A school in New Zealand recently experimented with a “no rules” recess policy as part of a study in order to observe how a “no rules” setting affected school learning performance. Swanson School is a 500 student elementary school that previously had many playground rules – you must walk your bike, certain areas are off limits, no climbing trees, and many more.
Although injury lawsuits are not common in New Zealand’s culture these rules were still in effect to keep the children “safe”. What the findings of the experiment show is that adults have children’s play habits all wrong. Even after ceasing playground rules and even allowing children to play in trees & with old blocks of word the school saw no increase in the amount of playground injuries. The truth about kid’s playtime is now out no matter how shocking it may seem: kid’s don’t recklessly endanger themselves, and are cautious toward their behaviors.
Not only were the kids happier to have full creative and physical freedom on the playground, but the children payed more attention in class – this shows real hope that the age of overly-safe, overly-politically correct schools may soon be over with. Even the parent of a student who broke his arm during Sawnson School’s rule free recess begged the school to continue its program. Hopefully this sensibility will carry over into United States school and give future generations of kids the recess they deserve.