Monday Risky Open Comments

Well, who’d’a thunk it? Letting kids be kids is good for them!

Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school.

Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don’t cause bedlam, the principal says.

The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing.

Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment.

So the school ditched all of that rigidly structured play, and allowed the kids to play their own games? They could run and play with abandon? They could – horrors! – maybe even fall down?

“We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over.”

Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said.

“When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult’s perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don’t.”

Not everyone was on board, but they could argue with the results:

However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time, he said.

When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results.

Mudslides, skateboarding, bullrush and tree climbing kept the children so occupied the school no longer needed a timeout area or as many teachers on patrol.
/snip
Parents were happy too because their children were happy, he said.

The kids were allowed to play without being told what to do by a teacher!

Instead of a playground, children used their imagination to play in a “loose parts pit” which contained junk such as wood, tyres and an old fire hose.

And it all led to this brainbusting revelation:

AUT professor of public health Grant Schofield, who worked on the research project, said there are too many rules in modern playgrounds.

“The great paradox of cotton-woolling children is it’s more dangerous in the long-run.”

Society’s obsession with protecting children ignores the benefits of risk-taking, he said.

Children develop the frontal lobe of their brain when taking risks, meaning they work out consequences. “You can’t teach them that. They have to learn risk on their own terms. It doesn’t develop by watching TV, they have to get out there.”
/snip
“There was so many ridiculous health and safety regulations and the kids thought the static structures of playgrounds were boring.”

All of the PC’ers out there are going to be worried. What place do they have in a world where even the kids can function without being constantly told what to do and how to do it?

Really, People?

I’m doing my part. In fact, I’m probably picking up the slack for about ten of you people.

This is shameful
:

Not as bad as the UK & Ireland, homes of the originals, but come on, people.

Uruguay?

France?

We can do better, although we may be able to pass up Uruguay, since they went and legalized the Holy Herb and will probably forget where they put the whisk(e)y.