On the fence

This summer, for the first time, we agreed to put our 3 year old in the Montessori daycamp for two separate weeks, one in July, and one in August. This will be his first time to be away at school for full days, as opposed to half-days only part of the week. From 8 am to 4 pm, every day for a week.

I think we will have a very tired boy on our hands.

A while ago we received the schedule for the Montessori summer camp. For the most part, the prevalant theme is all about being outdoors: splash pad, play ground, sprinkler day, picnics.

Once a week however they planned an outing. One of those outings is to the movies.

Benjamin has never been to the movies. He rarely watches movies at home, although he has his share of DVDs and VHS. He likes the cartoons on Treehouse, mostly placid shows like Little Bear, the Backyardigans, Superpets. He also likes Mighty Machines, and Max and Ruby. Or that new show, perfect for evenings before bed, called In the Nightgarden.

But movies? At the movie theater? Apparently they’ll take them there on a schoolbus. Which in itself is great, as he has recently experienced a trip on a schoolbus to U of T downtown to see a play. He will certainly enjoy the trip to the Cineplex….but what will happen once at the movie theater?

Ben isn’t much into violence or scary situations. Even on Treehouse, there may be an occasional scary moment when he might stand up from the couch and stand near the tv button, ready to turn it off should the scary situation become unbearable.

Kung Fu Panda, a PG-13 rated animated movie, is supposed to be suitable for preschoolers and older children who can sit through a 90-minute movie.


Frankly, I’ve been on the fence about whether I will send him or not. Firstly, because Kung Fu, which as far as I understand it, is not supposed to be about violence. I’ve seen some clips, and my impression is that it is quite violent. My guess is that most children would certainly interpret it that way. 

Then, there is talk about the panda bear’s enemies. Enemies? Ben knows what friends are. He has never heard of enemies. Do children have enemies?

One site I came across describes the movie as this:

Violence/scary situations: An evil snow leopard, with glowing eyes, escapes from a dark, spooky prison. Lots of martial-arts mayhem, including a number of nasty fights. An elderly character, whose time has come, disappears into a swirl of peach blossoms.

Here’s what bugs me: Evil? Escape from prison? Nasty fights?

I don’t know.

But still, I’m on the fence. Some days, I lean toward sending him because I know there will be extra staff on hand to take kids out should they be scared/bored/have to pee and what not. And because he likes the schoolbus. And because he’ll enjoy the experience as a whole and will not necessarily even understand the whole concept of the movies. And because some of the other mothers, whom I’ve spoken with and whose children, mostly older, are the same as Ben when it comes to tv shows, have similar concerns but may still send their kids.

Other days, I lean toward not sending him to prevent the whole ordeal of debating whether he’s ready or not for such a thing. I mean, if there’s a debate, then he’s not ready, right?

But then again, he has options, and he knows he has options. Friends to sit with, popcorn to snack on, caregivers to approach when he needs to…

Like I said, I’m still on the fence.