Rules (and laws) don’t control behavior. This school district it does the exact opposite, the more rules the more bad behavior

No rules also increased student attentiveness, increased their creative side and stopped bullying. Kids were too busy having fun to be a problem.

This is an amazing article.  Here are some quotes from the article and the principle which in this day and age in the US is sort of mind blowing.

Fewer children were getting hurt on the playground. Students focused better in class. There was also less bullying, less tattling. Incidents of vandalism had dropped off.

The parent continued: “I just wanted to make sure you don’t change this play environment, because kids break their arms.”

This is my favorite quote!

“I’ve been the principal who’s stood there and said ‘Oy, kid! Get off your bike! You’ve got to walk your bike!’ Then I’d go away and think ‘Why the hell did I say that?’”

Don’t ride your bike you may get hurt! Why did the kids’ parents buy the child a bike? We know it was not to get hurt, so why can’t the kid ride a bike.

But the results spoke for themselves, he said. The students weren’t hurting themselves — in fact, they were so busy and physically active at recess that they returned to the classroom ready to learn. They came back vibrant and motivated, not agitated or annoyed.

Children don’t hurt themselves because they’re testing their boundaries, Mr. McLachlan said. They don’t set out to recklessly self-injure, though it may happen in the process of finding their footing.

Who are the rules for? Adults! Kids’ don’t want rules; kids don’t remember rules and kids work hard to ignore rules. Obviously the only reason to have rules is because adults like rules. Wait that does not make sense. It must be because adults believe that rules work. Wait, our prisons are full and overcrowded. Why do we have rules?

So many of the rules, he said, are “ridiculous,” and designed to soothe adults. That said, there are still limitations to the two, 40-minute long free play breaks each day.

If a kid is hurt breaking a rule then the adults have an excuse.

·         It’s not my fault

·         The kid deserved it he broke the rule

This principal is amazing.  Read this quote!

Mr. McLachlan said. “One of the rules I said facetiously is kids aren’t allowed to hurt other people. But in fact they are. … If you hurt somebody in a game where you are playing hard, or a boxing match or a stone-throwing competition, for me it’s absolutely fine — as long as the other person was willing to get hurt.”

The results from the principals thinking?

He knew children might get hurt, and that was exactly the point — perhaps if they were freed from the “cotton-wool” in which their 21st century parents had them swaddled, his students may develop some resilience, use their imaginations, solve problems on their own.

This is my favorite statement from a different perspective. People don’t sue for money, they sue because they have bills to pay.

Kiwi parents are much less likely to sue a school if a child is injured anyway, he said, partly because a litigious culture just doesn’t exist and also because New Zealanders’ health care is fully paid for by the state if they’re victims of an accident.

It gets pretty absurd when we make playgrounds safe and then build climbing walls and ropes courses for adults to go have fun!

Read this article!When one New Zealand school tossed its playground rules and let students risk injury, the results were surprising

Here are some more articles exploring these concepts.

Year in Ideas: The risks of overprotective school policies

Return of risk: The growing movement to let kids play like kids

Some articles I’ve written about the subject:

An example of adults and money getting in the way of kids has fun

Is being overprotective putting our kids at risk

This article takes a real look at the risks parents allow their children to face           

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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