Do your kids find school fun? Are they having fun – or being naughty? This may sometimes appear to be a very fine line – that can be interpreted by parents and teachers differently – but shouldn’t school be fun? A Times Educational Supplement survey reports the top 100 things kids think they should do before they leave primary school. Some of the things on the list are no surprise:
  • Impersonating ‘Miss’ (or Sir)
  • Spinning round on the teacher’s chair when he or she is not in the room
  • Running in the corridor
  • Laughing until your drink comes down your nose
  • Falling off your chair
However, some less likely things appear such as making mistakes in order to learn from them, helping younger pupils to learn and being kind to another child who needs a friend. Outdoor activities like making daisy chains, playing conkers, pond dipping and running in the rain all make the list. In fact, the pranks and natural pleasures feature much more highly than ‘sitting playing computer games’. The next generation seem to get the same enjoyment from the things kids have always had fun doing. If having fun means irritating the teacher should the child be punished – or rewarded for having a lively sense of fun? Your own schooldays may be a distant memory, but I bet you can remember winding up your teacher sometimes too. Perhaps if the teacher laughs at their fun – and then asks for their attention – they’ll get much more cooperation. Maybe they need to take notice of another item on the list ‘Tell your teacher to chill out.’ Children who enjoy school are more open to soaking up the learning, so having fun is a good thing. Your job as a parent is to ensure that they know the difference between having fun and being disruptive. As a parent you do need to encourage your children to respond to the teacher positively, but it’s just as important to know the difference between ‘having fun’ and ‘being naughty’. Don’t teach your children that having fun is a bad thing.  (And if you want to make learning fun – get your child checked out by the Exemplar programme – the assessment is free.)