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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Child's play

What a concept -- letting children be children:

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."

The story notes that this isn't exactly a revolution. The school is merely returning to the days "before health and safety policies came to rule." This is a refreshing experiment, but its hard to imagine it spreading much wider. How can an educational culture that embraces such "zero tolerance" insanity as kicking kids out of school for drawing a picture of a gun or pointing a finger and saying bang dare to embrace a "don't wrap kids in cotton wool" philosophy?

God. Common sense. So far it's actually stunning when we encounter it.