Fidget Spinner Toys and Other Toys at School
Like yoyos, POGs, slap bracelets, Pokemon cards and many other toys before them, fidget spinner toys have “taken over our world” at Kingston District School. These colorful plastic spinners seem to be a “must have” for many of our students. While bright and fun to play with, these toys are not certified as school based fidgets for students who actually need them to help them focus in class. In addition, these toys are distracting for most children who are trying to concentrate on their learning and for those sitting near them.
On May 17th, a young girl in Texas was playing with one of these toys in the back seat of her mom’s van when she accidentally swallowed a bushing that was part of the toy. At Texas Children’s Hospital an x-ray showed that the spinner piece was lodged in her esophagus. She had to be taken into surgery to have the object removed. Fortunately for this family, the outcome was positive.
We already have a variety of approved fidgets for our students who need them at school. Most students do not need these to help them focus. In fact, in most cases they are very distracting. Victoria Prooday, a school based occupational therapist, has written an article on fidget spinners. She writes that “children bring these spinners to school, continuing to stimulate their brains all day long with high levels of spinning stimulation. The more they stimulate their brains, the more they crave for it and the less emotionally available for learning they will become.”
We discussed these toys as a staff yesterday after school. We have made a decision regarding these toys and other toys being brought to our school on a daily basis. Each teacher will make an individual decision about the use of fidget spinners in their classrooms and they will let families know their decisions immediately. No fidget spinners are allowed in our halls, cafeteria, playground, specialty classes (P.E., Music, Core French) or bathrooms at any time. The first time a child is seen using one in one of these places, he or she will be warned to put it away. The second time will result in having the toy given to the adult for the rest of the day.
In addition, we have always had a rule about students bringing toys to school. This year we have seen an incredible increase in the number of stuffed animals, playing cards, small figures and other toys being brought in student backpacks. Please check your child’s backpack before he or she leaves for school to make sure that all toys are removed before leaving the house. The exception would be a soccer ball to be shared on the playground. Some primary students are allowed by their teacher to bring a toy to school as a story starter. These should only be used for this purpose. We have many toys and a great deal of equipment on our playground and students do not need to bring toys from home for playing.
Thank you for your understanding and support.