Playground rules relaxed in school trial

East Taieri School pupils (from left) Devin Colston (10), Jemma Wilson (9), Grace Cotter (10) and...
East Taieri School pupils (from left) Devin Colston (10), Jemma Wilson (9), Grace Cotter (10) and Riley Horne (9) climb a tree on school grounds after the school relaxed its playground rules last week. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Remember the days when you could climb trees and play proper rugby with tackling? Well, for East Taieri School pupils, those days are back.

The school has relaxed some of its playground rules for a trial period, after seeing other schools in the media give their pupils more freedom in the playground.

Principal Jennifer Horgan said the school didn't have many restrictions because its pupils played so well together, but staff felt it was important for pupils to make the most of the school's extensive grounds.

Staff at the school talked about the media coverage of schools in the North Island which had relaxed playground rules, and thought about things that East Taieri School could do, she said.

One idea was to allow children to climb trees again.

''The caretaker has gone around and put a mark on the trees that he thinks are suitable for climbing, because we have so many trees suitable for climbing in our playground.

''He's put a mark on them about 3m up, so the children know which trees they can climb and how far they can go.''

The school used to have a Wheelie Day one day a week, where pupils could ride their scooters and skateboards on school grounds during lunchtime. Now every day is Wheelie Day.

Pupils were also permitted to play tackle rugby, as long as they had a mouthguard, she said.

''We feel that the children make good decisions generally, and we wanted to see how it went.

''It's too early yet to say if it is making any changes to the children's behaviour,'' she said.

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