Kids Thrive When School Throws Out Smothering Playground Rulebook

Pic: Pieter Bos (CC)

Pic: Pieter Bos (CC)

We were pretty much left to run wild at recess. I’m guessing that things are different now. Anyway, one New Zealand school has taken the bold step of allowing students to take risks and engage in “free play” during recess. The children are more active now, and there’s been a decrease in bullying.


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.”

Read the full article at TVNC.

22 Comments on "Kids Thrive When School Throws Out Smothering Playground Rulebook"

  1. emperorreagan | Jan 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm |

    Tangentially related: when my boss started letting me work from home, my output and job satisfaction greatly increased.

  2. Anarchy Pony | Jan 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm |

    Anarchy in action.

  3. I’ve read that grades improve when the school week is cut from 5 days to 4.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jan 28, 2014 at 1:58 am |

    that only gives kids an unrealistic environment
    and they will become extremely disoriented & disappointed
    in the real world

    better to emulate the New Nanny Order

    • They should model all schools after the panopticon.

      • Calypso_1 | Jan 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm |

        In my state of residence, many highschools have been designed by the same firm that does jails & prisons. Our municipal PD have access to the schools security cams via their in-car laptops. There have been ‘incidents’. Lovely girls they recruit into Vice though.

        • It seems that these days, they are prepping the kids to be as prisoners. The documentary The War on Kids covers this. My Junior High looked like a prison, from the outside. Honestly though, it was a great school district.

          It was a resort town at one time, and there was some deal brokered back in the day that offered an excellent phys. Ed. program. We had several choices per semester as what to take.

          I was able to choose badminton, fencing, hacky sack, pickle ball, tennis, etc. besides the ones we had to take. Suck as track, and others I can’t remember. This was a public school. I wonder what it’s like now. Pardon my indulgence. This has helped me recall some things.

          • emperorreagan | Jan 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm |

            A lot of architecture these days has that quality making one feel trapped/watched. I hate visiting new buildings for work.

          • Anarchy Pony | Jan 28, 2014 at 11:33 pm |

            I would have loved fencing. Lucky bastards.

          • yeah it was great. We didn’t have the full suits, but we did wear plastrons, gauntlets, and the mask. I remember the teacher saying it may not be around for much longer because of the cost of the equipment.

            Hackey sack was the best though. We got credit for playing for an hour. At that time we would play between classes. There was epic circles.

          • Rhoid Rager | Jan 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm |

            K what’s pickle ball?

          • I spelled it incorrectly, it’s actually pickleball. I remember it being a fun game. It’s like badminton, but played with elongated paddles and a wiffle ball.


    • Jesus Christ, this is disturbing.

  5. Matt Staggs | Jan 28, 2014 at 9:16 am |

    Oh, yeah: Dirt clod war, “lightsaber” fights with sticks, king of the hill, gumball fights, wrestling and daring each other to jump off from ridiculously high perches. Not sure about you, but my mom and dad just gave me a bunch of outdoor stuff and told me to not come back until dinner. (We lived near the woods.) Those are some great memories.

    • InfvoCuernos | Jan 28, 2014 at 8:03 pm |

      Looking back on my youth, I’m pretty sure my parents were halfway hoping I would go out not come back. They were buying throwing stars, like I’m an anarchist or something!

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