I started this post about a week ago and then left it to brew... I hope it hasn't stewed.
I was talking to a colleague of mine a short while ago and we were talking about things that schools had banned, because they 'weren't safe'... Good grief!
I won't list all them, but here's a list I can remember:
Triangular Flapjacks - because children had a fight. Square ones are still allowed, despite having more corners!
Swimming Goggles - Many UK authorities, have banned children from wearing goggles when in swimming lessons because they could be “snapped and pulled against a child’s face” and cause them to “bump into each other”.
Running in the Playground - Yes, you heard me right. A school banned it as dangerous. Seriously. I am writing blogs about getting children to climb up piles of pallets and tyres and schools are banning running!
Loom Bands - Apparently, one school decided that loom bands were a tripping hazard. What precisely is the sense here? Unless of course they were creating some sort of escape rope. Perhaps this ingenuity should be commended!
Conkers - 1/6 schools have banned conkers, although it may not through fear of injury, but through fear of allergies. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents claim that increasing numbers of children are allergic to conkers because less children are playing outdoors, doing stuff like, well, playing conkers.
And this (tenuously) is where I get to the point...
OK, so I like the outdoor learning thing, but unless we let children take risks, how will they learn what is and isn't safe. As teachers we can monitor risk, but I honestly think that we should not be responsible for removing it from children's lives. (There are enough overprotective parents doing that already and despite these words, I fear that sometimes I might be one of them!)
I won't go down the "when we were children we..." line because that path is well trodden. Children do need to know that nettles sting but not forever, that a grazed knee or elbow gets sore but is OK and that getting a splinter, while quite unpleasant, is not the End of Days!
We care for our children and for the children in our care, but do we overprotect them?
In my school, the school council are very active in terms of promoting pupil safety, but I haven't yet heard them request a ban, just that people be considerate, respectful and careful towards each other.
Children are children and they need to get a bit dirty and jump off high things... we want children to be risk takers, mover and shakers as adults, but we want them to sit quietly and be careful as youngsters. I am not promoting dangerous activity, but children need to learn to be safe, by occasionally not being!
How about this?
In New Zealand, "The School With No Rules..."
ORIGINALLY POSTED: 2015