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Today's pupils learn yesterday's games

 
 
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 02:24 am
An - in my opinion - interesting article in today's 'Observer':

Quote:
Today's pupils learn yesterday's games

Amelia Hill, education correspondent
Sunday June 26, 2005
The Observer

A fear of injury and litigious parents has consigned the rough and tumble of the playground and its traditional games to history lessons at schools across the country.
Games such as tag, conkers and British bulldog have been outlawed by teachers in case they are sued for children's injuries, while other traditional pastimes are dying out because children simply see them as 'uncool'.

But now schools are going back to basics, hiring dedicated staff and holding workshops to encourage pupils to abandon their PlayStations and go back to the playground.

Notre Dame Preparatory School in Surrey has hired a 'playground co-ordinator' to teach their 340 girls, aged from two to 11, the lost art of cat's cradle, clapping games and chanting songs often going back to the Fifties.

'I have got them being children again,' said Isabel Cox, who made the decision to educate her pupils in the lost art of traditional games. 'Children have to grow up very fast nowadays and their lives are organised by parents and teachers from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. When they have spare time, they don't know what to do with it. They have forgotten how to play.'

Cox has organised a workshop on skipping and held lessons on how to play with wooden hoops and balls. She also persuaded the head to spend hours explaining the marble games of his youth, while the PE teacher agreed to show the girls how to do handstands and cartwheels.

Headteacher David Plummer said: 'The climate in the playground has been transformed. It is much more collaborative, with all the girls playing together in large groups and the older children teaching and helping the younger children.

'Break times can be terribly hostile, but the group dynamic of these old-fashioned games is enabling the girls to explore new friendships. There is definitely less tension in the playground. The girls are playing all sorts of games and passing them on to their sisters and friends in other schools.'

Marie Ann Battle, whose nine-year-old daughter, Hattie, is a pupil at Notre Dame, is delighted by her child's new repertoire of games.

'I could never add anything to the games Hattie played before and could feel the age gap between us growing,' she said. 'But now we can play together all the time and she loves it.'

Experts in children's play, however, warned that 'teaching' children how to play could be counter-productive.

'Children are the experts when it comes to play,' said Wendy Russell, children's play expert at the University of Gloucestershire. 'They are playing the same games they have always done, they have just adapted them to modern themes.

'Play helps to encourage adaptability rather than teaching specific skills, which is what happens if you hold something like a skipping workshop. What we are doing by teaching them specific games is blaming them for not playing the way we think they should, rather than looking at the way they choose to play.'

Marc Armitage, who has worked for more than 600 schools in his 20-year career as an independent play consultant, blames the layout of playgrounds for any decline in traditional game playing.

'Square and rectangular playgrounds lack quiet corners in which children have the time and peace to develop games,' he said. 'But these games don't need to be taught: they can disappear for two or three years and suddenly reappear.'



Are your observations similar or different?
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 05:03 am
Walter, Glad that you created this thread, because I have a very firm conviction that children should be allowed to imagine.

I understand why the school system is wary about the usual playground games in today's frivolous lawsuit complexion, but children's fertile minds are being replaced with machines and inactivity; little wonder that obesity is becoming a problem.

I recently saw in the news that a thirteen year old girl was tased by police for being drunk, loitering, and uncontrollable. She looked every bit of twenty one. The concern revolved around the "tasing", but I would have thought that the parents would have been more anxious about her drunken condition.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 05:26 am
Letty wrote:
She looked every bit of twenty one.


I've been (= passed the) children's department in a big department store recently: in my youth, even 18, 19 year old didn't wear such ... besides they were drunk or 'working' in ... well, like bars.


I agree that children ought to have to develop their imaginations - not easy, as you pointed out.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 05:34 am
Well, Walter. It's a combination of peer pressure and cultural expectations, fueled by too much emphasis on the body by merchandisers. I have no solutions, but parents should take a long look at the outcomes, because in the final analysis, they are the well spring of certain behaviors.
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ul
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 06:28 am
I don't like the expression " yesterday's games" for games that are essential for the development of children. Cognitive performance is linked to sensorimotor development.
All these games enhance basic skills-like
dexterity, memory,articulation, balance, ...and last but not least capacity for teamwork.
Where I teach these games are part of our curriculum, but we don't have special teachers for this.
The children like the games- they use their own imagination to change the name of the game, change some rules, but they enjoy the basics- running, jumping, singing, becoming more skilfull in all aspects. We see that their grades are improving.
It is sad though that this has to take place in schools nowadays. There is just not enough free and safe space for the children to play outdoors in front of your house, it is not always easy to reach a good playground ( especially when you don't have a stay at home mom).
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 07:04 am
ul wrote:
It is sad though that this has to take place in schools nowadays.


It really is (not to mention all that, what school has to do nowadays additionally as well - all that "stuff", which used to be got formerly at home).
0 Replies
 
ul
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 07:17 am
Yes- and here we are going from parenting to politics.
There have to be better general conditions ( Rahmenbedingungen) to raise a child.
It is often said that children are our future- but we are the people who educate the children- so we are shaping the future. We- society- have to do create a better enviroment.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 07:32 am
ul wrote:
Yes- and here we are going from parenting to politics.


No intend to do so ... here, it was just an impulsive response Laughing
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ul
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Jun, 2005 07:46 am
Smile Smile
0 Replies
 
Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2005 02:25 pm
Children don't sing the "Play Party Games" during recess anymore. No more London Bridge. No more Little Sally Ann. No more "Go In and Out the Windows".

Instead competitive games are turned into cooperative games--and this is a double loss.
0 Replies
 
happytaffy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2005 12:10 pm
I agree that it is really sad how things have changed and how we live in a different world than we did 15-20 years ago. As said before, machines have taken over the lives of kids' and teenagers' and they are being more and more exposed to things that have taken the place of traditional games and outside playing. I think that it is important for kids to get off their bottoms and play outside, read, play cards, or other traditional and stimulating activities. Set aside time each day where they have to do these activities. Don't completely cutt of the computer/internet or tv because it is a part of our society today and the internet is a great resource for kids nowadays, just monitor the amount of usage. And while these kids are using the internet, it is important they are well informed about the dangers of using it -- make sure you talk to them about internet safety because you never know who you are talking to out there. Do you have any useful tips that you use?
0 Replies
 
 

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