Toy guns ‘fire up boys for school’

Young boys should be encouraged to play with toy guns and other weapons at nursery to get them interested in education, according to government advice.

The guidance urges nursery staff to resist their “natural instinct” to stop boys playing with weapons in games with other toddlers.

But teachers condemned the advice and warned that toy guns “symbolise aggression”.

The guidance – Confident, Capable and Creative: Supporting Boys’ Achievements – was issued by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

It said: “Sometimes practitioners find the chosen play of boys more difficult to understand and value than that of girls.

“Images and ideas gleaned from the media are common starting points in boys’ play and may involve characters with special powers or weapons.

“Adults can find this type of play particularly challenging and have a natural instinct to stop it.

“This is not necessary as long as practitioners help the boys to understand and respect the rights of other children and to take responsibility for the resources and environment.”

But NUT general secretary Steve Sinnott said: “The trouble with weapons is that the toy gun is often accompanied by aggression.

“The reason why teachers often intervene when kids have toy guns is that the boy is usually being very aggressive.”

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