A school in Auckland, Australia has decided to do away with playground rules and, as a result, bulling and injuries have nearly vanished.

The move to get rid of rules initially started as a local university experiment, but after wild success, the school’s principal continued the policy for the rest of the year. Kids are now encouraged to spend their recess however they choose: climbing trees, riding skateboards, wrestling, and playing with sticks. Instead of punishing the kids, the school’s principal had to find ways to work with them and as a collective. The kids started to make their own less restrictive rules; like wearing mouth guards during tackling games.

Initially teachers and parents were opposed to the no-rules concept, but after they saw that the kids were happier and fewer injuries were occurring during recess, most bought into the idea. “When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult’s perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don’t,” stated the principal.

This goes to show that most attempts to control anyone will ultimately lead to more distress and contention, whereas a rule free environment allows individuals the freedom to grow and develop their own personal guidelines.




Comments (9)

  1. Bianca Varda


    I found this article very relevant to the topics discussed in class. In the absence of rules, the students at the Auckland school thrived. Kids played better together at recess, less injuries occurred, and they seemed happier at school. This is a great example of IMT and KSM successfully implemented in daily life. The students were able to get along and sort through their problems on their own and in their own way. Laws and rules impede this process and may have a detrimental effect.

  2. Michael Leverenz


    I found this article to directly apply to the perception of control. Initially the principal and the parents believed the children could be influenced and controlled by the rules they had established for the playground. This was proved wrong when they decided to take part in the experiment from the university. The principal realized when they accept that they do not have control things will go better. He changed to the have a left side mind set and was willing to establish this full time. It showed that people who are told what to do will do the opposite and not learn from their mistakes, instead if they make their own rules and decisions they take on all the accountability and are able to understand things on a deeper level.

  3. Joe Brinkman


    I found this article perfectly relevant to the concepts we are learning in class. Not only is the school adopting left side principles, but it appears that the children are too as they are beginning to make their own guidelines. This, in itself, demonstrates that the children are becoming less blind as they are now taking accountability for the playground environment. There is also a KSM dynamic with the parents and teachers, as they initially thought that the playground situation is more dangerous to the children, ultimately due to their lack of information. Once they gain the information that the kids are safer and happier, though, they shift their disapproval to support. I found it initially difficult to buy into Dr. Kashiwagi’s claim that no rules is ultimately beneficial, but thought progression exercises and articles like this clearly show its validity.

  4. Ceara O'Brien


    I am not surprised by the positive outcome resulting from this school’s no-rules initiative on the playground. It is known that children first learn many “adult” skills through play at a young age, and this learning process is often tampered when adults intervene. I understand the protective impulse to want to prevent all bruised knees and ensure that no kid is left out of a kickball game, but there are so many benefits to letting kids be free. They can explore activities freely, rather than be directed to one or a few narrow options. They must learn how to negotiate the rules of games amongst themselves, building leadership skills, instead of having the rules made up for them.

  5. Haitham


    This is another example of that control always lead to the opposite results we are looking for. as the school let the kids do what ever they want with no rule it result in less injuries and kid became happier.

  6. Hossein Vashani


    This is another example showing us that the less we control people, the less risks we have. I believe the point that makes less injuries in this situation is that students take the responsibility of their behavior because there is no rules to control them. When there is someone who is responsible of students’ behavior, students do not take care of their activities and they know someone else responsible for any bad results.

  7. Matthew Langford


    Once again we see that the more we try to control, the more negative the outcome is. Although we may have circumstances where the idea does not work perfectly, for the most part we see again and again that more control means more less of a positive outcome.

  8. Teja Reddy


    Control finally leads to failure in all cases, leaving kids to play whatever they want just increases their experiences and they can play safely next time, moreover I liked the idea of principal and kids making rules together, which very good so that kids see and observe where they are hurting themselves and they can take necessary steps to prevent them. This kind of environment is very much essential to children because this is their right time to experience and learn from their mistakes and also hassle free for teachers.

  9. Stephen Phelps


    Similar to our class discussions, this is a prime example of how no influence nor control exists in the world around us. I am fascinated by this idea of having “No rules” because I believe that as supported by this story from Australia that without rules individuals are more likely to hold themselves accountable. As observed in this particular instance in terms of the playground, students are no longer trying to push the limits and test the system as much as they are trying to establish guidelines that are in their best interest. Consistent with the WIOMM model we can see just how significant it is that a person indeed creates their own environment despite popular belief that they are actually products of their environment. Thank you for sharing this article, that is a direct example of IMT concepts that we are learning about.

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