Friday, February 14, 2014

Rip Up Recess Rules and Reap the Benefits

Losing Recess Rules Results in Drop in Bullying and Higher Academics

No recess rules?! Does this sound astonishing to you? A school in New Zealand has ripped up the recess rules and now has a drop in bullying, serious injuries, and vandalism while creativity and learning are increasing - and behavior problems disappearing. Could this happen in the United States? You simply must watch this video where students are climbing trees, riding skateboards, playing bullrush (a tag and tackle game), playing with sticks, and having mudslides! Just click on Bullrush Returns to Schools to view, but I hope you will come back here to read my section: The Benefits of Relaxing Recess Rules.

How did this happen that school recess rules were done away with completely? Swanson Primary School was one of eight schools that decided to participate in a study by Aucland University of Technology (AUT) and Otago University. The aim of the two year study was to encourage active play. But Swanson Primary decided to do away with the rules entirely, as the principal and some teachers were inspired remembering their childhood free play. 

Some of the teachers were skeptical and some parents were concerned. But the results have been so positive that the school will continue this practice. Teachers love the better behavior and increased learning. Parents are happy because their children are happy and eager to go to school. At Swanson Primary there is no longer a need for a time-out area and no child loses recess, yet behavior problems have all but vanished.

Does your school allow swings?
I know, I know: But what if someone gets hurt? Will you at least consider how we used to play? Okay, I admit it; I’m a senior citizen. My childhood recess was before health and safety rules dominated children’s playtime and more lawyers in our country than the number of soldiers or doctors or policemen. 

Swanson Principal Bruce McLachlan said, “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... In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged... Here they don't have a chance to be bored... This is just about letting children be children." 

AUT professor of public health Grant Schofield, who worked on the research project, said there are too many rules in modern playgrounds. "The great paradox of cotton-woolling children is it's more dangerous in the long-run." Society's obsession with protecting children ignores the benefits of risk-taking. Children develop the frontal lobe of their brain when taking risks, meaning they work out consequences. "You can't teach them that. They have to learn risk on their own terms. It doesn't develop by watching TV, they have to get out there." (School ditches rules and loses bullies)

I survived teeter totters!
Parents, teachers and researchers were amazed at the results of losing the recess rules. But here is what is happening at Swanson Primary: 

  • As children learn to take risks, they work out their consequences while confidence and cooperation increases
  • Children become more creative - inventing games and rules
  • Children are more likely to follow the rules that they have co-construced with the teachers
  • Better behavior leads to no time-out area needed
  • Fewer teachers are needed to supervise recess, yet there is less bullying and conflicts
  • Children are happily engaged doing something of their choice, some even choosing to read
  • Children work off stress and return to the classroom ready to concentrate
  • Less money is needed for “boring” (children’s word) playground equipment
  • Children became more responsible (isn't this what societies need?)
  • Children are happy and want to go to school; parents and teachers are pleased
  • Children are better prepared to handle life's challenges

Do you think children have too many rules at recess? Are they even getting enough recess? Are we bubble-wrapping (cotton-woolling) our children - protecting them from the challenges and reality they will face as adults?

Growing a Jeweled Rose
playful activities and recipes
Are you a helicopter parent or teacher? I was too. Can you learn to relax your rules? Can you take a risk and watch what happens?

Young children learn using their five senses and movement. The Happy Mommy Handbook is filled with ideas for creative playful learning and the child development theories behind them as told from a mom and teacher's perspective. Would you like activities to help prepare your child for kindergarten - or help you become a better teacher? Glimpse into kindergarten with my book: Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Both are bestsellers and the ebooks are only $3.99.

Follow me by:

eMailTwitterGoogle+PinterestRSSYou TubeFacebook

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Outdoor Play: Games & Benefits with 100+ Kid Bloggers' Hop

Play Outside: 100 Days of Play Blog Hop
Groovy Soaker Water Balloons fit easily under a spout for filling.
Learning to play outdoor games uses creativity, imagination, cooperation, and brain power by making up new games and participating in sports and games that have been around for decades. Playing outside games can teach a child social skills while releasing stress and forming friendships. Young children learn by using their five senses and movement. So much more can be experienced through the senses when outdoors while expanding a child's imagination. Even short periods in the natural world improve a child's mood and appreciation for our earth.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Creative: School's Out KBN Series

Creative Kids: Fostering Creativity in Children

All of us have an innate desire to be creative. Children learn through play, discovery and exploration. They want to naturally extend learning activities, manipulate and create. But through time, discouragement, lack of opportunity and too much screen time, we lose our drive to be creative and lack the confidence and focus. How often do you think, or hear someone say, "Kids can't think for themselves anymore." Let's provide amble opportunities for children to think, explore, extend and create. Here's why and how:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Graham Cracker Kid" & More on Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

Graham Cracker Kid & More picture book giveaways for Kid Lit Blog Hop

I'm very pleased to be donating 7 books (4 autographed) for The Kid Lit Giveaway Hop! It is open May 13 to 19th, 2013 in honor  of Children’s Book Week and hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews, Youth Literature Reviews and others. Over 90 children’s book or teen literature bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists are giving away copies of fabulous books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes. What better way to celebrate Children’s Book Week than GIVEAWAYS! Here is what I am offering to a lucky winner in the US or Canada: 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teach Kids to Tie Bows and Make a Beautiful Wreath

Upcycle Materials to Teach Kids How to Tie Bows & Make Wreath & StartWrite
Are you trying to teach a child to tie their shoes? Here is a fun way for children to practiced tying bows while making a wreath from material scraps. Children will feel a sense of accomplishment as they tie long strands of material around a wreath circle. Or you can make a wire circle using a coat hanger. My grandson Brody made a wreath using wire that held a bail of straw together to make an upcycled gift that cost nothing - and helped him learn to tie bows. What a great gift to a mom or teacher - learning how to tie shoes!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Planting Seeds of Science: Gardening with Kids

Gardening with Kids: Planting Seeds of Science
"This roly poly is tiggling me."
Gardening provides magical opportunities for children to learn through hands-on science as they explore the outdoors and watch a seed grow into food. They can learn about the life cycles of seeds and critters, how to respect our environment, the seasons, weather and much more.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Happy Mommy Handbook: Now on Sale for 2 Days for only $.99

The Happy Mommy Handbook: Amazon Sale only $.99 for 2 Days

The Happy Mommy Handbook is currently No. 1 in Parenting and is only $.99 thru 4-9-13! The price will be $3.99 after that. You can purchase the ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. It is also in print for $9.24 and makes a wonderful gift for moms and teachers of preschoolers.

Katie Norris, Mommy with Selective Memory, and a mom with common dilemmas, has co-written this book with me, a former Kindergarten teacher, to help moms of preschoolers. Our book can help save your sanity - one fun, inexpensive project at a time. You'll learn the child development explanations behind the activities as your preschooler becomes better behaved while learning. This book is also helpful to prepare your child for kindergarten, homeschoolers, and those who have children with special needs.

The Happy Mommy Handbook has been a number 1 bestseller in several categories  and has many 5 Star reviews. Here is an example: