School found stop saying “no” and removing playground rules had huge benefits!

A school in Auckland NewZealand took part in a University study looking at Play with the aim to try and cut down bullying and tackle obesity.  Instead of saying “no” they removed all the rules and children were aloud to go where they liked and do what they liked, including climbing trees, skate boarding, mud slides and activities previously banned.

They gave the the children old tyres and bits of old equipment and left them to their own devices. Bullying was reduced, but also the ‘Kids are not only totally engaged and enjoying themselves but actually doing lots of learning as well,’ says the school principal Bruce McLachlan.

newzealand schoolAmazingly this new approach hasn’t meant that the playground has turned into a scene from Lord of the Flies either. ‘Kids don’t go out to purposely hurt themselves – they manage their own risk.’

Bruce McLachlan says getting hurt is part of growing up but the number of reported injuries has decreased at the school because the children dealt with small injuries and problems themselves because they didn’t want to interrupt their play!

And what if they were covered in mud?  Well they weren’t told “no” don’t get muddy, they were just told, don’t expect to come into class filthy.  Make sure you stop play time early enough to get cleaned up before lessons start!