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How One School Ignored All The Rules and Ended Bullying

By Nigel Boys

If you want your students to improve in their classes and stop picking on others, why not try doing what a Elementary School in New Zealand did? The Swanson, Auckland school let the children have more freedom during playtimes.

Reportedly, abandoning the usual rules that apply during the children’s playtime in the school yard and letting them do more of what they like to do, like climbing trees and such, lowers the level of bullying committed in the school and increases their attention in class.

Principal of Swanson Primary School, Bruce McLachlan said that he was tired of reports of bad behavior in the school so he decided to do something different and remove the usual rules that apply during playtime.

McLachlan went on to say that school vandalism has all but disappeared and surprisingly enough the number of serious injuries from accidents is actually declining. He added that the students appear to play a more active role in participating in their lessons.

The principal continued that he believes we spend too much time trying to protect the kids from accidents, which might well lead to those accidents happening. He believes children will learn more if they are allowed to tumble now and again.

The resourceful principal decided to try an experiment in 2011 from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in conjunction with Otago University. He added that the plan seems to be working because bullying has definitely decreased and overall attention levels have increased.

The results of the experiment have been amazing, according to McLachlan. He continued “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 happy principal went on to say that although some teachers were reluctant, at first, to remove playground rules, they found out that the experiment worked and they don’t need to spend as much time supervising the children as they did before.

Professor at AUT, Grant Schofield, said that there is a tendency in today’s modern world to overprotect children which sometimes leads to disaster. He added that if children are left on their own to decide what might hurt them, they work it out for themselves and therefore end up taking fewer risks.

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6 thoughts on “How One School Ignored All The Rules and Ended Bullying

  1. drea

    Allowing young students to have some control over what they like to do is a great thing. In human growth and development it is important for school age children to begin to make decisions on their own. whether it is just what they will do at recess. This could work anywhere as long as the teachers are still observing the children’s behavior.

  2. Nicholas

    Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is
    totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

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