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This is not a topic, however at the time of writing it has become a main route of play. How much should guns be encouraged or discouraged. We find ourselves allowing children to make pretend guns (obviously not actively encouraging gun play) but we don't know whether we should intervene. At what point does it become necessary to show awareness of what is happening? To ignor it entirely seems to be promoting it, giving adverse messages to other children not engaged in such play.

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A difficult one and one that has lots of differing opinions! I may be wrong but think this was discussed a while ago.

 

If I was really clever I could say you can find it 'here' and do a technologically impressive link :o but alas I do not have such talent xD

 

I am sure someone will know (Hi Steve??!!!)

 

My setting is in a garrison town so as we have "Daddies who go to work with a gun" we do have gun play but have to say I am not really a fan!!

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Hi marian, welcome aboard!!

 

Yes, a difficult one! Because I am aware that guns are part of some children's lives (in Geraldine's sense, I hasten to add!) I am always very careful how I handle this one. My approach tends to be one of discussing play later that same session, with extensions covering the areas that cause concern, but as we need to be fairly low key with this age group, it can tend to muddy the overall effect. I comfort myself by thinking that at least we've planted a seed.

 

Not a very satisfactory solution, I realise - ideas please???

 

Sue :D

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We go round in circles with this one!! My gut feeling is that I don't want children to play such games in my nursery....we should be able to find something else to grab their interest. I think they can play that sort of thing at home under the guidance of their parents. However, when I read the arguments for allowing it, and even to encourage it, I sometimes find myself being swayed in the other direction! My sort of compromise is to allow gun play if initiated by the children (outside) and only to intervene if other children become visibly uncomfortable about it. I'm willing to be persuaded in either direction, though! :D

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Hi Marian

 

I attended a course earlier this year where they were discussing this briefly. The course leader refered to reasearch recently done and I am sure that is the research that Sakin49 refers to in the previous thread this subject had (use Susan's click here to see previous discussions).

 

The research was done by Penny Holland. (Does anyone out there know her because it would great if she logged on and gave us her thoughts - long shot I guess)

 

Anyway, to finally get to my point, the reasearch suggests that if children are allowed to play freely with toy guns that eventually they kind of get it out of their system and then choose other activities. However all the time they are not allowed to express themselves in the way of their choice this frustration acts as a barrier to their learning.

 

As for me I am sitting on the fence with this one, cowardly I know, but until I can see some evidence that this might really work do I want to see my little people running around pretending to shoot each other? I'm not sure I do.

 

If any of you out there are more knowledgable about the research already done please post some comments so I can look at the wider implications of stopping children expressing themselves this way.

 

Sue

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I wish I did know Penny Holland :D but I just know a little about her! She is a lecturer in EarlyChildhood Studies and did research into "gun/superhero play" She was wholly convinced that little boys should be discouraged from any exploration of violent play. She monitored an under-fives centre who had a zero tolerance policy and lifted the ban! The result was that far from creating wholesale chaos it led to an amazing outpouring of imaginative play.

 

For anyone who gets nursery world and has them all filed in order, Penny Holland wrote an article on this subject in the May11th 2000 issue. It also says that Penny Holland welcomes the views of other early years practitioners. SHe wrote an article called "Is zero tolerance Intolerance?" which is published in Early Childhood PRactice Vol. 1 no1, 1999. (can't say I have heard of that publication :o )

 

I am intrigued to see her comment "Despite our most vigilant eforts, weapons were being made and superhero games were being played - we had got to the point where we felt that all we were doing was teaching a small group of young males to lie creatively" I empathise with that as I remember when we had zero tolerance, the boys still made their guns out of construction materials and as soon as they saw us even looking in their direction they would say (without comment from us) "It's not a gun, its a .....!" I think it's also interesting to not Penny's comment that the most difficult aspect of this issue is adults finding the moral issue (being seen to condone gunplay) the most difficult aspect of considering a policy review.

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I have no idea what the answer is to this and have spent years trying to figure out the right approach! My own children played with guns and I never had any problems.

 

We do not have guns at pre-school but they are made out of anything and everything by some children. I find the main problem is not necessarily the gun itself but the aggressive behaviour that seems to go with it. Or, for that matter, the aggressive behaviour of such young children, with or without a gun.

 

:o

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Penny Holland has written a bok called 'We don't play with guns here' published by OUP, ISBN 0-335-21089-9. It's very persuasive. We have tried taking her advice, and have said that guns can be made, but that inside we will not run or shout, and you cannot shoot anyone unless they have said they are playing your game. We have noticed an improvement in construction skills in some children and more complex imaginative play outdoors in some children. There was only a brief period of time where gunmaking increased.

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