Posts Tagged ‘Playground’

If You Respect Teachers, Please Stand Up

May 15, 2012

There is a growing hostility against teachers from the Government down, and children are picking up on it. There is little use reinforcing the message that respect for teachers is paramount to students whose own parents openly treat the classroom teacher with disdain. Teachers are not trusted to do their job, are having to write-up ludicrously long and detailed planners to prove they are covering the curriculum and are subjected to a distasteful smear campaign from elements within the educational system looking for someone to blame.

Why should we be surprised if children exploit the lack of respect for teachers within elements of society?

A STUDENT holds a replica pistol to the head of a staff member in the playground – while a Year 9 boy at another school sprays urine on his teacher.

These disturbing scenes are happening at schools across NSW, just two of 218 serious incidents logged during term four last year in reports to the Department of Education and Training.

The reports show teachers being abused, assaulted and sometimes forced to disarm out-of-control students during fights.

One student fight even featured a didgeridoo as an improvised weapon, while in another incident a pupil stole a teacher’s handbag and made off with her car.

Last November, a Year 8 student threatened a teacher with a replica pistol from the drama department at a south coast school. The deputy principal tried to intervene and was abused by the student.

Meanwhile, at an Illawarra school, a Year 9 student urinated into a bottle and sprayed it on a male teacher on playground duty.

Precise details of the schools, students and teachers involved are removed from the reports, which are published by the department with one-term delays.

A department spokesperson said nine in 10 schools did not report a single incident during term four.

“From time to time, incidents affect schools just as they affect society,” the spokesperson said.

Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said the number of violent incidents in schools wasn’t rising but were being noticed and documented “more vigorously”.

“Teenagers tend to be impulsive – all accelerator and no brakes,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

“Violence as entertainment has desensitised teenagers and made them see violence as a problem solving device.”

He said another factor was teenagers becoming disaffected with rates of family breakdown increasing.

Is There Anthing Children Enjoy Which Hasn’t Been Banned Yet?

November 18, 2011

I can’t stand knee-jerk reactions that result in banning something which enriches the lives and experiences of many. Banning balls from the schoolyard is a sure-fire way of taking the one thing most children enjoy doing at school  and expecting them to just go along with it. When you take away a child’s right to let off some steam at recess through the healthy pursuit of a football game, you are potentially ruining that child’s day.

I sympathise with teachers and parents that have been hit by a stray ball. I was once hit so hard that I was on all fours during yard duty. It is an extremely unpleasant experience.  But it’s still not a good reason for banning balls:

Earl Beatty Public School’s decision to ban the use of hard balls on their playground because of safety concerns has prompted an outcry from the little people in the line of fire.

Students who wish to play games like soccer and football are having to make due with foam substitutes, and they don’t like it. Some in this elementary school near Coxwell and Danforth have gone as far as creating signs and petitions to express their frustration.

“I think it’s great. They absolutely see the ridiculousness of this situation – it’s straight from the heart,” said parent Diana Symonds, who has three children in grades 4 and 5.

“It’s like kicking around a sponge,” said Joey McDermott, a Grade 8 student. “They’re expecting all the little kids to get hurt. We got hurt when we were younger and we’re fine now.”

Foam balls are no substitute.  They squash under your feet and cannot be played with if the ground is even slightly wet.  I know we live in a litigious society and schools are afraid of lawsuits.

That’s why I think politicians should step in and legislate to allow schools to look after their students without the fear of having to go to court because of it.


Bubble Wrapping Our Kids is Not a Solution

July 20, 2011

When we were young climbing was a great adrenaline rush.  I remember the enjoyment I had climbing trees with my friends.  Nowadays, climbing trees have been deemed too unsafe and even the basic play equipment has been watered down to avoid accidents, and in turn, fun.

Current safety standards veer public playgrounds towards the benign realm of soft and cushy: sharp edges are covered, jungle gyms and monkey bars are miniaturized to reduce the height children can climb and the whole things are placed on shock-absorbent wood chips or rubber mats to cushion the blow when children inevitably fall.

But are we really doing our children any favors by taking all the risk out of playtime? Some pediatric experts are saying no — in the pursuit of protection for our children, we have stunted their ability to fend for themselves.

In a recent paper published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, Norwegian psychologists Ellen Sandseter of Queen Maud University in Norway and Leif Kennair of the Norwegian University for Science and Technology write that “risky play” among young children is a necessary experience that helps children learn to master their environments. Protecting children from any risks in their playtime could breed children that are more likely to be anxious and afraid of danger.

“An exaggerated safety focus of children’s play is problematic because while on the one hand children should avoid injuries, on the other hand they might need challenges and varied stimulation to develop normally, both physically and mentally,” the authors write. “Paradoxically, we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology,” they add. “We might need to provide more stimulating environments for children, rather than hamper their development.”

Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, says the slow disappearance of more traditional “risky” playground toys has more to do with litigation than with proven safety issues.

Let kids be kids.  Grazes and bruises use to be worth it for the sheer enjoyment of the great outdoors.

School Using Bomb As Bell

July 12, 2011

It’s ironic that administrators are banning football and cartwheels in some playgrounds whilst schools on the other side of the world are playing with bombs during recess.

A mine awareness team in Uganda were horrified to find an unexploded bomb being used as a bell when they visited a school to teach children how to spot bombs, a local newspaper reported.

The Anti-Mine Network organisation saw teachers banging the bomb with stones to call children to lessons in a 700-pupil school in a rural area, the Daily Monitor said.

“Its head was still active, which means that if it is hit by a stronger force, it would explode instantly and cause untold destruction in the area,” Wilson Bwambale, coordinator of the organisation, told the newspaper.

Mr Bwambale said they would explode it in a cordoned-off area.

The Ugandan military has fought two rebel insurgencies over the last two decades and mines and bombs still litter former battlefields around the country.

This is the second bomb that the Anti-Mine Network have found in a Ugandan school in the last six months.

Another was found being used by children at lunchtime as a toy and put away in a storeroom during lessons.

Thankfully no one was hurt.  Football in the playground doesn’t seem so bad now.  Not that it ever did ….

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