Today (5 July 2018), the Daily Telegraph has wrongly reported that the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW was proposing a ban on toy guns and similar in childcare centres. This is categorically untrue, especially when ACA NSW does not have the power to do that. Instead, a survey of childcare services’ views and wisdoms is being planned.
When the Daily Telegraph journalist approached ACA NSW, he was seeking the Australian perspective after the apparent disallowance of toy weapons and even superhero costumes by a significant number of United Kingdom’s childcare services.
There exists no bans of such toys in Australia, and our local educators and teachers by their very nature and training focus on the positivity, life affirming and nurturing opportunities with children every day.
Other Australian media outlets have come out clarifying ACA NSW's position, including:
- Women's Weekly, Woman's Day, Mother & Baby's Now To Love - "Much Much ado about nothing: There is NO gun play ban at NSW childcare centresMuch ado about nothing: There is NO gun play ban at NSW childcare centres"
- Channel Ten Eyewitness News - 5 July 2018
- Channel Seven News - 5 July 2018
But modern life today can be at times complex. For example, how do childcare services deal with situations like:
- on dress up days where some children wear police or soldiers uniforms complete with pretend sidearms and other equipment – how do educators/teachers celebrate our men and women in uniform?
- toy guns, bows and arrows, swords and light sabres – how do educators/teachers ensure safety from projectiles and accidental blows?
- for some children who have a family history of domestic violence – how do educators/teachers balance play with the potential sensitivity for vulnerable children?
- software and apps that children bring into the childcare services – how do educators/teachers vet their content?
- different parents associated in the same childcare service can often have opposing views about their children playing with other children – how do educators/teachers balance what may be contradictory expectations?
“Although common sense usually prevail, we at the Australian Childcare Alliance NSW will ask if any childcare service needs guidance, support or policies on how to handle children and their parents who innocently bring into the childcare centres toy guns, toy pirate swords, bows and arrows, Lego constructed weapons, even software or apps that feature weapons,” said ACA NSW President Lyn Connolly.
While Australians live in a country where freedom prevails, ACA NSW and all childcare services also have a responsibility to balance and support the needs and expectations of all children and their families.
The anticipated ACA NSW survey will enable all childcare services and their families to provide their input during July & August 2018 with a subsequent report after.