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Gun/sword Play - Do You Allow Children To Make A Model Of A Sword?

Guest terrydoo73

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Guest terrydoo73

One of our little boys came up to me today and said "can you help me make a sword". Of course I didn't think about it and showed him how to cut out a piece of card to represent a sword. I then encouraged him to decorate it. By that stage another boy had also become involved in the making of a sword for himself. My Deputy lit on me at the end of the session for allowing this to happen because we should not promote offensive weapon behaviour in Playgroup. It got me thinking that perhaps I shouldn't have done this but then if I am following a child's interests and they are not actually swinging the sword at others is there any harm in it. What do we do with the situation of a knights outfit as I think this will come up later in the year when we focus on royalty celebrations??

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your deputy needs to lighten up. If they wanted swords and you helped them to facilitate this, then good for you. If the children weren't using them to hurt each other, I don't see her problem. Maybe she could put her energies into something positive, instead of her ( it seems to me from your posts!) constant nagging. It must be very draining for you, and her. Tell her that tomorrow you are going to have a 'POsitive thoughts day', with no negativity about anything, it might be fun :)

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I agree with Narnia. Perhaps you could print this off and discuss it with your colleague



I have had lots of fun, and learning, on a castle and Knights theme with children, and of course we had swords (cardboard) and the children had fights with them. There was no intention to hurt anyone just to play fight which required self-control, co-operation and imagination.

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Guest terrydoo73

Thanks for this - will definately print it off and meditate on it! Funny enough we had a couple of tubes left over from tin foil packs which the children also made into swords and my Deputy never batted an eyelid because all the children made them and decorated the whole tube which engaged them for a considerable amount of time. There was no question of them hitting each other with them as they were so precious they wanted to show their mums when they came to collect them. One little boy even brought his back in the next day and asked me to help him put more stickers and whatever on it!

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I remember one of our LA's EY's advisors telling us a rather ironic story about her son. She had been adamant that he never played with guns, swords etc.as she felt they promoted violence, and she had never allowed that type of play in her own nursery. When her son grew up he joined the army, and he was serving in Afghanistan at the time she told us about this.

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I recently had to do a "reflective practice assessment" on how well the DN I work at accomodated and VALUED boys play. Personally I have far more of an issue with little girls being dressed in pink, being obsessed with Barbie and wearing high heeled shoes and make at three years old than I ever do with the lads who seem to be able to be creative enough to make weapons out of anything....



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We allow it as long as its supervised and doesnt get out of hand. Maybe do a circle time on it so that children area aware of the dangers of such weapons but explan that ours our pretend so its ok!

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Buy the setting a copy of "we don't play with guns here" by Penny Holland and say this is going to be the focus of everyone's CPD. When they've read it they can have a proper comment to make rather than an uninformed irrational reaction!



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Buy the setting a copy of "we don't play with guns here" by Penny Holland and say this is going to be the focus of everyone's CPD. When they've read it they can have a proper comment to make rather than an uninformed irrational reaction!





I must recommend this book too..its very well written and thought provoking.

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  • 1 year later...

You might be interested to read my competition entry of August 2011 - the names have been changed, but the recount is accurate; incidentally, I won the competition!



Early Years Update: Summer Competition


Your finest professional moment


Your biggest professional blunder from the last year



My story is threefold; it begins with a professional blunder which emerged into a period of enlightenment which led to my finest professional moment!


To set the scene

Guns, weapons and superheroes.

Guns? At nursery? Oh no! We don’t have guns … guns, swords or anything ‘like that’ - guns and weapons hurt people.

“No, that laser blammer has
to go on the shelf – you can have it back when you go home, but you mustn’t bring it back again because guns hurt people and we don’t hurt people at nursery, do we?”

Besides, ‘gun’ play gets noisy and disruptive and the children just run around shooting each other!

“That’s not a
, is it? Oh no, I can see now … you’ve made a
with the Sticklebricks
… that’s nice … are you playing
… whose hair are you going to dry today? Oh, and I see
made a
– I hope you’re not going to turn me into a frog! What else shall we do with the wand … can you do some magic?”

Transformation – that’s
it needs to encourage ‘positive play’ – it’s easy really!

There ends ‘My Biggest Blunder’!


The Enlightenment

Every Child a Talker (ECAT) – a much needed programme designed to help practitioners ‘… create a developmentally appropriate, supportive and stimulating environment in which children can enjoy experimenting with and learning language. … Through everyday fun and interesting activities which reflect children’s interests … ECAT will encourage early language development right from the outset, extending children’s vocabulary and helping them build sentences so that before they start school, children are confident and skilled communicators’.

DFES The National Strategies | Early Years



An ECAT support meeting – the topic of ‘guns’ is brought up. Oh good, now to find out how others deal with the
of children turning the nursery into a war zone!


What was that?!

In a nutshell …

‘… children’s ideas and interests in superhero play can provide a potentially rich language experience … if approached positively ‘guns’ can be used as a vehicle for introducing or expanding a whole range of concepts … ‘who can build the biggest, smallest, tallest, longest … how far … how high … can you put this piece above, below, inside, on top …?’ a multitude of mathematical language. PSED: confidence, sharing, cooperating … CLL: superhero scenarios … giving/following directions to make a laser or gun … the power of imagination starts with the child’s interests … boys underachieving in literacy …’ etc.

I left the meeting with a range of feelings … dismay, guilt – WHAT HAVE I DONE? Have I been sending boys off to school, for the past 25 years, stifled and unmotivated? Well ... ... yes, I probably have!


Meanwhile, back at nursery

‘Jake’ is a very sweet and ‘special’ little boy. He is very clever … exceptionally clever. At three years of age he could read – in fact he could read my weekly objectives to the rest of the class; he was so interested in the world of print that he would spend much of his time reading the parents’ noticeboard or looking at the planning on the staff noticeboard. On one occasion Jake asked why there was no plasticine to play with because on the planning it said that there should be plasticine. By the age of four he had joined the Year 2 class for guided reading each week and took home a reading book (level 8+ free reader). When he completed the SATs reading comprehension Jake scored a level 2a (first attempt – no practice). His understanding of the number system was also excellent – he could recite numbers to infinity, say the number that is ‘one more’ or ‘a bigger number’ than any two, three of four digit number and knew his two, five, seven, ten and eleven times table. But Jake found it difficult to engage in play with other children – perhaps not
but he just didn’t seem interested. The children played at a different level to him … until, the day after the ECAT support meeting.


I asked ‘Isaac’ and ‘Ben’ (two very active little boys whose main interest is Power Rangers and Ben 10) to tell me all about ‘their superheroes’ and show me how to make a gun/laser with the Interstar
. At first they looked at me with distrust. But gradually they realised that I really
want to know how to make a gun and a laser and, as this realisation came, their whole ‘body language’ changed. I had never seen these boys, who had been with us for almost a year, so animated and well – just
! Jake noticed the activity and watched with interest for a little while, then he too sat on the floor and picked up the construction toys and started to build a laser, following the directions of his peers. Soon we had all built our guns and lasers. Outside, we played Power Rangers – I was the ‘baddy’ and I had to hide from the ‘goodys’ – there were lots of ‘pows’ and ‘bangs’ – IT WAS SO MUCH FUN; I think the children enjoyed it too!


My finest professional moment came not only with the realisation that boys’ imagination can be so very powerful if they are allowed to follow their own interests but also when I stood back and watched Jake as he played alongside and in cooperation with his peers, forming good friendships and using this to move forward in his personal, social and emotional development.


A Nursery Teacher



Whoops - think I just posted this in the wrong place - sorry!
Edited by Guest
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