This statement is part of the 2022 Pirinoa School Vision. It is one I am very proud of, and one which is worth asking sometimes: what does it mean to allow kids to be kids?
In particular I’ve been thinking about this with respect to digital devices, and smartphones in particular. I’m pleased to say that we have very few reports of our children having issues with this stuff. I want to keep it this way and, if anything, improve things for our kids.
Sadly I have seen at a previous school how bad things can get. We had an example of older students bullying a classmate using their phones, and in fact the worst of it was being beamed directly into the victim’s bedroom late at night. Buzz! goes their phone as they are drifting off to sleep. But what will be on the phone when they pick it up?
What’s your view on when we should provide smartphones to our precious tamariki?
Generally this will be an issue for Pirinoa parents of the older children, but it is important for parents of younger children to consider as well. Right now they may only have access to an iPad or your own phone when you’re at dinner with mates, but at some stage they will pressure you for their own device. Had you held out longer when they were younger, you may have an easier time when they head into adolescence.
What’s the issue? From my perspective it is simply that smartphones can be too compelling and too powerful for our young folk. I’ve looked into this quite a bit over the years and the arguments seem to fall into two broad camps.
Some would say that although they have their pitfalls, it is better for the young person to start early and learn how to manage themselves with this powerful device from the beginning. And that there are so many good things the smartphone can provide, that it is worth it overall.
Others would argue that although they will inevitably have one at some point, we should hold off as long as possible. Often parents will choose high school as the point when they go out shopping for one, and make it a big occasion.
My view is that parents should follow the second path. Hold off as long as you can and keep your kids off digital devices as much as possible. When they are on them, take responsibility for making sure they are protected from the harmful aspects. With no restrictions your child will have access to all of the images, videos and social media posts that exist online. That is a scary prospect. And although they are so good for communication, this can be a problem because suddenly they can be communicating at any time with anyone.
For parents of younger children start building the idea now that these devices are tools not toys, and that part of the responsibility of having access to one is to be able to use the tool safely. For instance you may develop an understanding that their browser history should be available to you as parents. It is alot harder to have this conversation for the first time with your 12 year old once it has dawned on you that they might be sending toxic texts.
I was extremely relieved when I got to Pirinoa School that phones were just not a thing that appeared in the school grounds. And that we already had a sensible policy for when they are at school (they get handed in at the office).
I’m interested in your thoughts on this and other ways we can live and breathe the idea that Pirinoa is a place ‘where kids can be kids’. Feel free to drop me an email on email@example.com or just pop in for a chat.
ROOM 1 NEWS:
Room 1 had alot of fun making bread! they used this experience as a promt for some descriptive writing, and also how to clean up!!!
ROOM 2 NEWS:
Room 2 has been busy working on getting our production stage ready, but last Thursday we managed to get the rocket science kit out to explore the physics around how things fly. We learnt about how the build up of gas and pressure causes the rockets to launch into the air, and had so much fun whilst doing it!
ROOM 3 NEWS:
With one week to go until our production performance, Room 3 have been helpfully creating props, costumes and painting! Last week, we had Isabella sewing costumes for the Cards in the show, while some of the other girls painted them. We’re slowly working our way through the list of things to do! A huge thank you to all of the parents who have also come to help us paint or lent us kids to come and paint. We appreciate your support and effort, a lot!
FISH AND CHIPS DAY
Friday 23rd September
As a post production treat we are shouting your children fish and chips from the local Pirinoa food truck, so don’t worry about packing lunches on this day.