Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Help With Boys And Guns!


Guest Beryl
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest Beryl

We have a group of boys in our pre-school who love to make guns with whatever type of construction is out. They then rush about pretending to shoot each other for the rest of the free choice play part of the session.

 

I find this very hard to deal with as we supposedly have a "no making guns or playing guns etc" rule but it is not strongly enforced.

 

 

 

Has anyone else had the same problem? If so, how did you deal with it??

 

Any suggestions would be gratefully received! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our transport topic has captured the imaginations of those certain small people determined to turn pre school into a war zone. They have really enjoyed using construction with different things like the cars or train set.

 

I guess one way round it is to have an adult modeling play and language in that area......... but on the other hand ..........we had a power ranger outfit someone donated to the pre school (great!) which has mysteriously got lost in the washing of the dressing up clothes. :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Intersting topic. We did try but eventually decided we cannot adopt a zero tolerance in relation to gun play, My setting is in a garrison town with children who have fathers in the armed forces. The bottom line is that for some children Daddy has a gun when he goes to work! We could not just ignore this fact.The original idea behind introducing a zero tolerance was to actively discourage children from 'violent' play. There have now been studies done on research carried out over several years and the results were startling. They looked at teenagers involved in gun crime and went back to their early childhood - a high majoity of those convicted of offences concerning guns are teenagers who were denied access to playing with guns at a young age. By supressing a childs inquisitiveness and interest in guns it is seen in some quarters as storing up trouble for the future.

 

We do not actually have any guns but the boys (interestingly never seen the girls do it!) often build a gun and rather than run round shooting each other they tend to compete with each other to see whose is the biggest, smallest, longest, tallest - a host of mathematical and on occasions positional language, just lately it has developed into problem solving when all the construction pieces have been used, I have watched children comparing 'guns' counting pieces and transferring pieces from one to the other in an attempt to make them the same. All during free choice time.

 

Our change in this area came about because previously we would say things like " well, we dont build guns" etc and the children soon realised this. The result was they carried on building their guns and as soon as they realised we could see them they would immediately say "it's not a gun it's a boat" ( or anything else they could think of) accompanied by that "oh am i in trouble" look. This concerned me as the message we had actually given was how to get round a situation by dishonesty.

 

I don't pretend to have the answers and fully agree with the notion that it can be a problem. Fortunately at the moment it isn't for us. We certainly do not actively encourage it but at the same time if guns appear we do not dismiss them either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see the same....

 

 

We have barracks family children. They know what their fathers do, so we have lots of 'gun' play (girls included). I have always found that it works to transform the guns so I say: "oh, look, that's just like a magic wand, you made that so well". And then ... "go, on, turn me into a spider (just like the one we saw in the toilet)". I do it (badly). "What else can you turn me into?" ..... and so on. And we get lots of role play without the guns.

 

I bet you are all doing the same.

 

Diane.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it seems to be that what ever policy a group has on guns the children will still make them out of what ever is available it seems to be a majority boy thing but I can say Ive seen plenty of girls make pretend guns including using the hair dryer out of the hair dressing box!

 

I dont advocate a zero tolerance on guns but do when ever possible discourage children making pretend guns

 

I remember as a child playing cops and robbers and remembering that when we played the focus of the play was really goodies and baddies and the guns were simple part of the props

 

rather than saying no guns I question

why are the children making guns?

what are they doing with them once they are made?

would that child engage in role play normally?

sometimes its worth leaving the children to play and observing the whole of the play before rushing in and saying "we dont play with guns"

 

if the children are disrupting the sessions the question also has to be

what could the sessions offering that child to chanel this energy in a more positive way distracting the child away from gun play?

 

there will always be the child that the more you say no the more they want to do something and often the best stratagy is to egnore them or distract them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whilst doing my essay I have been observing boys play both inside and out. As part of this I made the decision not to interviene in children's play or else to try and encourage them to act naturally. i.e The teacher is over there I best do what is expected of me. From this I observed a number of sessions on the carpet with the duplo and gun making. What suprised me was the rich language and role play that was happening. It appeared (although I am being very over general obviously) that girls used the home corner often and most of their role play was around home activities and boys tended to use the carpet area and outdoors for the more active superhero role play. The problem came when because we felt uncomfortable with the prospect of guns in the setting (not least because of the huge problem with gun crime in the local area) we stopped these potentially rich language situations before they began.

Vivian Paley's book superheros in the doll corner which I have recently read showed she also had similar issues and how she tackled it was not through total ban but during a session at the end of the day the children would come out and describe the story they had role-played and they chose other children to act it out. She found that although she did still have gun play in the setting the children started to focus more on the role play.

Don't really know what I am saying here as I know I feel very awkward when a see gun play, but I also see as Geraldine said the 'it's not a gun its a boat'' which is not right either. I am rambling now so I best finish I hope you can get some information out of this. :oxD

 

Regards

Jay

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi -

An older topic on this subject, which Alison and others have posted on in the past, can be found here. I've closed the other topic to new posts to avoid duplication, but I'm referencing it here so you can still find what others have had to say in the past.

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Beryl

Thankyou everyone for your replies, and thanks Steve for the reference to the previous discussion.

 

It is very helpful to hear all your views and ideas. :D

 

I was so pleased earlier in the week to see one of my key children joining in play with a small group of boys as he has been very quiet and shy up to now. Unfortunately they were all playing a shooting game with guns made from stickle bricks! According to the rules of the setting I should have gone and "told him off" for playing guns, but obviously I didn't want to discourage him in his new found confidence!

 

Anyway, I am only an assistant so I can't change things easily and I agree that part of the problem may be that there are not enough other activities to interest this group of boys.

 

I will definately be bringing this up for discussion at our next staff meeting, so thanks again for all the help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Beryl

 

i have to say i agree with Alison. You cant stop children from making guns. i kow children who are not allowed guns at home so come into school and make them. I have spent time in a Pre-school where the manager had a large sign on the door for parents that read

 

NO GUNS ALLOWED. We like to fire the IMAGINATION.

 

i know that the children will never be free of gun toys but if the parents realise they are not accepted in nursery/school they may stop buying them for children to play with at home. this may then stem the flow of building guns in the setting!

 

unfortunatley we cant get rid of guns and violent immages on tv screens. i seem to be in contact with children who watch programms i would not consider suitable for children.

 

Im not sure how we can channel boys play. hope you will let us know what success you have.

 

By the way Beryl your not just an assisstant you are looking after someones most treasured possesion. i know we dont get paid or appreciated any where nearn enought but thats a whole other debate!

 

julie.s

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi there

 

A great debate going on here! I have not allowed my two young sons to have guns at home, however, they still made 'guns' at pre-school from time to time and were told it was not acceptable play. I've mellowed a little and they play with Star Wars Light Sabres instead. I'm not sure if zero tolerance is a good or bad thing, at pre-school or home but it's been interesting to read all the great posts on this issue. By the way, my mother-in-law did not allow guns for her two boys and now my brother-in-law works for the MoD on finding more sophisticated ways to kill people with missiles!! :o

 

mousebat

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

my cousin absolutely refused his 4 young sons guns at home but they solved the problem with the contents of the fruit bowl--bananas!

 

I decided with my own sons not to deny and magnify the attraction of the gun and allowed them to have guns. Small guns for cowboys and indians, larger soldiers guns but always telling them that I did not approve of mindless violence.

Much to my horror really my younger son went to Army cadets with a friend and in his first session came back having mastered the gun handling skills. However, before the next session he had decided not to continue!

 

In school I do not encoursge the children to make guns and have removed a construction toy from the outside because it led itself to gun play in that situation. Other times I have encouraged children to make something else and stated that using guns to kill people isn't very nice is it?

 

We found that last year in particular the boys were using and enacting out gun play senarios very realistically and assumed it was because they were seeing these things on the news. we watched and encouraged the children to talk about their play and it soon disappeared. If we had forbidden it I am sure it would have continued for far longer.

 

I think what I'm trying to say is probably that there is a danger that if you forbid something completely you will increase its attraction.

 

Susan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When doing my research for my Diploma in pre-school practice I watched a video by Desmond Morris. In it he states:

 

"Individuals that play a great deal when young are better at surviving in later life...so much of childhood play takes the form of prey/predator behaviour as though we feel the need to act out our ancient past."

 

From this I formed the belief that, boys in particular, could (and I stress the word could) be recreating the hunter model, that boys are biologically programmed to fight, and use guns as their modern day representation. Alternatively, roleplay is part of a child's development, practicing and trying out events, exploring ideas and feelings - guns are an unwelcome part of society but need to be explored in the same way a child would explore something acceptable i.e. pretend to drive a car - isn't this how they make sense of their world?

 

Although I find watching children playing with 'guns' uncomfortable (always made themselves, toy guns were not allowed in the pre-school), we decided to set aside an area suitable for running, roughish play etc. with the strict instructions that if the play got too rough, the children would have to go back to the quieter area of the group and calm down. This worked well and had the added benefit of giving those who wanted to, a chance to let off steam without disturbing the younger or quieter children and some firm friendships were made.

 

It would be interesting to hear people's agreements/disagreements to this subject.

 

Julia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I recently went to a seminar where there was a speaker about this subject. She is a Lecturer at a Londong college and previously worked in nursery education. She has published a book about guns, weapons and superheros following some research she did. She changed the approach to this type of play in her own nursery school and discusses the results. I will try to find her name and title of book for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As promised, the book is called We Don't Play with Guns Here and is by Penny Holland. I havent read the book but heard Penny's summary at the seminar. Found it both interesting and sensible.

 

ISBN: 0335210902

Description

 

War, weapon and superhero play has been banned in many early childhood settings for over 30 years. This book explores the development and application of a zero tolerance approach through the eyes of children and practitioners.

 

The author challenges the key rationale for linking aggressive play themes to violent behaviour. She examines play where children are allowed to construct weapons and enact goodies/baddies and superhero scenarios with sensitive adult guidance, and explores the generally positive experiences of children and practitioners. Rather than reading this form of play as the beginning of the slippery slope towards anti-social behaviour, readers are invited to view it as an entry point to imaginative play and social development.

 

We don't play with guns here is a fascinating and insightful contribution to this area of much debate in the early childhood community. The book is key reading for early childhood practitioners, teachers, students, parents and policy makers.

 

 

 

CONTENTS--------------------------------------------------------Back To Top

 

Series editor's preface

Introduction

Zero tolerance of war, weapon and superhero play

where does it come from and why do we do it?

Boys will be boys and girls will sit nicely

The power of imagination

Relaxing zero tolerance

the experience of one setting

The bigger picture

a summary of findings from 13 settings where zero tolerance has been relaxed

War, weapon and superhero play

what does it look like?

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Just been reading back over the guns debates as we have just put a new constuction toy outside and on Friday all the boys were making guns out of it. One boy made a robot and some of the girls were making things but there was a big crowd of boys running around playing goodies/baddies. The policy has always been that 'guns are for hurting people so we don't play with guns because we don't want to hurt people' so when inside like many of you have said the chn lie about what they have made. Because it was outside and they were having such a great game and not doing any one any harm I let it continue but am worried about what will happen next week if other members of staff say no guns-we've all got to sing from the same hymn sheet haven't we?!

We're actually going to use the consruction as a focus activity so I'd be interested in your ideas for what I could encourage them to make because whereas I hope we won't ban imaginitive play with guns altogether we obviously don't want to encourage it (although I'm going to try and get Penny Hollands book out of the library and may change my mind altogether!)

Not sure if the consruction is mechano or big builder (we had it donated) its the one with the nuts and bolts. Any exciting ideas of what we could make? I feel like I will be supressing them if I say let's make a house-I know what I'd rather be doing! I played German Army for ages at school and absolutely loved it. I was aware that it was a game and that was it ,it didn't make me more aggressive-being stopped from running through the field and throwing a 'grenade' probably would though! Great excercise :D

Thanks

Zim :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always allow gun play for one reason...children watch TV and see, on the news British soldiers carrying guns. I feel that to say guns are wrong and can hurt, gives the idea that these men are wrong. i took this on board after reading many years ago of a pre-school worker attached to a military base, the children often had parents who in the course of a normal day would have to carry a gun and our paranoid reaction was harming the childrens self esteem and making them question their parents. Most children know the games they play are just games. Are we going to ban swords, vehicles and fatty food from our play because they hold a potential threat of harm? I played army with my friends when was young, none of us are violent, gun toting murderers, out of 4 of us, one is an accountant, one a nurse, and I play guns with children. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

having supervised a playgroup on an army base for military children we found that guns were so part of everyday life that they did not want to play 'guns' at pre-school, was a while ago during the first gulf war but seeing men with guns patolling the streets they lived in was everyday and normal to them.

we allowed gun play then if they wanted, which at the time was contraversal, but found so few actually did.

It was everyday and boring to them, so we all concluded that to ban gun play was only encouraging them to partake, anything to get attention, etc. At the time power rangers were just becoming a thing and we ahd more problems with that than anything relating to guns......

have so far in 17 years not actually banned this kind of play and for the last 5 years have not had many children show an interst....... more spiderman at the moment and throwing webs, climbing walls etc than guns............Oh and a few tsunamis in the water tray ..............in fact more than a few.........very very wet floors at the moment...................( they have now learnt to mop it up too....) all relevent to current or recent news items...

 

Inge

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Such an interesting debate :D How do Ibring it up with staff who say 'no guns'? personally, I think its the noise they don't like.....spiderman webs is the thing too-hardly ever make guns inside anyway and if they do it seems to be the children who tell each other off! Had to laugh about your friends t-shirt Rea!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

I am currently in my last year of the Foundation Degree and am at the stage where I need to begin to think about my Independent Learning Module.

I am considering focussing on Gun Play and its place within early year’s settings and children's play.

I have read lots of comments and thoughts on the FSF and am interested in hearing any new thoughts, ways you support children during this type of play and any interesting articles you may have read.

Thanks - in advance :o

Kerrie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am currently in my last year of the Foundation Degree and am at the stage where I need to begin to think about my Independent Learning Module.

I am considering focussing on Gun Play and its place within early year’s settings and children's play.

I have read lots of comments and thoughts on the FSF and am interested in hearing any new thoughts, ways you support children during this type of play and any interesting articles you may have read.

Thanks - in advance :o

Kerrie

 

Hi Kerrie.

 

Have you seen this document..it might be of some use and makes interesting reading and covers superhero play and issues with guns.

 

http://www.islington.gov.uk/DownloadableDo...early_years.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)