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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fidget spinners disrupting children’s learning, principals say

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THEY are the tiny handheld gadgets sweeping classrooms across the country but fidget spinners have principals and health experts worried they are disrupting children’s learning.

Youngsters globally are rushing to buy the latest craze — primarily developed for autistic children and people who have trouble focusing or fidgeting by acting as a stress-relieving device.

It is the number one selling toy online.

But South Australian Primary Principals’ Association president Pam Kent says principals are reporting the devices are doing the exact opposite of what they were originally designed for.

“It is becoming a problem,’’ Ms Kent said.

“Principals feel they are not being used for the intended purpose of being a sensory tool to help kids with their anxiety and help them engage more in their learning.’’

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While schools are not developing a school policy just yet, some are developing ways of setting up an expectation of how and where the gadget is used.

Flinders University occupational therapist Sandra Mortimer said there was “nothing as yet to support this tool as a learning tool”.

“I think (teachers) would already have a good idea of the kids that it may benefit but also have to function around having 30 kids in the classroom,’’ she said.

“A lot of these things and this one in particular, I think, is quite disruptive.

“So the impact might be a challenge for other kids in the room and teachers have to make the call on what will balance those needs best.’’

Prince Alfred College head of preparatory school Neil Andary says while the fidget spinner will not be banned, guidelines were developed around their use.

Classmates Ryan and Christian, both aged eight, like to use fidget spinners during playtime and will discuss their price value and finding new ways of using them.

“ I like going around the school having goes and trying new things with my friends but not at school time,’’ Christian said.

“ I prefer no blade ones because they can be dangerous. I like to be careful.’’

Online Source: news.com.au

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