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Pirates ... yes or no!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by sadika, May 29, 2011.

  1. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    For the last few years my Reception classes have enjoyed being pirates ... got alot out of this topic, especially enthusing the boys (of which I always seem to have had a much higher percentage than girls) - and encouraging them to write treasure maps etc - the girls have also enjoyed it. Yes I know real live pirates were not and are not good role models and we've rather "glossed" over that aspect ... concentrating on "sailing the seven seas" and looking for treasure ... now I see some people have posted in the negative to a recent thread so what do you think?
  2. sadika

    sadika New commenter

  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    and what's wrong with teaching children the truth about pirates? Tell them real pirates now and in the past were very bad people ...
    We happily tell children stories of wicked step mothers (Cinderella) and abandonment by parents (Hansell and Grettel) Kidnapping (the Snow Queen) and murder by a step mother (Snow White) Most small children understand the difference between stories and real life.
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    well but
    pirates were democratic - they voted for their Captain and expected the job done well - they worked as a team and shared the loot fairly - there were even female pirates - and the Navies of whatever nation at the same period in time were not always ideals of lawfulness- press ganging and child labour the norm - and the treasures that they carried didn't always belong to them anyway in the wider scheme of things
    pirates of our present time are not quite as easy to love though
  5. My qualms about pirate topics arise form the fact that I teach Somali children. I worry about parental unease.
    I suppose you can say, "These pirates are just story pirates. Real pirates nowadays do very bad things."
    But I prefer to keep off pirates altogether, as a topic, because it then goes high focus (as opposed to the occasional pirate story or a dressing up costume). I wouldn't do a topic on evil stepmums either!
  6. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    and I teach children who have been abused by parents so do I avoid Cinderella?
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    But would you do a fairy tale topic and include Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Grettel ...?
    I think no subject should be taboo but all subjects should be handled sympathetically with children's personal experiences carefully considered.
    If your Somali children have suffered personaly at the hands of pirates you would need to be careful just as I would need to be careful with a child who has suffered parental abuse.

  8. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    read the Brothers Grimm.
    It's all there folks.
  9. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    What about Winnie the Witch. Satanism or fantasy?
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I once taught in a school where a Shirley Hughes poem that mentioned pumpkins was banned
  11. But the equivalence you draw is false. Fairy tales are highly moral, while piracy and the glamorisation of piracy is not. The objection to the poem about pumpkins thing is superstition, not at all the same as objecting to the glamorisation of something criminal. I agree that most people think a pirate topic is just a bit of fun, and the children do enjoy it, but while piracy is still claiming victims I will continue to avoid it. After all there are lots of other fun things to do.
  12. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I think if I had the children you have in my class, thumbie, I would not pursue a pirate topic either. My children know nothing of this, however, and only see the cartoon pirate image. I wouldn't deliberately plan a whole topic on pirates but will follow up children's interests with treasure maps, messages in bottles etc.
  13. Right, so are you saying we should not look closely at what we present to children? I think we should look closely. There's nothing sacrosanct about fairy tales and if they are too gruesome they shouldn't be used.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Have you ever looked closely at fairy stories thumbie? (I mean really closely)
    Cinderella is the tale of a princess who killed herself after her father wanted to marry her (incest)
    Little Red Riding hood was written as a morality tale warning young girls to beware of "wolves"

  15. Freeze!

    Freeze! New commenter

    If I had Somali chn in my class I'd avoid a Pirate topic.
    However, with my current class I'd do it as the only Pirates they know of (and should know of at their age) are story pirates so I'd embrace it with all the gusto of 'me hearties' and 'pieces of 8' and all the storybook charm they have. That way, if any child did raise a concern from their parent (very unlikely) then I'd simply say that real pirates are VERY different from our storybook pirates indeed, in the same way that Burglar Bill is a friendly thief but real burglars are dangerous and bad. I think this explanation is fine for children. In the case of your catchment though (Poster with the Somali class) the issue would be with parents and children alike and out of respect I'd avoid the topic.

    Generally, I think we can look too deeply these days. I know some schools do not like fairy tales (and I mean proper ones, the like of Brother's Grimm) told to the children as they are too gruesome. When was the last time you came across a version of Little Red Riding Hood where the wolf swallowed the Grandma and then the woodcutter chopped him open with his axe and killed the wolf, or the Three Little Pigs where the Wolf fell into the pot of boiling water and they all ate him for their supper. Things have already been changed for fear of reprisal and I'm not sure if this is good or bad as a blanket response - I think it's up to us to change things if we feel it is necessary to reflect on where and who we teach.
  16. Yes. But when you look at texts to use, or tell stories orally, you look at style and delivery as well as content, and that is a major factor in how suitable they are. This is how people make 'pirates' suitable. But, for me, this does not work in a world where pirates are a living reality. And before you say that incest and "wolves" are a living reality remind yourself that we do not use those terms (in the way you mean) or describe the associated acts when we tell fairy tales, but you can't really escape the reality of fighting at sea with the pirate thing. And, as I say, I don't use it because circumstances have sensitised me to the realities of piracy. You use it if you like.
  17. No harm in stopping to think though.
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    So doesn't that argument apply equally to Pirate stories ?
  19. And I would reiterate the point you seem to have missed, msz, that fairy tales take a highly moral stance as regards their outcomes, baddies are baddies, whereas in romanticising piracy we are romanticising criminal activity.
  20. No, read beyond the first sentence of my post Msz,

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