Written by: Jackie Sinnerton. Original Article: “Chaos in Playground ‘Character Building’

Queensland schools need chaos back in the playground for kids to have the chance of a healthy future, one of the nation’s top child psychologists warns. Parents have such a skewed attitude to children’s play, risk takers are being labelled the ‘naughty’ kids and clingy fearful children are hailed as the ‘good’ kids.

The damaging societal shift has sparked Dr Michael Carr-Gregg to call upon the Queensland government to drop restrictive play rules in primary schools and allow children to run free.

The expert also wants the government to pour money into planned risk-taking activities in primary school and funding to attract children to adventure groups like Scouts and Girl Guides. “It is frightening that children are conforming and pulling back on risk taking as they don’t want to be labeled naughty. The kids who will test the waters will thrive,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

“It has been proven that letting kids engage in active, adventurous play of their own making actually results in less bullying, fighting and better engagement in study time. A school in New Zealand, Swanson Primary School, has tried and tested the theory and it works beautifully.” he said.

“The Queensland Government should take this school as an example of the way forward,” Dr Carr-Gregg said.

Australian research on risk deficit disorder from Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney highlights that today risk is associated with something negative.

The kids at Amaze Early Education Centre Gaven and child care centres on the Gold Coast are encouraged to test their boundaries. “It is imperative that our families and educators are on board with our philosophy, to ensure its success. Prior to enrolment we discuss and educate families about what a risky play philosophy is, which allows them to actively and confidently encourage their child’s participation,” director Lucy Cook said.