What would a school with no rules be like?
It would be fun.
We might get hurt.
What if you did get hurt during ‘free play.’
“My parents would sue the school,” one my students confidently piped up. A few of her peers nodded in agreement. The children are 8 years old – the New Zealander in me felt sad.
As part of the unit of inquiry into how knowledge of body systems empowers us to keep ourselves safe. I showed them a quick clip of Swanson School in New Zealand where there are no rules at lunch time.
The children at Swanson can climb up trees, scooter and skateboard to their hearts content.
What the children had trouble understanding was why a New Zealand parent wouldn’t be mad at the school when a child did fall over and break his arm during free play. Indeed my brother managed to smash his patella as a Year 8 on camp requiring a police launch to go fetch him and several weeks in hospital. My parents greatest source of annoyance from that incident was that he did it on the first night of camp.
I explained that as a New Zealander we see injuries as an inevitable part of growing up. You’re testing boundaries of what your bodies can do.
Sometimes you’ll push your limits or those of gravity, fall over and it’s going to hurt. But you’ll head that warning …