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Students To Sit & Wait For Class

Story: Redcliffe Guide
Sep 05, 2018
Students to Sit & Wait  for Class
A growing trend in state primary schools to curtail physical activity before morning class has caused consternation among some local parents.

The relatively new procedures being implemented in several Peninsula state schools require students who arrive earlier than the commencement of class to sit calmly, rather than engage in any running games, handball or other physical activities.

The key issues appear to be supervision and the allocation of teacher aide time. Several local state schools and most private primary schools still provide a window of supervised playtime before school for kids to exercise, however a number of local principals have decided to reallocate the use of this expense to increase the teacher aide time in class.

In a statement regarding the matter, a spokes-person for the Department of Education stated “Principals, in consultation with the school community, make decisions about the most appropriate safety protocols to meet the needs of their students.”

A document released by the Australian Government Department of Health states that the benefits of physical activity include reducing anti-social behaviour including aggressive and disruptive actions, developing skills such as cooperation and teamwork, and improving a child’s ability to concentrate.

Parenting expert, author and educator Maggie Dent has discussed this trend in primary school education, and suggests that these approaches reflect a growing concern within educational systems around schools’ accountability and liability for children’s safety.

“If a child slips or collides with another child unintentionally, many adults see that as grounds for the school being sued for negligence.”

Ms Dent continues; “It is not only unhealthy for children who are already more passive than any other previous generation, it is plain sad. Unfortunately, duty of care and the interpretation of the laws that govern managing risk have made accidents something to be shamed and avoided. That is a sad outcome from our highly litigious society.”

Do you have questions about this practice adopted by your child’s school? The Department of Education spokesperson advises parents to contact their school directly, “If parents have concerns about issues at their children’s schools, they are encouraged to speak directly to the principal.”