I am aghast at how much structure and lack of free play is out there for kids, “for their safety.”
What if we let children fully move their bodies during recess time, let them get dirty, and even test out new theories? What would recess look like then?
The closest I found to doing just that was the Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand. I had heard of its nonconventional, yet successful approach to recess through social media and was instantly intrigued. Since I was already going to be in New Zealand for TimberNook, I decided to meet Swanson’s principal, Bruce McLachlan, in person.
We spent a good hour talking over coffee about his now-famous recess. His recess has gotten international attention, because he did something radical: he got rid of the rules. And guess what? When the rules left, so did their “behavior issues.” He saw more independence, improved creativity, healthy risk-taking, less falling, better coordination, and improved attention in the classroom.
There were four main ways he changed his recess in order to see these improvements. Four things that I happen to successfully use in my program as well to enhance child development and inspire creativity. Think of them as a recipe.
Read the 4 things at How schools ruined recess — and four things needed to fix it – The Washington Post.
Ok, so now that you’ve read them (and hopefully the full article later), I totally agree and feel like all of those are missing, but especially space and time. Creating playful spaces and allowing that boredom and downtime is crucial.