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Primary school experiment

(14 Posts)
sunseeker Thu 19-Sep-19 09:50:00

A month ago a local primary school removed most of the toys from their classrooms and replaced them with cardboard boxes, keys and various other items. They are now reporting the children are using their imaginations, communicating and playing together better than previously.

The children have been asked if they want the toys back - the only thing they have asked for is the wooden train set!

Squiffy Thu 19-Sep-19 10:31:02

What a brilliant idea sunseeker! Children are still so imaginative, despite the virtual world. When I see and listen to my GCs, their imaginations amaze me. I don't think children have changed over the years, but what's available to them has.

shysal Thu 19-Sep-19 10:46:59

I agree it is a good idea. I know my children and then grandchildren loved a cardboard box or two, some lengths of fabric, saucepans and wooden spoons.

EllanVannin Thu 19-Sep-19 10:50:47

The best part of a children's early life is their amazing imagination and it should be encouraged. Shoe boxes were a delight to me as a youngster because of the many things I could make.
Bring it on !

Grammaretto Thu 19-Sep-19 12:12:41

Our DGS is at school in NZ. I have never seen any toys and we see videos from the classroom. What are the toys anyway? Of course in England children begin school when they are 4 yrs old which IMO is too young so maybe they still need toys.
Our DGC attend nursery in Scotland where they have some outdoor toys, and places to encourage imaginative play indoors too. Both lots are very happy at their schools.

A Forest kindergarten is soon to open near us. That will be very interesting especially in midwinter!

BBbevan Thu 19-Sep-19 12:52:41

Grammaretto I volunteer in a Forest school. Doesn't matter what the weather the children, adequately clothed, still want to go out. Persistent rain is the only thing that keeps us indoors. When it is cold we often have a fire, toast marshmallows, make hot chocolate and toast damper .

agnurse Thu 19-Sep-19 19:05:04


Actually, at that age, children developmentally don't need very many toys. This is because preschoolers have very active imaginations. A box full of dress-up clothes and a few bits and bobs can go a long way with children that age.

agnurse Thu 19-Sep-19 21:10:57

The Forest school idea sounds really interesting! It is a documented fact that children learn through play, and I agree that Early Years experiences really should be centered around play. I also think that getting children out into the natural world is very good for them and should be encouraged.

The only caveat is that I'm not sure it's something that would be feasible in my area. We tend to have snow for up to 6 months of the year and it gets very cold (as low as -40C sometimes; once it gets below -20C, including wind chill, the children automatically have indoor recess, and if it gets below -40C the buses are cancelled; usually we end up with 1 or 2 days a year when buses are cancelled).

trisher Thu 19-Sep-19 21:17:51

Forest School is great. I did one day a week for 6 weeks whilst my GCs were in nursery. It was great to see the children exploring and enjoying the outside. And I learned things including what a Kelly Kettle is- never seen one before.

Grammaretto Sat 21-Sep-19 15:44:06

A friend whose DC were at a Forest school in Switzerland said one of hers hated it. He was the kind of child who was happier to be quietly indoors reading a book! The others loved it.
Apparently it's not the cold or even rain which is bad but rather high winds which bring down branches.
Scandinavian cold and presumably North American is drier than our Scottish winters which are minus a few degrees but damp.
I suppose a couple of hours a day is only going to be good for them.

Sara65 Sat 21-Sep-19 15:49:40

I would have loved for my children to have gone to a forest school, they were all outdoorsy, and I think they would have really benefited.

On the toy subject, my grandson could spend all day playing with a few cardboard boxes, I love watching him

trisher Sat 21-Sep-19 19:44:39

For anyone interested in knowing more
They explain give advice and even tell you hw to start it in a school or other organisation. Fantastic!

Scentia Sat 21-Sep-19 22:41:58

I remember with a smile, the PlayStation my son made out of shoe boxes and shoelaces. Kept him busy for hours it did. He never did have a real games thingy until he was 24!!

watermeadow Sun 22-Sep-19 19:20:23

I started school at a Mission school. A year later, back in England, I went to a convent school where there were toys, a sand pit, Plasticene and lovely kind nuns.
I remember vividly the “imaginative play” at the Mission, which included children killing a hedgehog, laughing at a disabled boy and taking the smaller children’s lunch.
I much preferred the toys!