One of the pleasures of living where we used to live, which was just behind my daughter’s school, was the sound – and occasional sight – of the children playing.
The girls (there were only girls) were allowed to do what they wanted to – and if that meant climbing the trees that surrounded their playground, that was fine. So amidst the branches I would occasionally see the grey-blue of uniform or an excited head. Of course, all that had to stop.
But not in New Zealand, where a school has experimented with abandoning all rules at playtime. Children can do what they want: adults simply keep them safe. The results are as astonishing as they are (when you really think about it) obvious. Incidents of vandalism and bullying dramatically shelved off and time-outs became unnecessary: quite simply, children were engaged and not bored.