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From The Guardian

“Boys should be encouraged to play with toy guns at nursery school because it can help improve their academic performance, according to government advice issued yesterday.”

Gasp! Does this mean that Human nature cannot be molded by the desires of controlling individuals seeking to impose their Utopian agenda?

But wait! There’s more:

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said boys aged between three and five had fallen behind their female classmates partly because nursery staff tried to curb their desire for boisterous play involving weapons. Boys were more likely to become interested in education and would perform better if encouraged to pursue their chosen play.

So, interfering with children’s natural instincts causes them to fail in other areas of life? What monsters would perpetrate such a practice?

The advice has proved controversial with teachers’ unions, which said that toy guns “symbolise aggression” and teachers were right to stop them being used. They also criticised the government for stereotyping boys.

The guidance, Confident, Capable and Creative: Supporting Boys’ Achievements, said national data for 2004-06 showed that in nursery education, boys performed worse than girls across all areas of learning. It is a pattern which the government says continues up until GCSE stage. Better results can be achieved if nursery staff curb their “instincts” to stop boys from playing with toy guns and instead make better use of their interests.

So, let me get this straight, It’s better that the staff curb their ‘instincts’ than impose them onto those under their care, lest they pervert natural development? Hmm …

“Sometimes practitioners find the chosen play of boys more difficult to understand and value than that of girls,” the guidance states. “They may choose activities in which adults involve themselves least, or play that involves more action and a greater use of the available space, especially outdoors. Images and ideas gleaned from the media are common starting points in boys’ play and may involve characters with special powers or weapons. Adults can find this type of play particularly challenging and have a natural instinct to stop it.”

It said this was unnecessary as long as staff helped boys understand and respect the rights of other children. “Creating situations so that boys’ interests in these forms of play can be fostered through healthy and safe risk-taking will enhance every aspect of their learning,” it said.

Risk taking, or real-life experience is a good thing childhood development? But what type of ‘real world’ would they be living in??

Beverley Hughes, the children’s minister, said the guidance took “a common-sense approach to the fact that many children, and perhaps particularly many boys, like boisterous, physical activity”. But Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, warned that nurseries following the guidance risked incurring the anger of parents.

“I do not think schools should be encouraging boys to play with toy weapons,” he said. “Many parents take the decision that their children won’t have toy weapons. In addition to that, I think this is a clear example of gender stereotyping.”

Chris Keates seems to want to do anything that would shield himself from parental criticism, except for anything that would benefit the development of the precious young souls in his charge, that is.

Steve Sinnott, NUT general secretary, said: “The real problem with weapons is that they symbolise aggression. We do need to ensure, whether the playing is rumbustious or not, that there is a respect for your peers, however young they are.”

Wow! I cannot believe I am reading this from a UK Paper. There still may be hope for the world!

[It’s not funny until someone loses an eye, you know. – Ed.]

Bonus!: Posted 8 minutes before Fark.com picked it up!

Non-bonus: Fark.com has had 894 clicks and 34 comments on their article in those 8 minutes. Sigh.




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