Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"No Rules" play

This school in New Zealand instituted a “no rules” policy on their playground. Children are allowed to climb anything, build whatever they please, and drag all manner of objects to school for public use. 

An inspection of the playground produces numerous hazards in the form of sharp objects and big sticks. It is not unusual to see children climbing in trees taller than the school building. Teachers watch, but are not allowed to intervene.

It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but the result is a significant drop in bullying and fewer injuries than when the playground had rules. In addition, research conducted at the school shows that student confidence is up as is their ability to concentrate once back in the classroom. Teachers also note an increase in older children stepping in to settle arguments before they become fights.

God built our brains to assess risk. Children need practice in assessing risk in order to learn how to do it. If we protect children from any risk, we deny them the opportunity to learn. 

When, as parents, we try to create a perfectly safe world for our children we are turning parenting into a substitute for God. We cannot keep our children perfectly safe. God knows our children will meet with danger so He designed them to be able to learn from mistakes along the way.

Sometimes we need to step aside and let God do the parenting.

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

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