Win a New iPhone 11 PRO: Perth primary school is slammed for scrapping free play for students. A primary school has been heavily criticised for scrapping its students’ free play time and instead replacing it with a co-ordinated session led by a teacher.
Clarkson Primary School in Clarkson, northern Perth changed its playground policy at the start of this year, giving its pupils only 15 minutes of unstructured play each day.
The school’s principal Tony Shields said the change was made because staff believed children were not interacting with each other.
‘A lot of that we attributed to increased social media, the likes of screen time plus a breakdown in families,’ he told 9News.
‘We wanted to come up with a way of teaching kids how to play properly.’
The restructure has meant recess now consists of 15 minutes of structured play, 15 minutes of eating and then five minutes of wind down.
The lunch period involves 15 minutes of free play and ten minutes of eating.
Parents of children in the school have said the changes are beneficial, but a childhood expert said the changes were ‘extreme’.
Murdoch University director of early childhood education Sandra Hesterman told ABC News the state government should introduce minimum free play times.
‘It is a violation of the child’s entitlement to play and jeopardises the child’s wellbeing and healthy development,’ she said.
‘It (the school’s policy change) is of immense concern and requires immediate review by the Department of Education.’
Dr Hesterman said the move could also lead to the pupils becoming ‘frustrated, agitated’ and ‘tearful’.
Principal Shields said the move was needed to create a better culture of healthy eating at the school.
Parents added their children were now eating healthier, with one mother saying the fact everyone was sat together eating and talking made a difference.
Associate principal Lloyd Morris said there had also been a huge