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Friday, May 21, 1999 Published at 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK


Education

Playground games can stop bullying

Traditional games can help children to work together

Traditional playground games can help to reduce bullying, according to researchers.

A project run by a museum in Somerset has re-introduced old-fashioned games such as skipping, spinning tops and hopscotch into primary school playgrounds in the county.


[ image: Adam Hawkins says behaviour at his school has improved since introducing traditional games]
Adam Hawkins says behaviour at his school has improved since introducing traditional games
Playing these games, rather than competitive games such as football or modern computer games, has been found to create a more inclusive and sociable atmosphere.

Adam Hawkins, headteacher of Ash primary school, says that since introducing the traditional games, with their chants and group involvement, behaviour among pupils has improved.

Bullying is also believed to have been made less likely, as the communal games have helped children to play together and to communicate more during play.

Historian Alison Dike, who has been helping to rekindle interest in old playground games, says children who might have become bullies have been given a chance to "recognise the strengths of others" by participating in the traditional group games.


[ image: Mary Crowley says parents will approve of the move towards more sociable game playing]
Mary Crowley says parents will approve of the move towards more sociable game playing
"Children who aren't very sporty and who haven't a great physical ability, can get a chance to play games and participate with their peers," said Mary Crowley of the Parenting and Education Forum, who supports the experiment in playground games.

Activities such as hopscotch or skipping games, she says promote interaction, "you have to talk to people to play them" and in the process children learn to work together.

The success of the project could lead to an expansion of the museum's investigation into re-introducing traditional playground games.



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