a great idea to me.

ShoeLaRue Mon 21-Oct-13 00:01:25

Goldmandra I want to come and live with you!!

ShoeLaRue Mon 21-Oct-13 00:04:55

Ps, I'm another who loves helping my DC learn to do potentially dangerous things safely. DS1 has been doing forest school sessions since he was just under two (now nearly three) and has handled a peeler, knife and hacksaw under close supervision. He's also learning to stay outside the fire circle. Such useful lessons in learning to manage risk, and fun too.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 21-Oct-13 00:12:07

The fact is the official advice is no to under 5s, the packets the sparklers come in have to have that advice printed on them by law. But the school thinks they know better and it's ok not to listen to that advice while looking after other people's children. Not a good precedent to set in my opinion.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 21-Oct-13 00:27:46

I also agree with helping my children learn to do potentially dangerous things safely. But I'd feel dubious cracking open a pack of fireworks that specifically say not for under 5s and handing them out to a load of 4 year olds if I was in charge of keeping them safe and they were not my children.

Kyrptonite Mon 21-Oct-13 01:04:04

It's stage not age. They're still under the EYFS so I imagine that more support will be given to those they think may struggle with the idea that the thing just lit on fire may be hot. You could have a 4 year old who understands straight away and a 5 year old who decides to touch the sparkly end. Age is irrelevant really.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 21-Oct-13 01:36:22

Framey I think you need to get past the age thing. It's advice, general guidance. Children develop differently. Some children will be fine, others won't. That's why the school have done absolutely the right thing and sent a letter home. The children who are not ready (as judged by their parents) will not take part.

Of my DC's, DC1 and DC3 would have absolutely been able to do this in reception. Both sensible, both danger aware, both able to follow instructions etc.

DC2 is in a world of his own a fair amount of the time. He wouldn't have been able to do this in reception unless he had one-on-one help. He lacks danger awareness, struggles to concentrate and remember instructions and is prone to excited silliness!

He's still the one that would need watching closely with sparklers and they're all over 5 now. It's about much more than age.

Cat98 Mon 21-Oct-13 07:35:51

Great idea, I'd be happy for my 5 yo to participate.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 21-Oct-13 08:36:36

I think the age this is important.
If something was to go wrong and a child was burnt people would point out that they're not supposed to be used for under 5s. Sticking by the guidelines in school for products as dangerous as these is just common sense in my opinion.
Obviously people give sparklers to younger children at home, under close supervision but it's different at school in many ways.
I also wonder if their insurance covers this activity!

Framey, to me it becomes more and more clear from your posts that you have a problem with the school's policies and practices and the sparkler issue is simply a symptom of a bigger problem.

You can of course ask about the insurance issue and see the risk assessment. I suspect you will remain unhappy with this idea of sparklers for reception class children, so don't consent. Done.

Personally, as I've said upthread, I think the risks are small and sparklers are one of the joys of childhood, so I would allow it (and in fact I'd congratulate the school on their idea).

We all as parents try to do the best we can for our children and have different levels of risk that we are comfortable with. I don't think that you can achieve a consensus here.

SoupDragon Mon 21-Oct-13 09:06:01

Why ask if you are being unreasonable when you clearly think you're not?

SoupDragon Mon 21-Oct-13 09:07:40

I am from the generation before Health and Safety Gorn Mad. My parents taught us how to use sparklers safely when we were very small.

They haven't suddenly got more dangerous over the years, people have just got more stupid and unable to use their common sense. This is only going to get worse.

BackforGood Mon 21-Oct-13 09:15:49

I was just thinking that, Soup

90% of posters - Yes
OP - no I'm not

I sometimes think there should be two sections in AIBU - those who actually want to know what others would do, and those who are so convinced they are right, it wouldn't matter if the whole world held the opposite view, they'd still know they were right.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 09:24:38

I sometimes think there should be two sections in AIBU - those who actually want to know what others would do, and those who are so convinced they are right

I agree

We need a new section called "I AM NOT BEING UNREASONABLE angry"

CecilyP Mon 21-Oct-13 09:36:05

Well I am going to change the proportions slightly because I agree with OP. This would worry me. The fact that they have totally ignored the guidelines (which give 5 as a minimum age - not a compulsory age) doesn't bode well and doesn't suggest that they have done any sort of risk assessment. I don't think the activity has been thought through at all; it would have to be dark for them to see their names, and if they are concentrating on writing their names, their focus will not be so much on safety. And unless the school is very well staffed, I can't see how they can be adequately supervised.

The idea that it is somehow akin to making toast in a toaster is, frankly, ludicrous.

SkiSchoolRun Mon 21-Oct-13 09:38:59

Nooooooo way! I am not in the slightest bit risk adverse with physical activity but my 4.5 yo would not be allowed to have sparklers. Does no one remember the advert from the 80s. I'm still scared of them now!

comewinewithmoi Mon 21-Oct-13 09:42:54

Nope I wouldn't giver permission.

Katnisscupcake Mon 21-Oct-13 09:52:46

Totally agree with Pacific. I'm sure a lot of parents are already finding that their DCs are taking a lot more notice of what teachers say in Reception than they may do in the home environment. So absolutely make a 'lesson' out of using sparklers so they fully see the dangers properly. How many of us will think of spelling out ALL the risks when we're rushing out the door on Bonfire night to play.

I think it's a great idea seriously thinks about recommending it to DD's HT smile

DeWe Mon 21-Oct-13 10:04:17

Sounds a brilliant idea. I will pass it onto our infant school. They'll love it. grin Thank you.

We used to have them in infants at school. The policeman would come in and give his safety talk (which always stared with him saying "don't stick fireworks up your nose" because he said it always got a good laugh that. By year 6 our laugh was getting very thin grin)
Then we'd go outside and watch a few fireworks the teachers set off. Then we all got a sparkler at once. That's 90+ infants all waving a sparkler at once. No one got injured and it was great fun. They had a big bowl of water to put the sparklers in afterwards to cool them down and make sure none got let out.
I don't think we even were asked to wear gloves. I know one year I didn't, and can remember the prickly feeling as the sparkler came down the stick.

Delayingtactic Mon 21-Oct-13 10:18:16

I think it's an excellent idea. Your dc teacher must be very keen to go through all that paperwork to give this opportunity to the children in her class. Of which there will be reams and reams.

Don't sign the consent form then. But don't hoik your judgey pants up and go in blazing and "won't someone think of the children?" Don't try and make that decision for other parents - you don't want your child doing it, fine. Other parents will be happy to let their children do it, that's their choice. Huff in the distance.

Michaelahpurple Mon 21-Oct-13 10:23:01

The thought of waiting until year 3 to hold a sparkler is hilarious !

QuenellefireAndDamnation Mon 21-Oct-13 10:23:11

Many of the Reception children will be 5 or approaching 5 anyway. Should they wait a year to teach a whole yeargroup something useful because some of the children are a few months short of the recommended age?

If your child is 11 months short of their 5th birthday and/or you believe they are too young to be exposed to this risk, don't sign the consent form. My boy is 5 next June and I believe he could be trusted in this lesson. I wish his school would do it.

Sidge Mon 21-Oct-13 10:26:47

I think it would be a great experience. If the school are doing a proper risk assessment (which it sounds like they are) then I am sure it would be great fun.

I doubt they're going to hand 30 4 and 5 year olds a lit sparkler and stand back hmm; they'll probably do it in very small groups and have a bucket of water to hand to put the spent sparklers in.

When my DD1 was in Y1 they did "The Great Fire of London" as a theme and we were asked to consent to them talking part in an activity where the Site Manager lit a fire in a drum behind a tape and the children lined up, filed past and chucked their bucket of water towards the fire. They were miles away and their water went nowhere near the fire but they loved it! They also had the Fire Brigade there that day to incorporate fire safety into the lesson and then learn how fires are put out and what to do in an emergency. So history, physics, personal safety and citizenship all in one day - fabulous.

ExcuseTypos Mon 21-Oct-13 10:40:23

I think the advice to not give sparkers to under 5s is ridiculous. My dc have had them from about 3- under very close supervision, with a bucket of water next to them, so they can drop the sparkler in it when it goes out.

Sparklers are magical for young children. Of course they should be allowed to use them.

OP go and speak to the teacher.
Get some reassurance about the adult/child ratio. I'm sure it wil be done in small groups with lots of supervision.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 11:10:02

I agree excuse

Having an age limit start at around the time many will "grow out" of using something is very ridiculous.

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 11:47:59

the stakes are high with sparklers, and not so much with conkers.

Really? I'd suspect the risks are vanishingly small in both cases. With conkers there's a very, very small risk of eye injury (there's no evidence it's ever happened, but the possibility is there). With sparklers there's a small risk of a localised burn, which is reduced essentially to zero by wearing gloves. What are the high stakes that you think sparklers produce? The guidance on fireworks is generic, and sparklers are at the distinctly less risky end of it.

ShoeWhore Mon 21-Oct-13 12:00:54

It sounds like a really good idea to me.

I do worry about the risks of wrapping our children up in quite so much cotton wool these days. I think children do need to be allowed to take (small) risks occasionally, it's an important part of their development.

CecilyP Mon 21-Oct-13 12:09:15

friday, the guidance isn't generic; the guidance says 'do not give sparklers to children under 5'.

NickL Mon 21-Oct-13 12:16:37

As a child growing-up in the 1960s some of the most valuable safety lessons involved bruises, grazed knees and even the odd burn.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 21-Oct-13 12:18:54

Friday16... Hundreds of children are injured every year from sparklers, the majority of them are under 5! Sparklers burn intensely at a temperature that is much higher than boiling water so the burns are deeper and more serious.
Burns to the face and eyes are devastating. Is it really worth the risk? Not really the same as conkers or toasters.
Maybe I'm a big judges pants but I think the guide age is there for a reason, sorry I haven't really changed my mind but I'm glad to read all the opinions, even though most don't agree with mine.

I do have other problems with the school as well as this which I won't go into unless you really want me to!!! Suffice to say it's safety and supervision related.
And by the way, this is not in AIBU, it's in Primary Education even though I did ask if I was unreasonable to feel this way.

Panzee Mon 21-Oct-13 12:44:38

If you're not happy with their safety and supervision in general then I can see why you wouldn't be keen on this.

But please ask to see their risk assessment and activity plan. You never know, it might surprise you! smile

titchy Mon 21-Oct-13 12:48:40

To be honest I'm not really sure what the point of this thread is - most people would be happy with something like this, so the school are going along with the majority and offering an activity most people are supportive off.

They recognise however that a minority of parents wouldn't be happy about such an activity, and have given such parents an opt-out.

Problem? Issue? Where?

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 12:52:44

Hundreds of children are injured every year from sparklers, the majority of them are under 5!

As our wiki friends would say, "citation needed". The only figures I could find are here, which say that around 100 people per year (ie, not "hundreds") are injured by sparklers, about half of those being under sixteen. There aren't any figures I can find that break that down by whether they were supervised, or by whether they were under 5. In any event, national statistics haven't been compiled since 2005. If anyone has figures on the number of children injured by sparklers which they are using whilst supervised by adults, that would put a scale on the problem.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 12:53:34

Hundreds of children are injured every year from sparklers

Yes they are.

So..... lets get them educated as early as possible in how to use them safely because a significant number of them will be handed a packet and left to get on with it in the next few weeks and the more they understand the better.

Anniemousse Mon 21-Oct-13 12:53:50

Friday16 google images "sparkler injury", then google images "conker injury". I wouldn't say the risks were vanishingly small for sparklers.

titchy Mon 21-Oct-13 12:56:54

Hundreds of children die crossing roads each year.

So a) let's teach our reception age children the green cross code, or
b) refuse to sign the permission form allowing our reception children to be taken outside the school gate to learn how to cross roads safely.

Anniemousse Mon 21-Oct-13 13:02:07

Crossing roads is a risk we can't avoid.
Playing with sparklers is a risk we can avoid.

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:02:42

Anniemouse, the first hit is a photograph of a penetrating wound from the explosion of a large black powder bomb built to project large numbers of sparklers into the air; I don't know about your fireworks parties, but we tend to go easy on illegally held explosives (Americans, you know). The second is unlabelled, but is from an article mostly about barbecue injuries. The third shows some superficial skin burns which wouldn't arise in the winter (Americans use sparklers on 4th of July). The final image of injuries is from a sarcastic article suggesting that as illegal fireworks injure about as many people as sparklers, you may as well use illegal ones because "wouldn’t you much rather get hurt by an M-80 than a sparkler? Chicks dig M-80 scars."

Miss Piggie's cute, though.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 21-Oct-13 13:03:07

Framey - I would also be very wary of this. I don't think people understand how hot sparklers are and how hot they remain after they have gone out. If things go wrong, that's a scar for life (not to mention the agony of deep burns).

Talkinpeace Mon 21-Oct-13 13:04:30

I was badly burned on the hand by a sparkler as a kid.
It was dark and I did not realise I'd picked the wrong end up.

How much safer would if have been if I'd learned about sparklers in broad daylight with no strangers around and no scary fireworks and no big bonfires to distract me?

The school are doing the right thing - support them.

friday16 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:06:05

I don't think people understand how hot sparklers are and how hot they remain after they have gone out.

So teaching them, in a supervised environment, would be quite a good idea, yes?

Pooka Mon 21-Oct-13 13:07:39

i would be perfectly happy for ds2 ( who is 4 but in preschool) to do this.

My older 2 have super knowledge of how to behave around fireworks, partly as a result of the work their school has done with them over the years.

DC have all used sparklers from about age 3, under close supervision, wearing gloves and next to a bucket of water.

sweetiepie1979 Mon 21-Oct-13 13:08:04

Is a sparkler a firework? I think good on school for taking on the responsibility I'm sure it will be well handed and the earlier they know about the dangers the better. We would be doing the same at home.

A very easy way to make sure that spent sparklers are not picked up again is to have all children put them in to a bucket with water when they are done.

Paddlinglikehell Mon 21-Oct-13 15:10:53

I think it's a great idea.

Not only do the kids have a novel way to form letters, they learn about safety too.

As a TA, I know the planning that would go into this, I can assure you it would be structured and those children who maybe aren't so 'able' to manage things, would have hands held. I am sure the others probably will too, although it not such an obvious way.

Good for the school to allow this, ticks lots of learning boxes!

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 21-Oct-13 16:49:20

I would let a 4 year old have a sparkler if I was supervising them closely. can the school really be adequately supervising that many children with something potentially so dangerous?

OP - I'm surprised the school are going against the no under 5s guidance.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 16:51:45

can the school really be adequately supervising that many children with something potentially so dangerous?

That's a question the OP needs to ask the school.

She needs to give them a chance to explain how they will keep her DC safe unless she doesn't actually want to know and just wants to complain about them.

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 16:58:10

Normally on these types of threads I am the one arguing for independence and not over protecting children.

But I agree that 4 is far too young to have a sparkler.

Talkinpeace Mon 21-Oct-13 17:58:25

Statistically, around a third of the children in the class will be 5.
Is 5 ok?
What about 4 11/12 ?

Grennie Mon 21-Oct-13 18:04:26

Still seems really young to me. Kids of this age still wave things about without thinking about it. If it was 1-1 supervision, fine.

If the age limit is 5, then what's the harm in saving the activity for Y1 where all the children are at least 5?

I'd want one-to-one supervision for my currently-5yo to be anywhere near a sparkler. Which would mean an awful lot of volunteer helpers and/or a lot of waiting around for the children between turns. He gets giddy anyway, but doubly/triply so when surrounded by excited classmates.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 18:14:40

If the age limit is 5, then what's the harm in saving the activity for Y1 where all the children are at least 5?

It misses a year out where they could be safer at fireworks parties?

I would expect this activity to be undertaken in small, well supervised groups while the rest of the children get on with their usual activities.

I've not been to a private fireworks party for a long time (possibly ever) and at large organised events you typically aren't allowed sparklers anyway.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 18:18:24

I'm actually quite shock at the fear behind it all. I mean most if these kids have been following rules and routines and plenty of instructions at pre-school or nursery for years.

Aside from those who's kids genuinely do struggle which is understandable, the amount of people who feel their children are incapable of following simple instructions us quite worrying. I'd be grateful school were trying to help that.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 18:23:28

I suppose at least those parents who are too risk averse to allow their children to participate in this activity will also be too risk averse to let their children wander round unsupervised at a bonfire party.

Therefore the majority of the children who need this education most will get it.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 18:23:47

Plus let's be honest, what we see them do is not what they do in school. Kids really do listen and line up, know simple things like how to carry scissors, and manage to not stab each Other with pencils and paintbrushes etc. School will know which children to watch extra closely.

ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 18:24:10

Framey YANBU. They should create a power point presentation about sparklers and sit the children in a lecture theatre and teach them the theory about sparklers. They should all then use a software simulation of a sparkler and then sit a 1 hour exam. Only on passing the exam (pass mark 80%) should they then be allowed to look at a sparkler.hmm

Or they could have some cosy circle time, with a video and a brief discussion about the ground rules, then taken outside, in small groups and several TAs, a bucket of water and plenty of gloves and all have a go, hand over hand, if necessary, for the impulsive ones.

For what it's worth, DS's birthday party involved toasting marshmallows on pointed sticks over an actual real fire. I'm not anxiously risk averse. I'm just very cautious around sparklers.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 18:31:11

toasting marshmallows

I forgot that one!

I've done that with pre-schoolers too and let them get their own home made pizza out of the very hot oven.

Is that worse or better than playing with sparklers?

AnonYonimousBird Mon 21-Oct-13 18:32:55

GOOD!!! Like one of our local headmasters who is teaching the children how to play conkers! Yey, these poor five and six year olds actually didn't know what a conker was, which is sad.

My 5 year old daughter used a penknife at forest school and knows how to light a fire (she is now 7).

DrSeuss Mon 21-Oct-13 18:34:04

Kids with fireworks! What a fab idea! I can find some Year Eights who really need a rocket up their arse!
DS and friends had sparklers at his party last year and loved it. DS has now been par ascending three times and out on a wake board a couple of times. Also quad biking, tree climbing, hi rope-ing and stunt scooting. He is 7.

AnonYonimousBird Mon 21-Oct-13 18:34:40

Oh yes, DD (7) also toasts marshmallows, uses a peeler and sharp knives to prepare food. Plus walks over the field to her GP's house with her brother (9).

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 18:36:31

Elf and safety can go too far sometimes and strip our kids of the chance to enjoy themselves. No wonder they all sit indoors playing computer games and get to 20 without knowing how to cook their own dinner confused

I climbed trees, toasted marshmallows, held sparkles, handled knives and scissors , I remember making candles too with actual melted wax. that would never be allowed now sad we made shepherds pie in primary school, cooked the mince ourselves and everything.

I think the difference is that sparklers contain gunpowder and other chemicals <technical> whereas fire and melted marshmallows and warm hot chocolate and pizzas are only hot. Their danger is far more predictable.

Similarly, pointed sticks and kitchen knives (within reason - not my 9" diamond edged chef's knife) are safer than pointy sparklers because they're only pointy, and again predictably so.

Which is not to downplay burns/scalds and poking injuries. It's just that sparklers are hot, pointy and chemical all at once.

Goldmandra Mon 21-Oct-13 18:46:32

They are dangerous.

That's why children need to be taught to treat them with respect and understand the nature of the danger so they can risk assess for themselves.

IMO hot marshmallows are far more unpredictable and hard to handle than sparklers.

<sucks finger which was burned while taking a short cut getting one off the toasting fork for DD2 last night> blush

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 18:47:13

Fire and hot food is far more dangerous. Moultan jam or marshmallow can be lethal, and fire spits and hisses , and the wind can knock logs off etc.

It's just another thing kids need to be made aware of and it's easier and more fun ergo they respond more when it's the real deal.

PuntCuffin Mon 21-Oct-13 19:09:27

My DS preschool did this about 5 years ago. So he must have been 3. Never occurred to me to object or refuse. They asked that enough parents came along that each child had either a parent or a teacher to supervise.

For me threads like this go well beyond the simple issue of 'Sparklers for young kids - yes or no'.

Of course a child can be hurt when handling sparklers/knives/hot marshmallows (evil feckers!) and of course I don't particularly want my child to get hurt. However, some of the most important lessons in life involve some injury and I'd rather they learnt 'fireworks are dangerous' from a sparkler and give them the respect they deserve than die at a public fireworks display when some nut thought it was a good idea to throw a seemingly empty petrol drum on the embers of the bonfire sad. Or lose a hands trying to relight an already lit rocket sad.
Both events I've had direct dealings with in RL.

grin @ powerpoint presentation.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 21-Oct-13 21:24:27

people think hot food is more dangerous than a sparkler?

I give up.
A sparkler can reach up to 2000 degrees centigrade, that is around 20 times hotter than boiling water, 4 times as hot as a chip pan and hot enough to melt some metals. It's also hot enough to give you a 3rd degree burn.
But hey, a melted marshmallow is more dangerous smile

SatinSandals Mon 21-Oct-13 21:30:11

Well done the school- especially important when parents won't do these things themselves.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 21:31:35

Forget temperatures. The most dangerous thing is kids not having any bloody idea how to behave around things or how to handle potential dangers etc. You may think you are protecting your child by not giving a sparkler but what happens next time he goes to his friends and gets given one as everyone else has one? Honestly I wouldn't have thought to not give a four year old one as I would assume every child over the age of three would know what to do with one.

It may seem early to some but it's not about ages it's about predicting what situations children may end up in dependant on where they go, and preparing them so they ARENT in danger.

SatinSandals Mon 21-Oct-13 21:32:15

I think that it is sad that school is often the first time children handle a sharp knife or boiling liquids.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 21:33:55

Once they hit school they aren't "yours " anymore. They are little people who develope friendships and go parties, after school activities, friends houses where there are older and younger siblings. It's vital we teach them before they are out into situations where their lack of knowledge or experience gets them hurt.

School complain regularly about how their incoming kids don't know how to hold/use scissors...

edam Mon 21-Oct-13 21:36:27

I manage to stab myself with a pencil when I was in reception. Right through the hand.

It has never occurred to me to suggest that pencils should be banned. It was just an unfortunate accident. Heaven only knows what I was doing, but think I might have been running across the classroom and tripped. It's not just scissors you shouldn't run with!

NB it has unfortunately left me with a life-long phobia of having my palm prodded or poked. Which has caught a few massage therapists and manicurists by surprise - it' s the kind of thing you can avoid quite successfully almost all the time, so I forget about it until someone touches my palm and I shoot about three feet in the air! (Holding hands is fine, that's flat palm against palm.)

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 21-Oct-13 21:40:06

Lets not forget the good old compass and glue gun grin

Talkinpeace Mon 21-Oct-13 21:42:45

staple gun ... trying to put poster up .... attached finger to school hall


ouryve Mon 21-Oct-13 22:52:06

I have a lovely scar on the tip of my index finger from the lethal combination of pregnancy brain, slightly stale and hard crusty rolls and brand new bread knife. It still itches, a decade later! And still twinges when I feel the handle of that knife.

Like Sheffield steel bread knives, sparklers are extremely dangerous used incorrectly. All the more reason to teach the majority of kids to use them safely at the very beginning of the age they're likely to be exposed to them, with possibly not much thought from some of the adults caring for them.

edam Mon 21-Oct-13 22:52:57

stapling your finger is mildly amusing but to a wall?! Ouch!

I had a fab chemistry teacher who we all loved dearly. But his demonstration of why we should NEVER blow on a bunsen burner was, um, rather lively... given that he blew on a bunsen burner. I've never seen a row of people leap of their stools so fast, or in such unison!

edam Mon 21-Oct-13 22:53:35

off their ruddy stools, even. Must be past my bedtime...

Anniemousse Tue 22-Oct-13 01:25:28

Friday16 I disagree, some of those injuries you glossed over are horrific and I would not risk them for my child. This was the second one, it is a sparkler injury if you read properly.
I am not sure whether to believe that you don't understand that sparklers can burn through children's clothing (even their gloves hmm ) and that burns happen in the summer because of exposed skin. It has been pointed out that they are not just marshmallow on a stick hot but glass meltingly hot

That's the thing about risk perception though, it's individual.

My risk assessment would go:
Is it likely there will be injury? ( on a scale of v. Unlikely to v. Likely I would say unlikely)

how severe are the consequences should injury occur? (no loss of life or limb but significant painful burn, requiring medical treatment and causing scarring or possibly permanent sight problems)

and weigh up how important or useful that activity is (not at all).

No brainer for me.

We all judge for ourselves and act according to our own perception of risk.

Oblomov Tue 22-Oct-13 03:56:50

I don't think the school are being unreasonable. Most of us think OP YABU.
But OP still can't see this.

Goldmandra Tue 22-Oct-13 07:52:02

and weigh up how important or useful that activity is (not at all).

That's where most of us differ.

The majority seem to understand that it is crucially important to allow children to participate in risky activities as part of their education before they are in a position to do that thing without supervision. The skills and understanding they gain are what keep them safe.

You can wrap them in cotton wool and stop them doing all the risky things when they're little but you can't stop them doing them ever. I'd rather my children learned to do all the dangerous things with proper instruction than in a den somewhere as part of a game of 'dare you'.

notso Tue 22-Oct-13 08:33:35

PIL are overly safety conscious, when they do bonfire night there is a cordon around the bonfire, FIL wears a high vis jacket. No-one is allowed to move off the patio. When I first did sparklers with DC1 aged 2 by holding her hand, they were horrified. Once a sparkler is spent they scream at you to drop it.
DH is petrified of fire, he couldn't light our gas cooker safely when we first moved in together. He would panic, let the gas build up and cause a mini-explosion. He has nearly caused several fires by dropping lit matches because he panics that it will burn him. He has never been shown how to handle them safely.
We are not making those mistakes with our DC, they help to light candles and fires once we decide they are old enough. They are taught how to safely enjoy sparklers.

Grennie Tue 22-Oct-13 08:36:05

You see lighting fires etc I am fine with. I just think sparklers are much more dangerous than most people give them credit for. But I seem to be in the minority here.

Anniemousse Tue 22-Oct-13 08:59:23

FWIW I teach my children how to safely use knives, light fires, toast marshmallows, play conkers (actually not sure how to play with them unsafely...), play in or near water etc.

I also teach them to stay away from dangerous objects like the berries on the path, huge fungus on the lawn, and I put sparklers in this group. I do teach them to be safe, I teach them not to touch.

My DC are 6 and 3 so maybe a time will come, but for now I agree with OP.

notso Tue 22-Oct-13 09:02:00

I don't think anyone on this thread is underestimating the danger of sparklers. For what it's worth I know two children who have been burned by sparklers in both cases they were not properly supervised.

NiceTabard Tue 22-Oct-13 09:39:09


I'm someone who seems to allow my children a lot more freedom / lets them take more risk than others. Spend a lot of time with a secret hmm while my kids are eg up a tree and everyone else is saying nooooo ethelbert it's too dangerous stoppit and come down.

However I think this is a bad idea for lots of reasons.

All guidance seems to say 5, as under that they won't definitely understand. That seems like quite straightforward guidance and while families might choose to ignore for a school to do so seems odd.

Many reception children are under 5, some have only just turned 4. Both mine had late summer birthdays and so were just a bit over 4 at this time of year. There is a world of difference between that and over 5.

They haven't said what the ratio will be. Have they asked for volunteers to help out? If not then you're looking at a handful of adults for 30 children or similar. Doesn't seem like enough people.

It seems unreasonable for a school to set an activity for a class which by definition some children should not engage in. And so either the young ones / ones who are not so grown up will get left out, or their parents will say OK and they will join in with something that they shouldn't actually be doing.

Why not wait til year one when at least they are all over 5.

Or just say it's for age 5 and up irrespective of class, and have the little ones do some other fun activity.

Anyway that's my thoughts smile

Goldmandra Tue 22-Oct-13 09:39:27

I'm not underestimating the danger of sparklers at all.

Children are going to come across sparklers. They are designed to be used by children.

If you go to bonfire parties, even if you don't allow your children to have them, they are likely to be around other children who are using them. They may be given one when your back is turned.

If you don't go to bonfire parties and your children don't come across sparklers how will they know how to keep themselves safe when some other child turns up with them at the park when they are 11?

They are very dangerous and children need to know how to keep themselves safe around them, when using them and when around others them are using them.

Roads are even more dangerous. Our children will come across them so we need to teach them how to manage their own safety around them.

The same principle applies to sparklers.

You don't protect children by keeping them away from dangerous things if they are likely to come across those things at some point when you are not watching.

You protect children by giving them the skills to keep themselves safe.

NiceTabard Tue 22-Oct-13 09:43:59

There is presumably an age under which you wouldn't give a child a sparkler though, Goldmandra.

6 months, 12 months, 2?

All official guidance is 5. They have a reason for that (presumably stats, risk assessments and so on. You have a different cut-off, for your own reasons. The fact that your cut-off is different doesn't mean everyone elses is wrong.

Goldmandra Tue 22-Oct-13 10:29:56

There is presumably an age under which you wouldn't give a child a sparkler though, Goldmandra.

There is a stage of development where it becomes appropriate to teach children to manage danger for themselves. It is generally before the age at which they are likely to have less managed access to whatever that thing is.

If you teach children just before the age of five to handle sparklers safely, they will be safer if adults decide that it's OK to give them a packet when they are five.

Stats and risk assessments on packets are based on children at bonfire parties, not risk assessed and carefully planned and supervised educational activities, the aim of which are to teach them to manage the risks.

I don't recall saying everyone else is wrong hmm. In fact the majority of posters are arguing the same point as me which is that children are safer if they are taught to manage risks before they are exposed to them in less well supervised environments.

CecilyP Tue 22-Oct-13 10:55:50

You see lighting fires etc I am fine with. I just think sparklers are much more dangerous than most people give them credit for. But I seem to be in the minority here.

I agree with you too, Grennie, and I think people are regarding sparklers as a thing for small children, perhaps a bit of a toy, not really a firework at all. I think the school's letter shows a similar disregard, first in their cavalier attitude to the guidelines, when 5/6 of the pupils will not have reached the age of 5; and second with the mention of writing names and letters with the sparklers, almost regarding it as a fun activity like writing letters in shaving foam or chalking letters in the playground, rather than an activity to teach firework safety which they could do with Y1 where all the children will have reached the age of 5.

NiceTabard Tue 22-Oct-13 10:56:26

So you wouldn't say that you would never give a sparkler to a child of X age?

Up to you I guess smile

Incidentally most reception children will be under 5, many well under, some will be not long since they were 3.

I would have sparklers with my kids at home, they are 4 and 6. For the reasons I gave above though I think this is not a good idea for a reception class at school. Yr 1 would be a different story, at least they are all 5 then and that little bit bigger.

Goldmandra Tue 22-Oct-13 11:00:40

So you wouldn't say that you would never give a sparkler to a child of X age?

No, they are allowed to toddle round the garden with them as soon as they can walk hmm

Stage of development is a more appropriate guide than age.

CecilyP Tue 22-Oct-13 11:01:37

If you don't go to bonfire parties and your children don't come across sparklers how will they know how to keep themselves safe when some other child turns up with them at the park when they are 11?

The majority of them will be able to read the instructions on the packet; something the teachers in OP's school seem unable to do.

NiceTabard Tue 22-Oct-13 11:06:31

Was laughing then (what? not even a 6 month old?!) but thought, no actually, I would never give a sparkler to a child (toddler) who was not steady on their feet and let them go off with it. My niece has just turned one and would I let her "toddle off" with a sparkler? No way in hell.

So that's just a total difference of opinion.

Goldmandra Tue 22-Oct-13 11:07:16

The majority of them will be able to read the instructions on the packet

The will be able to read instructions, yes. Do you really, honestly think they would tell their mates to wait a minute while they do that?

Have you ever seen a child hold back from lighting a sparkler to read the instructions on a packet, even at a family bonfire party, never mind while they are showing off to a bunch of mates?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 11:08:31

But you don't suddenly wake up at 4+364 days and not be able to use one yet suddenly miraculously are fine the next day and all is good.

There's a consent form and no pressure to sign it. There's bound to be something else for those who's parents don't agree.

I think tbh leaving it another year, the novelty would have worn off and the exercise kinda pointless as most would have been using them for years.

Goldmandra Tue 22-Oct-13 11:08:48

This thread is getting to goady.

I'm off before the serious trolling starts.

OP, I hope you do give your DC's school a chance to explain how they will keep the children safe before you judge them.

working9while5 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:10:29

I don't mind the idea for my own ds but I think it's not the best idea ever in reception because it would be v understandable for any parent to say no based on official guidance but doing it in this way means saying no is possibly going to upset the child.

In most cases with consent that's reasonable but here, where advice is pretty consistent... why? Why not have it as a Year 1 lesson?

NiceTabard Tue 22-Oct-13 11:12:27

Most children who have just turned 5 will have been "using" sparklers for "years"???

Honestly those of you out there who are giving sparklers to toddlers / pre-schoolers and letting them go off with them, that is a really bad idea.

Even when I was growing up people didn't do that.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 11:16:42

Who said anything about letting them go off with them.

I explained simple instructions. They followed the simple instrictions. And I was right there.

working9while5 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:17:21

Parents shouldn't feel following official guidance wrt something actually dangerous is being wimpy wet.

I wouldn't worry too much because my ds is a bit of a scaredy cat and would probably not hold it himself but I've worked in many reception classes where it would be a logistical nightmare with kiddos with SN and attention difficulties etc.

It's okay but neither the OP's death trap nor to be lauded as bravery on the part of the school. A bit of a gimmick I think. Also the risk assessment will have been insane and time might have been spent on better things.

CecilyP Tue 22-Oct-13 11:17:25

Yes and no; when I was a child, we used to light our own fireworks on bonfire night and we did read the instructions. I think kids showing off to their mates would be looking for something more impressive than sparklers.

I suppose it is possible that an 11 year-old might encounter a sparkler for the first time, but not very likely. They don't have to have them at 4 (there are many years between where supervised use is possible) to know how to use them.

Even if the school's emphasis was on safety (and from what I have read, I dont believe it is) would the children remember everything in a year's time if they were unsupervised anddid come across a packet of sparklers and a lighter?

CecilyP Tue 22-Oct-13 11:22:43

But you don't suddenly wake up at 4+364 days and not be able to use one yet suddenly miraculously are fine the next day and all is good.

No you don't, and it is a guideline rather than the law where parents can use their own discretion with regard to the maturity of their children and the level of supervision you are able to provide. However, this is an entire class of children, with different levels of maturity, where only 1 in 6 will be over 5 and the youngest will be 4 years and 2 months.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 11:25:04

Which has no bearing on their abilities to handle it.

Hence the consent form. No ones being forces to do anything.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 22-Oct-13 11:26:15

And there's nothing to say waiting a year would make a difference. Except reduce the amount of supervision the teachers assume they need.

working9while5 Tue 22-Oct-13 11:28:44

And why can't things like this be left to parents and families any more? It is a traditional family activity. If there's going to be some argument about how some parents won't give their children this experience well wait for Year 1.

As it is the decision to go against guidance should be at parental discretion and shouldn't make parents who reasonably want to opt out feel they're going to have to face a very grumpy little child gutted to have missed out.

It's just not necessary or the school's place to push it I think.

NiceTabard Tue 22-Oct-13 11:28:59

I would hope that most children would mature a bit between age 4 and age 5!

FrameyMcFrame Tue 22-Oct-13 17:45:04

Just wrote a long post but it's disappeared. confused
Just trying to say I suppose I'm paranoid, DS burnt his face on a pan 6 months ago. I was standing right by the pan and it all happened so quickly there was nothing I could do.
Anyway thanks for the supportive posts,glad there's some people out there who agree and I'm trying to keep an open mind now and I have asked for more info from school!
I don't want to be a judging pants or a wimpy mum in all seriousness.

Schmedz Tue 22-Oct-13 23:35:33

Any activity the school offers will be subject to an intense and vigorous risk assessment and will have to comply with strict health and safety guidelines.
What a fun and interesting way of engaging the children...lucky kids to be at a school willing to go through all the paperwork to offer such a cool activity!

SatinSandals Wed 23-Oct-13 07:21:29

I agree, you would not believe the paperwork necessary for the risk assessment! They are not going to do what the parent would do and just give them a sparkler!

CecilyP Wed 23-Oct-13 07:21:59

Any activity the school offers will be subject to an intense and vigorous risk assessment and will have to comply with strict health and safety guidelines.

Whilst, at the same time, completely ignoring official guidelines? I will be interested in what more OP can find out from the school.

FrameyMcFrame Wed 23-Oct-13 16:14:50

Well they got back to me after I asked about the under 5s thing and voiced my concerns about supervision. They said that they've looked into it and phoned the fire service and....

Now the fire service are coming in to help and there will be 2 firemen plus a teacher!!!!
The children will be in pairs doing the activity.
I think she was a little fed up as she said they've done it every year for the last 3 years without any problems.
Anyway, I think it will be ok as they're bringing in the firemen...!

ExcuseTypos Wed 23-Oct-13 16:21:12

So the teacher is doing this with 2 children at a time, or do you mean the children are in pairs and doing it all together?

FrameyMcFrame Wed 23-Oct-13 16:29:45

She meant 2 children at a time.

ExcuseTypos Wed 23-Oct-13 16:36:53

Oh good. smile

Hope they have fun.

Also wanted to say I think it's very understandable that you felt anxious about this, as your DS was burnt as a baby. This might be a great way for him to safety learn about sparklers- without you having to watchsmile

I'd definitely volunteer to help if I thought there would be hunky firemen around.

<lowers the tone again>

Actually that makes me happier about the whole activity because it shows they're focusing on the fire safety aspect rather than the "let's draw letters" bit which as a pp said could just as easily be done in a sandpit.

SatinSandals Wed 23-Oct-13 19:01:54

With 2 children, 2 firemen and a teacher, and pages and pages of risk assessment, I don't see how any parent could now complain!

Ragusa Wed 23-Oct-13 21:40:40

Good grief. Let her do it .

In Scandinavian countries they have outdoor nurseries where children practice using real wood saws from around three years of age.

It's elf and safety goooorn maad in this country.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 23-Oct-13 21:44:59

YABU I think.

Being allowed to hold a sparkler was one of the joys of childhood. The school is showing a bit of independent thought which I like the idea of. The last you want is 30 robots per classroom turfed out at the end of the day.

soxysarah Tue 05-Nov-13 16:44:01

really angry found out from my 4 yr old that she had a sparkler at school today no premistion slip, was not told this would happen no nothing i feel she is under age and it to dangerous for her to have one, there are only 3 teachers in the play ground so i asume at there was two teacher watching the kids but yet three kid with fire works this is so wrong i will be complaining if i can work out how i bypass the head

FrameyMcFrame Tue 05-Nov-13 17:48:03

Well DS did the fireworks activity and there was no problems!!!

Ragusa Tue 05-Nov-13 18:56:24

soxysarah was anyone injured? if not, is it not safe to presume that they conducted the exercise safely??

SatinSandals Tue 05-Nov-13 21:16:06

Obviously it wasn't too dangerous as no one was injured!! Not sure why you want to bypass the Head, surely that is the person to complain to?

Lizziegeorge Wed 06-Nov-13 06:49:15

What a thoughtful and creative teacher. She 's probably bought them with her own money. Hope some parents offer to contribute instead of not trusting her to do her job.

SatinSandals Wed 06-Nov-13 06:58:09

I can't see what the Head can say, other than it was well planned, here was a proper risk assessment and NO children were injured!
Holding a sparkler used to be a common childhood experience.

MissMarplesBloomers Wed 06-Nov-13 07:10:13

Iwith Pacific upthread, if we remove ANY risky situation from our childrens' lives then we are failing them hugely, as they never learn to judge risk for themselves.

We are breeding a generation of children who are unable to enjoy learning about life, its risks & how to manage them and that is more dangerous ultimately than letting them learn in a controlled safe environment how to cope.

I hardly think OP that the school is going to let the kids loose with a box of matches & a pack of sparklers.

excellent article !

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 06-Nov-13 07:29:49

My daughter's class are doing this. Except they're not reception, they're nursery class.

SatinSandals Wed 06-Nov-13 07:37:19

Quite MissMarples. Parents would always have supervised their 4 yr olds with sparklers but now they won't they should be grateful that schools do it for them!

soxysarah Wed 06-Nov-13 09:13:00

there has been on go trust issues with the school and head and this morning was told a load of bull how my little girl did not have one in her had and yet my 4 yr old described to me how she held it made circals with it. she is my child and i have a right to know whats going on

Ragusa Wed 06-Nov-13 09:39:28

If you don't generally trust the school to look after your child, then guess you will have to look at changing schools. Is there another one nearby? What are the other trust issues?

Re having a right to know what's going on, I don't think it is reasonable to expect the school to tell you everything that they are doing. It's not practical.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 06-Nov-13 12:09:00

Goodness me my (just turned) two year old used sparklers by himself without any problem.

What a load of fusspots!

zingally Thu 07-Nov-13 17:25:44

It's probably not something I'd do with my class of Receptions, but I'm not opposed in theory. At this time of year, it's a good chance to talk about firework safety. I remember myself first holding sparklers around that sort of age.

It's no different to teaching them to use knives and saws correctly. Both of which I've done with Reception.

Ericaequites Tue 17-Dec-13 21:26:38

It's totally inappropriate. Fireworks and children don't mix.
As for using proper scissors, woodwork tools, and cooking for littles, I favor this.

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