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Sun Jan 26, 2014, 08:10 PM

School ditches rules and loses bullies (New Zealand)

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/school-ditches-rules-and-loses-bullies-5807957
Published: 6:31AM Sunday January 26, 2014 Source: Fairfax

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.

"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."

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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. 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.

"The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It's during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school." Parents were happy too because their children were happy, he said.

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Reply School ditches rules and loses bullies (New Zealand) (Original post)
SoCalDem Jan 2014 OP
msongs Jan 2014 #1
RobertEarl Jan 2014 #2
BrotherIvan Jan 2014 #3
stevenleser Jan 2014 #4

Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2014, 08:28 PM

1. evidently parents in NZ are not as sue-happy as Americans nt

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2014, 10:00 PM

2. Lets see

 

If we quit bullying kids, kids quit bullying?

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2014, 11:14 PM

3. Overprotection or helicopter parenting hopefully goes out of fashion

Kids are not allowed to play independently. Parents involve themselves in every activity, including birthday parties. Why does every single parent have to stay? Kids can't learn independence if they are constantly hovered over. You're not a bad parent if you're not interacting with your child every moment of the day. Your kid is perfectly happy playing and making up stories. Leave her alone! I suspect it's the idea of wanting your child to be your best friend and not enjoy anything that does involve you or some strange fear that your child will hate you if you let them be for a few moments. It may sound like an exaggeration, but I have witnessed it over and over. Your job is to make sure your child is safe, but children are wonderful at entertaining themselves and creating whole worlds if you let them.

My friend's son had his friends over, all 13 year-olds. They live in a very quiet and safe neighborhood across from a beautiful fenced-in meadow that overlooks the ocean. Stunning. After about three hours of watching them play video games, after they refused to go down to the beach or ride bikes in the nearby (also lovely) forest, she told them to go out and play. They looked at her, horrified. One asked, almost trembling, "We can't do that! Who will supervise us?" We both laughed at this because as kids who played outside "until the street lights came on" and our parents called us into to dinner, we would were always wanting out of the house and away from adults as fast as possible.

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Response to SoCalDem (Original post)

Sun Jan 26, 2014, 11:15 PM

4. My elementary school was like this at lunch recess. We were essentially left to our own devices

 

outside in the school yard to play.

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