When do children learn to compete? 

I spent a lovely morning today attending the Sports Day of Wow Dinga’s school.

The tiny quadrangle had buntings fluttering and all the little ones were cheerfully waving to their parents and grandparents who were trooping in to watch their stars perform.  

 It was an interesting sports day starting with a parade of little tots marching past the chief guest . Then each class had drill displays with Pom Poms and hoops and ribbons. The older kids dazzled with somersaults and cart wheels  with the confidence and aplomb of circus performers. 

The races were most ingenious – a duck walk with a balloon clutched between the legs, a bunny race , a lemon and spoon race and some races that involved an activity like sorting out vegetables, stacking a toy , threading beads and drawing a self portrait before running to the finish line. 

What amazed me was the complete lack of competition . Each child was more interested in doing the activity right rather than winning the race. They string the beads carefully, stacked the toy correctly and drew pictures till they were truly satisfied with the result. 

All the children were below 4 and some of them were frankly quite dazed by the whole experience. But those who were performers at heart enjoyed themselves and had a great time playing to the gallery of enthusiastic fans. They were totally unmindful of winning and losing – all that they wanted was to have a good time. 

This made me wonder how and when they  become competitive? 



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