Weapons and superhero play

'Play is essential for children's development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults' (EYFS, 2021)

At Footsteps Day Nursery we recognise that each child is unique. We will support them through play and a range of adult led activities to be confident, capable, strong & independent. We plan for the learning environment, both indoors and out, and the adult led activities from the observations we make of the children. We look at what their interests are and where they are developmentally. From time to time children may show an interest in superhero & weapon play.

Historically, this type of play has often been banned from early years settings, in the belief that it encourages violence or aggression. This ban, as well as being difficult to manage, may have a negative impact on children's development, particularly boys.

We have developed this policy in order to support both practitioners and parents to respond appropriately to this type of play. If there any concerns about aggressive or threatening behavior then we would refer to the behavior management policy.

Our aims & objectives around superhero & weapon play.

  • Practitioners will involve themselves in the boys' choices of role play and learning experiences as well as the girls'.
  • We will discourage children bringing in toy superheros or weapons. This is a policy of the nursery anyway with everyday home toys in case they get lost or broken.
  • If children wish to make a weapon then they will be supported by a practitioner. This could be an ideal learning opportunity and it may support the children's creativity.
  • Practitioners will look out for superhero or weapon play and be on hand to observe and extend the play.
  • Superhero costumes are allowed into the nursery in the same way that we allow fairy or princess dresses.
  • A code of conduct for superhero play will be looked at with the children. We will ask for their ideas and input.
  • Other children do not have to join in with this or any other play / activity
  • Superhero play is allowed in the nursery garden and in the classroom away from the quiet areas. Practitioners will decide on the best spot for this play depending on what else is going on in the setting.
  • Conflicts and disagreements are likely to happen with this type of play as well as any other type of play. This would be dealt with by a practitioner following the behaviour management policy. This would involve the practitioner listening, problem solving, suggesting & compromising.
  • We do support the children's more caring side and there are areas in the nursery which cater for this. The book area, cosy area, role play, small world, sensory play and soft toys.
  • If parents are concerned about this type of play then they are asked to speak to a member of staff. Any concerns will be taken seriously and addressed.
  • This policy will be reviewed annually by practitioners, parents & children.
  • Superhero play will only be encouraged if the children are showing an interest in that type of play.
  • The practitioners will look at the positive aspects of each superhero such as helping other people and highlight the negative aspects of weapon use.
  • Children's well-being & involvement will be assessed during this type of play
  • The superhero play should challenge & motivate children.
  • All children take an equal responsibility in caring for the environment. Tiding up and looking after the equipment and each other, fostering a sense of social responsibility.

Practitioners have received the following training in this area

  • Ben 10 strikes again.
  • Supporting children's creativity.